Richard Snow's Analyst Perspectives

Enghouse Interactive Advances Multichannel Customer Interactions

Posted by Richard Snow on Jan 30, 2013 10:16:09 AM

I recently wrote how Enghouse Interactive is building a portfolio of products to support contact center in the cloud. The foundation of all its products is the handling of interactions through a comprehensive set of communication channels. My research into the contact center in the cloud shows that after the adoption of CRM in the cloud, companies are most likely to adopt contact centers in the cloud because they support consumers that want to interact through more channels, and because of the increasing need to support distributed contact centers and the diverse location of employees handling interactions.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Enghouse interactive, Analytics, Cloud Computing, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Unified Communications

Vertical Solutions Integrates Field Service and CRM

Posted by Richard Snow on Jan 25, 2013 10:19:09 AM

I hadn’t come across Vertical Solutions until a recent briefing, from which I found that the company offers an interesting combination of field service management and CRM. Vertical Solutions has offices around the world, and its target market is companies with between 50 and 2,500+ users in the manufacturing, outsource contact center services, healthcare and residential services markets. It began with a focus on field service and has expanded to include CRM, or, as I would call it, customer experience management. If you track my blog you know I have reservations about labeling products as CRM or CXM, simply because both terms have come to mean different things to different people.

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Topics: Social Media, Customer Experience, Voice of the Customer, Mobile Apps, Self-service, Analytics, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Vertical Solutions

Verint Announces Real-Time Personalized Guidance

Posted by Richard Snow on Jan 24, 2013 10:05:07 AM

Recently Verint announced a new development in its workforce optimization suite Impact 360 Workforce Optimization that it calls Personalized Guidance. It aims to improve the customer experience by prompting anyone handling customer interactions with what they should do next. The principle is simple and logical: Analyze all the data you can so you understand the customer and context of the interaction, identify best next action, and prompt the person handling the interaction with this action so the customer receives a response best related to the interaction. Ideally, customers are happier and more interactions are resolved at the first attempt. The software also closes the loop and feeds information back to all other related lines of business so people there can also take appropriate action, which might mean changing a process, improving a product or updating a use guide, for example.

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Experience, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Analytics, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Verint, Workforce Force Optimization

Companies Miss the Point of Voice of the Customer (VOC)

Posted by Richard Snow on Jan 22, 2013 7:55:18 AM

The majority of companies think it is important to collect customer feedback, according to my recent research into customer feedback management, and they put that feedback to an average of five uses, the top five of which are to improve customer service (75%), to develop customer experience and interaction processes (54%), to identify agent training needs (54%), to improve products (50%) and to create a customer service strategy (49%).

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Analytics, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics

Cisco Finesse Provides Innovative Agent Desktop

Posted by Richard Snow on Jan 17, 2013 9:08:49 AM

My recent benchmark into the unified customer service agent desktop shows how critical the agent desktop is to improving agent satisfaction, meeting key customer-related metrics and enhancing the customer experience. The typical agent desktop contains multiple systems that allow agents access to multiple communication channels, business applications, messages and performance dashboards. The result is that the desktop is cluttered with systems, frustrating agents, driving up average interaction handling times, and impacting the customer experience as agents search for the information to resolve interactions. The research shows a direct correlation between implementing a unified or smart agent desktop and agent satisfaction, with the direct result that more satisfied agents are twice as likely to meet key metrics such as customer satisfaction, net promoter and customer effort.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Voice of the Customer, Analytics, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer Service, Call Center, Cisco, Contact Center, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Upstream Works, Workforce Force Optimization

Best Practices and Benefits from Using a Customer Service Agent Desktop

Posted by Richard Snow on Jan 17, 2013 7:30:51 AM

My research into the customer service agent desktop shows that most centers expect a lot of their contact center agents: more than half (59%) handle between two and five different services (such as general queries, complaints and sales) and 14 percent handle seven or more. Nearly half (49%) are expected to handle between six and 15 calls per hour, and as well as calls, the majority (75%) are expected to handle other forms of interactions, with most handling between one and five per hour. To achieve these goals most agents (65%) have to access an average of three or four different business applications, as well as multiple communication channels and dashboards. To make matters worse, a minority (28%) still have to use multiple desktops to access these systems, and the majority (62%) have to sign into each system independently. It is therefore not surprising that only a third (35%) of respondents believe their agents are satisfied with their roles.

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

2013 Direction of Technology for Customer and Contact Management

Posted by Richard Snow on Jan 16, 2013 4:16:31 AM

At the beginning of 2012 Ventana Research predicted that six major technologies would have an impact on the provision and supply of IT systems, and that these would bring about innovation in the way organizations support their business. Each of the six – business and social collaboration, mobile, analytics, cloud computing, social media and big data – has affected how organizations engage with their customers, but I don’t believe the full impact has yet been fully realized. Indeed, in some areas, their impact will accelerate.

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

Customer and Contact Center Management Research Agenda for 2013

Posted by Richard Snow on Jan 11, 2013 10:24:44 AM

Despite the recession, 2012 was a busy year in the contact center, customer service and customer experience markets. Ventana Research completed four benchmark research studies into customer relationship maturitycontact center in the cloudcustomer feedback management and agent desktop. Overall these show that organizations are slowly maturing in the processes, people, information and technology they use to support customer-facing activities. However, they also show many of the old issues have not gone away, and companies have still have lots to do in order to meet customer expectations and deliver on business goals.

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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, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Force Optimization

NICE Systems Addresses Fraud in Contact Centers

Posted by Richard Snow on Jan 9, 2013 11:13:49 AM

Back in 2007 when NICE Systems acquired Actimize I wondered how long it would be before someone figured out how to use the company’s fraud detection systems in contact centers. The answer is now, as NICE Systems announces its Contact Center Fraud Prevention system.

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Experience, NICE Systems, Speech Analytics, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM)

Verint Advances Integration and Interactivity for Workforce Optimization

Posted by Richard Snow on Jan 8, 2013 11:17:10 AM

In early 2012 I wrote a blog post about how Verint was overcoming some of its product integration issues by using an information-driven approach that allows users to drill down from key performance metrics into underlying application data. The latest version of its Impact 360 Workforce Optimization suite extends this approach and supports a flow of data between applications and workflows that enables cross-application processes. The suite of products includes interaction recording, workforce management, agent quality monitoring, eLearning and coaching, enterprise and customer feedback management, performance management, and desktop, process, text and speech analytics. The latest release is designed to make these operate seamless so that companies can manage processes related to handling customer interactions.

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Analytics, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Verint, Workforce Force Optimization

Customer Service Presents Major Challenges

Posted by Richard Snow on Jan 7, 2013 11:33:47 AM

In today’s competitive markets, many organizations recognize that customer service represents an opportunity to differentiate themselves from their competition. However, our research into the agent desktop shows that providing excellent customer service is a real challenge in many areas, starting with managing the channels of communication required to offer customers a choice in how they interact with the company. My research into customer and contact centers shows that over the last 18 months, companies now support an average of five channels, including advanced channels such as chat, text messaging, video calls and social media. This presents a challenge for companies because these channels are often supported by different lines of business and the information delivered through them is not consistent. The net result is that customers don’t get a consistent experience across channels and so will often skip across channels until they get the result they are seeking. This situation is further aggravated because organizations are still most often organized into silos, with each line of business pursuing its own goals, objectives and metrics. This means customers get a different experience and different information depending on which line of business they are dealing with, and often are met with statements such as “that is not my responsibility” and “I can’t help because I don’t have the information.”

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Experience, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Voice of the Customer, Analytics, Customer Service, Business Performance Management (BPM), Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM)

Best Practice Customer-Related Metrics

Posted by Richard Snow on Jan 4, 2013 11:39:30 AM

Customers have always been important to companies, but what are the best metrics to measure the success of customer-related activities, and how well companies meet customer expectations?

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Feedback Management, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Analytics, Business Analytics, Contact Center Analytics, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics

2013 Vendor to Watch – Salesforce.com

Posted by Richard Snow on Jan 3, 2013 11:35:49 AM

It’s hard to believe that Salesforce.com was launched only 14 years ago. It has since grown into a multi-billion-dollar company that has changed the way companies source software. Back in the early days its two primary messages were “the end of on-premises software” and “a new era of CRM in the cloud.” Today the first message seems to have softened somewhat, with its own website talking about products and applications, and of course many companies still use traditional on-premise applications. As my research shows, companies are not so concerned about the specifics of “SaaS,” “hosted” or “cloud” but are more focused on usability, functionality, security, scalability, integration, performance and of course cost. They are also increasingly concerned about finding the skills necessary to deploy and operate the applications they need to support their businesses. When you add these all up, off-premises really comes into its own. My research into the contact center in the cloud shows that CRM leads the way in adoption in the cloud, with communications in the cloud (systems to manage the delivery of multichannel customer interactions) following closely behind.

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Topics: Salesforce.com, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience, Social CRM, Voice of the Customer, Mobile Apps, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM)

Linking Customer Feedback and Business Benefits

Posted by Richard Snow on Jan 2, 2013 11:11:50 AM

Many organizations collect customer feedback, but my recent research into customer feedback management shows that most have yet to take advantage of modern techniques. The research shows that companies on average use approximately four methods. The most popular remain email and online surveys, listening to call recordings and outbound phone calls. Newer techniques such as reviewing social media posts, social media forums, mobile apps and mobile text-based conversations remain the domain of early adopters and innovative companies. The same can be said of how companies analyze customer feedback, with by far the most common method being manual. Only the most mature companies having adopted specialized analytics tools that automate the process, thus making it more efficient, letting them use bigger samples of customer input, and making the outputs more reliable and consistent.

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Voice of the Customer, Analytics, Cloud Computing, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Text Analytics