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2013 Contact Center/Back-Office Application Shopping

2013 Contact Center/Back-Office Application Shopping

By Donna Fluss

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It’s been a tough few years for businesses. Technology investments have been constrained since the financial crisis first hit in 2009, creating great pent-up demand. This demand has been fueled by a new generation of highly innovative, actionable and surprisingly practical solutions delivered by contact center and back-office vendors. Here is DMG’s list of 9 new or greatly improved applications/solutions that enterprises should consider investing in, due to their highly compelling value proposition. Each of these solutions can help contact centers or back office enhance the overall customer experience while improving staff productivity, which are two top enterprise goals for 2013.

Application Category Benefits
Proactive customer care Facilitates all types of outbound communications with customers, constituents, students, etc. These multi-channel servers can change the cost dynamics and perception of an organization by communicating useful information at the right time and in the right channel.
Speech analytics A change agent, it structures phone conversations and identifies customer insights, needs and wants to help companies identify staff, process and system trends and issues that need attention. New emerging real-time speech analytics solutions can alter the outcome of conversations.
Analytics-enabled quality assurance Automates the traditional quality assurance process, enabling companies to cost effectively review 100% of their calls and identify issues that require management intervention.
Text analytics The “killer” application for social media. Similar to speech analytics, but it structures and finds the meaning and insights in written communications such as emails, SMS, social media tweets/comments/posts, agent notes, etc. This enables companies to rapidly identify and address customer issues, and to find trends that require remedial intervention and resolution.
Dialing solutions Improves the ability to reach a targeted list of customers, prospects, donors, etc. These solutions, which were ignored by vendors for close to a decade due to do not call (DNC) limitations, are being rejuvenated. The newly enhanced generation of dialers enables organizations to reach their target audience cost effectively.
Desktop analytics Provides transparency and visibility into 100% of employee (front and back-office) desktop activities, enabling managers to identify training, operational and systems issues; eliminates manual processing by providing workflow and desktop automation; delivers real-time-guidance/next-best-action recommendations to agents during calls.
Contact center performance management (CCPM) Remains the most under-appreciated application in contact centers, despite its great value. These solutions collect and quantify the performance of the contact center, teams and agents, and function as the primary system of record. CCPM solutions institutionalize the change process by identifying issues and partially automating the change management process.
Predictive analytics This is the future of contact centers. These solutions gather and present agents with the information they need to optimize every customer contact. This is an emerging application area that is attracting investment dollars and being delivered on a “one-off” basis via professional services engagements.
Back-office workforce optimization (WFO) suites Deliver work allocation and management functionality, workflow automation, workforce management and quality assurance to back offices, to assist them in optimizing staff performance. These emerging suites enhance the customer experience, improve staff productivity, and greatly reduce rework and complaints to contact centers.

There are quite a number of applications, such as workforce management and surveying/voice of the customer, that are not on this year’s list. These are still important, but the vendors have not delivered enough innovation in the last few years to qualify for this list.

You’ll notice that this list does not include cloud or hosted solutions. This is because most of these solutions can be purchased on a premise, cloud, hosted, or managed service basis. DMG recommends first selecting a solution and then working with your finance group (CFO or controller) to determine the most favorable acquisition method for your company.

Just one word of caution: There remain substantial differences among the vendors’ offerings, particularly in newer IT sectors. DMG is a vendor-independent research and consulting firm that dedicates thousands of hours to analyzing contact center and back-office technology and best practices. We use this information to help enterprise and contact center leaders build their servicing strategies and select the right solutions for their environments. Please contact me via email at, when you’re looking for help.