Richard Snow's Analyst Perspectives

Key Insights from Call Centre Expo 2013

Posted by Richard Snow on Oct 11, 2013 12:58:59 PM

Two years ago I wrote about communications in the cloud taking over the annual U.K. contact center event Call Centre Expo. Now that dominance is almost complete. At one point at this year’s event I was standing at the center of the show floor and without taking a step I spotted 11 vendors all offering some form of communications in the cloud. This term includes all the systems that manage the various communication channels companies now support for managing customer interactions: telephone, email, fax, postal mail, corporate websites, chat, mobile text messaging, video and social media. Not long ago these channels would have been bundled into the contact center infrastructure and typically managed by disparate, on-premises, often proprietary systems. Now, as these systems reach the ends of their lives, companies are looking for more cost-effective and integrated ways to support multiple communication channels and increasingly are moving to cloud-based systems, which my last benchmark research on the contact center in the cloud identified as the third-most common response to the challenges of interaction-handling.

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Topics: Analytics, Big Data, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Call Center, Cloud Computing, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Analytics, Customer Feedback Management, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Customer Service, Social Media, Speech Analytics, Text Analytics, Customer Experience

Echopass Demonstrates Value of Contact Center in the Cloud

Posted by Richard Snow on May 31, 2012 11:09:27 AM

Our benchmark research into the contact center in the cloud shows that almost all companies now support multiple communication channels to engage with customers. Most of them also involve multiple business units in handling inbound and outbound interactions. More companies now support at-home agents, and contact centers are becoming more distributed. These scenarios are a good fit for cloud-based systems, and the research finds that the top three ways organizations said they can meet these challenges, and thus improve the way interactions are handled, are to improve training and coaching, adopt applications in the cloud and adopt communications in the cloud. It also shows that organizations have high expectations of cloud-based systems, expecting them to require less capital expenditure, facilitate innovation in interaction handling, lessen demand on in-house resources, including IT and better support home-based agents.

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Topics: Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Call Center, Cloud Computing, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Analytics, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Customer Service, Desktop Analytics, Echopass, Information Applications (IA), Operational Performance Management (OPM), Predictive Analytics, Sales Performance Management (SPM), Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Voice of the Customer, Workforce Performance Management (WPM), Customer Experience, Analytics, Business Intelligence

Cloudforce UK Shows Salesforce.com at Its Best

Posted by Richard Snow on May 24, 2012 11:14:00 AM

When the Salesforce.com marketing machine rolls into town, you have to sit up and listen, and that’s what 14,000 attendees did at the latest Cloudforce event in London. The company took over a vast portion of the ExCel London Exhibition Centre to accommodate the keynote speech, lots of side events and meeting rooms and an expo floor where attendees could see demonstrations of every product and service, including many from partners showing what they have to offer.

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Topics: Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Call Center, Cloud Computing, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Analytics, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Customer Service, Information Applications (IA), LiveOps, NewVoicemedia, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Salesforce.com, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Text Analytics, Vocalcom, Voice of the Customer, Workforce Performance Management (WPM), Customer Experience, Analytics, Business Intelligence

Splunk Provides Intelligence for Customer Analytics

Posted by Richard Snow on May 22, 2012 1:04:49 PM

Recently my colleague Mark Smith wrote about Splunk and its latest technology supporting analytics for IT on machine data and providing operational intelligence. I wasn’t familiar with the company, which has focused on IT users and improving the performance of a company’s networks and IT systems. From a customer management perspective, these are of little interest unless they impact the customer experience; for example, if the website is down or the online banking system is unavailable. But in a follow-up briefing I learned that Splunk is increasingly playing in the business analytics market and has several user cases that relate directly to customers.

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Topics: Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Call Center, Cloud Computing, Contact Center, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Customer Service, Information Applications (IA), Information Management (IM), IT Performance Management (ITPM), Operational Performance Management (OPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Social CRM, Splunk, Workforce Performance Management (WPM), Customer Experience, Business Intelligence

Genesys Moves into Mobile Self-Service for Customers

Posted by Richard Snow on May 21, 2012 11:29:55 AM

It has been a busy time for Genesys, a company best known for computer/telephony integration (CTI) and routing software for contact centers. In February it split from Alcatel-Lucent and announced that with financial backing from two investment funds it was going forward as a stand-alone company. Over the last few years Genesys has diversified its portfolio to include workforce optimization, agent desktop, intelligent customer front door (ICFD) and analytics. Amid the current economic uncertainties, going it alone might seem risky and lead it to focus on these core products before expanding more. Not so; at its recent customer event, it announced a new product, Genesys Mobile Engagement, that it says “links mobile apps to customer service agents.”

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Topics: Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Call Center, Cloud Computing, Contact Center, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Customer Service, Genesys, Information Applications (IA), Operational Performance Management (OPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Social CRM, Workforce Performance Management (WPM), Customer Experience, Business Intelligence

NICE Systems Mobile Customer Self-Service Connects to Agents

Posted by Richard Snow on May 18, 2012 11:35:23 AM

Conventional wisdom in the contact center is that self-service options for customers reduce the number of their telephone calls. However, my benchmark research into the use of technology in contact centers throws doubt on this, finding that companies still expect the volume of interactions through all channels, including the phone, to increase. This is further supported by my benchmark research into customer experience management which shows many customers starting out with self-service opt to call the contact center because they cannot resolve their issues. In recognition that for the foreseeable future agent-assisted service is likely to sit alongside self-service,  NICE Systems recently announced Mobile Reach,an application that ties self-service on mobile devices to agent assistance.

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Topics: Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Call Center, Cloud Computing, Contact Center, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Customer Service, Information Applications (IA), NICE Systems, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Social CRM, Workforce Performance Management (WPM), Customer Experience, Business Intelligence

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: Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Call Center, Cloud Computing, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Analytics, Customer Feedback Management, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Customer Service, Desktop Analytics, Information Applications (IA), Interactive Intelligence, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Predictive Analytics, Sales Performance Management (SPM), Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Voice of the Customer, Workforce Management, Workforce Performance Management (WPM), Customer Experience, Analytics, Business Intelligence

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

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: Business Mobility, Call Center, Cloud Computing, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Analytics, Customer Feedback Management, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Customer Service, Desktop Analytics, Interactive Intelligence, Microsoft, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Social CRM, Social Media, Speech Analytics, Unified Communications, Voice of the Customer, Workforce Management, Workforce Performance Management (WPM), Customer Experience, Analytics

SAS Advances Customer Intelligence

Posted by Richard Snow on Apr 18, 2012 11:22:22 AM

SAS is one of the largest and best-known independent vendors of BI and analytics. The company’s website shows  16 product lines, and product variations to match almost every business analytics requirement in any industry. One of its core products lines is Customer Intelligence, which I wrote about last year. Customer Intelligence consists of four main components: strategy and planning, information and analytics, orchestration and interaction, and customer experience – among all these interesting areas, only the last really indicates what the products do.

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Topics: Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance Management (BPM), Cloud Computing, Contact Center Analytics, Customer Analytics, Customer Intelligence, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Customer Service, Desktop Analytics, Information Applications (IA), Information Management (IM), Operational Performance Management (OPM), Predictive Analytics, Sales Performance Management (SPM), SAS, Social CRM, Social Media, Speech Analytics, Text Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Customer Experience, Analytics, Business Intelligence