Richard Snow's Analyst Perspectives

Customer Engagement Day Highlights Issues for Companies

Posted by Richard Snow on Mar 9, 2012 10:45:03 AM

My namesake Jon Snow is chairman of the Directors Club (GB & NI), an association for professionals who focus on dealing with customers.Recently he organized the first of a series of customer engagement days designed to bring together senior representatives of U.K. companies to listen to a few presentations about hot issues in engaging with customers and more importantly to share experiences and concerns about key customer engagement issues in roundtable discussions, such as “the rise of the social enterprise,” “listening to the voice of the customer” and “mobile customers require a mobile strategy.” In addition to presenting a keynote on the state of social media in customer service, I chaired a discussion on “perfecting multichannel customer engagement in the contact center.”

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Data Management, Customer Experience Management, Customer Feedback Management, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer Service, 360-degree view of the Customer, Agent Performance Management, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Management, Workforce Performance Management (WPM)

The Customer and Contact Management Research Agenda for 2012

Posted by Richard Snow on Feb 21, 2012 11:03:33 AM

In all the years I have spent building contact centers and tracking this market, from both business and technology perspectives many things have not changed. Center managers are still under pressure to drive down costs, customers generally are not satisfied with the way their interactions are handled (perhaps less so), and organizations still aren’t making the most of customer interactions. However, as noted in my predictions for 2012, I am expecting more rapid change in the next couple of years than ever before with the advent of a collection of technologies that are already impacting business interactions with customer or by their actions.

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Data Management, Customer Experience Management, Customer Feedback Management, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer Service, 360-degree view of the Customer, Agent Performance Management, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Management, Workforce Performance Management (WPM)

Enkata Expands Customer Analytics for a Better Customer Experience

Posted by Richard Snow on Feb 2, 2012 10:25:26 AM

The products of Enkata have generally been designed for what Ventana Research terms performance management for customer service and call centers, including applications connected to agent performance management (quality monitoring, coaching, training and related analytics) and operational performance analytics based on transactional, structured data. Recently Enkata has taken a new direction with its branding (“changing the customer experience”) and has been filling out its portfolio of products to include analytics for unstructured data, so it now includes speech (courtesy of a partnership with Callminer), desktop, cross-channel and text analytics; the last supports  the analysis of customer surveys and social media posts.

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience Management, Customer Feedback Management, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Callminer, Enkata, Cloud Computing, Customer Service, 360-degree view of the Customer, Agent Performance Management, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Workforce Management, Workforce Performance Management (WPM), OpenSpan

Confirmit Provides Customer Insights through Surveys

Posted by Richard Snow on Jan 30, 2012 11:08:33 AM

Ventana Research believes that to provide excellent customer experiences it is necessary to understand what customers want and their likely behaviors, and one direct way to achieve this is by collecting and analyzing customer feedback. The challenge for organizations in this regard is that most customers are reluctant to complete surveys unless they are provided at an appropriate time, in an easy-to-use format and through the channel of their choice. Confirmit’s Horizons products support collection and analysis of feedback from marketing campaigns, employees and customers. The core survey engine enables design and authoring of surveys, and add-on modules handle collecting data, panel management (of a panel of customers, employees or market segments to help focus business activities) and analysis and reporting. It was built on the Microsoft .Net platform, but the most recent release, version 16, extends support to other environments and browsers. This release also enhances security, scalability and availability so Confirmit can collect hundreds of millions of surveys for customers around the world. The product is available for deployment on-premises or as software as a service (SaaS).

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Customer Analytics, Customer Data Management, Customer Experience Management, Customer Feedback Management, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Cloud Computing, Customer Service, 360-degree view of the Customer, Agent Performance Management, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Management, Confirmit

Feedback Management Can Improve the Customer Experience

Posted by Richard Snow on Jan 25, 2012 10:22:02 AM

There is a lot of talk today in customer service circles about the “voice of the customer” (VOC). For some people it means speech analytics (literally the voice of the customer), some others use it as an equivalent to the “360-degree view” of the customer, and for others it is about customer feedback. At Ventana Research we take a broader view and define VOC as reports and analysis that include as much customer information as possible. It should draw data from all available customer sources and use various forms of analytics to extract, report and analyze it as fully as possible. I am also an avid supporter of customer experience management (CEM) and urge companies to focus on the experiences customers receive at every touch point. This is where I see VOC and customer feedback come together.

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience Management, Customer Feedback Management, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Customer Service, 360-degree view of the Customer, Agent Performance Management, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Workforce Management

Clarabridge Advances Customer Experience Management

Posted by Richard Snow on Jan 13, 2012 8:37:39 AM

Clarabridge is an established vendor of text analytics products, which it sells both directly to the market and indirectly through an extensive set of partnerships with companies such as MicroStrategyIBM Cognos and Verint. Recently it has been marketing its applications under the category of customer experience management (CEM). To me, CEM is about personalizing and influencing the customer experience while an interaction is in progress. Organizations cannot do this without the right information about the customer, and text analytics is one of the primary tools that allows organizations to derive that information; in this way Clarabridge fits in CEM.

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Data Management, Customer Experience Management, Customer Feedback Management, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Clarabridge, Cloud Computing, Customer Service, 360-degree view of the Customer, Agent Performance Management, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Management

Customer and Contact Center Management in 2012

Posted by Richard Snow on Jan 3, 2012 11:35:00 AM

After reviewing the benchmark research I carried out during 2011 into customer and contact center analytics, the use of technology in contact centers and the adoption of cloud-based contact centers and systems, I have come up with a list of critical investments that I predict will distinguish customer and contact center management in 2012.

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Data Management, Customer Experience Management, Customer Feedback Management, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer Service, 360-degree view of the Customer, Agent Performance Management, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Management, Workforce Performance Management (WPM)

Cloud-Based Contact Center Research Finds Deployment Growth

Posted by Richard Snow on Dec 20, 2011 12:19:39 PM

Cloud-based systems have arrived as an option for how organizations source their IT systems, now and in the future. Proponents of the cloud – of which I am one – will tell you they have several major advantages over conventional on-premises systems. They require little upfront capital expenditure; the major costs come as a monthly “rental” charge for using the service rather than an annual license; they are less demanding on in-house resources; they are quicker, easier and less risky to implement; there is no annual maintenance fee as updates are built into the service charge; and organizations have disaster recovery taken care of by the vendor. With this background I recently carried out benchmark research to discover organizations’ current and likely adoption of cloud-based systems to support their contact center operations.

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Data Management, Customer Experience Management, Customer Feedback Management, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer Service, 360-degree view of the Customer, Agent Performance Management, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Management

Actuate Brings Business Intelligence to Customer Information

Posted by Richard Snow on Nov 21, 2011 10:02:49 AM

Actuate, which develops commercial versions of the open source Business Intelligence Reporting Tool (BIRT) technology, recently held a one-day event in London. My colleague Mark Smith covers Actuate’s products, but I was impressed by the simplicity of the company’s message, the core of which is that the ActuateOne suite of products allows companies to extract data from multiple data sources, use one product to analyze it and present the results in multiple formats in response to individual user requirements. A key component of this visualization is how easily it can display the results on smartphones and tablets. Actuate presenters demonstrated these capabilities in a lengthy session designed to show that this is “BI for the layman”; that is, after some from help from IT in setting up access to data sources, users can do everything else through the software’s drag-and-drop capabilities. My recent benchmark research into contact center analytics suggests that such simplicity is critical for more business users to adopt BI; if companies are to move away from using spreadsheets to produce their customer and contact center analyses, in addition to being able to do more the new products will have to be as easy to use as spreadsheets.

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Data Management, Customer Experience Management, Customer Feedback Management, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer Service, 360-degree view of the Customer, Actuate, Agent Performance Management, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Management

Contact Centers Should Align Objectives and Metrics

Posted by Richard Snow on Nov 10, 2011 9:59:32 AM

It never ceases to amaze me, when you ask people what their business objectives are and how they are measured, how often the two have little in common. This has been the case consistently in the research I have carried out over the last eight years into customer service and contact center performance. The main objective for contact centers is to improve customer satisfaction, but the key performance metric is average call-handling time. Despite hours of contemplation and discussions with colleagues, I still can’t see how one relates to the other.

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Data Management, Customer Experience Management, Customer Feedback Management, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Cloud Computing, Customer Service, 360-degree view of the Customer, Agent Performance Management, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Management