For many years the contact centre and CRM platforms have been discrete. You needed your CRM to manage and sort your customer data and to present this information to an agent. You needed a contact centre to manage the communication path between said parties, but things are changing…
Over the past few years CRM manufacturers have started adding communication functionality into their products, usually the digital bits, email, webchat, etc. The contact centre market was happy with this, after all, they have ‘voice’ and that’s 80-90% of interactions, so they’ll be fine, but as the PSTN is turned off in 2025 and all calls will be using VoIP. The knock-on effect is clearly that the CRM guys will now be able to route voice into their platforms direct and won’t require the contact centre as much as they used to if at all.
The contact centre manufacturers stance is that customer experience is much more than just a voice, you need ACD, management information, IVR, outbound dialler, workforce management, skills-based routing and CRM…, this is true but it’s now only a matter of codding whereas previously it was a matter of licenses, hardware, gateways, protocols etc.
In response, contact centre manufacturers have started introducing their own intrinsic CRM product in the fight back. A CRM which doesn’t require integration as it’s part of the contact centre product, a CRM which may not have all the bells and whistles of a Dynamics or Salesforce but a CRM that will store and sort customer data and provide information to an agent out of the box. It’s a ‘CRM Light’ if you will.
So what does all this mean, it means that we’re in for a great few years of innovation within the customer service space, where the market size has doubled due to overlapping functionality across both CRM and the contact centre.