Bringing Engagement Back To Customer Relationship Management

Every new year ushers in the opportunity for industry pundits and analysts to predict key trends shaping the market, and 2016 is no exception. If 2015 was any indication, our global customer and partner ecosystem has validated that the demand for better CX is a growing worldwide trend. We see this at Genesys in the form of new business, re-purchase, cloud revenue and partnerships, and we are drawing our own conclusions from our recent business performance and customer trends to shape our 2016 outlook.

As a company steeped in customer service tradition with origins in the traditional call center, the explosively growing CX market has attracted many new players, technology, and attention – while validating our own market strategy, technology roadmap and uniqueness stemming from a quarter of a century of CX work.  The forces shaping the CX industry reinforce our unique ability to manage the entire customer engagement lifecycle and its individual customer journeys with our system of engagement, which we believe is an unequalled combination that both drives our business and ultimately makes the difference between customer churn or customer loyalty.

Consumers don’t start their day looking forward to contacting a customer service department. Instead, they expect consistently personalized and seamless self-service and assisted service when and where they need it and often proactively –  to renew a service, update their account information, or troubleshoot an issue – using any voice, digital and mobile touchpoint and channel a company offers, sometimes simultaneously. The traditional call center just simply isn’t enough in today’s digital age with so many customer touchpoints and engagement channels, and it’s certainly not equipped to manage a customer journey centric approach across the entire customer lifecycle.

That’s where the omnichannel engagement center comes into play.  An emerging category, these systems of engagement are poised to transform how the world’s foremost brands create great experiences. To understand the importance and potential of the omnichannel engagement center, it helps to first draw a parallel to the past and the birth of the customer relationship management (CRM) system. While fifteen years may not seem that long ago, in the technology industry it feels like another millennium.

Despite the progression and sophistication of today’s CRM systems, in 2016 the market’s increasing demand for orchestrated omnichannel engagement across the customer journey and lifecycle goes beyond their limitations. That’s because customers are increasingly impatient, demanding a real-time, seamless, personalized experience across their lifecycle that simply can’t be delivered by CRMs leaving organizations with a dilemma. This is why today’s company’s customer relationship strategies needs an ‘engagement layer’ (a system of engagement) in addition to their CRM – and where the utility of omnichannel engagement centers is critical. These omnichannel engagement centers are the key to both acquiring and retaining customers because they track and provide context and proactive orchestration across the customer lifecycle for each and every journey, engaging where and when it matters most.

To be clear, the traditional CRM system is far from obsolete. In fact, CRM is a core part of the omnichannel engagement center ecosystem. Just as systems of engagement are about real-time, CRMs are about history. Together, they bring the power of information and context to life in the customer journey, and transform the contact center and digital customer touchpoints (website, web/mobile apps, IVR apps) into a loosely coupled omnichannel engagement center that optimizes sales and support opportunities driving revenue, customer loyalty and lower operating costs. Great CX happens when the CRM record and the right customer engagement strategy specific to the customer journey come together across all customer touchpoints.  This requires all of the accompanying customer and employee engagement solutions in an organization working in a coordinated and orchestrated fashion, and forms the central requirement for a system of engagement, the single most important investment a company can make if they want to deliver a differentiated customer experience in 2016 and beyond.

In 2015 the market and our own business performance validated that an omnichannel engagement center is the technology investment anchor strategy to planning, designing, building and executing on a differentiated customer engagement strategy to drive great CX and the benefits that result.  Organizations recognize the need to move away from digitally engaging consumers in silos.  They have been adding new channels and self-service applications as they emerge without regard for how they are managed or how the workforce is aligned and optimized against those channels and the escalations coming from the new self-service applications.  Cloud economics and vendor consolidation efforts have also been key disruptive forces driving this investment approach, a trend we expect to see more of in 2016.

Like the CRM revolution of the last decade, CX is in the midst of its own creative disruption, and that is driving the enormous growth in our industry. To successfully make the leap to providing holistic and exceptional customer experiences, organizations require an omnichannel engagement center to meet customers’ increasing expectations in real-time across their customer touchpoints and channels. A system of engagement, in short, is the IT investment that may make or break a company’s revenue in 2016 – and move beyond today’s customer relationship strategy built on CRM systems and optimized only for the company to a strategy leveraging a system of engagement that not only delivers great business results, but also optimally engages and delights customers.

Share your plans to amp up your own CX and business in 2016 with Genesys.