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.

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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..

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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.

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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.

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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

Teleopti Targets Workforce Management for Contact Centers

Posted by Richard Snow on Jan 18, 2017 12:25:42 AM

Our benchmark research into the next-generation contact center in the cloud shows that the telephone and other nondigital communication channels are far from obsolete: Participating organizations expect growth in all channels. As a consequence, contact centers are likely to remain a key channel to handle customer interactions, and it is likely that contact center agents will have to handle multiple forms of interactions, which are likely to be more complex. The research also shows that interactions are increasingly being handed by all business groups, not just the contact center. To meet these demanding customer expectations, organizations must continue to carefully manage the availability of skilled resources to handle these interactions.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Contact Center, workforce optimization

Evaluagent Focuses on Agent Engagement

Posted by Richard Snow on Oct 31, 2016 8:22:52 AM

Evaluagent is a U.K.-based company founded in 2012 that is carving out a niche in the workforce optimization market. Whereas most WFO vendors offer broad portfolios of products that focus on operational efficiency to reduce the cost of agents, Evaluagent’s narrower portfolio focuses on the people side of interaction handling, particularly agent engagement and satisfaction. The company’s founders had in-depth operational experience of contact centers, and they set out to improve the job experience for agents over what they had encountered, which included cramped working conditions, demanding performance targets, hard-to-use systems and, worst of all, customers often shouting down the phone at them.

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Topics: Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, cloud computing, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, workforce optimization, analytics, agent engagement

Diabolocom Provides Customer Interaction in the Cloud Solution

Posted by Richard Snow on Dec 24, 2015 8:42:58 PM

In our benchmark research into contact centers in the cloud, nearly two-thirds (63%) of companies said that adopting applications in the cloud would enable them to improve how they handle customer interactions, and slightly fewer than half (44%) said that adoptingcommunication systems in the cloud would deliver similar benefits. Several vendors now provide such systems.Diabolocom is the latest one to brief me on its products. Founded in 2005 and having around 30 employees, it has headquarters in France (and its website is in French), but it has a global presence, primarily for supporting French companies that have offices around the world. Its contact center  products are available only in the cloud and extend beyond basic multichannel communications to other applications connected with handling customer interactions.

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Topics: Big Data, Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Analytics, Cloud Computing, Customer Service, Uncategorized, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Text Analytics, omnichannel, workforce optimization

Enghouse Evolves Products for Contact Center Demands

Posted by Ventana Research on Dec 8, 2015 10:47:07 PM

Over the last few years, through a combination of acquisitions and internal development, Enghouse Interactive has developed a portfolio of contact center products and services. Recently it announced its product portfolio for 2016. This consists of three core products: CCE, CCSP and EICC. These are updated and rebranded versions of the products I recently wrote about, and each is designed to help different types of organizations maximize the value of every interaction with customers.

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Mobile Technology, Speech Analytics, Analytics, Cloud Computing, Customer Service, Uncategorized, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Text Analytics, omnichannel

Three Tools to Boost Omnichannel Customer Experience

Posted by Richard Snow on Nov 17, 2015 2:07:57 PM

Much is written about omnichannel customer experience, and various software vendors now claim to focus on the customer experience. With various degrees of credibility they range from providers of communication channel management to workforce optimization, voice of the customer, self-service, analytics and even CRM. This bandwagon raises the question of what  omnichannel customer experience really is and how companies can achieve it. Our benchmark research into next-generation customer engagement shows that consumers now engage with companies through as many as 17 channels of engagement though companies on average support six. The research also shows that every business group, with the exception of IT, engages with prospects and customers at different times during the customer life cycle. Customers today, we know, are more demanding than ever. They want to choose the channel and time of engagement. They want the process to be easy, and they want to be recognized so responses can be personal to them. They expect consistent responses regardless of channel and not to have to repeat actions if they change channels. They want agents empowered to resolve an issue at the first try. Finally, at the end of the interaction they want to feel good about how it went and the outcome.

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Topics: Big Data, Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Speech Analytics, Analytics, Business Collaboration, Cloud Computing, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Text Analytics, omnichannel

Genesys Brings G-Force to Powering a Better Customer Experience

Posted by Ventana Research on Nov 5, 2015 11:18:48 PM

I recently joined more than 1,000 users, partners, consultants and other analysts at the first global G-Force 2015 conference, held in Miami. Sponsor Genesys put together an agenda that not only educated but entertained the attendees. For an example of the latter, Sekou Andrews, a poet, actor, musician and voice-over artist, preceded the main keynotes with a wonderful sketch that put customer experience into the context of marriage and reminded us to treat customers as he does his wife, remembering that the customer is always right!

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Data Management, Customer Experience, Speech Analytics, Analytics, Business Analytics, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Text Analytics, omnichannel, workforce optimization