Sparkcentral was identified by Gartner as a Sample Vendor for Mobile Applications for Customer Service within the “Customer Engagement Center” segment, and for Consumer Messaging Apps, Live Chat and Social Media Engagement within the “Digital Customer Service” segment in The Gartner Customer Service Technology Vendor Guide, 2019. According to the report, “Customer service software segments are converging as organizations invest in digital strategy. Application leaders can use this guide to understand the solutions and vendors supporting customer service, and prioritize areas of investment while balancing customer, employee and organizational needs.”

Only two Sample Vendors were named in all four categories: Consumer Messaging Apps, Live Chat, Mobile Applications for Customer Service, and Social Media Engagement.

Gartner describes the segments as follows:

  • Consumer Messaging Apps – “Consumer messaging apps, sometimes referred to as ‘social messengers’ or ‘mobile messengers,’ are free messaging apps that typically use a smartphone’s data plan or Wi-Fi to provide their services.”
  • Live Chat – “Live chat is an agent-based interaction or discussion via text chat.”
  • Mobile Applications for Customer Service – “Mobile customer service applications provide mobile applications that reside in, or are accessible from, smartphones or tablets, and are supported by the enterprise.”
  • Social Media Engagement – “Social media engagement applications for customer service enable organizations to monitor social media and respond to customers.”

Social media and messaging apps have matured into channels that are used by consumers to communicate with each other daily, and Facebook has become the backbone for the communication of billions of people around the globe with its popular WhatsApp, Instagram, and Messenger apps. The challenge for large organizations is how to keep up with these digital innovations without cluttering the experience and engaging too many tools and vendors to stay on top of customer communication.

According to the report, “Gartner sees the emergence of a new area of customer care referred to as ‘digital customer service.’ In this area is a set of vendors that focus on digital engagement through chat, chatbots, messaging, outbound alert (or push notifications) and social media engagement. While they do not have full CEC capability, with only limited or alternative case management, they do manage the customer dialogue and communication for an increasingly large percentage of customer interaction types. Future research will explore this rapidly evolving market space. For more information, see “Market Guide for Digital Customer Service” (report coming soon).”

The report adds: “Forcing customers to ‘channel swap’ or not supporting preferred channels will become antiquated and considered to be rude. A channel-less mindset supported by channel-agnostic design, seamless integration and CX innovations will set new standards for customer service.”

“Chat, Social, and Messaging used to be distinct channels handled by different teams,” said Tobias Goebel, VP Product Marketing for Sparkcentral. “We see that these modern digital channels are increasingly being consolidated into what is now called digital customer service. This is emerging as the new standard for how businesses will connect with customers and deliver digital-first customer service. The asynchronous nature of messaging channels that don’t make you wait for the other party to be present when sending a message, enables the type of customer service that modern customers deserve. It is no secret that consumers hate being held hostage to a phone line or a live chat browser window while waiting for an available agent.”

Sparkcentral’s all-in-one digital messaging platform brings together messaging, social, web chat as well as in-app chat and combines all into one universal queue for digital agents. The solution combines smart routing, a persistent message history, intuitive agent workflows and an easy-to-learn agent desktop. It integrates with state-of-the-art virtual agents, also known as chatbots, to create the most productive agent force possible.

Gartner, The Gartner Customer Service Technology Vendor Guide, 2019, Nadine LeBlanc et al., 27 June 2019

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