Managing Contact Center Vendor Risk: Q&A with Art Schoeller, Forrester Research

The focus on customer experience and digital transformation continues to accelerate at a rapid pace. At the same time, some contact center vendors that were once safe bets are now struggling due to financial instability and a lack of customer experience innovation. As a result, an increasing number of IT leaders, responsible for powering large contact centers, are looking for a new way forward.

I recently joined Art Schoeller, Vice President and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, for a Q&A session on the topic of how those responsible for contact center technology are managing CCIM risk while driving exceptional customer experiences. Art provided some insightful thoughts from an analyst’s perspective ahead of our global webinar on September 27th: How Large Contact Centers Are Managing Risk as CCIM Vendors Struggle.

How has CCIM vendor financial and roadmap instability impacted IT buyers personally? How would you describe their mindset?

Art Schoeller: Many IT buyers are very conservative when it comes to contact center technology purchases and resist change. Financial instability of a vendor can translate to service and support issues in the midst of keeping the business moving forward. As the contact center needs evolve to support customer demands for additional channels, they can be challenged by a vendor who is slower to provide innovative technologies, So, the mindset of IT buyers is one of resistance, yet coupled with frustration.

Are you seeing a common point that IT buyers reach when they realize they can no longer take a “wait and see” approach with their CCIM vendor?

Art Schoeller: Most typically, the turning point for IT buyers of contact center technology is a major upgrade that creates a migration window. During this window, there is a strong push to stick to the incumbent vendor and technology to minimize disruption and lessen the change management burden. But during this time, the instability of a vendor can push the IT buyer over the edge to consider alternatives.

What advice do you give to clients that are currently on the fence about shifting to a new CCIM vendor? How does the cloud play into this?

Art Schoeller: As of 2017, cloud is no longer a question for IT buyers of contact center technology. One of the top benefits cited in our research report “Increase Customer Service Agility with Cloud Contact Centers” is agility. Granted some organizations cannot go directly down that path immediately and require hybrid approaches to protect some premise-based investments. But, the industry direction is clear that CCIM vendors must have a “cloud first” strategy and roadmap. So, for clients that are on the fence, it would make sense to evaluate the incumbent vendor’s cloud strategy, roadmap and financial transformation to a cloud subscription business model.

If someone is ready to take action, what options do they have to move forward while minimizing disruption to the business?

Art Schoeller: Actually, the shift of contact center technology does introduce a significant amount of change management. Yet, it can be a moment to revisit existing customer engagement processes and journeys to find opportunities for improvement. The key is to have a very solid handle on the existing state of contact center operations. This includes, but is not limited to contact flows, metrics, reporting, forecasting, scheduling and the agent desktop. Building out a team to oversee the change with representatives from all disciplines of IT, contact center operations and CX design is very important. Some organizations invest in a proof of concept to trial the new environment so they can gain experience on how the new technology operates. Running a POC is easier today with cloud-based solutions.

What kind of benefits and results can one expect if they execute a successful migration

Art Schoeller: As stated earlier, the benefits of moving to a more modern system are more rapid access to features and agility. Organizations with older, less integrated systems struggle with implementing new and differentiated customer experiences. This prevents them from experimenting and innovating. Achieving these goals by switching vendors is a daunting decision, but one that can help the business accelerate its journey to become customer obsessed.

Join guest speaker Art Schoeller, Chris Madden, Business Solutions Manager at SaskTel, who recently made a successful shift to the Genesys Customer Experience Platform, and myself, live on September 27th, for How Large Contact Centers Are Managing Risk as CCIM Vendors Struggle. We’ll present proven strategies to act on your CX vision while minimizing technology risk and disruption to your business.