• April 1, 2018
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

Because We Thought You Should Know

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Although there is some debate as to its true origins, the phrase “knowledge is power” is most often attributed to 16th-century English philosopher and statesman Sir Francis Bacon, although it appeared in his work Meditationes Sacrae in Latin (“ipsa scientia potestas est”) and translates more accurately as “knowledge itself is power.”

The immense power that knowledge brings comes when we have a closer grasp of the truth and the reality of the world in which we live. Knowledge is power because it helps us to think for ourselves. When we know all of the relevant facts about a given subject, we are better able to make our own judgments and decisions, without having to rely on others to tell us what to think. That is power.

That’s just as true in business as it is in life. To keep customers coming back, businesses today need to know as much as they can about them—their demographics, their buying patterns, their preferences, and their past interactions. Basically, companies need to know what customers are doing, why they are doing it, what motivates them, and how they feel about their products and services. 

Much of that knowledge can be found in the typical contact center interaction, though harnessing it is not always easy. As companies struggle today to keep track of their customer interactions, contact center analytics is perhaps one of the most versatile and potentially valuable, though still largely underused, tools they can have at their disposal. 

Contact center analytics has been gaining traction in the modern customer service landscape, and that is why we decided to add it as a category in this, our 15th annual installment of the CRM Service Awards. Our goal in adding analytics as a category was to help you make sense of the market and the vendor landscape, so we did our usual due diligence and followed up with the top analysts and consultants in the field to get their insights—to tap into their knowledge, if you will.

So just how significant is the market for contact center analytics technology? Research firm MarketsandMarkets currently values the segment at $709.5 million worldwide and projects it to more than double, reaching about $1.5 billion in 2022, growing at a compound annual rate of 15.9 percent. That’s still only a small portion of the total contact center software market, which the same firm valued at $13.3 billion last year and projects to reach $29.1 billion by 2022, but it is quite robust nonetheless. After all, a billion and a half dollars isn’t exactly pocket change.

A major factor driving the growth of contact center software, MarketsandMarkets maintains, is the need for companies to deliver enhanced experiences to customers through multiple channels, including voice, video, web, chat, email, and social media. The only way for companies to make sense of all of that information is with contact center analytics, which today includes so much more than the basic speech analytics engines that have been in use for decades to pull apart phone conversations. Modern contact center analytics also includes text analytics, desktop analytics, sentiment analysis, social media analytics, predictive and prescriptive analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and a whole lot more.

But while you’re investigating contact center analytics and the other eight contact center technologies that we highlight in this month’s awards issue, it’s also important that you don’t focus too much on the data itself; keep your eyes on all of the other things that go with it. Not all customers are comfortable with the amount of information companies have about them, and their trust in these companies to keep that information secure and off “the dark web” is diminishing as identity fraud and data breaches become more common. The article “Companies Face a Consumer Trust Crisis” stresses the importance of companies not only doing more to secure the mountains of customer data that they’ve gathered and analyzed, but being transparent with how they obtained it and what they intend to do with it. 

And in their ultimate quest for more knowledge and the power it brings, companies also need to be mindful of yet another age-old adage: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” to quote 19th-century English historian, politician, and writer Lord John Dalberg-Acton.

Leonard Klie is the editor of CRM magazine. He can be reached at lklie@infotoday.com

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