In today's competitive global economy, manufacturers of all sizes are under increasing pressure to improve the speed of decision making related to product life cycles, supply chains, and demand management. Bob Parker, Group Vice President of Manufacturing Insights, an IDC company, discusses the market drivers for customer relationship management (CRM) systems in manufacturing, as well as the features and functionality that manufacturers should look for in next-generation CRM platforms.
Cost reduction will continue to be a key driver for customer care centers, while at the same time achieving greater customer intimacy through better service and responsiveness. Stephen Loynd, Research Manager of Contact Center Services for IDC, discusses key customer relationship management (CRM) processes and strategies, and the steps services companies must take to ensure they can attract, retain, and grow customers over time.
The line between standard CRM applications and case management for government agencies is blurry. What government employees might better focus on is the potential value added from solutions that improve both government business processes and citizen satisfaction. Shawn McCarthy, Research Director for IDC Government Insights, discusses special requirements for CRM in public sector implementation and whether government employees need to differentiate between contact center solutions and pure CRM solutions.
A contact center is traditionally a centralized, in-house facility used by companies to manage all customer contact through a variety of communication mediums such as telephone, fax, e-mail, and, increasingly, online live chat. Contact centers have a variety of roles, including but not limited to supplying product information, resolving customer problems, and dispatching service personnel. The combination of roles provides an all-encompassing solution to both existing and prospective customers.
Oftentimes larger companies develop more than one traditional contact center. Multiple contact center locations can lead to inefficiencies, such as having to manage disparate technology infrastructures (PBX/phone switch, ACD system, CTI, etc.), people, and processes in each location. This becomes costly and complicated to support and maintain, as resources and knowledge are spread across each location.
Rather than have in-house department(s) responsible for the day-to-day communications with customers, companies sometimes choose to outsource customer interaction to a third-party agency.
Virtual contact centers break the geographical and physical boundaries in an organization and combine contact center infrastructures/technologies, distributed teams, locations, and individuals into a one virtual entity. This enables better utilization of all resources, as well as a smoother and more flexible customer service process.
Contact center agents, back-office employees, and mobile experts may all be scattered in different departments and locations around the country – or even around the world. However, when customers contact the center, either by a traditional phone call or by mobile or social media applications, a virtual contact center ensures that the available employees with the needed skills to solve that customer's inquiry are connected. Further, the employee has access to all the information he/she needs to help the customer.