In the contact center market Genesys is synonymous with computer/telephony integration (CTI) and call routing. It was the first vendor to combine routing of calls to agents and using CTI to pop screens onto the agent’s desktop when the call was put through. Genesys has been adding products to its portfolio and now has expanded into what Ventana Research terms agent performance management (APM) and our benchmark research. Many vendors and other analyst firms use the term workforce optimization (WFO) to included applications such as call recording, quality monitoring, workforce management and agent-focused performance management and analytics. At Ventana Research we add call routing, training and coaching and compensation management to the standard WFO applications, hence APM. Our premise is that if you want to provide to customers the best possible experiences, you must do more than just have enough agents online to serve them; you also need to make sure that the call is routed to the right agent, that agents hone their skills to the highest level to resolve as many interactions as possible at the first attempt and that agents that achieve their goals are rewarded appropriately.
Genesys is moving in this direction by adding four products to its strong CTI and call routing capabilities: Genesys Quality Management, Genesys Workforce Management, Genesys Interactive Insights and Genesys intelligent Customer Front Door, which takes routing of multiple forms of customer interactions to a new level.
In addition to adding all these to its portfolio, Genesys has entered into what we term customer experience management (CEM) and what our benchmark research has found to be a critical technology category. Once again we take a slightly different view of this market and focus on technologies that impact the customer experience in real time, regardless of what channel of communication the customer is using. For us CEM includes products such as a smart agent desktop, e-service applications, customer feedback and now integration with social media. Genesys has added products to help its customers meet these needs, including Genesys Desktop, Genesys eServices and Genesys Social Media. And it doesn’t stop there. The Genesys website shows several other products, including one that takes it out of the contact center into the back office, Genesys intelligent Workload Distribution.
The challenge for Genesys is to convince customers and the market that it has evolved from a pure-play vendor of CTI and call routing to provide APM, CEM and back-office support as well. A common problem for vendors of suites with many modules is to educate customers about everything they have and to convince them that they can support all these products and have the money to invest in them all; perhaps the hardest challenge is to prove that the company itself has changed, going beyond the core competencies that established it to serve all these areas equally well.
My research persistently shows that companies are slow to improve their call centers (mainly because of lack of budget) and that vendors innovate much faster than the market demands. But my latest research shows this is about to change. Companies are being forced to recognize that we are now in an era of multichannel customer service, and although the phone and the website are still the main channels of communication, customers now expect companies to support e-mail, chat, text messaging, video and social media. (Regarding the last channel, if you are not at least analyzing what your customers are asking and saying about you on social media, you can expect trouble.) Cloud computing has also arrived in the contact center market and is opening up the way companies innovate in handling customer interactions.
To me the demand for broader customer service carries three big requirements. As well as deploying multiple channels of communication, companies need consistency across channels. Customers will be unhappy if they receive one set of information on the web and different answers from a contact center agent. Second, companies must also personalize interactions to satisfy customers; for example, if the agent doesn’t know what the customer did during the most recent interactions, frustration could lead the customer to stop doing business with you or even post a damaging video on YouTube. The third requirement is for companies to evaluate the key performance metrics they use to monitor and assess how they are doing at keeping their customers happy. This is a theme Genesys addressed at its recent customer experience summit, having seen a recent Harvard Business research study that confirmed what I have long thought – that customer satisfaction is no measure of customer loyalty and propensity to buy more, and that while the net promoter score has value, it does not measure the downstream impact. To address the issue, Genesys proposes a new measure, Customer Effort, which essentially measures how easy is it for a customer to do business with you; the better your score is, the more likely the customer will come back. I am not entirely convinced this will work, but it is based on the likely premise that the customer experience is what counts most and determines whether the customer will come back for more.
Meeting these evolving needs requires new technology. Genesys has been busy expanding its portfolio; what are you doing? Do you know which customers are really happy, and if not, what you can do to change their opinion?
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Richard Snow – VP & Research Director