Experts say CEM technology can build single view of customer

Linda Rosencrance, Contributor

With so many ways for customers to interact with companies, it’s imperative to create a single view of the customer from multiple channels in the contact center. Customer experience management (CEM) technology can help companies do this so they can share that information with agents across the different channels in the contact center.

SearchCRM.com expert Donna Fluss, president of DMG Consulting LLC, said the problem is that even though most enterprises build multiple channels, they set up separate groups (e.g., phone, email and chat) to handle customer questions, complaints and concerns, Fluss said.

It’s difficult to have a single view of the customer because of all the forms of communication, she said. Some companies just don’t have the resources to devote to monitoring Twitter, Facebook or other social media sites. However, that’s not acceptable to customers, and it’s hurting their brands and bottom lines, Fluss added.

“There are multiple groups and multiple people and multiple technologies, so the worlds didn’t meet—the email response management team manages the emails, but the phone agents don’t know about that and vice versa. And that’s the way it still is in the vast majority of organizations,” Fluss said.

“The technology is available, but most contact centers have yet to adopt them.”

“What we’re seeing is investment by all the players to say a contact center is not just the calls or emails that come in but an ongoing monitoring of what’s happening out there,” said Rebecca Wettemann, an analyst at Nucleus Research. “Text analytics becomes important, following Twitter becomes important, following any other communities out there that may be talking about my products or services become important.”

Challenges with integrating multiple channels

Wettemann said many companies with traditional call centers find that integrating the multiple channels can result in an expensive integration project or an implementation of a new system that has most of the multichannel data integrated already.

For example, companies using mature CRM products can find it challenging to incorporate multiple channels because older CRM applications were just for managing a call center or Web services, she said.

“We’re going to see more investment in customer experience management technology that takes a more holistic view of the company, and it’s going to mean new technology for a lot of companies,” she said.

If nothing else, companies have to figure out how to share data among the separate, disparate systems or at least provide all their agents access to the same customer information, Fluss said.

“They have to have one effective servicing environment that brings in all the inquiries regardless of their source and that shows in the application what their source was,” she said. “It’s not just important to have a single view of data, but you also have to have a standardized service environment where your service levels are consistent, independent of the channel.”

Fluss said companies that don’t want to update their servicing environments can install overlay technologies that sit on top of the servicing environments, grab the information they need from different places and bring in a consolidated view of the customer.

“That will give all the agents in a contact center 80% of the data they need on a single screen,” she said. “But it’s not inexpensive, so organizations aren’t in a huge rush.”

CEM technology tools you can use

Paul Greenberg, president of the 56 Group LLC and author of CRM at the Speed of Light, said from the standpoint of contemporary channels, the tools matter.

“There are tools that aggregate all that information, but then they integrate that information into the customer record with varying customer relationship management systems in a way that provides you with the ability to pull it up and take a look at it,” he said.

The important thing is the integration of all the channels into a single customer record, and from a slightly more advanced standpoint, the next step is the ability to then act on the event being integrated into that customer record, Greenberg said.

“So let’s say it’s a tweet with a complaint in it -- within the CRM system right from the tweet you can pop open something that says ‘open a case,’” he said. “And then all the workflows are triggered and it sends it to the appropriate people who need to read it, and then the agents take care of it.”

How CEM software aggregates customer data

Asuret Inc. CEO Michael Krigsman agreed that companies need to use software to aggregate customer information from all the channels.

“If someone is asking a question on Twitter, it becomes incorporated with the company’s knowledge base. The software correlates the Twitter question with the existing knowledge base information,” he said.

“From the point of view of the agent, the Twitter interaction is really very similar to an email exchange because the agent doesn’t care if it goes out via email or Twitter. The contact center software manages that and gives the information to all the agents,” Krigsman added.

When the case is resolved it gets incorporated into the knowledge base as well.

“It’s new, but more and more companies are doing it,” he said.

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