Each April or May for the past 12 years we have published the Magic Quadrant for CRM Customer Service Contact Centers,” but this year we’ve dared to disturb the universe by replacing it with The Magic Quadrant for the CRM Customer Engagement Center. (If you are a Gartner client you can find it at http://www.gartner.com/document/2482521. The question my colleagues are asking is: in a world where you are rated, in part, by how many people click on your research, WHY abandon a very highly read document for one that no one has ever heard of? Well, everyone from the Midrash to Karl Marx to Chaim Potok have written that all beginnings are difficult. Yes, but why begin at all?
The genesis of the Customer Engagement Center idea is evolutionary, and in no way revolutionary. Call Centers ruled the ’70s through 1990s, and Contact Centers have ruled ever since. Dinosaurs too ruled for a long time, and in the same way, Contact Centers are having their own asteroid collision theory now. Why? Because just responding to a customer’s immediate request for help is grossly insufficient. Phone, email, IVR, chat are all fab when designed properly. But that is reactive for the most part. Today, were we to drop our organizational handcuffs, we have the ability to extend our reach into Social Media. Is a customer or prospect who posts to Facebook, or to a community site, or out to Twitter, any less deserving of our attention?
The major transition is from “Contact” to “Engagement.” It will take most organizations a long time to relinquish the idea that the Digital Marketing group does the listening, but no one does responding – at least not systematically. It is not marketings job, but neither is it the job, in most organizations, for Customer Support to engage on social media. And what about consistent business rules? Today there is one set of rules for traditional contact, and another set of quasi-al fresco approach to social engagement.
The bottom line: sometimes it’s good to stretch ones field of vision. The phrase “Customer Engagement Center” may or may not ever enter the common vocabulary of IT or business buyers. Already there have been many nay-sayers (life Hem, Haw, Sniff and Scuffy from Who Moved My Cheese) who think the change is too big, or that it is much ado about nothing. And that might just be. Life has a way of self-healing, and the new term may be scabbed over and gone. OR, something else might happen: organizations will start to see that the concept of customer engagement – the act of treating customers with intent, integrity, consistency and gaining their trust – is a winning ticket.
What do you think? Flash in the pan, or an idea with legs?
(Thank you for an amazing Customer360 Conference in San Diego – just great attendees, providing such great feedback and asking wonderful questions!! Off to London in a couple of weeks to see how our EU clients – see http://gtnr.it/181SMyp )