Richard Snow's Analyst Perspectives

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

NICE Systems Leading Change at Interactions 2013

Posted by Richard Snow on May 1, 2013 11:34:13 AM

I recently attended NICE Systems’ annual user conference, this year called Interactions 2013. In discussions of its different products and latest releases and testimonials from selected clients, I was surprised by how the messages were packaged. NICE has a long history of acquiring companies, and it has let many of them continue to operate as autonomous lines of business. Often there was minimal integration with other NICE products, a variety of user interfaces, no common software administration tools. In my opinion this policy prevented it from taking advantage of having a suite of products focused on handling customer interactions. At the conference, Zeevi Bregman, CEO and President, positioned NICE as supporting three lines of business: interaction management, fraud and compliance, and security. He explained at length how the three are inextricably linked, tying fraud and compliance and security to interaction management and customer service. Fraud and compliance is linked to customer service because market segments such as banking have to ensure that the customer service they provide conforms to legislative requirements, and security is an increasing part of knowing customers and ensuring the safety of their information. Other executives also stressed these themes.

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Topics: Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, NICE Systems, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Mobile Apps, Self-service, Analytics, Business Analytics, 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

ClickFox Maps the Customer Journey

Posted by Richard Snow on Apr 8, 2013 11:30:41 AM

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.

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Topics: Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Clickfox, Self-service, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Cloud Computing, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Text Analytics, Unified Communications

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

IBM Launches Customer Experience Lab

Posted by Richard Snow on Mar 18, 2013 8:51:28 AM

IBM recently announced its new Customer Experience Lab. During a briefing I learned that the lab is a response to what IBM discovered by interviewing more than a thousand CMOs, who are concerned about the explosion of data companies collect about their customers. This explosion is being driven by changing customer communication preferences and the way customers now interact with organizations, which I recently highlighted in my post about the 2.0 world. My research into the contact center in the cloud shows a similar trend; although traditional channels such as telephone calls and email are still the most popular, channels such as social media, instant messaging, text messaging and video are fast catching up.

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

Clarabridge Operationalizes Text Analytics for Better Customer Experience

Posted by Richard Snow on Mar 11, 2013 9:52:47 AM

Clarabridge is a well-known text analytics vendor that markets its products under the banner of customer experience management. As I wrote last year, its products allow organizations to take a closed-loop approach by capturing all forms of text data, analyzing it, categorizing it, understanding root causes of customer issues and raising alerts so that action including collaboration can be taken based on these insights. Such a process is supportive of customer experience management, but for me the missing link is using these insights in real time to actively influence customer interactions.

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Topics: Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience, Speech Analytics, Clarabridge, Mobile Apps, Collaboration, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Text Analytics, Unified Communications

Welcome to the 2.0 World of Technology Marketing

Posted by Richard Snow on Mar 8, 2013 10:01:53 AM

Like me, you have no doubt spotted the propensity for software vendors and consultants to call anything new “2.0”; for example, we have ERP 2.0 and CRM 2.0. Just recently during a joint Aspect and Microsoft presentation, the companies went one step further and introduced the concept of the 2.0 customer meeting the 2.0 company. My first reaction was one of horror, but as I thought about it, it became clear that customers have changed and so companies need to change to keep up – welcome to the 2.0 world.

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Topics: Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, 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, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Vendor(s), Workforce Force Optimization

Three Unified Communications Trends in Evidence at UCExpo 2013

Posted by Richard Snow on Mar 7, 2013 8:03:13 AM

I recently attended the Unified Communication Expo exhibition and conference in London to find out how much communications has been changing. As I entered the exhibition center the first thing I noticed was the huge variety of vendors on show, everything from major brands in the telecommunications industry (Aspect, AT&T, BT, Cisco, Mitel, Nokia and Siemens Enterprise Communications) to some major brands perhaps not so associated with telecommunications (Dell, Citrix, Google and Microsoft), to several niche players with products such as mobility management, IP-based voice and data networks, audio/web/streaming/video conferencing, email/chat/text messaging and unified communications (presence and collaboration), to suppliers of audio equipment (Dell, Jabra, Logitech, Plantronics and Sennheiser). For me the most disappointing thing was the lack of vendors focused on the contact center, with only Aspect, Enghouse Interactive, Microsoft (in partnership with Aspect), Noble Systems and ShoreTel in evidence.

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Topics: Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Mobile Apps, Self-service, 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, Vendor(s), Workforce Force Optimization

Genesys Acquires Angel.com to Advance Contact Centers

Posted by Richard Snow on Mar 1, 2013 9:52:15 AM

The first positive signs for the “the new Genesys” emerged just 100 days after its sale by Alcatel was completed last year, and those positive signs have continued. The company has not only maintained strong development of its core products but has also made an aggressive move into the contact center mid-market, the contact center in the cloud market, and the multichannel communications management market. It strengthens its position now with the announcement of its acquisition of Angel.com.

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Topics: Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Genesys, Mobile Apps, Self-service, Analytics, Business Analytics, 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

Cisco Advances Customer Interactions and Collaboration in Contact Center

Posted by Richard Snow on Feb 21, 2013 10:07:51 AM

Cisco is without doubt best known as a supplier of networking systems. Its products have been used by companies large and small to build local and wide area networks. It has played in the contact center space as a provider of network and call management systems that sit between public networks and contact center agents to manage the delivery of interactions to the right extensions and provide agents with softphones so they can manage inbound and outbound calls. These systems were designed to operate in a multi-supplier environment so companies could build contact centers that made use of existing ACD and PBX systems. Cisco’s go-to-market strategy has been primarily indirect, and it has therefore built up a vast ecosystems of partners that sell, deliver and support its systems.

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Topics: Social Media, Customer Experience, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Logitech, Mobile Apps, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer Service, Call Center, Cisco, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Unified Communications, Upstream Works, Social, Workforce Force Optimization