BPA Featured Article

Contact Center Growth Areas Identified by Research Firm

December 05, 2014

Sometimes it seems that the tech industry in general and the contact center solutions area specifically, not only has too many acronyms but actually relishes the opportunity to add more. Indeed, witness how fast we have moved from “multi-channel” to “omni-channel’ or in the more distant past from “call centers” to “contact centers.”

However, that does not mean that the addition of a new area with associated acronym is necessarily a bad thing.  A case in point is recent research done by cloud-based technology support company Support.com with research firm Frost & Sullivan (News - Alert) that identifies the fast-growing contact center software category: Support Interaction Optimization (SIO).  

A definition of terms

So what is SIO?  Great question and the nice thing here is the precision of the opportunities in this emerging space. SIO is comprised of a combination of capabilities which include:

  • Customer Web self-service
  • Remote support
  • Guided resolution
  • Analytics
  • Performance management applications to deliver highly streamlined and effective technical support.

Why is this market of interest? The numbers are really all you need to know.

Frost & Sullivan values the SIO market at $1.3 billion globally in 2014, growing at a CAGR of 12.1 percent, doubling to reach $2.6 billion by 2020. Guided resolution is the fastest growing market segment, at a CAGR of 20.2 percent.

"There has long been a need for a set of solutions that enable customers and support staff to rapidly and cost-effectively resolve critical and complex issues to customers' satisfaction," said Brendan Read, Industry Analyst, Frost & Sullivan. "While most vendors have had bits and pieces of SIO capabilities, only now are they seeing the whole picture and connecting the parts to create a complete solution."

The researchers believe that SIO fills a critical gap in the support software solutions market especially in the area of contact centers. 

In the explanation of the whitepaper on the subject, Frost & Sullivan highlights how SIO allows companies to manage and solve support issues in less time, with consistent service and improved agent performance, by providing step-by-step guidance and automated technologies integrated with knowledge bases and interactive analytics.  It also stresses how such analytics tools built into SIO solutions provide insights into: agent behavior, support processes and product data

The goals are simple.

  • Use to use such tools to solve problems faster and more effectively
  • Help ensure agent compliance with policies and procedures
  • Identify process bottlenecks that are causes of average handle time (AHT) spikes and detect product errors and malfunctions which the authors say can result in SIO reducing AHT by as much as 50 percent.

It is no secret that tech support issues handled by live agents via phone and chat are increasingly complex and will only become more so as the Internet of Things )IoT) era takes off.  For example, Frost & Sullivan forecasts that there will be 410 million smartphones shipped in North America by 2018, 50 billion connected devices globally by 2020 and 177 million wearable devices globally by 2018.

"This increasingly connected world presents a growing challenge, but also an opportunity for device-specific technical support," said Nancy Jamison, Principal Analyst, Frost & Sullivan. "SIO solutions that provide guided resolution give agents or self-service applications real-time best practices. In doing so they help companies dramatically cut support costs and increase customer satisfaction."

So add SIO to your list of industry jargon you need to know and keep track of. This truly is a growing market, and a critical one at that.

Edited by Alisen Downey


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