You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘RightNow’ tag.
May 12, 2011 in Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Information Applications, Operational Performance, Sales Performance, Social Media | Tags: 360-degree view of the Customer, Attensity, Call Center, Clarabridge, Cloud Computing, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience Management, Customer Service, Desktop Analytics, Genesys, Predictive Analytics, ResponseTek, RightNow, salesforce.com, SAS, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Text Analytics, Voice of the Customer | by Ventana Research | Leave a comment
Unless you have been on a long vacation somewhere without newspapers, mobile phones or the Internet, you must have noticed all the buzz about social media – some of it factual and lots of it hype. Over a billion people use Facebook. There are many millions of tweets on Twitter every day, and YouTube has become the place to share videos, whether for a laugh, for a company’s brand awareness or for training courses. The key question for business is how much of this is useful for commerce and how much is just socializing. I started researching this movement and its intersection some time back and last year spoke about Customer Service in the Social Media Age.
Companies should be looking at social media as another channel of communications with their customers and prospects. My research into the state of technology in contact centers shows that companies on average now support four channels of communications but that as yet social media is the least used. This is due to some extent to its newness, but I believe other factors also come into play. Social media is different than other channels. It is much more open-ended, and it is impossible to control who (and how many people) might see an entry. Therefore, companies and customers should be careful about what they post (or allow employees to post in their name). Social media generates high volumes of communications and thus can consume lots of time and effort both to keep up with and respond to entries. And like it or not, it is open to abuse, such as with disgruntled consumers running negative campaigns against companies, companies manipulating entries to sway consumers’ views and both sides reacting badly to provocative entries.
Another significant difference is that use of social media transcends business units; this might be the hardest thing for companies to reconcile. As a speaker pointed out at the recent IQPC Executive Customer Contact Exchange (ECCE) conference, business can use social media for four activities – brand management (marketing), sales, customer service and product development. Of these it seems that the most use is for brand management, with marketing departments using it as a “cheap” channel to place advertising and also to monitor consumer comments about the company or brand. The next widest use is in the largely negative side of customer service, as customers post negative comments about companies, products and the quality of service they receive, and some companies respond. At the very least companies should be monitoring these comments using one of the many social media analytics tools; doing so they can extract a wealth of insights into what they and others are doing right and wrong (most often the latter).
At the present time other uses are less common. A few companies have extended the use of social media into their end-to-end customer service processes, such as in picking up entries requesting information on how to get a product working. This typically involves capturing social media entries using one of the engines now available, routing service entries to the contact center or customer service group, and then having someone post a response through the same channel or if appropriate a different channel. In a similar way some companies are picking up potential sales opportunities, as in the form of entries requesting information about a product, and routing these into their sales process. Finally some innovative companies are using social media forums to solicit feedback on potential product developments or enhancements.
It is still uncertain which of these uses will deliver real business value, but as companies experiment with social media, I advise them to take into account that typically each of these four uses is the responsibility of a different business unit. My research on the use of technology shows that one of the most important things for companies and customer alike is consistency – of information and experience. Inconsistency in either means increased costs (providing multiple channels to get an answer), increased customer frustration and loss of potential business. To avoid these, companies should regard social media as a cross-business-unit responsibility and ensure that all use a single source of customer information and synchronize their processes across unit boundaries.
There was also a lot of discussion at the ECCE event as to how companies should put together their social media strategy. It seems to me that the first thing companies should do is “listen” to how their customers are using social media and what they are saying on different sites. Several vendors are doing this that I have been assessing including Attensity, Clarabridge, Genesys, ResponseTek, RightNow, salesforce.com and SAS These products, some of which are deployed in the cloud, can extract relevant entries from different sites and use text analytics to assess the content. Once you have this ability to listen you’ll be in a position to decide strategy and how best to benefit from social media going forward. Where does your company stand with regard to social media? What uses are you making of it? Do you have a product in place to monitor what is happening? Drop me a line and tell me about your experience.
Richard Snow – VP & Research Director
April 25, 2011 in Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Operational Performance, Social Media, Workforce Performance | Tags: 360-degree view of the Customer, Agent Performance Management, Call Center, Cloud Computing, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience Management, Customer Feedback Management, Customer Service, Desktop Analytics, Interactive Intelligence, Predictive Analytics, RightNow, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Voice of the Customer, Workforce Management | by Ventana Research | Leave a comment
Interactive Intelligence (ININ) recently invited partners, consultants and analysts to Portugal to hear about the latest developments in its products. Not surprisingly given the extensive range of products it now supports, none of us had much time to enjoy Lisbon but were put through an intensive program of presentations and discussions.
On the surface, it appears that ININ supports three separate product lines: the contact center, enterprise IP telephony and business process automation. Dig a little deeper and you find that these are all built on the same foundation, Customer Interaction Center (CIC). This is an integrated software application suite that runs on a single multichannel platform, which has been architected to support both Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and voice over Internet protocol (VoIP). Don Brown, the company founder, president and CEO, explained some architectural changes that enable CIC to support all of the components required to operate a multichannel contact center and also that all of it has been developed in-house or rewritten to fit the overall architecture and internal standards and integrated as one solution, although components can be purchased one at a time. They include standard and IP-based PBX, ACD (multichannel queuing, and call and email routing), multichannel support for phone, fax, email, Web, SMS and e-services, outbound dialing, IVR, agent desktop, quality monitoring, feedback management, workforce management, knowledge management, call and screen recording, an ever increasing number of analytics products and integration capabilities including monitoring of social media. On top of this, the suite also includes functionality to support enterprise-wide business process automation. Each of the modules has been or shortly will be revised with new features to enhance functionality and improve reliability and scalability.
The products are available as on-premises or cloud-based systems. ININ says that the latter is proving popular for the communication features, with Communications as a Service (CaaS) proving to be the best-selling product at the moment. As I have written several times, cloud deployment not only reduces the cost of supporting several high-end communication facilities but also gives companies more control over their interactions with customers by adding flexibility, ease of configuration and an architecture that supports even the most distributed operating models.
ININ has developed a comprehensive third-party program to support marketing, sales and delivery of its products. One partner of interest to me is RightNow. Its CX product has three basic components – RightNow Contact Center Experience, Web Experience and Social Experience, which support a dynamic desktop that provides customer case management, Web self-service, chat, co-browsing, email management, and social media monitoring. The two companies are working closely together to integrate their full range of products and offer one of the most advanced, fully integrated communications, contact center, customer experience management and social media solutions on the market.
I have been in the contact center industry for more than 20 years now, and my experience and research confirm that three things are holding back companies as they struggle to improve their contact centers to meet today’s new demands: cost, complexity and awareness. My latest research into the state of contact center technology illustrates the first two issues. Most companies have less than 10% of their operating budget to invest in new technologies yet they now have to build multichannel centers to support all manner of communication channels and business requirements. Traditionally this involves spending lots of money and integrating several systems, most likely from several vendors. The ININ suite changes both of these factors – it is fully integrated, includes most of the functionality companies need (and ININ is investing to add more) and the cloud deployment model helps dramatically from a cost perspective. It therefore offers companies the opportunity to innovate in the ways they interact with customers, with less risk and lower cost than previously. Interactive Intelligence continues to advance its technologies and since my analysis last year.
Richard Snow – VP & Research Director