While on vacation in Croatia last month, I started getting pings of the news that the Gartner Magic Quadrant (MQ) had been published, and I couldn’t wait to see which cloud contact center vendors had made it into which square and how much their dot had moved. But before I had a chance to review the report, I asked myself, “should customers even care about the MQ?”
More precisely, does the criteria for the position of the dot reflect the real-world requirements of enterprise customers? Or is this well-established credence provider out of step with the marketplace it purposes to serve?
The 2022 MQ has seen considerable movement, as dots have do-si-doed around the same square, jumped into another square, disappeared off the grid altogether, or in the case of one provider, risen from the ashes like a phoenix to a place back on the quadrant.
Great, I commend the movement — well done Gartner for being brave. But then, I bounced back to my reality of what customers are asking when choosing a new contact center technology, and I would argue what Gartner looks for in a vendor now is different to the practical, real-world needs of most contact center customers.
If I’m a contact center in Yorkshire or Connecticut with 550 seats looking to move to a CCaaS solution with omnichannel routing, integration into my CRM, and workforce engagement management (WEM) functionality that has a demonstrable impact on agent shrinkage, do I give a flying toot that a vendor has a salesperson in Asia? The answer should be a resolute – nope.
Last year, I wrote an article in No Jitter about
how Gartner had decided that due to the nature of cloud being omnipresent that they were merging the North American Quadrant with the Western European one and outlined what this looked like from the lens of a Western European buyer. From this year’s lens, we have eight North American-based vendors and only a single European vendor.
But it’s an omnipresent solution so should it matter — yes, it should. North American vendors are trying to adapt their products to the needs of the Western European market, but they are different. Western European customers have different regulatory requirements, different languages pack requirements, and customers in Europe are pushing CX and EX boundaries in different ways.
Barring a full discussion on these differences, contact center organizations and customers in the U.S. and Europe differ in some very key ways. For instance, U.S. customers typically have higher customer service expectations and want an empathetic experience, which might require a human agent. However, in Europe, contact centers place a bigger focus on shifting as much as possible from voice channels to self-service without impacting a net promoter score (NPS) or a customer satisfaction score (CSAT). These distinctions and many others aren’t reflected in the Gartner MQ and can give the illusion that these services are one-size-fits-all solutions, when in actuality different geographies have different business requirements.
Additionally, the binary inclusion/exclusion criteria to have a physical sales, marketing, and operational presence in different global regions is totally irrelevant for thousands and thousands of buyers across the globe. It’s also damaging for buyer experience as vendors, who are desperate to defend their dot, are spreading themselves thinly in new markets, giving buyers an inconsistent experience just so they can prematurely secure a tick in this criteria box.
The MQ has great vendors working hard to create products that serve the needs of their customers. Then, some vendors on the MQ that are working hard to meet the criteria laid out by Gartner, and others don't meet the MQ criteria but could perfectly match your business needs.
My bottom line for buyers: Unless you are a global player, the MQ is sadly becoming more irrelevant. The commentary on the positive and negative parts is interesting, but most buyers need to hone their procurement process to ensure that what is critical to their exacting current and future customer and operational needs is evidenced by the vendors and their partners.