Contact Centers Invest in CRM to Improve Customer Retention

<strong>London &mdash; Oct. 3 </strong><br />Enterprises are to up investment in customer relationship management (CRM) and unified desktop solutions in a bid to improve customer retention. This is according to a new report by independent market analyst Datamonitor: &ldquo;CRM in the Contact Center and the Emergence of the Unified Agent Desktop.&rdquo;<br /><br />The report estimates the global market for contact-center CRM licenses and services was almost $2 billion in 2007 and investment in CRM solutions in contact centers will increase at a compounded annual growth rate of 10 percent through 2013. Unified agent desktops &mdash; solutions that provide a complete view of the customer from one application &mdash; are expected to thrive. <br /> <br />&ldquo;Enterprises leading strategic goals are cost reduction and customer retention,&rdquo; said Aphrodite Brinsmead, analyst at Datamonitor and author of the report. &ldquo;In order to improve customer service and develop better agent-customer relationships, there is a demand for better user interfaces and for customer services agents to have more visibility into customer information.&rdquo; <br /> <br />The sluggish economy and fears of a recession will inevitably cause lower consumer spending levels that will impact organizations. As a result, there will be a tightening of IT and marketing budgets within enterprises. Enterprises need to improve customer service to retain customers, particularly where products are commoditized and customer service is seen as a differentiator. <br /><br />Towards this end, CRM solutions in the contact center are being deployed to help provide customer services agents with more detailed information on customers and their historical transactions and information. This should help increase first-call resolution rates and lead to cost reduction in contact centers. <br /> <br />Moreover, enterprises are also keen to improve system usability and reduce agent turnover. Recruitment and training costs for new staff can be high, and the notion that improved user interfaces and more accurate customer data will increase staff retention rates is becoming an important value proposition for the unified agent desktop. These factors are driving adoption of the unified agent desktop in contact centers. <br /> <br />&ldquo;Enterprises want a better understanding of how their customers and customer service agents are interacting to improve service and thereby retention rates,&rdquo; said Brinsmead. &ldquo;Agents need to have access to a greater depth of information in order to help enterprises provide differentiated customer service.&rdquo; <br /> <br /><strong>Real-Time Predictive Decision Making to Increase</strong><br />The report also highlights that the use of analytics with CRM is increasing at a brisk rate in contact centers as management are under constant pressure to optimize operations while uncovering trends within aggregated customer data. In addition, enterprises are using real-time analytics to predict the areas where cross-sell and up sell opportunities exist and guide agents with the relevant prompts in real-time for each campaign. <br /><br />As customer analytics grows as a CRM tool, real-time predictive decisioning, which automatically guides agents to the next best action, will play a bigger role in contact centers. <br /> <br />Brinsmead concluded, &ldquo;The contact center will become more streamlined with the rest of the enterprise over the next few years as companies look to reassess existing assets and &lsquo;do more with less.&rsquo; Towards this end CRM and customer analytics will be important in bringing about this initiative.&rdquo; <br />

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