It would take Panglossian-scale optimism to say that the large enterprise application vendors or the consultancies that deploy their products are providing their clients a service in the CRM space for Customer Service contact centers. For all of the positioning, there is little fire for all of the smoke. With promises of new UIs and fewer clicks to get anything done (what, 100 separate clicks to turn a service request into a sales opportunity is too much for the average person?), to the PDF razzle dazzle of ‘collaborative interfaces’ – they all fall far short of current needs.
To a one, the large vendors with stacks – ERP, SCM, CRM…. are failing to keep pace with demand in the Customer Service area. Instead they are holding the shredded mast of Customer Experience solutions together with business intelligence, brittle procedural code, outdated interfaces, and Loyalty Marketing. Good, but far inadequate in the age of the Social Customer. Can you share that customer record in real time with the customer? Do you know their location? Their influence? Their current posts in Facebook or Twitter? Do you know what happened in the last sales experience or the marketing promise now that you are in a customer service issue?
Now turn from the software solution providers to the system integrators and consultancies. They are stuck with the aging produce that they deployed for you Circa 1999-2006. In their version of The Emperor’s New Clothes they have clients focused on social, social analytics, one-to-one marketing, Big Data, mobile and Cloud. These are all great – and a part of the Gartner Nexus of Forces, but what about the basics of updating the antediluvian Customer Service applications used to interact with the customer and foster loyalty? They are like the Great and Wonderful Oz. There is nothing behind the curtain.
As end consumers of technologies and solutions from the megavendors, how do you respond? Right now it seems to be a waiting game, during which we improve around the edges (or migrate to Salesforce.com, it seems).
Thank you for continuing to email me your experiences. They are better than fiction.
For any of you attending Dreamforce in two weeks, I’m speaking in the ServiceCloud track on Thursday at 3:00 PM: Service Cloud: Service, Sales & Marketing the New BFFs. I see some of you are already registered, so: see you then.