Richard Snow's Analyst Perspectives

Barriers to Omnichannel Customer Communications

Posted by Richard Snow on Jun 11, 2013 10:52:11 AM

In never ceases to amaze me, the number of new terms and acronyms the contact center market generates. Just as everyone is getting used to the fact that customers interact with companies through multiple communication channels (multichannel for short), someone invents the term omnichannel and we all have to get our heads around what this means. My research into the contact center in the cloud shows that companies now support on average nearly five communication channels, and although the traditional channels are still the most common, as the chart shows, there are signs that new channels such as chat (used by 37%), social media (29%), text messaging (22%) and video (5%) are on the increase.

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Topics: Social Media, Customer Experience, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Social CRM, Voice of the Customer, Echopass, Enghouse interactive, Five9, LiveOps, Mobile Apps, NewVoicemedia, Analytics, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Interactive Intelligence, Sales Performance Management (SPM), Unified Communications

Interactive Intelligence Reveals Ambitious Plans for Customer Service

Posted by Richard Snow on May 20, 2013 10:10:22 AM

At its recent user conference, Interactions 2013, Interactive Intelligence (Nasdqaq: ININ) showcased its extensive product portfolio and its ambitious plans to improve the products both technically and functionally. I have written more than once about the complexities of building a contact center, which is getting even more complex as companies begin to support more channels of interaction as inbound ones are distributed around the organization including sales (59%), marketing (46%) and CRM team (41%) and distribute to many different contact center sites according to our customer relationship maturity research. To keep up with developments, I divide contact center systems and applications into five groups:

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Topics: Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Mobile Apps, Self-service, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Desktop Analytics, Interactive Intelligence, Sales Performance Management (SPM), Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Force Optimization

Astute Solutions Supports Integrated Approach to CRM

Posted by Richard Snow on Apr 5, 2013 11:53:49 AM

Like all analysts, I have a series of classifications to help group together vendors with similar capabilities. My challenge is to create categories that align with most users’ expectations so I don’t confuse readers when I define which category a vendor falls into. My “big five” are WFO or agent performance management (quality monitoring, workforce management, training and coaching, remuneration, and agent-related analytics); contact center infrastructure, including cloud-based systems (multichannel interaction management, routing, CTI, and rerecording); CRM (marketing, sales and customer service); customer experience management (agent desktop, self-service, customer feedback management, knowledge management); and contact center and customer analytics (transactional, speech, text, event, process, multichannel, predictive and big data). Occasionally a vendor comes along that defies these classifications. Astute Solutions is one such. It describes itself as providing “best-of-breed CRM Customer Service, Social CRM, Contact Center, IP Communications, Knowledge Management, Mobile, and Self-Service solutions specifically designed for enabling customer-centric business strategies” – quite a mouthful.

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Topics: Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Social CRM, Voice of the Customer, Mobile Apps, Self-service, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Cloud Computing, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Interactive Intelligence, Unified Communications

Interactive Intelligence Embraces Business Process Management

Posted by Richard Snow on Aug 22, 2012 11:11:43 AM

The product page for Interactive Intelligence highlights what the company is best known for – IP-based business communications. This image is further strengthened by its flagship Customer Interaction Center platform, which offers organizations a fully featured multimedia contact center in the cloud. This offering includes multimedia communications in the cloud along with many of the capabilities that Ventana Research terms agent performance management. However, the company also offers a third set of products, which support business process automation. On first examination these seem somewhat tangential to the other products, but my research into customer relationship maturity shows the product sets are likely to converge more and more as organizations address the challenges of providing customers with excellent experiences.

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Analytics, Cloud Computing, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Desktop Analytics, Interactive Intelligence, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Force Optimization

Salesforce.com Advances Customer Interaction

Posted by Richard Snow on Aug 2, 2012 10:53:08 AM

Since it was founded in 1999, salesforce.com has been driving other vendors and end-user organizations to rethink how they supply and purchase software. The company has grown from being a supplier of CRM in the cloud to a vendor with diverse offerings that include a development platform, an app exchange, platforms that support marketing, sales and customer service, knowledge management, desktop technology, collaboration, website development, social media support and analytics. Along the way it has also become a powerful marketing machine – which sometimes gets in the way of understanding just what its products do and don’t do, and where they all fit. This obfuscation also extends to its extensive range of partners, where again it is sometimes hard to know who it deals with and how.

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Topics: Salesforce.com, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Data Management, Customer Experience, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, LiveOps, NewVoicemedia, Analytics, Business Collaboration, Cloud Computing, Customer Service, Call Center, Cisco, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Interactive Intelligence, Text Analytics, Vocalcom

Interactive Intelligence Offers Customers Mobile Self-Service

Posted by Richard Snow on May 7, 2012 10:10:05 AM

Interactive Intelligence announced Interaction Mobilizer, the latest application in its growing portfolio of products. As I recently wrote, Interactive Intelligence has come a long way since it launched its first software-based PBX in 1994. It was a pioneer in offering contact center applications in the cloud, which now include communications in the cloud and products for workforce optimization. The latest announcement follows similar ones from other vendors also announcing applications to support mobile self-service. Each of those products supports slightly different sets of capabilities, but all of them follow the trend to provide organizations with another channel through which customers can interact with them, and support customers who want self-service capabilities from their smartphones or tablets.

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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 Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Desktop Analytics, Information Applications (IA), Interactive Intelligence, Sales Performance Management (SPM), Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Management, Workforce Performance Management (WPM)

Customer Engagement Day Reveals New Issues and Opportunity

Posted by Richard Snow on May 1, 2012 11:15:47 AM

I recently attended the second in the series of customer engagement days organized by the Directors Club (GB & NI). The format of the event was the same as the first day that I wrote about and included three keynote presentations and three roundtable sessions where attendees discussed how organizations should engage with customers. As for the first event I chaired the roundtable on perfecting multichannel customer engagement in the contact center and gave a keynote on how social media is impacting the contact center.

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Social Media, Sustainability, Customer Analytics, Customer Data Management, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, NICE Systems, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Genesys, InContact, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer Service, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Desktop Analytics, Financial Performance Management (FPM), Information Applications (IA), Information Management (IM), Interactive Intelligence, IT Performance Management (ITPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Management, Workforce Performance Management (WPM), Noble Systems, Verint

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)

Interactive Intelligence Offers Trial Access to Contact Center in the Cloud

Posted by Richard Snow on Oct 25, 2011 11:08:04 AM

Cloud computing offers companies opportunity to innovate in the ways their contact centers handle customer interactions. Systems vendors have been gradually moving call and other interaction management to the cloud, along with some of the core applications required to operate a contact center such as call recording, workforce management and analytics. Interactive Intelligence is one of the front runners in this market with its Customer Interaction Center. To approach potential customers that aren’t convinced of the virtues of cloud-based systems, Interactive Intelligence recently launched a new service, Quick Spin, a trial version of the its suite.

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Customer Analytics, Customer Data Management, 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, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Management

New Customer and Contact Center Technology at Call Centre Expo

Posted by Richard Snow on Oct 15, 2011 3:33:16 AM

I have spent the last two days at the U.K.’s largest contact center trade show, which this year moved to London Olympia from the NEC in Birmingham. While the overall number of visitors seemed to be down, some exhibitors told me there were more high-level attendees with serious intent to purchase.

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, SAP, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Data Management, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Call Copy, Enghouse interactive, Enkata, Genesys, NewVoicemedia, Nexidia, ShoreTel, Analytics, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer Service, Call Center, Cisco, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Desktop Analytics, Interactive Intelligence, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Management, Workforce Performance Management (WPM), and Verint, cTalk Ltd, Noble Systems, digital technology