CRM and contact center are on a collision course

The arcs of two industries, customer relationship management (CRM) and contact center, are about to entangle. More descriptively, these two industries are on a collision course. Consequences include exciting new innovations in customer experience and dramatic market-wide change.

Changing times

Propelled in an age of big data and artificial intelligence (AI), CRM is entering the industry’s platinum age. At the same time, contact center is facing disruption as newer communications protocols come to broader acceptance, old guard companies face transitions, and ways of deploying applications—cloud for one—accelerate in adoption.  

+ Also on Network World: How to conquer a CRM monster +

The two industries have existed in the same universe, that of the key ways that customers interact with an enterprise, but for the most part it’s as if they have occupied different dimensions. As CRM matured, it was embraced by marketing, sales and service delivery. CRM and contact center would occasionally interact, such as when telephony call controls were added to a CRM screen or when a service call turned into an upselling opportunity. However, true synergies have seldom really gelled.

Origins of contact center and CRM

The arc of the contact center industry originated in the call center where at first only telephone calls were (are still today for many) managed. With the advent of computer telephony integration (CTI), where meta data from incoming telephone calls is used to trigger transactions in desktop applications, the evolution began. 

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