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2017 CRM Service Awards—Category Descriptions
  • Contact Center Search
    Contact center search (CCS) is essentially knowledge management (KM) for the contact center. CCS includes knowledge bases, search engines, relevance rating, and everything else that provides the information contact center agents need when engaging with customers.
  • Customer Case Management
    These solutions provide service representatives with one window into the complete customer record, funneling data from multiple sources and channels. 
  • Workforce Optimization Suites
    Consolidation is all the rage in workforce optimization (WFO), the umbrella term that includes quality monitoring (QM), workforce management (WFM), performance management (PM), e-learning, and analytics. The idea behind putting everything into one comprehensive suite is so that all of the information contact centers need to run their business is integrated and can work together to deliver better, faster results.
  • Web Support
    Web support combines Web self-service and Web interaction management (WIM) tools. Unlike WIM, Web self-service includes tools that the customer can use him/herself to get answers instead of waiting for a service rep. With the Internet being the first stop for most consumers, it's in a company's best interest to make the Web, as well as its other channels, easily accessible and usable. The benefits of streamlining these solutions will help customers help themselves, and thereby ease the reliance on, and costs to maintain, customer service centers. WIM, incorporates instant messaging, click-to-call, click-to-chat, online forums, and email management solutions. While there are specialized WIM vendors remaining, most provide a full suite of these solutions as they find clients want to interface and manage their customer contact under a single solution. Integration, however, proves to be an on-going challenge.
  • Contact Center Infrastructure
    Contact center infrastructure (CCI) focuses on the underlying technology package needed for a contact center to operate, including call routing and session initiation protocol (SIP). It is analogous to computer-telephony integration (CTI) but does not necessarily rely on the same set of technologies.
  • Interactive Voice Response
    IVR is an automated telephony system that interacts with callers, gathers information, and routes calls to the appropriate recipients. IVR systems also accept a combination of voice input and touch-tone keypad selection and provide appropriate responses in forms, including voice, fax, callback, and email. An IVR application provides prerecorded voice responses for appropriate situations, access to relevant data, and the ability to record voice input for later handling. Using computer telephony integration (or contact center infrastructure), IVR apps can hand off calls to human beings who can view data related to the caller on their computer screens.
  • Enterprise Feedback Management
    Enterprise Feedback Management is a system of processes and/or software that organizes all of the customer feedback an organization receives. Whether it's via survey results, customer email, or even Twitter streams, a successful feedback management system loops feedback into business processes so that customer ideas, complaints, and conversations can be acted upon. Listening to the customer is at the crux of enterprise feedback management, and part of that is letting customers know they are being heard. Feedback management is a valuable mechanism for organizations to gauge customer satisfaction and to keep in the know of what customers want.
  • Outsourcing
    Customer service outsourcing is about more than cost-cutting. Often when organizations face inquiry growth and too many calls for internal operations to handle, they turn to external contact representatives to field calls and respond to customer care needs. Doing so comes with some costs: Outsourcing involves hiring employees who work outside of the organization's walls, which makes it harder to instill the company's culture and mission and to keep tabs on operations. Global outsourcing sometimes brings language barriers and frustration. On the other hand, outsourcing through work-at-home-agents is an option that eliminates commuting costs and promotes "green" awareness. Finding the right balance and comfort level is key to outsourcing initiatives.
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