• December 1, 2010
  • By Koa Beck, Editorial Assistant, CRM magazine

Forrester Wave Report Reveals Key Trends in Customer Service

The Forrester Wave: CRM Suites Customer Service Solutions, Q3 2010 report by William Band and James Kobielus with Connie Moore, Craig Le Clair, and Andrew Magarie evaluated the customer service and support capabilities for 19 leading CRM suite solutions and also contacted 99 customer references through an online survey. The solutions were evaluated against 196 criteria, acknowledging the "quest" of building stronger bonds of buyer loyalty while also creating individualized customer experiences.

The 19 solutions included in the report are from CDC Software, Chordiant Software, FrontRange Solutions, Maximizer Software, Microsoft, NetSuite, Oracle CRM On Demand, Oracle E-Business Suite CRM, Oracle PeopleSoft Enterprise CRM, Oracle Siebel CRM, Pegasystems, RightNow Technologies, Sage SalesLogix, SageCRM, salesforce.com, SAP CRM, SAP Business-All-in-One, SugarCRM, and Sword Ciboodle.

The report's authors addressed the growing trend in multichannel customer service initiatives with organizations in response to today's experienced-based economy. Since Since Forrester's last report, the severe economical recession has ravaged the market. The authors note that in this new report, the economy is "gradually recovering." However, this factor has now, more then ever, generated a "need for a compelling and engaging customer experience, throughout the customer interaction life cycle."

The authors also acknowledge that customers are "increasingly online" and want responses in real time. Social media sites like Twitter and Facebook are "important new channels for interacting with customers."

Forrester research determined that positive customer service experiences boosts repurchasing probability. Forrester discovered that the higher a business' Customer Experience Index was, regardless of the industry, the more loyal those customers would be.

Forrester asked customers to rate their interaction experiences based on whether they were:

  • Useful. Could they get what they needed to do done?
  • Easy. Was the interaction process simple, straightforward, and hassle-free?
  • Enjoyable. Did they find the interaction pleasant and productive?

Forrester research demonstrated that, as of 2010, both B2B and B2C enterprises have prioritized customer loyalty as a top goal

The authors observed that, "B2B companies also intend to capture new customers, while B2C companies focus on improving the customer experience. To support achievement of these important priorities, customer management technology solutions are widely used by organizations of all sizes."

This is evidenced in Forrester's survey results that 56 percent of the 455 large organizations in North America and Europe have already implemented a customer relationship management (CRM) solution. Twenty percent of the organizations surveyed plan to adopt a CRM solution within the next 12 to 24 months.

The report also pointed out that the service solution landscape has become more complex, explaining that, "Within this broader CRM applications context, customer service solutions are evolving to meet a more complex set of business requirements, resulting in new features, application delivery models, and integration choices."

The report showed these key trends in the customer service landscape:

  • Customer service embraces real-time methods
  • Self-service knowledge management (KM) tools grow in importance
  • Integrated computer telephony integration (CTI) becomes more important
  • Next-generation customer intelligence and customer feedback solutions emerge
  • Mobile capabilities serve as a linchpin for responsive customer service.
  • Customer service software-as-service (SaaS) solutions gain acceptance.
  • Agile customer service demands strong business process management software (BPM).

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