Chris Botting, General Manager, Customer Care Business Unit, CISCO Systems,
recent years, Cisco has made predictions for the year ahead regarding
the Customer Care industry. Last year, I made five predictions for
2016. You can read about them fully in my blog, but here's a quick
I believe these predictions will continue trending through 2017. But
there’s more on the horizon. So, my team and I put together our
predictions for Customer Care in 2017.
Companies will get serious about delivering a Connected Digital Experience.
I introduced this game-changing concept in a September blog
As increasingly more companies adopt our Release 11.5 contact center
solutions, their Connected Digital Experience is becoming a reality.
With it, they can now deliver contextual, continuous, and
capability-rich customer journeys. Have you taken the time to view your
business from your customers’ perspective? I encourage you to try. Then
consider how a Connected Digital Experience will delight your customers
and differentiate you from competitors.
Chief Digital Officers will be more involved in customer-care decisions.
Digital transformation has become a driving principal for companies of
all sizes, and many businesses now have a Chief Digital Officer. Any
holistic digital strategy must include customer care. CDOs recognize
that customer care can be an organization’s strongest differentiator,
which is a basis for my prediction about connected digital experiences.
There will be a strong uptake in secure cloud applications for customer care.
Direct contact between customers and agents continues to be more and
more critical. When a customer calls, does your agent have everything
needed to help? Including a history of previous interactions and
insight from analytics? Cross-channel and multi-application
integrations are best done in the cloud but must be secure. One
security breach is too many. And cloud applications have to be usable
as well as secure. Applications that have to punch holes through
firewalls can be too cumbersome. There are better ways. The security
key management in Cisco's Context Service
lets you securely track your interactions with customers, across time and channels.
Customer care will extend further beyond the contact center.
You don’t have to confine customer service to traditional contact
centers. It doesn't even have to involve agents. Business collaboration
suites like Cisco Spark
enable informal, automated team care with bots like Cisco Spark Care Assistant
. If you're using Spark, I encourage you to give it a try – especially because it's free to Spark Message users.
Uncertainty will drive businesses to reassess strategic contact center suppliers
We're all aware of the recent history of churn among key players in the
contact center industry. And that churn is continuing. The typical
pattern is that risk-averse companies diversify their platform choices
early. Then, if one vendor begins to look risky, they quickly
reconsolidate on a trusted vendor in a controlled manner. We might call
these companies "early adopters" of risk mitigation.
companies wait longer before migrating from at-risk platforms or
vendors. Although this can make business sense, it can also greatly
increase the difficulty and costs of the eventual migration. We saw
this with Nortel in 2009, Aspect in 2016, and now with Avaya.
The kind of questions to ask during these times are:
• Will support for existing hardware continue?
• Will maintenance costs rise?
• What about innovation? Is there a roadmap?
• How can an unstable vendor transform how businesses care for their own customers?
Whether you consider yourself an early or late adopter, be sure to ask
yourself these questions if one of your strategic vendors is looking
Our industry is constantly changing, from customer behavior, to the
technologies we have to address it, to the vendors that offer
solutions. Is your business keeping up?
Analytics Out Of Reach? Think Again
Paul Stockford, Research Director, NACC And Chief Analyst, Saddletree Research,
On January 10, 2017, NICE made a significant announcement regarding
contact center analytics that should mark the beginning of what we are
calling “Analytics for the masses.” Introduced on January 10th
was Nexidia Analytics, the first generation of omni-channel analytics
developed by the scientists at Nexidia. Readers will likely
recall that Nexidia was acquired by NICE in January of 2016.
Nexidia Analytics adds another layer of analytics ability to the former
Nexidia solution while greatly simplifying the process of using
analytics. Typically managed by highly-trained analysts,
analytics was segregated by channel, essentially creating silos of data
for each channel. In other words, speech analytics was used to
mine for customer data in voice channels, text analytics was used to
mine for customer data in e-mails and web chats, and desktop analytics
was deployed to measure time-and-motion activities on the agent desktop.
Nexidia Analytics is the industry’s first omni-channel analytics
solution, meaning it can mine for customer data across channels and
unify the results in the type of reports that are the most meaningful
to the user. With this new software and service, an interaction
is simply an interaction regardless of the channel of communication.
Administration and management of Nexidia Analytics has also been
significantly simplified. The skills of a trained analyst are no
long necessary as the analytics process is business driven with the
actual analytics process managed by a drag-and-drop process,
eliminating the need for specialized skills. The user channels
the business intent, drag-and-drop does the rest.
The ability to perform analytics across communications channel is, in
this writer’s opinion, a game changer and should be of great interest
to the industry. Saddletree Research recently authored a research
note covering this announcement, a copy of which can be downloaded by
visiting the NACC website at www.nationalcallcenters.org