Richard Snow's Analyst Perspectives

A Smart Desktop Enables Customer Service Process Improvement

Posted by Richard Snow on Apr 6, 2012 11:53:50 AM

A desktop or laptop computer is an essential tool for people who carry out customer-facing activities, especially contact center agents. My benchmark research into the use of technology in contact centers shows that agents may have to use eight systems or even more to handle a simple interaction, and I heard of one case where agents had to navigate 50 screens within one application to close a sale. This all takes time, often leads to errors, frustrates the agent and undermines the customer experience as they wait for their issues to be resolved. Aggravating this situation, people now have to handle more types of interactions and have to use different types of technology to handle new communication channels and collaboration software, while the number and complexity of business applications is also on the increase.

The situation can escalate operating costs as organizations change their policy for handling interactions. Our benchmark research into customer relationship management confirms that organizations are now using employees in almost every business unit to handle interactions. This means they have more staff to train, more issues to address to ensure that everyone follows best practices and bigger challenges in providing everyone with the information they need in the format they need to complete specific tasks.

One way to mitigate these difficulties is to adopt a smart desktop for agents and others who carry out customer-facing activities. Smart desktop technology addresses issues in a variety of ways:

  • It supports single sign-on to all systems that users need to access to complete their tasks.
  • It “hides” the systems behind a single interface, and underlying software hides the complexities of accessing and inputting data, including updating all systems with the same data.
  • It can automatically provide the information the user requires to complete the task at hand.
  • It can raise alerts if the user strays from predefined steps, for example by failing to give out required information.
  • The smartest systems can identify the customer the agent is interacting with and the customer’s issue, then guide the user to follow a predefined best practice process and advise what to do next.

When a smart desktop is used properly, interactions take less time to complete, more are completed at the first attempt, users need less training and be less frustrated, they make fewer errors, and systems are kept synchronized; in the end customers will have better experiences.

To better understand how these issues are impacting you and to determine areas in which you would like to see improvements, we are carrying out benchmark research into the use of desktop technologies. So please take part in our survey. In return we will provide you with a report on the key insights we discover. Also please collaborate with me on...


Richard Snow – VP & Research Director

Topics: Social Media, Customer Data Management, Customer Experience, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Social CRM, Voice of the Customer, Analytics, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Unified Communications, Workforce Performance Management (WPM)

Richard Snow

Written by Richard Snow

Richard leads Ventana Research’s Customer and Contact Center Performance Management research practice, which is dedicated to helping organizations improve the efficiency and effectiveness of managing their customers, throughout their lifetime and across all touch points, including the contact center. He conducts research exploring the people, process, information and technology issues behind customer operations management, contact center management, and customer experience management. He also works with senior business operations and IT managers to ensure that companies get the best performance from today’s highly complex application products. Richard has worked in management and consulting leadership positions in the technology industry including with Price Waterhouse, Sema Group and Valors. In his work, he has been involved with all aspects of delivering highly complex IT solutions to a variety of clients in the telecommunications, financial services and public sectors. Richard has specialized in delivering customer care and billing solutions for telecommunications operators, and several multi-channel contact centers for organizations in both the public and private sectors.