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Technology Providers of Note in an Expanding Customer Service Ecosystem
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This is a companion piece to Frost & Sullivan’s 2019 Contact Center Buyers Guide (K234-76, August 2019), which examines the core areas and suppliers in the North American cloud/hosted contact center market. Core areas include systems and cloud-based solutions for inbound contact routing/automatic call distribution (ICR/ACD), outbound dialing, interactive voice response (IVR), quality monitoring (QM), workforce management (WFM), and analytics. The contact center has emerged as a critical area of business. For decades, while a necessary component of business, it was too often thought of as a cost center rather than the central hub of customer engagement that it is today. To achieve the organizational status it now has, the contact center evolved from pure customer service and support to being a listening post for customer sentiment, and a centerpiece of customer engagement and brand loyalty.Outside of the core are a plethora of technology adjacencies growing in number and importance. Some of these are well-established, such as ticketing systems and customer relationship management (CRM). However, a wealth of companies are providing new capabilities, in addition to those that focus on adding on to specific segments of the core, such as creating new types of analytics solutions, gamification, or marketing automation. These, and others, are increasingly being found in established providers' solutions sets, or as the main product of newer providers. The buyers guide focuses on the core providers of customer contact and notes where each has expanded into new areas as the industry changes. A more recent addition to the guide was a Companies to Watch section with a sampling of companies that Frost & Sullivan identified as representative of the changing nature of customer contact—each with the potential to take customer care to a higher level. These companies were in either an emerging area without enough traction to warrant a separate market share and forecast report or an entirely new category. For example, gamification has been around for a number of years but typically fell to being a request for proposal check-off item: initial products weren’t as fully featured as they are today, and competing budget priorities were skewed more towards enhancing or replacing the core areas of customer contact. Today, though, gamification should be considered essential for engaging the workforce, reducing costs, and improving operational efficiencies. Using a smattering of solution provider profiles as examples, this companion guide explores some of the more interesting and impactful areas of development. The profiles state the market issue being addressed by a specific provider, followed by the company history and a brief description of its product or solution.Author: Nancy Jamison
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