Richard Snow's Analyst Perspectives

Interactive Intelligence Puts Meaning Back in Innovation

Posted by Richard Snow on Apr 23, 2012 9:17:38 AM

Marketing claims about a company’s innovation have become so common as to be almost meaningless, and this is true in the software business. That’s a shame because it obscures cases in which a vendor really is innovative. For example, at a recent partner and analyst event hosted by Interactive Intelligence (ININ), its CMO told me that ININ has stopped using the phrase “deliberately innovative”  because claiming to be innovative isn’t helpful in getting across its messages.

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

Verint Revamps Applications in Information-Driven Approach

Posted by Richard Snow on Apr 20, 2012 11:55:32 AM

Verint is one of the major players in the contact center market, with two suites of products that support contact centers and voice of the customer analysis. The company’s website shows that these suites have been put together from a combination of in-house developments and acquisitions (Blue Pumpkin, Witness Systems, Mercom, Iontas, GMT and Vovici are among them). Although this strategy has allowed Verint to create comprehensive suites of products in both areas, it also created  issues with integration of the products and a lack of commonality in the user interface. These concerns were the main factors that kept Verint from being ranked as highly as it might have been in our last Value Index for Agent Performance Management (APM).

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Analytics, Cloud Computing, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Workforce Management, Verint

Merced Acquisition Spurs NICE Changes

Posted by Richard Snow on Apr 19, 2012 10:06:24 AM

Last December NICE Systems announced a definitive agreement to acquire Merced Systems. I have been covering both companies for several years, and initially it wasn’t obvious to me why the acquisition made sense. My colleague Mark Smith wrote about the deal and expressed concerns about how the acquisition would impact both sets of customers and both organizations. Now it turns out that the Merced acquisition will have a much bigger effect on NICE than expected.

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Cloud Computing, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Desktop Analytics, Sales Performance Management (SPM), Text Analytics, Workforce Management

SAS Advances Customer Intelligence

Posted by Richard Snow on Apr 18, 2012 11:22:22 AM

SAS is one of the largest and best-known independent vendors of BI and analytics. The company’s website shows  16 product lines, and product variations to match almost every business analytics requirement in any industry. One of its core products lines is Customer Intelligence, which I wrote about last year. Customer Intelligence consists of four main components: strategy and planning, information and analytics, orchestration and interaction, and customer experience – among all these interesting areas, only the last really indicates what the products do.

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, SAS, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Customer Intelligence, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer Service, Business Performance Management (BPM), Contact Center Analytics, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Desktop Analytics, Information Applications (IA), Information Management (IM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Text Analytics

Tello Launches Innovative Method To Collect Customer Feedback

Posted by Richard Snow on Apr 17, 2012 9:49:08 AM

The various media, including the social form, insist that the customer is king;  exaggeration or not, it is true that understanding their customers is of greater importance to companies than ever before. The newest way to understand customers is to capture all the comments they make about a company, analyze them and produce reports containing information such as likes and dislikes, hot issues, trends and sentiment analyses – many people today call this collection the voice of the customer (VOC). It can help companies with a range of tasks: refining customer-facing strategies, improving products and services, streamlining front- and back-office business processes, focusing training and supporting front-line operational decisions such as how to handle customer interactions.

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Topics: Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Social CRM, Voice of the Customer, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer Service, Business Performance Management (BPM), CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM)

Businesses Should Hear Voice of the Customer

Posted by Richard Snow on Apr 16, 2012 11:44:40 AM

In the last several years many companies have shifted away from the mad pursuit of new customers toward focusing on retaining existing customers and winning more business from them. Against that background I expected to see a resurgence of customer relationship management processes and systems, but instead there is a growing focus on social media, customer experience management (CEM) and voice of the customer (VOC). I have already voiced my concerns on the level of focus on social business. My research into CEM shows that as yet few companies fully understand it or have the systems they need to support an enterprise-wide CEM initiative. The same seems to be true of VOC.

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Analytics, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Workforce Management, Workforce Performance Management (WPM)

inContact Supports Customer Interaction Management

Posted by Richard Snow on Apr 13, 2012 11:06:58 AM

Managing contact centers typically includes five areas: communications management, workforce optimization, business applications such as CRM, analytics and customer experience management. Last year I wrote about how inContact has evolved from a communications provider to sell a contact center in the cloud that supports most of those requirements. Its products cover communications (ACD, CTI, Dialer and IVR), workforce optimization (Quality Management, Workforce Management and eLearning, which includes content production, hiring and screen recording), analytics (Reports 2.0, which through a partnership with QlikView provides enhanced reporting and analysis capabilities) and customer experience management (ECHO Customer Survey).

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Topics: QlikView, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, InContact, Analytics, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Desktop Analytics, Workforce Management, Workforce Performance Management (WPM), Verint

Aria Heralds a New Era for Billing Systems

Posted by Richard Snow on Apr 12, 2012 10:25:01 AM

Recently I was introduced to Aria, which provides a billing and subscription management system in the cloud. Its target customer is any company that offers subscription- and/or usage-based services. Its core module allows users to set up a product catalogue that consists of plans (such as subscription charges or recurring use charges) and inventory items. Usage-based charges can be based on a scale; for example, the first 10 occurrences are charged at one rate, the next 10 at another rate and so on. Users can create a plan by modifying an existing plan or by picking items from a list. Plans are hierarchical, making it easy for companies to update and manage plans built on lower-level plans; for example, a platinum service plan can be made up of a combination of lower-level services such as bronze or silver. Users can also create dependencies – for example, specifying that a plan must include software support or cannot include 7-by-24 calls. Inventory items are one-offs – for example, a modem that allows connection to hosted disc storage – and each of these can have its own charging structure. This may seem complicated, but a demonstration showed that the process consists mainly of ticking boxes or dragging and dropping prebuilt items.

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Experience, Office of Finance, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Social CRM, Voice of the Customer, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer Service, Business Performance Management (BPM), Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM)

ResponseTek Enhances Understanding of Customers

Posted by Richard Snow on Apr 9, 2012 12:06:03 PM

If they haven’t done so yet, businesses ought to become acquainted with two relatively new concepts: customer experience management (CEM) and voice of the customer (VOC). Ventana Research defines CEM as the practice of managing the customer experience at all touch points regardless of the communications channel being used. To manage that experience, three types of systems are directly helpful: smart desktop technology to help employees deliver great experiences to customers as they are occurring; smart self-service technologies that support easy-to-use, Web-based customer service; and customer feedback management to collect and analyze survey responses, free-form comments and social media posts. This focus is part of my research on trends and best practices in customer feedback management and is part of my latest research agenda. We define VOC as reports and analysis of all customer-related data (structured, unstructured and event-based), not just analysis of speech or feedback.

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Callminer, ResponseTek, Analytics, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Workforce Performance Management (WPM)

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.

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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)