The 2022 Ventana Research Value Index for agent management software is published, offering interesting observations about how the market is advancing to provide more sophistication to agents and the management of them. The market is now characterized by applications integrated into multifunction suites, a significant change accelerated by the pandemic in the short term and vendor consolidation over a longer period. The core applications — workforce management scheduling, call recording and evaluations, and performance management — are largely commoditized. This has opened the door to systems for ensuring agent access to real-time knowledge, peer collaboration and other, more advanced systems.
The contact center is where much of customer experience management happens, but it is by no means the beginning or end of the CX story. Other departments, notably marketing and revenue, have a stake in what happens during the customer’s lifecycle. Whether it’s developing offers, orchestrating interactions or assessing behavior and intent, handling the complexity of the relationship requires a broad set of participants who are not always in alignment.
When NICE acquired inContact in 2016, it began a transformation that saw it broaden its product offering and positioned itself to play a larger role in the contact center and customer experience industries. It was a prescient move, creating a firm that could supply end-to-end contact center functionality in the cloud. And it anticipated today’s market dynamic, in which NICE and its competitors are racing to define (and capitalize on) the post-contact center future.
Topics: Customer Experience, Voice of the Customer, Business Continuity, Analytics, Contact Center, Data, Digital transformation, AI and Machine Learning, agent management, Customer Experience Management, Field Service, customer service and support, digital business, Experience Management
In part one of this Analyst Perspective on the use of artificial intelligence within contact center applications, we focused on the evolution — and resulting benefits — of tools embedded with AI, including ease-of-use for non-data-scientists.
When artificial intelligence emerged from the labs and vendors started offering it as a component of their software, many contact-center buyers shied away from it. From their point of view, AI and machine learning tools were new, expensive, relatively untested and had an uncertain use case. This stance was understandable, as contact center professionals are traditionally expected to be risk-averse when deploying technology into their operations. Contact centers are, by design, supposed to be hardened, mission-critical sites of high reliability. There has historically been a bias towards avoiding new technology, deploying only when it has been thoroughly vetted across the industry.
Tools for contact center agent management have changed considerably in the past few years. The suite of software applications has grown from those that perform core functions in scheduling and quality control to include more advanced solutions for agent guidance, integrated desktops, and workflow and automation design. One area of intense investment by vendors has been analytics, specifically for assessing customer satisfaction and hearing the “voice of the customer.”
The primary effect of the pandemic on agent/workforce management beginning in 2020 was a rush to re-site and re-equip contact centers and agents. This was achieved with a surprising speed and smoothness industrywide. But once achieved on a “temporary” or “emergency” basis, it became clear that this shift was going to be semi-permanent. Even if the majority of the agent population moves back into standard centers, there is now a consensus that some portion of the workforce will work from home. As a result, the industry’s vendors have focused their messaging and short-term roadmaps on enhancing workforce engagement, or what we call agent management. These include promoting tools for measurement, management, and supervisory tools like mobile interfaces into workforce systems.
Dialpad provides contact center and business phone services, a market that is in transition due to a convergence of technologies and business conditions.
The annual Ventana Research Digital Innovation Awards showcase advances in the productivity and potential of business applications, as well as technology that contributes significantly to the improved processes and performance of an organization. Our goal is to recognize technology and vendors that have introduced noteworthy digital innovations to advance business and IT.
Topics: Marketing, Voice of the Customer, Collaboration, Data Governance, Data Preparation, Information Management, Data, Product Information Management, Digital Marketing, Digital Commerce, blockchain, data lakes, intelligent marketing, Conversational Marketing
Field service is one element of the service-delivery process that an organization must get right or risk alienating important customers and causing friction in the relationship. The customer experience is directly affected by the timeliness, speed and accuracy of on-site work. Consequences of poor performance can hurt revenue, particularly in B2B situations where failures may cause expensive shutdowns or delays in conducting business.