Designing an Engagement Model for the Contact Center of the Future | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

Posted On September 18, 2017

As the customer experience (CX) is becoming increasingly critical in the contact center space, buyers and service providers must take a significant relook at their engagement model.

Indeed, changing market realities are calling out for greater:

  • agility – to more effectively respond to changing buyer and process requirements
  • innovation – to meet seamless and consistent CX expectations
  • collaboration – to jointly work towards differentiated business and operational outcomes.

Over the past 12 months, Everest Group has had multiple conversations with contact center outsourcing (CCO) buyers and providers about what a more consultative, customer experience-oriented CCO engagement model might look like.  Here’s our view:

CX Contact Center Outsourcing

What are some of the specific differences between the current and the envisioned engagement model? Let’s take a look.

Sales process

Traditional model –Service providers have limited involvement in scoping requirements and shaping the desired outcomes. Thus, they are typically restricted in their RFP responses to mainly familiar core operational requirements and cost management issues.

New model – The new sales process aims to involve service providers earlier in the cycle through a collaborative solutioning phase, which can then shape an RFP that targets both operational gains and business objectives. This approach can lead to more targeted and impactful proposals that drive more value for the client beyond cost savings and core service level agreements (SLAs).

Innovation scope

Traditional model – Delivering a seamless customer experience across multiple channels requires co-innovation between buyers and service providers. The present engagement model falls short of delivering this, as innovation conversations are limited to defined checkpoints rather than happening throughout the process.

New model – The new model will involve a formal innovation cycle that enables buyers to make forward-looking investments, and helps leverage the collective expertise of both parties for continuous innovation. This is an iterative operational process loop that takes into consideration current operations, development of various customer journey maps, identification of process gaps, and implementation of needed changes across people, process, and technology.

Partnerships

Traditional model – Although an increasing number of buyers expect their providers to proactively suggest out-of-the-box solutions that can directly impact their business, providers are often neither given the opportunity to, nor incentivized to, prescribe innovative solutions, due to the existing guideline-based RFP process.

New Model – The new model positions providers to develop a more holistic understanding of buyers’ overall CX challenges and opportunities, enabling them to better identify improvement opportunities.  This, in turn, can lead to improved relationships and a rise in mutual trust, which ultimately leads to more productive, stable, and long-term partnerships.

Of course, the service providers with in-house consulting practices are better positioned than others to weather the disruption in the CCO industry. For example, Sutherland, Teleperformance, and Teletech have already displayed their intent to focus more on CX and move towards a more collaborative engagement with enterprise buyers.

To learn more about the evolving engagement model in the CCO industry, please read our recently released CCO Annual Report 2017: “Disruption is Here: The End of Contact Centers as We Know Them.” And, if you’ve initiated this journey towards the new engagement, or feel we are missing an important element in our view of this model, please email us directly at [email protected] and/or [email protected]

 

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