Category: Customer Experience

Outsourcing Your CXM Operations for the First Time – Here Are 10 Things to Consider | Blog

Over 70% of all Customer Experience Management (CXM) services are delivered by in-house teams, making this a huge potential market ripe for outsourcing. With our estimates pegging the global market at $325 to $350 billion a year, less than 30% ($89-$91 billion) is currently outsourced. Outsourcing can deliver numerous benefits for enterprises. But before jumping in, there are many planning, strategic, and tactical considerations to understand and address. To learn more, read on.   

Driven by COVID-19, outsourcing of CXM grew last year after a long period of remaining stable at about a 25% share of the market as the pandemic disruption led many enterprises to seek additional support to continue servicing their customers when their teams were unavailable or to respond to increased demand.

Another contributing factor to the growth was increased government spending on COVID-19 related services such as tracking and tracing vaccination programs, which were predominantly outsourced operations. Our blog CXM Market’s Dream Run – What’s Driving It And Will It Last? explores this in more detail.

We predict the outsourcing trend will continue to grow as enterprises realize that outsourcing of CXM can deliver the same positive results as in-house teams – helping to remove cost from the business and simply allowing them to focus on their core business by having a third party manage the complexities of large customer-facing operations.

If you are a new or less experienced customer of these services, many factors must be considered to ensure the transition to an outsourced environment goes as smoothly as possible. Here are 10 critical elements to think about:

Business requirements
  • Understand what you need a service provider to deliver. Be clear on your business requirements and required Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and Service Level Agreements (SLAs) at the outset of any discussion
Documented processes
  • Document processes that a service provider can follow and use to train agents
    • If you don’t have your processes documented, be clear with service providers that this is the case and you may either need to build this in parallel to running the Request for Proposals (RFPs) or ask the service provider to build them before go-live
Sourcing strategy
  • Develop a strategy that specifies where you want support to be delivered from (onshore, nearshore, offshore or no preference) and determine if you are going to go with a sole supplier or multi-supplier strategy. This will be key before starting any procurement process as it will influence service provider selection
Technology strategy
  • Understand the digital transformation strategy for the business to ensure the service provider can support the changes required
  • Develop a clear technology strategy for the “run” business – are you going to dictate what technology is used for activities such as CRM or are you happy to leverage a supplier’s offerings?
    • This may be further complicated if you want to have multiple suppliers within your ecosystem as you need to be clear on where ownership of each technology will lie
Understand the supplier landscape
  • Understand the supplier landscape and the strengths and weaknesses of all the possible suppliers, including their footprint as well as their investments in technology and agent engagement. If you have unique or niche needs, are there suppliers in the market that can meet your requirements?

 

Understand the difference between procurement of goods versus services
  • Realize that the procurement of services is very different from the procurement of goods. While internal procurement teams are very effective at buying products, they may be less used to procuring services of this type and require additional support
Clear baseline of cost and performance
  • Understand the starting position in terms of cost and performance to baseline the value that is delivered through outsourcing as part of the business case
Business continuity planning
  • Factor in the use of service providers to existing business continuity plans for the current operation and plan for any potential impact or changes required
Stakeholder alignment
  • Align key business stakeholders with the use of outsourced service providers to ensure their support throughout the journey. Surprised stakeholders are much harder to placate than those that have been involved in the process from the start
Future expansion plans
  • Understand the expansion (or contraction) plans of the business to ensure any service provider selected can support future as well as current demand

While outsourcing can achieve many transformational business outcomes, know it is not a fit for every organization or in every context. Taking these right first steps and addressing the key issues above, will help set the foundation for a successful solution and prevent potential problems from transpiring at a later date.

To discuss embarking on outsourcing, please contact Sharang Sharma, Practice Director, [email protected]; David Rickard, Vice President, [email protected];  or Shirley Hung, Vice President: [email protected].

Learn how Everest Group helps CX managers deliver greater business value through CXM strategy optimization here.

CXM Market’s Dream Run – What’s Driving It and Will It Last? | Blog

During a global pandemic with a dire economic outlook, one surprising segment experienced its fastest growth in recent years – Customer Experience Management (CXM) services. Driven by increased demand for digital and other factors, this market seems to have long enough legs to extend into the coming years. But what’s behind this unexpected growth in CXM in an otherwise subdued economy, and will it last? For more on our analysis of this promising area, read on.

COVID-19 impact

As most major economies were shut down partially or almost completely in the first half of the year to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses across the globe were adversely impacted in 2020. And while some industries such as high-tech or Fast Growth Tech (FGT) fared comparatively better than others like travel and hospitality, overall, the economy looked grim.

With such a dire economic outlook, it was largely assumed that the same would hold for the Customer Experience Management (CXM) services market, given the segment’s dependence on overall economic health for its growth. Gauged by the slow first half of the year, the downcast business outlook, and the huge challenge facing CXM service providers to shift to a Work from Home (WFH) model to continue running their businesses, Everest Group projected the market would shrink by 4-5 percent in 2020 compared to 2019.

Market stunner

However, in a complete reversal of early trends, the CXM market managed to grow at one of the highest paces in recent years, recording 3-5 percent growth in 2020 to stand at around US$90 billion. And it doesn’t look like growth is coming to an end for this sector, as the numbers reported by some of the largest publicly-listed CXM service providers in 2021 look robust and point towards an optimistic future for this market.

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This begs the question: Why hasn’t the CXM market been impacted as severely as was widely expected during the early phase of the pandemic spread? We see several underlying factors that have been at work. In our upcoming CXM State of the Market Report slated for release later this year, these factors will be explored in greater depth. Below we discuss some of the factors that contributed to the segment’s growth and raise questions that need to be addressed further.

The following factors are playing a role in CXM services growth:

  1. Increasing demand for digital: It is no secret that businesses have come to terms with the importance of digital Customer Experience (CX) after the events of 2020. They understand the need for digital CX, not only to create superior customer experience but also to ensure continuity of services in adverse times when traditional methods no longer work. Additionally, customers are increasingly leveraging digital channels to communicate with brands, further fueling the pace of change. Enterprises are exhibiting a new wave of urgency to adopt digital technologies such as automation, analytics, self-service technologies, and digital channels to better prepare for the future and reduce dependence on a human workforce. This new demand is helping the digital segment of the CXM market to post an annual growth of over 40 percent
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  2. Exceptional performance by certain sectors of the market: While most traditional businesses were severely hit as businesses moved to an online model, those that were already strong in this space did well. Industries such as high-tech and FGT fared exceptionally, and their success also translated into more demand for CXM services from this industry
  3. Demand due to COVID-19 response: Even mature markets such as North America and Western Europe saw good growth in 2020 driven by demand for government support in these regions. The massive push to contain the spread of COVID-19 and to vaccinate the masses fueled demand for CXM services. Programs such as contact tracing and vaccination support are expected to drive new growth for CXM service providers. However, these demand drivers are expected to wind down once the pandemic is controlled and the vaccination programs cover a large portion of the population

 

Here are some of the issues we see that need further exploration:

  1. Is market consolidation hiding within the growth numbers? Given the challenges that 2020 posed around the changing business model, not everyone could thrive and survive in this market. The CXM services market has a very long tail with thousands, if not a magnitude more, of small service providers catering to enterprises globally. It is highly possible that a lot of these small (typically under 50 seats) providers were not prepared to handle the challenges thrown by the pandemic and saw their clients migrate to larger, more organized service providers. Given that a lot of these small players go untracked, a large part of this growth could well be just moving business from one player to another, which, in true essence, wouldn’t be actual growth. That said, it does not mean that the market did not see new growth at all. Based on our research, several providers have been successful in bringing new business to the table. While it may be difficult to determine full impact of the consolidation of smaller service providers on the overall market, our view is that the market is still experiencing net growth
  2. Is CXM growth being driven by new demand or a shift from in-house to outsourcing? With major economies globally under pressure, a lot of new demand for CXM services seems unlikely, barring, of course, certain sectors that were highlighted above.  A lot of the work that was previously being done internally through in-house centers could have moved to an outsourced model, given enterprises’ inability and inflexibility to adapt to new working models. Our research pegged the size of the total CXM services market (including in-house and outsourced) to be around US$350 billion at the end of 2019, with outsourcing accounting for ~25 percent of that spend. While a strong possibility exists that the overall CXM services spend declined in 2020 due to the challenging economic conditions, we believe the share of outsourcing is increasing, thus, resulting in net growth for the outsourced portion of the market

Positive outlook

Despite these factors, the long-term prospects for the CXM services market look favorable, especially with a heightened awareness around the need for superior CX to build differentiation in the market. This change will be hinged around digital CX, where most enterprises lack enough experience and require third-party support to execute the vision they have for their business. Along with green shoots of economic recovery emerging in several regions after a difficult year, service providers who possess CX capabilities have plenty of opportunities to look forward to.

Sharang Sharma, Practice Director: [email protected]

David Rickard, Vice President: [email protected]

Shirley Hung, Vice President: [email protected]

Sitel Group’s Acquisition of SYKES Makes a Big Statement – What Does It Mean for the CXM Industry? | Blog

With one of the largest acquisitions in the contact center outsourcing market in recent years, Sitel Group is poised to become a powerhouse with its acquisition of SYKES Enterprises, Inc. This union will likely set off greater investment in customer experience management services (CXM) and more industry consolidation. Read on to find out what this big deal will mean. 

Giant scope gets attention

The contact center outsourcing market is huge, about 90 billion dollars in annual revenues, and the industry is seeing more attention and growth than ever. So, the announcement of the agreement of Sitel Group acquiring all of SYKES’ outstanding shares in a transaction valued at approximately $2.2 billion is another in a growing list of investments in this space, albeit a large one.

Over the last two to three years, most acquisitions by large contact center providers have focused on bringing new capabilities and technologies to an existing footprint, whereas the Sitel Group / SYKES deal calls out gaining additional global presence as one of the main reasons for the acquisition. We have not seen something of this scale for a few years, probably not since the Concentrix acquisition of Convergys.

Ripple effects of the acquisition

This acquisition forms a $4 billion customer experience management services (CXM) organization with over 150,000 agents, making Sitel Group one of the three largest organizations in the industry alongside Teleperformance and Concentrix. In this blog, we’ll explore what this acquisition means for Sitel Group, its existing and potential customers, as well as the CXM industry as a whole.

Here are a few of the key impacts we expect:

  • The pace of change within Sitel Group: Existing customers of both companies should be mindful as to the speed and effectiveness of the integration and changes to the senior leadership team. Moving too quickly on an integration of this type can cause delivery capability issues, but moving too slowly can lead to service degradation as people are distracted by impending changes and, thereby, lose focus on immediate priorities. Potential clients will also want a clear view of available offerings, service delivery models, and innovation roadmaps
  • Sitel Group scaling up: Sitel Group’s acquisition of SYKES opens up a plethora of new delivery locations, including in Australia, EMEA, and Central America. However, we can expect to see a consolidation of sites and locations over time, especially where both have strong presences. The global footprint will also reduce as locations begin to provide service in the same languages. We also expect that Sitel Group’s considerable work on improving profitability in recent years will benefit SYKES’ business, whose current operating margins are on the lower side in the industry.

In terms of vertical expertise, Sitel Group and SYKES have complementary strengths, with Sitel Group bringing presence in the retail, insurance, and public sector spaces and SYKES bringing strength in the technology and healthcare industries.

  • Client volume drop: While Sitel Group and SYKES share complementary capabilities and mindsets, one natural overlap is that they have many of the same clients, making it probable that they will lose some client volume. Clients will not want to aggregate their contact center outsourcing into one place, they will naturally want to diversify
  • Delays in fully leveraging new capabilities: Many CXM service providers are developing digital CXM capabilities as the industry moves at pace away from traditional “people in seats” models and focuses on delivering better customer experiences through digital interactions to drive better business outcomes. SYKES has a strong focus on digital marketing and automation capabilities which benefits Sitel Group, which has leveraged partnerships in those areas

While Sitel Group’s acquisition of SYKES will bring additional and much-needed digital capabilities to the new combined business, a company the size of the new organization cannot deliver change and adjust to new offerings and skills overnight. It may take some time to fully deliver new digital capabilities at scale.

Increased investments in the contact center industry

As the contact center industry aims to better understand the customer and improve customer experience, we’re seeing many investments in the market.

Service providers across the board are investing in technologies and skillsets to become more digital and get ahead of the curve to offer better customer experiences. They are finding organizations more willing to spend money to improve customer service, an area where in the past, they treated simply as a cost base that needed to be reduced, but are now recognizing its potential strategic and topline business impact. Smaller service providers are taking advantage of their agility and are quickly adapting to a digital-first CXM business, and larger providers are having to work hard to keep pace with the rate of digital adoption.

Watch for more deals in the future

Expect to see more public and non-public deals happening. With the size of this market and everyone working towards digital transformation, a trend that has further accelerated due to vulnerabilities exposed by COVID-19, the contact center outsourcing industry is really ripe for investment.

These deals will result in a consolidation in the marketplace but with bigger market growth. Penetration of contact center outsourcing could increase from roughly 30 percent to upwards of 35 percent in the next few years – resulting in a faster rate of growth than we’ve seen in the past decade.

It will not only be due to big service providers getting even larger. Smaller service providers will need to rapidly articulate their differentiation to remain relevant in a crowded marketplace, such as in a process area or industry domain; otherwise, they run the risk of being in a race towards the bottom.

Which Call Center Agent Model Is Right for Your Business during and after COVID-19? | Blog

Today, most companies have staff working from home due to the pandemic. Although customer experience management (CXM) agents aren’t essential workers in the truest sense, consumers sheltering in the safety of their homes for months on end have relied on them so heavily for wide-ranging reasons that they might as well have considered them so. What those consumers probably don’t know is that the call center agents assisting them are most likely working from home. In fact, our recent research report, Customer Experience Management (CXM) State of the Market Report 2021, found that the percentage of CXM FTEs working at home grew from less than 10 percent in 2019 to as much as 80 percent during the health crisis. While we expect that there will be some movement back towards the brick and mortar model in the coming months and years, many service providers and in-house contact centers will continue to utilize Work at Home Agents (WAHA) as a key component of their service delivery strategy.

Two WAHA models are currently in use. One is employee-based (E-WAHA), wherein the agents are on the service provider’s or company’s payroll. The other is contract-based (C-WAHA), wherein contractors are leveraged and only paid for the time they work for the organization.

In recent years, GigCX has emerged as an alternate approach to CXM staffing and is being utilized by the likes of organizations such as eBay and Microsoft. GigCX includes the use of freelance or self-employed workers to handle specific interaction types, leveraging an AI-powered technology platform. They are recruited for their existing knowledge and passion for the product and service.

Initially, GigCX was utilized for very simple work; however, those interactions are increasingly being eliminated or automated. Now, growing use of this model is for more complex query types that require a level of brand affinity and awareness, which can be a differentiator many GigCX providers are publicizing.

GigCX, which is often seen as another strain of the WAHA model, should not be confused with WAHA, as there are some fundamental differences in how the models operate.

When considering which approach is best to meet a set of business requirements, organizations should understand the following differences in the two models:

GigCX

While we have seen both WAHA and GigCX being effective models for handling customer interactions, there are some stark differences in their operation. Any company considering using either model should assess the positives and negatives of the approaches and factor them into their operating model design. Both models are highly effective when utilized appropriately to handle the right interaction types, especially if all the limitations and dependencies are considered early in the design process.

For more information, please feel free to contact me at [email protected].

 

Integrating Customer Support Call Centers With Artificial Intelligence | Blog

Companies currently invest a lot of money in target markets to generate potential customers’ interest in products and services. But after they achieve a sale, they often frustrate customers by not providing effective customer service support. A poor customer experience can erode the company’s brand and reputation and destroy the company’s opportunities to increase revenue through new purchases by those existing customers. Obviously, these are significant problems, especially in today’s highly competitive environment with customers’ quick pace in buying decisions. Let us now explore the solution.

Read more in my blog on Forbes

Why Retirement Plan Defined Contribution Recordkeepers Need to Modernize Their Plan Administration Systems | Blog

The retirement savings gap in the US – meaning the difference between the amount of money people should have and actually do have to retire on – stands at around US$40 trillion currently. To put this number into perspective, it is roughly 187 percent of the US GDP and 124 percent of US retirement asset holdings. Dwindling revenues for retirement plan administrators due to fee compression, high costs for servicing retirement plan participants, and the COVID-19 crisis are exacerbating the gap. And participant experience has degraded over the years, leading to inadequate savings for retirement and making the shortfall grow continuously.

Recordkeeping businesses in the Defined Contribution (DC) space are particularly struggling in the current environment. They’re facing multiple challenges, including: an influx of regulatory requirements involving fiduciary responsibilities; sustained low interest rates; pandemic-induced uncertainty; legacy technology systems; increasing costs; and the lack of agility to respond to customer demands and compliance requirements.

Our recently-published report, Making a Business Case for Modernizing Core Systems for the US Retirement Industry: Value Beyond Cost Savings from a Cloud-enabled Recordkeeping System, identified that the root cause behind profitability and customer experience issues for recordkeepers is the high incidence of home-grown, legacy, and mainframe-based recordkeeping systems. Eight of the top 10 US DC recordkeepers, which hold 73 percent of the total DC assets and serve 66 percent of plan participants, are on custom-built recordkeeping systems that are predominantly mainframe-based. The high cost of running and maintaining these systems has bulked up recordkeepers’ total cost of ownership and squeezed their operating margins. Additionally, these systems have not been able to respond quickly to constantly evolving and complex compliance mandates such as ERISA, Section 404(C), Secure Act, and the Department of Labor’s (DOL) fiduciary rule. These challenges are causing a host of fines, lawsuits, and sanctions from the Internal Revenue Service and DOL. Further, there is an acute talent crunch in servicing these systems for recordkeepers.

What should recordkeepers do to combat these challenges?

They need to design cogent strategies to modernize their plan administration systems. A cloud-first core platform is at the heart of this modernization. From a cost savings standpoint, taking a cloud-first core platform approach can effectively halve the technology and operations cost base. On an annual basis, this change results in a cost yield of roughly 20 percent.

The benefits of modernization extend far beyond cost savings as it entails use of a combination of technology levers to improve the plan participant experience. Modernization:

  • Enables migration to the cloud, which enables adoption of analytics tools for plan providers to better identify each participant’s financial wellness needs, optimize plan management, and redesign plans to deliver competitive retirement options. And analytics can help maximize the return on investment through predictive trend analysis of investment options
  • Helps recordkeepers integrate automation solutions to improve retirement applications processing speed, enhance efficiency in managing participant transactions, and reduce manual interventions in plan administration tasks
  • Allows recordkeepers to employ agile solutions for better and quicker compliance with regulations, to quickly meet participants’ needs, and improve the agility of recordkeeping applications
  • Lets recordkeepers offer self-service tools to manage contributions and investment allocations, AI-based robo-advisory solutions to address plan participant questions quickly and drive personalized plan recommendations, and a digital UI/UX to simplify the participant enrollment process while improving customer experience
  • Enables recordkeepers to expand services scope in the investment advisory and asset management space, which can unlock new revenue sources and lets them subsidize their recordkeeping costs through provision of these ancillary services.

The benefits of modernization of recordkeeping systems to a microservices-based, data-driven, cloud-first core platform cannot be overemphasized. Driving down costs and improving the participant experience will play a critical role in helping recordkeepers survive the pandemic and thrive in the next normal. Using the pandemic as a catalyst to modernize plan administration systems will not only make recordkeeping businesses resilient for the future, but also help support the nation’s retirement readiness and narrow the retirement savings gap.

To learn more about the dire need for transformation in the retirement industry, please see our new report titled “Making a Business Case for Modernizing Core Systems for the US Retirement Industry: Value Beyond Cost Savings from a Cloud-enabled Recordkeeping System.” And to drill down even further, please reach out to the report authors, [email protected], [email protected], and [email protected].

The Need to Consolidate the Vendor Ecosystem to Deliver Great Customer Experience | Blog

Delivering new customer experiences has become the centerpiece of many enterprises’ strategies to achieve sustainable growth. In fact, our research indicates that 89% of enterprises are using digital technologies to redefine customer experience, allocating as much as 30-35% of their marketing budget to experience design. And this share is expected to increase to 50-55% by 2022.

Enterprise approach to experience design

Designing a successful customer experience is an intricate play of many enabling factors, including a well-planned strategic roadmap, a well-defined organizational structure, strong creative execution, the right mix of technology solutions, and use of the right channels, as illustrated in the exhibit below.

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Given this complex interplay of multiple factors, enterprises are actively engaging with service/technology providers, such as design agencies, consultancies, IT service providers, and technology providers, to deliver an enhanced customer experience. However, the number and range of providers involved in delivering the desired experience are creating an extremely fragmented vendor ecosystem; our research shows that an enterprise might work with as many as 100 design agencies across various customer experience initiatives globally. While the aim is to partner with players best suited to deliver on a particular aspect of an engagement, a fragmented ecosystem results in a siloed, disconnected approach to design and lack of success metrics ownership.

Let’s take a look at the area of website design, where one service provider could be responsible for User Interface (UI) design (including user research, defining user flows, creating wireframes, etc.), another for content creation (animations, text, videos),  and a third IT service provider for platform selection and development. A website’s key success metrics are as closely linked to UI as to the underlying technology and a persuasive content strategy. Thus, if the website does not bring these aspects together seamlessly and does meet user expectations (in terms of the bounce rate and time spent per page, among others), which service provider should be held accountable?

Thus, defining and owning the success metrics are the key to any experience engagement’s success.

How are service providers – and enterprises – responding?

Realizing that they can no longer cater to just one aspect of the value chain, both design agencies and IT service partners are bolstering their design and technology portfolios to deliver business value and act as strategic, one-stop partners to their customers. Thus, design agencies are ramping up their technology expertise to build data, analytics, and platform capabilities, while IT service partners are actively acquiring design agencies to build UI/UX, content, digital media design/execution, and design consulting capabilities. To take an example, over the last six years, Ireland-based digital agency Accenture Interactive has carried out 30+ acquisitions to boost its media, digital, and creative credentials across the globe. Another example is the London-based design agency WPP, which appointed its first-ever CTO in October 2018, committing itself to build a robust technology and data strategy.

However, even as service partners rush to build end-to-end capabilities, buyers remain largely unconvinced. They are continuing to partner with individual service partners for their experience engagements. Some doubt the ability of their IT service partners to deliver a strong creative impact, while others believe that design agencies cannot truly understand underlying platforms/technology solutions to deliver viable solutions.

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Is a solution in sight?

It is imperative for enterprises to understand that experience design is KPI-led design. Hence, they must push service providers to define and own KPIs that reflect the overall engagement’s success. Moreover, buyers should engage with service providers that possess robust end-to-end experience management capabilities. Service providers can acquire such capabilities by offering a broad solutions portfolio (either developed in-house or through a partnership network) across creative and technology execution. Doing this will pave the way to successful experience design, consolidation of the vendor portfolio, and higher service provider accountability.

What has your journey been? Share your thoughts on designing experiences for your customers with me at [email protected].

Customer Experience During COVID-19 | Blog

This is one blog of many that explore a range of topics related to COVID-19 issues and will naturally evolve as events unfold and facts reveal themselves. The blogs are in no way intended to provide scientific or health expertise, but rather focus on the implications and options for service delivery organizations.

These insights are based on our ongoing interactions with organizations operating in impacted areas, our expertise in global service delivery, and our previous experience with clients facing challenges from the SARS, MERS, and Zika viruses, as well as other unique risk situations.

Every day, new and more rigid social distancing and quarantining measures are put in place to address growing global concerns over COVID-19. The rising number of people under lockdown around the world is leading to huge shifts in customer demand, behavior, and expectations.

Some industries are being hit harder than others. For example, travel and hospitality is struggling with huge drops in revenue while trying to meet skyrocketing customer service demands for cancellations and date changes. Demand for luxury goods is declining as consumers cut back their consumption. E-commerce is booming with in-store shoppers moving to home delivery. Supply chains are under pressure, and healthcare is transforming with increasing adoption of telemedicine.

Near the end of 2019, we conducted a market survey on key enterprise issues and enterprises’ global services plans for 2020. As you see, survey participants believed customer experience (CX) would be their top priority investment area even if the economy weakened.

The top investment priority for enterprises is customer experience – even in an economic downturn

It’s true that the severity and impact of COVID-19 is higher than what organizations expected when they thought about a possible economic downturn. But we believe that enterprises that continue to focus on their customers and invest in CX have an opportunity to emerge after this crisis abates with a running start.

And one of the key levers they should pull to help satisfy their customers’ needs and expectations is their customer-facing talent.

Work-at-home agents

With the health and safety of the agent workforce top of mind, organizations and their contact center leaders, across industries and geographies, are leveraging the work-at-home agent (WAHA) model as an immediate response to the COVID-19 crisis. Social isolation edicts mean that agents can no longer report to work at brick and mortar centers, so enterprises and service providers alike are scrambling to ramp up their work-at-home capacities, asking their existing brick and mortar agents to keep the lights on by working from home. Understandably, they’re facing multiple challenges while ramping up, including procuring laptops and headsets, moving desktop computers from centers to agents’ homes, ensuring security and compliance measures, and training and upskilling agents for a work-at-home environment.

Enterprises and contact center providers that are outperforming their peers in transitioning their agent workforce to a work-at-home model are excelling in three areas:

  • Level of preparedness: Organizations with experience and protocols around WAHA operations, access to prospective agents, and requisite technologies have been able to cope with the transition better than others
  • Foresight and planning: Organizations that reviewed the COVID-19 outbreak statistics regularly and worked with their partners to understand agent availability, technology, and environmental constraints were much better positioned to react appropriately and plan for the transition
  • Speed of execution: Organizations that have been able to make the swift decision to migrate to a work-at-home delivery model (even if the model did not exist in their business previously), work with government agencies to obtain necessary sign-offs and waivers, and develop out-of-the-box solutions to challenges during the transition have had greater success in delivering CX consistently during these uncertain times

Accessing more talent

Organizations may well need more agents to help them deliver the best CX during this pandemic. And because the economic downturn is displacing a lot of people, particularly in service-oriented jobs, there’s an opportunity to access a large pool of newly available talent. This gig economy-oriented model matches the needs of millennial customers and employees who are digitally-savvy and belong to the ”anywhere, anytime” philosophy toward which the world seems to be moving rapidly.

While global economies are grinding to a halt, some businesses will come out of this crisis better than others. During this period of extreme uncertainty, companies that take speedy action to adopt flexible staffing models and shift to newer ways of working are more likely to succeed.

In subsequent blogs, we’ll be discussing other levers that organizations need to adopt to drive sustained success, such as digital channels, self-service, and chatbot solutions.

In the meantime, take a look at a replay of our recent webinar “Coronavirus – Beyond Hand Sanitizer: Mitigating Business Impact and Uncovering the Positive.

Visit our COVID-19 resource center to access all our COVD-19 related insights.

Digital Experience Platforms: An Idea Whose Time Has Come | Blog

In today’s increasingly competitive environment, enterprises need to package their offerings with superior and memorable experiences to remain relevant. They need to streamline their efforts to deliver a unified and seamless digital experience to stakeholders. While they’ve attempted to achieve this with point solutions such as CRM platforms, campaign management tools, and other experience management solutions, their disjointed and incompatible portfolios have often created more problems than solutions.

Enter the Digital Experience Platform (DXP)

In response to an obvious need, vendors including Adobe, IBM, Oracle, and Salesforce have created a digital experience platform or DXP. We define a DXP as a comprehensive suite of solutions enabling enterprises to deliver a content-rich, stakeholder-driven digital experience (DX), encompassing all digital touchpoints.

Its main function is to digitally enable the three pillars or modules of DX – content management, brand engagement, and digital e-commerce – so enterprises can create business value through a well-structured and unified experience.

The Digital Experience Platform (DXP)

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  • Content management: A DXP offers various services across the content management lifecycle, such as dynamic templates for designers, a library of frequently used content, and widgets and tools for reviewing and publishing content to multiple platforms, which help enterprises effectively and centrally manage the content they publish.
  • Brand engagement: A DXP unlocks numerous aspects of brand engagement across functions including marketing, advertising, sales, and experience management. With capabilities like end-to-end campaign automation and drag-and-drop tools to design customer journey maps, a DXP enables experience-as-a-service for enterprises.
  • Digital e-commerce: A DXP activates different facets of digital e-commerce with solutions like AI-enabled merchandising, visual merchandising, automated management and maintenance of product data, and central dashboards to manage all websites.

In addition, a DXP has tools to help deliver a data-driven experience across the customer experience value chain by enabling functions such as sales, marketing, merchandising, and content publishing via different modules.

Beyond the basics

Most of the DXPs in today’s market provide the same basic services. But the leading DXP providers also provide ancillary, value-add services on top. Some of the most popular are omnichannel services, API-integration, and tools for improved developer experience.

Per our recently released research report, BigTech Battle: Digital Experience Platforms (DXP) Assessment – Rise of the Digital Experience Platform, the leading players are adding more functionality to the DXP to enhance its features and functionality. For instance, they are helping make the development process less technical with the help of services such as What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWIG) interfaces, drag and drop functionality, and templates to create new experiences. This significantly reduces the creative team’s dependency on the technical team and improves the overall efficiency of the experience delivered. The top providers also have tools for end-to-end omnichannel customer journey mapping and enable the use of “win scores” to prioritize sales opportunities and probability metrics to measure the experience delivered.

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These players are also using technology to enhance the functionality of the different solutions they offer, such as AI for content creation, event-based automation (cart abandonment), and advanced analytics solutions.

Simply put, a DXP is a more efficient way for an enterprise to manage its DX. In today’s increasingly competitive market, enterprises need to leverage a platform-based approach to deliver a compelling and sticky experience.

For more insight on the DXP market and a detailed analysis of current vendors, please read our report: BigTech Battle: Digital Experience Platforms (DXP) Assessment – Rise of the Digital Experience Platform.

Please share your experiences with the digital experience platform and the overall experience ecosystem with us at [email protected] and [email protected].

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