Examining the Transformation of Customer Contact Centers

Empirix Inc., the market leader of service quality assurance solutions for new IP communications, today announced the results of an industry survey, conducted by Opus Research and sponsored by Empirix, about the adoption of online tools into enterprise customer care programs. A majority of respondents believe that improved customer service through new community-building and collaboration platforms and tools will help them gain a competitive advantage. However, concerns over issues such as network complexity and performance have impeded the adoption of these resources. In fact, 45 percent of respondents claim they do not use social media to communicate with end-users.

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“The days of the monolithic contact center are dead. Adding social media tools to the enterprise communication infrastructure engages customers and promotes loyalty and longevity. Nonetheless, there is still a great deal of uncertainty in the market,” said Dan Miller, senior analyst and founder, Opus Research. “Companies that ignore social media as a key ingredient in the conversational contact center leave themselves vulnerable to aggressive competitors. On the other hand, organizations which rush into a social media deployment without proper planning and testing run the risk of tarnishing their reputations. Before organizations incorporate social media into their customer care and support call flows, they must be certain their networks are capable of handling an increased level of complexity.”

A Survey of Multi-Channel Customer Care

In “A Survey of Multi-Channel Customer Care” conducted among 985 respondents earlier this year, Opus found that social networks and Web chat were already employed more than 45 percent of the time to find and purchase by products and to get technical support. Use of the application programming interfaces (APIs) which enable enterprise IT departments to gain access to the cloud-based cash registers, product reviews, marketplaces and message exchanges operated by the likes of Facebook, Amazon and Google is growing exponentially. Both of these sets of findings provide dramatic evidence that companies have to offer their customers and prospects rapid access to a broad set of services in order to meet their expectations.

“Integration of social media into customer care processes is inevitable; the social media world is too far-reaching from an awareness, marketing and customer service standpoint to ignore,” said Tim Moynihan, vice president of marketing, Enterprise business unit, Empirix. “Seventy-two percent of survey respondents said they are using testing and monitoring now, but only half of that group has updated their strategy to accommodate these new methods for communicating with customers. One way to mitigate risk during the transformation period is with effective testing and monitoring, which assures the integration of social media channels and helps organizations gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace.”

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Key findings

Transformational times in the Contact Center

Contact center personnel are increasingly engaged in multi-modal, multi-channel and social interactions. Though most believe they are doing an excellent job in meeting customer requirements, nearly 40 percent admit they are on par with their competitors, and only 8 percent feel confident in their leading position in the marketplace. A majority of the executives realize that improved customer service will help them gain a competitive advantage through new communication platforms and tools (e.g., social media).

Nearly half of respondents already incorporate social media

Facebook, blogs and Twitter lead the way; Facebook alone has become another viable marketing channel and also helps organizations boost their search engine optimization.

Social nets and “cloud-based” apps are in the mix

The majority of organizations surveyed already treat e-mail and Web chat as customer-facing channels, and deployment plans will move outbound alerts, home agents and screen sharing into the mainstream.

Facebook and Google Apps are on par with Unified Communications (UC) stalwarts

Cisco and Microsoft OCS dominate UC discussions, but, according to the survey, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google Apps are establishing presence “inside the firewall,” showcasing the growing need for UC assurance.

More video and mobile apps are coming this year

Organizations are anxious to reach their “anywhere/anytime” customers and prospects, adding another layer to the already complex network.

Performance monitoring and testing gain importance

Respondents indicate they are monitoring in order to “improve customer service” and “success rates,” both of which create a better customer experience.

Overall impressions of social media

Most organizations have not made social media channels a priority (33 percent); however, 31 percent have deployed social media platforms as a low-cost way to communicate with customers and almost no organizations believe that social media for customer care is merely a “fad.”

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Methodology

The survey was conducted in two waves by Opus Research in conjunction with Empirix. Invitations were sent to more than 1,500 targeted respondents, including enterprise managers in marketing, customer care and contact center functions. The community of more than 200 “completes” is sufficient to provide directional indicators. However, because results are provided from a panel of volunteers, it is not possible to derive a meaningful margin of error for a known population of respondents.

About Opus Research

Opus Research, founded 1985, provides news, views, market quantification, trend analysis and thought leadership on the “Recombinant Communications” market including exclusive insight vital to the growing ranks of application developers and solution providers growing out of a diverse set of domains that include contact center automation, mobile services, social media, cloud computing and communications management.

About Empirix
Empirix is the recognized leader in end-to-end network performance visibility with the unique ability to analyze customer behaviors by application in real time. We help service providers, mobile operators and enterprises optimize business processes to reduce operational costs, maximize customer retention and grow top-line revenue. Through monitoring, analytics and intelligence, Empirix helps companies around the world realize the full value of their technology investments.

Empirix is a trademark of Empirix, Inc. in the United States and other countries.

Media Contact:
Jennifer Walsh
Marketing Manager
+1-978-313-7112
jwalsh@empirix.com

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