Technology Finds 21st Century Customer Service - Customer Relationship Management

The call center vendor world hasn’t changed terribly much in the last several years,though what they are offering has. You’ll still see Siebel Call Center in a dominant role in large enterprises carrying out the more traditional call center approaches because it remains a solid product,though cumbersome. Companies like KANA have moved from their more traditional customer service offering to something they are calling service experience management and interaction management,becoming the largest of the web self-service vendors in theprocess. Avaya and Genesys still lead the market when it comes to voice-related technology and large enterprise contact center infrastructure,and they work with a lot of the other contact center vendors to fill out their portfolio.

But it goes much further. Salesforce.com,known historically for their SFA,brought in ServiceCloud in 2009,which gave them a robust,cloud-based,on-demand customer service offering that was fully integrated with Facebook and Twitter,to do what salesforce.com does best,provide innovation in their solutions. SAP was first to the block to integrate sentiment analysis through their Business Objects Insight product and Twitter actions to be able to monitor customer conversations and then alert the appropriate parties about potential issues based on the virulence of the emotions surrounding the issue. Parature,a small player just a few years ago,used their odd vertical,the interactive gaming space,to grow to a much broader group of 750 customers by mid-2009.

In other words,customer service technology exploded in 2009 and this was just the tip of the iceberg. There were too many specialists in areas like contact center search or workforce optimization (used a lot in field service) to even begin to discuss.

But the two that stand out to me for Social CRM offerings—the ones that matter to the social customer’s business ecosystem—are Right- Now,a long-established early SaaS player in CRM,and Helpstream,a newcomer making a major play for the technology implementation of a new customer service model.


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