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Consumers using multiple platforms to reach contact center

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The modern contact center is undergoing significant changes, especially as social networking and mobility become consumer staples. A data analytics firm recently conducted a global survey of approximately 2,000 customers and found that 86 percent of participants are using at least six different platforms to contact company service providers.

The company said the internet remains the No. 1 channel for consumers, but social networks and smartphone applications are also becoming more popular. The survey found that more than 40 percent of participants are increasing their use of these two platforms when contacting service providers.

Of the consumers polled, 34 percent said they use text messages to reach businesses, with the financial services and travel sectors accounting for 46 percent and 38 percent of these participants, respectively. More than 50 percent of people using smartphone apps to contact financial services organizations were satisfied with this channel.

Benny Einhorn, the firm's chief marketing officer, said people who are using multiple channels to contact businesses are causing many challenges for these companies, but organizations can address these issues with a certain philosophy.

"To maximize the value of these interactions, organizations need to own the decisive moment by shaping the interaction as it happens," Einhorn explained. "Service organizations that can impact that moment consistently across countless interactions and continuously throughout the lifetime of customer relationships will not only survive the rising tide of customer interactions - they’ll thrive."

Contact center, other applications experiencing growth

Market analysis firm IDC recently released its own research regarding contact centers, and found that many developments are impacting this area, especially CRM applications. The organization said the global CRM apps market grew more than 11 percent in 2011 over the previous year.

Marketing automation, customer service and sales automation apps all experienced double-digit revenue growth in 2011, while the contact center segment achieved a single-digit increase.

Mary Wardley, IDC program vice president, said the CRM applications market in particular is currently undergoing significant changes, thanks to socially-aware apps.

"Early movement has been observed for the last several years. An influx of new social vendors and acquisitions of social CRM applications providers by established vendors augmenting their offerings for rapid market entry is invigorating the market. The activity is expected to continue through 2012 and is bringing net-new revenue to the space," Wardley noted.