The last time I reviewed ClickFox it was primarily focused on capturing how callers transverse IVR menus. It produced visual maps of what options callers used and thus how they navigate what can be quite complex menus, allowing users to identify the most common paths and thereby optimize these to meet common customer requirements and business needs. Since that time the market has changed considerably, and ClickFox’s current products now support companies as they try to identify how customers use different communication channels and how they hop across different channels to resolve their issues.
My research into the contact center in the cloud shows that companies now support an average of five to six channels through which they engage with customers. The most common remain the traditional channels (i.e. inbound and outbound phone calls and email) and in more than three quarters of organizations, but the results show an increasing use of chat, social media, mobile text messaging and video. Companies now need a view on what customers use what channels, what purposes they use different channels for, and how customers hop from one channel to another. Channel use varies for different customer segments and at different times throughout the customer lifecycle. My research into customer relationship maturity shows that two-thirds (67%) of highly customer-centric companies now use customer journey maps to visualize the ways different customer segments engage with their company during the customer lifecycle. In the majority of cases these maps are more theoretical than operational; they show how companies believe customers will engage with them through different channels. As companies focus more on customer retention, they need to turn theory into practice and produce maps of how customers actually engage with them.
The ClickFox CEA product supports companies in their efforts to produce such maps. The process starts with data collection. The product captures data from a wide range of communication channels: telephone, web, mobile, email, chat, social and from retail outlets. The software loads the information into a common data store, where ClickFox-developed capabilities allow the system to link transactions from different sources to the same customer – for example, it can link phone calls from a certain number with the records of a customer who has a certain email address. With this information, the system uses techniques inherited from mapping IVR journeys to map channel use and show the most common routes as fatter lines. This allows users to quickly see the most common channels and the steps customer actually use to complete their journeys.
The data can be sliced and diced in multiple ways and ClickFox Pulse shows the results in different forms to support different tasks. Heat maps pinpoint broken processes, charts show how different segments use different paths, charts and dashboards show progress against target metrics. These in turn can be used to redesign processes to improve operational efficiency and the customer experience, build probabilistic models to identify potential customer behaviors, and trigger events to take immediate remedial action. The product supports a learning process whereby companies can monitor real-world results, suggest improvements and then monitor the impact such improvements have on customer behaviors and business outcomes.
To deliver these capabilities, ClickFox has made improvements in its product architecture. Capturing data from multiple channels means the product has to process big data and deliver the results in near real-time so that companies can take action before customers defect or post negative comments to social media. The architecture has therefore been upgraded to use massively parallel processing, based on a Greenplum database and extensions to Hadoop. Users can access the system using any industry-standard browser.
As I recently wrote in my 2.0 world blog post, consumers have changed their communication habits and the way they engage with companies. To match these changes, companies need to know how customers actually engage with them and which channels deliver the best outcomes for the business and the customer. The new version of the ClickFox product supports companies in their efforts to gain this understanding and to take action to improve. I therefore recommend companies evaluate how it can help them in their efforts to optimize the customer journey and deliver on business goals.
Richard J. Snow
VP & Research Director