June 2008 | Volume 27 / Number 1
Customer Interaction News
Customer Interaction News
Eloqua Announces New Campaign Management Capabilities
Eloqua Corporation, a vendor of demand generation applications and expertise for business-to-business marketers, has announced new campaign management capabilities that help business-to-business marketers deploy campaigns. Campaign Composer, a campaign-planning tool designed to match how marketers approach campaign development, is designed to help marketers “engage, nurture and qualify sales leads,” Eloqua officials say. It integrates with CRM and SFA systems.
CRM Revenue To Hit $9 Billion In 2008
Worldwide customer relationship management software revenue is projected to surpass $8.9 billion in 2008, a 14.2 per cent increase from preliminary 2007 revenue estimates of $7.8 billion, according to research mavens Gartner (News - Alert), Inc. The CRM market is “poised for healthy growth through 2012,” when revenue is forecast to reach $13.3 billion, Gartner says in “Customer Relationship Management Software, Worldwide 2007-2012.” “The composition of the worldwide CRM market is evolving as vendors continue to extend regionally, increase penetration within existing accounts and gain new clients, offer flexible deployment models, and continue to develop the channel,” said Sharon Mertz, research director at Gartner.
Commerce Planet’s Iventa, Yesmail Announce E-Mail Marketing Program
Commerce Planet and its subsidiary, Iventa, which sells e-commerce management software, have announced an e-mail marketing program with Yesmail, an infoUSA (News - Alert) company. Under the terms of the agreement, Yesmail will manage and direct Iventa’s e-mail marketing program. Iventa’s business management software, combined with Yesmail’s Enterprise e-mail marketing product expands Iventa’s service offering to their enterprise customer base. The platform also includes an integrated analytics module that provides a variety of reports for operational analysis and planning.
U.S. Economic Downturn Driving Growth For Hosted Contact Center Solutions Market
DMG Consulting, which sells contact center and real-time analytics research and consulting services, has published the 2008 Hosted Contact Center Infrastructure Market Report, a guide to the market, products and vendors. The firm’s research found that there are more than 385,000 hosted contact center seats in use around the world today: “The projected slowdown in the U.S. economy will be a key stimulus fueling the adoption of hosted contact center products, as companies are compelled to reduce capital investments,” DMG wrote.
CRM Provider NetSuite, BT (News - Alert) Announce Reseller Deal
CRM vendor NetSuite has announced a partnership with BT to distribute, resell and support NetSuite in the UK and EMEA. The BT/NetSuite (News - Alert) announcement comes on the heels of NetSuite’s introduction of NetSuite OneWorld, a new on-demand product that enables multi-national companies to manage their company in a single application.
In 2004, the Department of Trade and Industry estimated that there are 4.3 million business enterprises in the UK and 99.9 percent were small to medium-sized enterprises, many of whom have requirements for multi-national CRM, ERP and ecommerce capabilities. The majority of these, NetSuite officials say, “still buy separate, expensive software packages to run and manage their business.”
SAS (News - Alert) Helps Turn Business Intelligence Green
Business intelligence provider SAS announced a new “green” initiative: the company has positioned itself to better help organizations accurately measure and manage their environmental impact. SAS for Sustainability Management introduces what the company calls “the first decision-support software platform for proactively identifying innovative strategies that effectively address complex environmental, social and economic situations while achieving stakeholder objectives.” SAS for Sustainability Management, based on the SAS Enterprise Intelligence Platform, uses the Global Reporting Initiative framework to report on Triple Bottom Line indicators. These indicators relate to the three spheres of sustainability – environmental, social, and economic, using SAS’ predictive abilities to validate strategies, identify causal relationships, forecast improvement scenarios and drive innovation.
Infor Launches CRM For SMBs
Business solutions provider Infor recently announced the availability of its Infor CRM Business Edition, a CRM software package designed to meet the specialized sales and service needs of small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs). According to the company, Infor CRM Business Edition streamlines critical CRM functions, helping sales organizations convert leads into sales and enabling service representatives to nurture customer interactions into long-term profitable relationships. Infor CRM Business Edition consists of two modules: Infor CRM Sales and Infor CRM Service. The combined solution was created to simplify configuration and reduces deployment costs. It features built-in integration to Infor ERP SyteLine and Infor ERP LN, Infor’s enterprise resource planning solutions.
EPA’s Call Center Cited For Government Customer Support Excellence
Apptis, which provides IT solutions and services to the federal marketplace, announced that the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) call center has won the 2008 Government Customer Support (GCS) Excellence Award for its Overall Excellence. Apptis, as a subcontractor/partner to Computer Sciences (News - Alert) Corporation (CSC) on the ITS-EPA contract, is part of the team responsible for the daily operations of the EPA call center. Apptis, in partnership with CSC transitioned the EPA’s legacy help desk environment and consolidated several help desks and functions into a single point of contact call center.
Study Shows Marketers Still Not Properly Using E-mail
Marketing platform provider Alterian has released the results of its free online interactive assessment measuring the level of sophistication of more than 700 marketers, agencies and marketing services providers’ e-mail strategies and activities. It included an in-depth look at how marketers personalize, automate, segment, track and report on e-mail campaigns. The news was not great. (This is not a surprise to you if you are a consumer who has tried to resolve a customer issue via e-mail lately.) Based on responses to 10 multiple choice questions, Alterian scored participants and provided them with a ranking in one of the five following categories: Basic E-mail Marketer, Intermediate E-mail Marketer, Advanced User, Expert User and Pacesetter. Out of the more than 700 respondents, only five percent qualified as an Expert User (those most likely to be generating results that are significant and easily quantifiable) and none achieved the level of Pacesetter (those pushing e-mail marketing to new realms of effectiveness and relevance).
Call Genie (News - Alert) Appoints Former Telcordia President
Call Genie, which provides mobile local search and advertising solutions, recently announced the appointment of Michael Henderson as its Chief Sales Officer. Henderson, a career communications industry professional, is tasked with leading Call Genie’s global sales and marketing organization and executing on the company’s mission to “become the de-facto standard in delivering mobile local search and advertising solutions that enable directory assistance providers, yellow pages publishers, search engine companies and wireless carriers to launch new lines of business and create new revenue streams,” according to the press release.
ContactBabel (News - Alert) Invites U.S. Call Centers To Participate In Study
Research group ContactBabel announced this morning it has begun research for the second edition of its “U.S. Contact Center Operational Review (second edition - 2008). The company is inviting the participation of any U.S. business that has more than 10 employees working in a telephony-based role to take part, whether inbound, outbound, sales or service-focused. Recent research indicates that U.S. businesses have reached a critical point within their customer-facing operations. The growing pressure caused by staff attrition and absence, a shrinking labor pool, the failure of offshore outsourcing and a more demanding customer base means that alternatives such as self-service and automation are now seen as viable alternatives to increasing headcount.
LiveOps (News - Alert) Follows Salesforce.com Model To Corporate Philanthropy
Home agent provider LiveOps has announced the creation of its new philanthropic Foundation. The LiveOps Foundation was developed with the goal of supporting activities that enhance and serve the communities in which LiveOps employees live and work, as well as the associated issues that impact quality of life. The foundation is modeled after salesforce.com’s philanthropic organization and, in fact, had the support and encouragement of salesforce.com CEOMarc Benioff. Utilizing salesforce.com’s 1/1/1 integrated corporate philanthropy model, LiveOps has built its Foundation on “three cornerstones of giving.” LiveOps plans to set aside approximately one percent of current outstanding shares to be used to fund the Foundation after a liquidity event. In addition, LiveOps will offer gifts of cash supporting grants for organizations that their employees support, grants for business partners and a matching gift policy of up to $500 per employee per year.
CallMiner (News - Alert) Awarded U.S. Patent For Speech Analytics
Speech analytics solutions provider CallMiner has announced it has been awarded a U.S. Patent for speech analytics. CallMiner’s patented software generates word alternatives to “disambiguate confusing phrases used in speech patterning,” according to the company. The patent is for an element of the software that raises the efficiency and accuracy of its speech analytics solution.
CRM For Non-Profits Solution Now Includes Web Integration Platform
Open-source CRM provider MPower announced that its solution now includes a Web integration platform designed to enable users of the company’s donor database to integrate easily and in real-time with Web content management systems (CMS) of their choice. Nonprofits that are the focus of MPower’s solutions have not been able to easily integrate donor databases and CMS solutions from different vendors. MPower’s new functionality gives organizations more options and improved flexibility for building and leveraging CRM systems that meet their specific needs. According to the company, real time, bi-directional integration of constituent data collected in offline and online databases is key for conducting the most effective marketing and fundraising campaigns. Such integration provides nonprofits with an immediate, complete view and understanding of constituents who nowadays interact with charitable groups through multiple channels, such as direct mail, television, radio, online, telephone, events, personal contact, newsletters and subscriptions.
SugarCRM (News - Alert) Delivers Enhanced Enterprise Reporting And Wireless Features
Open source CRM provider, SugarCRM has announced the beta release of new reporting and wireless capabilities for SugarCRM. For SugarCRM users, this means more insight into sales effectiveness and customer behavior and with new wireless capabilities, a feature-rich SugarCRM user experience on mobile phones, including BlackBerry (News - Alert) and iPhone mobile handsets. As part of the new enhancements, SugarCRM has said it also “strengthened data import features, enhanced the ability to create custom objects and modules with Sugar Module Builder, and introduced new tracking functionality which allows SugarCRM administrators to get a better view into system usage and performance.”
TouchStar (News - Alert) Intros Call Center System Guaranteed to Reduce Costs
Call center solutions provider TouchStar has announced its Enterprise Call Center System now provides enterprise clients with rapidly reduced costs. The newly enhanced system, complete with support for NMS Communications Open Access carrier class media processing platform, also includes new load balancing and a multi-threaded software architecture to assist enterprise call centers in attaining scalability and reliability with their call center system. TouchStar can now also scale to support thousands of call center agents anywhere in the world on a variety of networks.
Over-the-Phone Language Interpreter Workforce Continues Growth
The increasing need for over the phone interpretation and bilingual translation especially with call center and customer care transactions between companies and limited English speakers, is resulting in a greater demand for the interpreter workforce. Realizing this demand, Language Line Services (LLS), a provider of language-based services, has announced it plans to increase its Monterey, California and Elk Grove, Illinois-based interpreter workforce. Language Line Services provides phone interpretation for hospitals, courts and 911 call centers in the U.S., Canada and the U.K.
Survey Finds Web Meetings Are Increasing, Companies Getting Greener
As the focus on “Going Green” increases in today’s workplace, the latest survey by unified communication services provider, Genesys (News - Alert) reveals that companies have become much greener in the last year. According to the latest survey, travel is down and virtual meetings are up as companies increase their attention on Green behaviors. The Genesys “Earth Day Green Survey” looked to more than 18,000 customers to reveal how behaviors are changing in the workplace to address environmental concerns. According to the survey’s findings, 56 percent of respondents recognized meaningful steps within their company to become Greener since the last Earth Day.
Survey Says 87 Percent Question Safety Of Personal Info
CRM Incorporated Into Mobile Marketing, New Media Institute Says
Major U.S. brands have incorporated mobile marketing into CRM as well as their traditional advertising campaigns and call centers in order to “increase response, enhance loyalty and improve customer relations,” according to the New Media Institute. “Most people today use a cell phone. Lack of cell phone spam translates into a major channel of communications without the noise of traditional channels,” explained John Spagnuolo, President of the New Media Institute. The NMI is offering tips for mobile marketers, including the suggestion to “offer an incentive for individuals to opt-in to your mobile community,” and segmenting your message: “This is not a new concept for marketers, but mobile technology makes executing this task easy.”
Apatar Phone Verify Tool Released For SugarCRM, Salesforce, Other Apps
Apatar, a vendor of open source data integration software, has announced the CDYNE Phone Verification connector for the Apatar Open Source Data Integration toolset, which works for SugarCRM, Salesforce.com and other applications. The new connector determines the validity of any U.S. or Canadian phone number using CDYNE Web services, all without coding. Now Apatar lets users verify and filter customer phone numbers extracted from databases, files, applications (Salesforce.com, SugarCRM) and Web 2.0 destinations such as “Flickr, Amazon S3, RSS feeds,” the Apatarians say. Over half of B2B marketers plan to put more resources against creating marketing databases, cleaning up customer data, improving sales force automation and CRM integration, according to Forrester (News - Alert) Research in its “B2B CMO Investment Priorities for 2008” report.
DirectMail.com Acquires HP Indigo Technology To Enhance Customer Messaging
DirectMail.com, a direct mail and data services provider, has successfully acquired Hewlett Packard’s HP Indigo technology for creating dynamic, high-quality customer messaging. With this acquisition, DirectMail.com will be better positioned to maximize on HP’s digital printing technology and produce messaging that is completely dynamic and data driven, with the quality inherent in traditional offset printing.
Verint (News - Alert) Witness Actionable Solutions Validated Through Gvalidated Application Integration
Verint Systems Inc. has announced that the quality monitoring and recording solutions from its Verint Witness Actionable Solutions business line has been validated through the Gvalidated Application Integration initiative by Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories Inc. A company must be accepted into the Genesys validation initiative as well as have successfully developed and deployed its integration according to Genesys design standards to achieve this designation. Gvalidated is the highest status for a non-Genesys developed integration. Verint Witness Actionable Solutions’ quality monitoring and recording solution is designed to help contact centers and enterprises increase operational effectiveness, reduce liability and enhance the overall customer experience.
Talisma Click To Call Now Available To Improve Customer Service
Talisma Corporation (News - Alert), a customer interaction management (CIM) software solution provider, has announced the release of Talisma Click to Call, a product designed to enable seamless escalation from Web to phone. The Talisma Click to Call solution delivers benefit to both sales support and customer service as it increases the quality of the customer experience and the efficiency of the contact center. Consumers visiting a Web site can use Talisma Click to Call to request an immediate call from an agent or they can schedule a call back at a specific time. This service option enables consumers to avoid navigating tedious phone menu options and waiting on hold to speak with an agent.
Nuance (News - Alert) Partners with Genesys to Integrate Voice for On Demand
Nuance Communications has announced a partnership with Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories to integrate the Genesys Voice Platform (GVP) into Nuance’s On Demand Network. This relationship will enable enterprises to gain access to GVP in a highly scalable and reliable hosted call center solution that enables their consumers to effortlessly get help, make purchases and save time. As part of the joint agreement, Nuance will combine the power of the Nuance On Demand carrier-grade VoiceXML (News - Alert) hosting network with Genesys Voice Platform as one of its preferred partners for delivering state-of-the-art self service interactions in a secure hosted environment.
Motorola’s (News - Alert) ECare 5.2 CRM-Integrated Customer Care Product Released
Motorola has announced a new version of its eCare customer support application, according to company officials “adding versatility and secure functionality to improve the quality and efficiency of Web-based call center resolution.” The vendor’s flagship customer care tool for remote management and control of the desktop, eCare 5.2 adds Managed Scripts to enable network device and operating system interaction and beyond. The product can help users “reduce call times by an average of more than 60 percent,” said Alan Lefkof, corporate vice president and general manager, Motorola Broadband Solutions Group: “The new Managed Scripts component allows for issues to be solved even faster and more effectively.”
FrontRange Solutions (News - Alert) Acquires Centennial Software
FrontRange Solutions has announced the acquisition of Centennial Software, a dynamic infrastructure management products provider. Centennial, which is focused on auto-discovery and inventory management and license management solutions, offers solutions that provide greater regulation, best practice standards and the economic downturn that drives the need for greater control of IT assets and operations. As such, the company’s solutions help customers to achieve reductions in cost, complexity and risk.
Customer Feedback Management from Interactive Intelligence (News - Alert)
Interactive Intelligence announced a series of products designed to help organizations better measure and improve customer service by listening to the voice of the customer. The first of the customer feedback management products being introduced is Interaction Feedback — an automated customer satisfaction survey module that enables organizations to accurately measure customer service levels in a timely and cost-effective way. The new automated interaction survey module runs on Interactive’s Interaction Center Platform, and the company has partnered with several leading customer survey organizations for surveys and library of questions and a template to make sure that the collected information is relevant.
Egypt Gaining Ground As Global Contact Center Competitor
According to Frost & Sullivan research, Egypt is a rising star of a contact center offshore destination. Comparative analysis has proven that it has good potential to become a location of choice for European companies, as well as an interesting alternative for companies based in the U.S. Over the past five years, Egypt’s GDP has been growing and inflation has remained at stable levels. The country’s telecommunications infrastructure is very well developed, and the international long-distance rates have been lowered in order to promote the contact center industry.
Cisco (News - Alert) And Microsoft Vying for Domination Of Unified Communications Market
While neither company may want to openly admit the other is fierce competition, Cisco and Microsoft are both vying for domination of the unified communications market. Considering the growth and opportunities within this market, this position is worth the fight. A new study by analyst firm Infonetics Research (News - Alert) shows the two companies are locked in a battle of the titans for the unified communications market. Both Cisco and Microsoft are currently favored by buyers as Unified Messaging and Communicator suppliers. Avaya (News - Alert) and Nortel are also faring well as current UC suppliers.
Dragon NaturallySpeaking Contest Announced By Nuance
Nuance Communications, a provider of speech and imaging solutions, has announced the “I Speak Dragon” contest. This competition allows Dragon NaturallySpeaking users to share their unique experiences using the world’s most popular speech recognition solution. Customers are invited to submit their stories about how Dragon has enhanced and transformed their lives via the Nuance website between April 24 and June 30, 2008. Three winning user stories will be selected and each will receive a Garmin (News - Alert) Nuvi 360 Personal Travel Assistant as well as Dragon NaturallySpeaking upgrades for three years.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Now Generally Available
Microsoft has announced the general availability of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online. The company’s hosted and managed on-demand customer relationship management service delivers a full suite of marketing, sales and service capabilities through a Web browser or directly into Microsoft Office and Outlook. This multitenant CRM solution will be hosted in Microsoft’s own data centers. And, while it has really not been a secret, it is still an important milestone as it changes the game within the market. The software giant could effectively shift the price-to-value equation in on-demand CRM. With this launch, CRM is now offered in three very distinct ways, each with identical code: traditional on-premise; by subscription from a Microsoft hosting partner; and by subscription directly from Microsoft.
TuVox (News - Alert) To Support Intelligent Customer Front Door
TuVox , a provider of On Demand speech applications, has become one of the first major partners to support the intelligent Customer Front Door (iCFD), a key solutions bundle from Genesys, an Alcatel-Lucent (News - Alert) company. iCFD was introduced in early April and is positioned as a unique solution set that combines Genesys Dynamic Contact Center components with advanced self-service applications to transform the experience for customers that enter the “telephone front door” of an organization. TuVox has added the most significant applications wave for the solution to date.
Siemens Intros OpenScape Contact Centre
Siemens Enterprise Communications has (News - Alert) introduced the OpenScape Contact Centre, a complete voice, unified communications and customer interaction software solution designed to work with any existing telephony environment. OpenScape is based on Siemens’ innovative new unified communications software foundation, OpenScape Unified Communications (News - Alert) (UC) Server, which removes the artificial legacy barriers between today’s traditionally separate voice, video and unified communications systems. The result is a comprehensive suite of UC applications. This new offering from Siemens (News - Alert) builds on the presence-enabled HiPath ProCentre Enterprise contact center application to provide a platform to enhance customer interactions across every segment of an enterprise, on virtually any existing communications or network infrastructure.