TMCnews Featured Article
eGain Expands Social Experience Suite
By Brendan B. Read, Senior Contributing Editor
Solutions firm eGain points out on its website just how vital social media/networks have become. In 2010, social networks collectively became the top online destination. The time spent by consumers on social networks surged 73 percent in 2009 and this megatrend is expected to continue.
“Consumers are increasingly discussing their needs, soliciting and offering advice, and sharing their views about businesses like yours in these social networks,” says eGain. “This free-flowing viral conversation is both a challenge and opportunity for your business. Customers expect service wherever they are—this includes communities and social networks. Savvy businesses are leveraging this opportunity for competitive differentiation by delivering superior social customer experience. On the flip side, if businesses do not address negative references in the social cloud, the consequent damage to their brand might be irreversible.”
To those ends—enabling firms to leverage the power of social media—eGain has come out with the next generation of eGain Social Experience Suite, a solution that it says empowers contact center agents and community managers to efficiently handle inquiries across all traditional and social channels. The new version includes a social-blended agent desktop, integration with Facebook (News - Alert) to complement already available integrations with Twitter and web search and single-sourced knowledge publishing capability for proactive social engagement.
“Social in customer service is all about customer democracy — allowing customers to choose how, where and when they want to be serviced and through which channel,” said Johan Jacobs, Research Director at Gartner (News - Alert), in the research note, “First Steps for Social CRM: The Gartner CRM Team's Perspective,” dated July 20, 2010.”There is a huge depth of knowledge in hosted communities where one contributor can support another through discussions in the forum in solving problems, or in general by giving advice. This social knowledge can then be harvested, repurposed and used to update the customer support knowledge base.”
eGain Social Experience Suite consists of three offerings:
This functionality enables businesses to listen to conversations on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter for customer queries, analyze and route them intelligently, and post a response. The solution also includes analytics and the ability to move a potentially-explosive social conversation to a more private interaction channel for discreet one-on-one resolution.
(It is difficult to understate the importance of this last feature. Social media is media i.e. 1 to many rather than 1 to 1. That’s what separates social media and social networks from other channels. To be in media requires highly specialized language and comprehension skills and sharp on-the-fly judgment for what one says or writes can irrevocably affect the reputations and with this the future of organizations. Yet these are knowledge sets that are not typically in the toolkits of contact center agents—BR)
The social-blended agent desktop seamlessly blends queries from Facebook, Twitter, forums and blogs with queries from traditional customer service channels: voice, e-mail, SMS, chat and cobrowse. This enables agents to get a 360Plus view of the customer, context, and knowledge for efficient handling of queries. The solution also includes capabilities for full-cycle knowledge harvesting, single-sourced knowledge publishing across social and traditional channels and reputation management.
This feature enables businesses to include forums as part of their customer interaction hubs. Forums are especially useful for fostering discussions among expert users. Forum posts can be federated into knowledge base searches, and useful posts harvested for inclusion in the trusted multichannel knowledge base, maintained by the business.
eGain Social Adapters
The new version of eGain Social Experience Suite and its individual components will be generally available in October 2010 and can be deployed in the cloud or on-premises.
“The last thing businesses want is a high-visibility social interaction silo that is disconnected from the rest of the business,” stresses Ashu Roy, eGain chairman and CEO. “Unlike alternatives, eGain Social seamlessly enhances a unified customer interaction hub strategy for consistent customer experience and branding across social and traditional channels.”
Brendan B. Read is TMCnet’s Senior Contributing Editor. To read more of Brendan’s articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Patrick Barnard