call center crm together

Contact Center and CRM: At Odds or in Harmony Part II

If you missed it, please read Part 1 of this blog series.

It is not surprising that the question of whether to choose a contact center or CRM desktop is more common today than it was five or ten years ago. According to respected analyst house Gartner, the CRM market nearly quadrupled from 2007 to 2015, from an $8 billion market to $23 billion. It grew another 12+ percent in 2016, with much of that increase attributable to cloud-based deployments.

In fact, the rise in cloud CRM deployments is certainly a factor in the rise of cloud-based contact center solutions. As aging premises-based contact centers are reviewed for replacements, companies that have already deployed a cloud-based CRM solution have inherently fewer concerns about cloud reliability and security.

When it comes to the choice of which desktop should be primary, contact center or CRM, here are some factors to consider:

  • Volume: High volume, high agent occupancy environments favor a contact center desktop. Phone and interaction controls are designed to be easily distinguished and located for quick agent action.

Examples of businesses with high-volume contact centers are airlines, hotel chains and consumer banking. While there are often CRM integrations, the majority of calls are completed in a single interaction.

  • Complexity: Complex interactions, that require repeatedly accessing and updating information, are more suited to CRM desktops. Frequently these interactions require the opening of a trouble ticket or case file, or have several workflow steps. This type of center includes various types of help desks, insurance claims or named account enterprise sales.

  • Workforce Optimization Requirement: Certain industries have a high requirement for the recording of interactions or complex scheduling of multi-skilled agents. These is especially true in financial services and healthcare. Contact center desktops are more apt to have integrations to the required voice and screen recording applications.

Zebra Technologies is a recent inContact customer that chose the inContact Agent for Salesforce desktop when they replaced several legacy premises-based solutions. The company manufactures and sells marking, tracking and computer printing technologies for the supply chains, retail, healthcare and government sectors.

Zebra Technologies’ contact centers are purely service related, offering three levels of triage. They fit perfectly into the scenario above where the complexity of each interaction and the workflow involved favors use of the CRM desktop. In addition to highlighting the inContact/Salesforce integration, Zebra is a great example of the power of cloud for both contact center and CRM. The company was able to unite the operations of six different centers across the globe in a way that was not possible with the prior on-premises deployment.

The Zebra Technologies implementation underscores another aspect of the contact center or CRM desktop decision. Zebra is using inContact to route Salesforce emails to agents because theirs is a CRM-centric environment. Customer who chose to use a contact center desktop, like inContact My Agent eXperience (MAX), are more likely to route email interactions from within the contact center application.

As this two-part series has discussed, there is increasingly duplication in the product suites of contact center and CRM vendors. The good news is that neither side has declared war on the other and there seems to be no fear of that happening any time soon. The partnerships between the two types of vendors are healthy and focused on delivering an optimal solution to not just their customers but their customers’ customers.