Next-Generation Contact Centers Must Become Relationship Platforms
relationship platforms, with a focus on building personalized customer interactions. The relationship management
platform of the future has several defining characteristics, it is: channel agnostic (provides customer choice); location
independent (incorporates centers and/or remote agents); consistent in use of customer information across channels
(supports relationships and not just transactions); and, social media fluent (enables proactive management of brand
and customer issues).
Forrester conducted an online survey of 1,384 consumers in Brazil, China, Mexico, the United States, and Western
Europe to understand the quality of their customer experiences interacting with organizations in 15 industries (airlines,
automotive, banks, credit card providers, health insurance plans, hotels, insurance providers, Internet service providers,
investment firms, parcel delivery/shipping firms, PC manufacturers, retailers, TV service providers, utilities providers,
and wireless service providers). Consumers were asked to rate their satisfaction at each point of the “pre-purchase
research,” “purchase,” and “post-purchase support” customer-interaction cycle.
Forrester also conducted an online survey of business and IT decision-makers from 157 large and global companies
with headquarters in Brazil, China, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and the United States in seven industries (financial
services, insurance, consumer products, telecommunications, media and entertainment, retail, and utilities). The survey
focused on gaining insights into their goals, current investment priorities, and the strengths and weaknesses of their
contact center business and technical capabilities.
Global Brands Are Challenged To Meet The Expectations of Customers
From the survey of consumers from around the world, Forrester found that global brands struggle to deliver satisfying
customer experiences across interaction channels. Specifically:
Consumers are not satisfied with their service experience. Customers understand what good customer service
is, and they demand it from every service interaction they have with a company over all the communication
channels that they use. More often than not, customers are disappointed with the service they receive. In fact,
consumers (in all generation segments) who interact with brands in 15 global industries report that they are
dissatisfied. Banks, credit card companies, TV service providers, and utilities have the most disappointed
customers (see Figure 3).
Customers want to engage with brands through multiple interaction channels. Although the primary
interaction channels used by consumers continue to be the telephone, a company’s website, or a retail location,
other interaction channels are also important and need to be supported. Self-service interaction channels such as
automated phone systems, search engines, and electronic kiosks are also popular. All forms of social channels
have become widely adopted, including the use of product and review sites, online discussion forums, and social
media. Videos and webinars are also gaining noticeable adoption as additional ways to engage with customers
(see Figure 4).
Enterprises Seek To Align Their Service Interactions With Generational Preferences
From the survey of executives responsible for managing the contact centers, Forrester found that global brands need to
develop a flexible relationship management platform in order to meet diverse needs across customer generational
segments. In addition, they need to close critical customer service capability gaps.