The contact center market continues to shift focus from handling customer calls as efficiently as possible to providing superior customer engagement across multiple touch points. The latest advancement is an joint announcement from IBM and Genesys who have signed a partnership agreement to provide “smarter customer engagement”. The agreement includes a technology partnership and a joint marketing plan, and brings together IBM’s Watson Engagement Advisor and Genesys’ Customer Experience Platform.
Topics: Social Media, Customer Experience, Genesys, Mobile Apps, Self-service, Operational Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Call Center, Cognitive Computing, Contact Center, CRM, IBM Watson
Ventana Research has just released its 2013 Value Index for Agent Desktop Management, in which we evaluate the competency and maturity of vendors and products that support the management of the desktop systems that agents use to handle customer interactions. Our firm has researched this software category for many years, and our benchmark research into customer service and the agent desktop shows the impact the agent desktop has on agent satisfaction and efficiency and the business outcome of such interactions. Because of its increasing importance, we have taken agent desktop management out of our Customer Experience Value Index and created a separate category for it.
Topics: Salesforce.com, Customer Experience, NICE Systems, Cincom, Genesys, Jacada, Kana, Operational Performance, Analytics, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, Upstream Works, OpenSpan
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.
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 & Contact Center, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Force Optimization
In what will no doubt be one of a host of announcements coming out of Dreamforce, Genesys announced a new set of cloud-based services especially for Salesforce.com customers. Genesys is a well-known brand in the contact center market, but it has undergone significant change of late and is now an independent company in charge of its own destiny. This announcement demonstrates that it intends to become more responsive to market trends – and it probably can’t do better than to team up with Salesforce.com, which will provide huge amounts of marketing clout. Salesforce itself has become a major brand in the contact center space with Service Cloud, as my research into the adoption of cloud-based contact centers shows.
Topics: Salesforce.com, Customer Experience, Voice of the Customer, Genesys, Analytics, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, CRM, Unified Communications
Our benchmark research into agent performance management shows that the majority of companies are not very mature in their use of people, processes, information and technology in handling customer interactions. Companies are most mature is their use of information, but even in this area they are hampered by their failure to use the latest technologies available to support their efforts.
Topics: Predictive Analytics, Sales Performance, Social Media, Customer Analytics, NICE Systems, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, VPI, Call Copy, Enkata, Envision, Genesys, KnopahSoft, LiveOps, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Workforce Performance, Call Center, coaching, Compensation, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, OnviSource, Training, Verint, Workforce Force Optimization
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.”
Topics: Sales Performance, Customer Experience, Social CRM, Genesys, Operational Performance, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Information Applications, Workforce Performance, Call Center, Contact Center, CRM
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.
Topics: Predictive Analytics, Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Sustainability, Customer Analytics, Customer Data Management, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, NICE Systems, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Genesys, InContact, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Information Applications, Information Management, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Workforce Performance, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Desktop Analytics, Interactive Intelligence, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Management, Noble Systems, Verint
I have spent the last two days at the U.K.’s largest contact center trade show, which this year moved to London Olympia from the NEC in Birmingham. While the overall number of visitors seemed to be down, some exhibitors told me there were more high-level attendees with serious intent to purchase.
Topics: Predictive Analytics, SAP, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Data Management, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Call Copy, Enghouse interactive, Enkata, Genesys, NewVoicemedia, Nexidia, ShoreTel, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Workforce Performance, Call Center, Cisco, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Desktop Analytics, Interactive Intelligence, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Management, and Verint, cTalk Ltd, Noble Systems, Digital Technology
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
Topics: Predictive Analytics, Sales Performance, Salesforce.com, SAS, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Clarabridge, Genesys, ResponseTek, RightNow, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Information Applications, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics
In the contact center market Genesys is synonymous with computer/telephony integration (CTI) and call routing. It was the first vendor to combine routing of calls to agents and using CTI to pop screens onto the agent’s desktop when the call was put through. Genesys has been adding products to its portfolio and now has expanded into what Ventana Research terms agent performance management (APM) and our benchmark research. Many vendors and other analyst firms use the term workforce optimization (WFO) to included applications such as call recording, quality monitoring, workforce management and agent-focused performance management and analytics. At Ventana Research we add call routing, training and coaching and compensation management to the standard WFO applications, hence APM. Our premise is that if you want to provide to customers the best possible experiences, you must do more than just have enough agents online to serve them; you also need to make sure that the call is routed to the right agent, that agents hone their skills to the highest level to resolve as many interactions as possible at the first attempt and that agents that achieve their goals are rewarded appropriately.