Richard Snow's Analyst Perspectives

NICE and the Customer Experience Platform

Posted by Richard Snow on Mar 22, 2017 7:50:26 AM

In tracking NICE for a decade I have seen the company grow, through a series of acquisitions and product developments, from a vendor largely of workforce management systems to one that offers a full suite of workforce optimization products. It is now advancing what I call a customer experience platform that builds on top of my last coverage of it advancing its efforts. This includes systems to manage assisted channels of engagement (primarily the telephone), digital channels of engagement, workforce optimization, advanced analytics and tight integration with business applications such as CRM. NICE is on the road to building such a platform using existing and newly developed products and those that it recently acquired from Nexidia and inContact. It will take time before a fully integrated platform is available, but the company has already taken steps toward this goal.

Read More

Topics: Big Data, Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Mobile Technology, cloud computing, Analytics, Customer Service, Contact Center, CRM, workforce optimization, digital technology, Collaboration for Business

ShoreTel Offers Communications and Contact Centers

Posted by Richard Snow on Mar 16, 2017 9:45:56 AM

Until recently most organizations deployed systems on their own premises to build communications and contact center infrastructures, which often required them to integrate products from several vendors. In the past few years many vendors have moved their systems to the cloud, and others have begun as cloud-based suppliers. This trend has opened up the opportunity for more organizations to take advantage of modern communication systems and contact centers. Using the cloud for either, or both can save money and resources, reduce risk, and make available more integrated, multi-channel systems.  While the adoption of such systems has undoubtedly increased and is likely to continue to do so, our benchmark research into next-generation contact centers in the cloud finds that many organizations still prefer to remain on premises, and adoption of cloud-based systems occurs on a case-by-case basis. In addition, many organizations look for vendors that support multiple models so they have the option of starting out using one model but transitioning later to another, including to a hybrid model in which some systems are on-premises and others are cloud-based..

Read More

Topics: Big Data, Mobile, Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Machine Learning, Wearable Computing, cloud computing, Business Intelligence, Collaboration, Internet of Things, Contact Center, workforce optimization, analytics, Digital Commerce

Zendesk Puts Real Meaning Back into CRM

Posted by Richard Snow on Feb 22, 2017 6:20:41 AM

One of the first applications I learned about in the contact center market was customer relationship management (CRM). The core capabilities of a CRM system were to manage customer data, marketing campaigns, sales opportunities and service requests. Vendors also touted them as the source for a comprehensive “360 degree” view of the customer, which they could never actually deliver because they did not include customer financial data, interaction histories or customer sentiment in the form of feedback. In any case CRM applications became integral to contact centers as a source of information to answer customer queries, but in reality they did little to actually manage the customer relationship, which was a factor in why they gained a bad reputation. Over time, many vendors adopted a different approach and broke the CRM category into marketing, sales and service clouds, which although they include additional capabilities basically do the same thing, with one big drawback – customer data is managed in three different systems, reducing the availability of a single source of customer data even further.

Read More

Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Contact Center, workforce optimization, Digital Commerce

Customer Experience Research Agenda for 2017

Posted by Richard Snow on Feb 14, 2017 5:33:04 AM

In 2016 Ventana Research saw a significant shift in the customer engagement and contact center software markets. Our benchmark research into the next-generation contact center in the cloud shows that for 70 percent of companies, customer experience is and will be an important way of competing; the largest growth in ways of competing is to introduce digital self-service, which will increase by 12 percent. To support those changes, organizations have introduced more channels of engagement, to the extent that our research shows the average has grown to eight channels. Our benchmark research into next-generation customer engagement shows that in nearly half (47%) of organizations these channels are managed as silos, which indicates that most organizations still operate multiple channels rather than supporting omnichannel engagement. The next-generation contact center research confirms that customer engagement is an enterprise-wide issue but one-third (33%) of companies struggle to provide consistent responses across touch points.

Read More

Topics: Mobile, Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, cloud computing, Collaboration, Customer Service, Internet of Things, Contact Center, workforce optimization, analytics, Billing and Recurring Revenue

USAN Integrates Management of Contact Centers and Communication Channels

Posted by Richard Snow on Jan 22, 2017 6:53:24 AM

Over the last few years the telecommunications and call center industries have undergone radical changes. Telecommunications was mainly in the hands of national and regional telecom companies, which essentially owned all the cables in the ground. The call center market was dominated by a small number of vendors that provided on-premises systems to manage and route calls when they arrived at a company’s offices. The telecom model was in effect the first cloud-based service, though almost no one stopped to think about how a call made on one device arrived at another. The arrival of the internet and wireless technologies and the telecom companies’ willingness to lease capacity on their lines changed both models. Now almost any company can provide communication services, and the majority of contact center systems are cloud-based. In this evolution some organizations that previously were hidden behind the telecoms have emerged as suppliers of communications and contact center services.

Read More

Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience Management, Speech Analytics, cloud computing, Employee engagement, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Text Analytics, omnichannel, workforce optimization, analytics

CallMiner Advances Customer Engagement Analytics

Posted by Richard Snow on Jan 2, 2017 11:40:54 PM

Our benchmark research into the next-generation contact center in the cloud confirms what most people intuitively know – that consumers now engage with each other and organizations through more communication channels than a few years ago and that many of these are speech- and text-based. Companies are therefore generating large volumes of voice recordings and textual records. They contain vital information about what customers feel about issues connected to their dealings with the organization – marketing messages the sales process, product and service quality, and employee behavior, among others. The challenge for organizations is to extract insights from these unstructured records and take action to benefit the business based on those insights. When it was founded in 2002, CallMiner set out to support organizations in that quest, and in 2012 it won a Ventana Research Technology Innovation awards.

Read More

Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience Management, Speech Analytics, cloud computing, Employee engagement, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Text Analytics, omnichannel, workforce optimization, analytics

Zuora Empowers the Subscription Economy

Posted by Richard Snow on Jan 2, 2017 10:47:50 PM

Zuora provides software that supports the rapidly expanding subscription economy. I recently attended the company’s user event in London, called subscribe16. During his keynote speech CEO Tien Tzuo insisted that the subscription economy is not only here to stay but is likely to grow substantially. In the U.K. alone, he said, 40 million users are using subscription services, including 14 million use video streaming services, 5.4 million use music streaming services, and perhaps most surprising, 78 percent of adults age 55 or older use at least one subscription service.

Read More

Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience Management, Speech Analytics, cloud computing, Employee engagement, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Text Analytics, omnichannel, workforce optimization, analytics

NICE Robotic Automation Improves Interaction Experience

Posted by Richard Snow on Nov 26, 2016 9:02:11 AM

Robotics is nothing new to some aspects of manufacturing and the IT industry, but it is relatively new in the customer experience (CX) market. The term often conjures up images of little gray machines taking over tasks previously handled by humans – machines making cars, programmed vacuum cleaners and the like. In the CX space, however, we are not talking about machines but about software that can automate routine tasks. For the time being, I don’t believe robots will take over the contact center and replace human agents. Indeed our recent research into next-generation contact centers in the cloud strongly suggests the opposite. It shows that the telephone is still the top channel of communication and that almost two-thirds (62%) of organizations expect call volumes to rise over the next 24 months. Thus agents will continue to handle large volumes of interactions, which may become more complex.

Read More

Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience Management, Speech Analytics, cloud computing, Employee engagement, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Text Analytics, omnichannel, workforce optimization, analytics

Clarabridge Engages Customer Experience

Posted by Richard Snow on Nov 26, 2016 8:04:36 AM

Analysts have been talking and writing about a “360 degree” view of the customer for years. Our own benchmark research into customer relationship management shows that only37 percent of organizations are able to produce analysis and reports that yield such a comprehensive view. Other research into next-generation customer analytics reveals that the main issue in this area for nearly two-thirds (63%) of organizations is data availability. To make the situation worse, customer-related data is getting ever more numerous and complex. A principal reason for this growth is the number of communication channels consumers now use to engage with organizations and the type of data these channels produce. It includes call recordings, text messages, email, social media posts, customer feedback surveys, chat scripts and event data such as videos that users download. All of these types of data are unstructured , which makes them harder for conventional analytics tools to access and analyze.

Read More

Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience Management, cloud computing, Employee engagement, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Text Analytics, omnichannel, analytics

SugarCRM Stays True to Its Vision

Posted by Richard Snow on Nov 10, 2016 7:03:50 AM

In the late 1990s, CRM systems were launched to help organizations become customer-centric, to manage customer relationships from end to end, through marketing to sales to customer service, and to provide a “360-degree view of the customer.” For a variety of reasons (overselling, lack of proper adoption, missing functionality), they never lived up to many companies’ expectations, and so CRM got a poor reputation. I recently wrote that customer experience management has undergone significant change in the last 18 months, taking over the role of helping organizations become customer-centric, and that CRM vendors have played a part in these changes. Some of the larger ones have, in my view, taken a backward step by breaking CRM into three components to support marketing, sales and customer service; this makes it harder to support the end-to-end customer life cycle.

Read More

Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience Management, Call Cente, cloud computing, Customer Service, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, omnichannel, analytics