The big news out of last week’s Dreamforce event—Salesforce’s monster annual show in San Francisco—hit right in the wheelhouse of many in our industry: Salesforce announced Service Cloud Voice, which features integration with Amazon Connect, the contact center service from Amazon Web Services (AWS). Such a decisive move deeper into the contact center by the CRM giant Salesforce—especially in partnership with AWS—has the potential to shake up the contact center marketplace.
The Salesforce-AWS partnership speaks to the need that contact centers are seeing for tighter integration between customer contact and customer service technologies. But the operational side represents a crucial challenge as well. This No Jitter post by my colleague Ryan Daily doesn’t deal specifically with Service Cloud Voice—it covers the ICMI contact center show that took place a few weeks before Dreamforce—but it’s a great window into the challenges that contact centers are facing as they grapple with the need to be more customer service-centric.
In her post, Ryan writes, “Contact center managers are overwhelmed with the technology they and their agents need to do their jobs,” and describes a session in which an ICMI attendee expressed frustration that her enterprise currently runs 26 different contact center technology systems.
In response, the session leader, Bob Furniss of Bluewolf, an IBM company that consults on Salesforce implementations, suggested that contact center managers need to engage with IT to help technology teams understand the situation. "How do we tell that story better to IT?” Furniss said.
“‘We're not going to go from 26 systems to one,’ but with agents providing IT suggestions and feedback, an enterprise can work to ‘reduce them as much as possible,’” Ryan quotes Furniss as saying. Furniss suggested that contact center management invite IT executives to visit the contact center for first-hand understanding of how the technology environment affects agents.
Whether an enterprise is looking at Amazon Connect or another of the emerging cloud-based contact center options, many contact centers have a major technology transition in their near future. The desire to rationalize dozens of systems down into a handful is likely one that resonates with many large enterprises. The ICMI discussion shows just how urgent this need really is—enterprises that don’t use the opportunity that technology change presents could handicap their agents and deal a blow to their efforts to provide the kind of experience that customers expect.
Enterprise Connect 2020’s contact center track will again be among the largest at the event, and we’ll again be presenting a main-stage discussion on the strategic directions and challenges in the contact center technology market. The leading contact center industry analyst, Sheila McGee-Smith, returns as chair of our Contact Center/Customer Experience track, and if this is an area of focus for your enterprise in 2020, I urge you to check out the sessions and register to attend the conference; use the code BLOG1127 to save $200 at checkout. I hope to see you in Orlando.