Contact Centers Vital to Success: Gartner
Although critical to success for most enterprises, the customer service contact center is undervalued by most business leaders, according to Gartner Inc.
Customer service, as delivered through the contact center, currently suffers from an overall lack of commitment to the customer service representative (CSR) in the form of tools, training and compensation.
This lack of priority is reflected in under-funding of the customer service function and often results in an enterprise’s failure to remain competitive, Gartner Executive Programs (EXP), which conducted a worldwide survey of 1,527 CIOs in the fourth quarter of 2008 reported.
The survey, in which CIOs identified their top business priorities for 2009, showed that attracting and retaining customers had dropped from second to fifth place.
Although still highly placed, customer service is receiving less emphasis than cost cutting, said Michael Maoz, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. "Of course, cost cutting is essential in the current economic climate, but knowing how to cut costs without damaging the customer experience is critical, and the role of the contact center is crucial to this," he said.
Maoz said that companies need to redouble their efforts in this area and extend the customer Web site, add multiple communications channels, and plan carefully to improve agent performance through the introduction of new technologies.
Gartner predicts that by 2012, managing Web interactions will be a core competency of the contact center, with customers expecting the contact center CSR to know their customers’ Web posts in relevant online communities at the time of a telephone interaction. This will mean that by 2014, it will be an accepted practice in 30 percent of contact centers to have two standard monitors on each agent’s desktop.
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