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Seventh Annual CRM Excellence Awards,
Part II


For the seventh consecutive year, the editors of Customer Inter@ction Solutions dared readers to prove that their companies have what it takes to win the coveted CRM Excellence Award. Below is Part Two of the winners list — the companies that offer the best and the brightest customer relationship management products and services, all to the benefit of their clients. Winners were chosen on hard data: quantifiable results that convinced us, without a doubt, their clients were infinitely better off with these companies’ products and services than without.

Intervoice, Inc.
PersonalizeIT (news - alert) provides a new way of offering services to customers, by enabling voice and speech self-service systems to act like the best customer service representative, recognizing and anticipating customer needs and preferences and providing realtime, individually tailored service to callers. The client, a mobile services provider, needed an easy way to allow its subscribers to alter their plans. With the company’s previous solution, it took agents an average of three to five minutes per call to complete a transaction. With the PersonalizeIT rules-based engine, the same analysis was performed within the self-service system by matching caller preferences, call patterns and volume and by verifying that the current plan remained the best fit, or by making a recommendation for a better plan to the caller. Post-implementation, the client experienced a 10 percent increase in containment of calls within the self-service system; a 15 percent increase in user satisfaction; and a 50 percent decrease in development, testing and implementation time.

KANA Software
KANA Response
The client, (news - alert) a large European provider of multichannel, multilingual contact center services for U.S. and European clients, had determined that its first and most critical echannel in the contact center was email. The company began a search for an e-mail management solution that combined reliability with productivity tools that would streamline message handling processes. By testing a variety of offerings, including hosted solutions, the client recognized that KANA Response would meet their needs and demonstrate the company’s credibility in the quality customer support market. “We bombarded KANA Response with e-mails during our testing phase,” said the client. “It quickly became apparent that the system could easily manage any seasonal volume spikes and our expected growth.”

Knova Software
Knova 6.5
From the initial launch and overhaul of Knova’s (news - alert) online self-service capabilities in February 2005 to the introduction of Answer Wizards in October 2005, the client, an Internet service provider, is setting a new standard for online self-service. The following accomplishments are great areas of pride for the client:

Customer empowerment: With the addition of intelligent, guided search, and Answer Wizards, more customers have the option of solving problems easily online, without feeling the need to rely on assisted support. The online experience seems easier and more manageable.

Business owner empowerment and productivity: The creation and management of Answer Wizards is now handled by a business owner via the Knova administration console. This eliminates many costly and time-consuming dependencies on IT.

Answer consistency: With the addition of Answer Wizards and more powerful search spanning more content sources, customers get more consistent, accurate answers. This reduces confusion and the need for follow-up support.

LiveOps LiveOps
Hosted Contact Center
LiveOps’ (news - alert) client improves the delivery of healthcare to Medicare and managed care beneficiaries by providing medical products and prescription-related services. The client selected LiveOps’ solution based on its ease and speed of installation; its comprehensive suite of call center functionality, including workforce hiring and management tools and real-time analytics; its single point of visibility into the performance of a distributed workforce; its short training/orientation period; the solution’s scalability to meet seasonal peaks and valleys in call volume; and the availability of LiveOps’ agents to handle overflow calls. After the choice was made, the client’s contact center went live in just three weeks. The scalability of the solution allowed for continuous growth, and demonstrated its value by enabling the client to provide an immediate disaster response following Hurricane Wilma.

Maximizer Software
Maximizer Enterprise 9
(news - alert) The client, which sells and installs sports courts and sports floors, said “We spent so much time tracking and managing projects that we couldn’t get out as many new job proposals as we wanted. We knew if our sales team could increase the number of proposals on prospects’ desks, we’d be able to increase business and grow the company.” The management team needed a way to keep each new project organized and under control. Postinstallation, significant results include revenue growth of over 400 percent; new projects allowed the client to increase its staffing levels by more than 75; service response times have increased by an estimated 50 percent; new inquiries are followed up in more timely manner; internal communications continue to improve; and management is now able to generate powerful reports with key performance indicators, allowing for more accurate sales forecasts.

OKS Ameridial
Outsourced customer care services
(news - alert) The client is a $160+ million consulting and outsourcing firm that helps clients improve corporate performance through the integration of people strategies, process management and technology. The challenge was to increase the quality of surveys completed, have them completed faster, and have them completed more cost-effectively than with past vendors. OKSAmeridial rose to the challenge and was able to quickly work with the client to get the project implemented within five days. The end results was that OKSAmeridial was able to complete the project on time, under budget and with a higher completion rate than past vendors. The client stated, “Bottom line — OKS-Ameridial is a true partner, and treats us as such through all our interactions with them. We look forward to benefiting from their services and best practices for this recurring annual research, and any of our future research needs.”

Onyx Software, Inc.
Onyx Customer Management and
Onyx Analytics

(news - alert) The client, a provider of healthcare-related outsourced customer care, initially grew its product and service offerings through a series of acquisitions around the world, resulting in customer information being stored in numerous databases. In emergency situations, when patient details are vital, the company needed to get the right information in the hands of the right people, fast. The company chose the Onyx solution as its core system component, intending to create a single shared customer system across sales, marketing and executive management. Today, Onyx coordinates and stores all the data relating to customer and sales activity and enables account managers to more effectively serve their customers and identify new sales opportunities. The company has been able to increase efficiency when responding to emergency situations by smoothly integrating with other internal systems and consolidating existing data into useful information, thereby improving the overall quality of the emergency response. It enjoys 92 percent higher satisfaction levels compared to prior tools and methods.

Parus Interactive
Parus Interactive Order Status Application
(news - alert) A large online wine retailer needed to automate its shipment tracking processes to both improve its customer experience and reduce the expense of such customer handling. The intent was to find an application to process incoming customer order status calls without the need for human intervention and, as a result, drive down the average call handling cost. Parus Interactive’s Order Status Application helped the client achieve its goals by automating follow-up phone calls to check on the shipping status for all orders processed through voice-activated self-service solutions. Parus’ application provided the retailer with an automated voice-activated solution, enabling its customers to self-manage shipment tracking for orders handled by FedEx and UPS. The client’s call deflection goal for the Parus IVR system was 20 percent of all order status calls received. Currently, 41 percent of order status calls are successfully deflected to the Parus IVR system.

Pega Customer Process Manager
(news - alert) The client, a provider of ancillary employee benefit coverage and services, selected Pegasystem’s CRM capabilities to move beyond a processdriven approach to customer service to address what their customers really care about — fulfilling service requests with speed and intelligence. The company implemented Pegasystems’ rules-based solution to be able to respond quickly to changes in organizational objectives, market opportunities and industry regulations. The solution’s fully integrated customer service capability allows for higher levels of CSR productivity and increased member satisfaction. “We are committed to making it as easy as possible for our customers to do business with us, and working with Pegasystems has enabled us to continue to enhance our services,” said the client. “The rapid ‘go live,’ in only five weeks, was exactly what we needed, and Pegasystems delivered.”

Proficient Systems
ProficientSales Server
(news - alert) The client, a consumer insurance Web site, began a test run of ProficientSales Server to prove that by using the solution, they would improve the overall experience for their online consumers and consequently increase sales conversion. By tracking and analyzing the behavior of Web site visitors, the Proficient solution makes intelligent, data-based decisions about when and how to approach prospects. To date, the client has increased customer retention and customer satisfaction ratings. Survey feedback indicates that the company’s customers enjoy shopping for auto insurance online, and are extremely pleased with the assistance they receive from their online agents. In addition, the client experienced a 7.6 percent lift on conversion rates with any Proficient involvement (display, approach or engagement), a 26.1 percent lift on conversion with a Proficient engagement and a 5 percent sales lift.

RightNow Technologies
RightNow CRM 7.5
An e-business solutions provider reports it has been able to take its business to a new level by transforming its marketing, sales and customer service operations into a tightly linked chain using RightNow (news - alert) CRM 7.5. “Before we implemented RightNow, salespeople could easily get blind-sided by a service-related issue they knew nothing about,” said the client. “Now, sales, service and marketing activities for each customer all reside in a common customer database. So everybody in our company has easy access to the same customer information in one integrated Web application.” The combination of self-service and increased productivity alone enabled the client to keep its customer service headcount flat even as its business doubled in size. That payroll savings represents just under $180,000 annually.

SafeHarbor Technology Corporation
SafeHarbor SmartSupport Solutions
(news - alert) The client, a Western state’s official Web site, serves as the public portal for state and local government information and services. With the call to migrate government services to the Web, providing online customer support round-the-clock was paramount to the success of the state’s Web initiatives to drive users to online services and ensure an exceptional user experience. The client selected SafeHarbor based on the company’s extensive customer support expertise, best-of-breed technology and their ability to deliver a full-service online support offering, including assisted support agents, to handle escalation channels such as phone, e-mail and chat. Through the continuous improvement of the support site over the past several years, user interaction, participation and collaboration continue to grow at impressive rates.

Sage Software
Sage CRM
(news - alert) The client, a wholesale food manufacturer, notes, “Our sales managers are brought up to speed on what’s going on out in the field, and vice versa. [Sage CRM] gives them the macro and micro view. They utilize it for following up on deadlines, attacking a specific proposal or rectifying a customer problem. Now, sales representatives in Florida know what their counterparts in Michigan are doing without having to call. This process improvement has created a significant increase in communication among the sales team. Employees now use Sage CRM to follow up on deadlines, create and monitor proposals and solve problems for our customers. Everyone on the team is connected. Our biggest gain from Sage CRM is the ability to share customer and prospect databases with all users. We were aiming to better manage leads and accomplish more sales growth, which is what we are seeing as a result of implementing Sage CRM.”

Salesforce Winter ‘06
(news - alert) The client, a network security company, deployed Saleforce Service & Support across its global enterprise to achieve expanded product visibility into more than 15 networking and security product families. With the same number of support agents, the client was able to handle more than 3,000 cases per month. The client company reported that it improved multichannel communications and experienced quantifiable overall efficiency improvements; raised customer satisfaction rates by five percent over three months; consolidated customer management across sales, service and engineering; and experienced overall cost savings of $60,000 in outsourced survey management fees alone, $500,000 in e-mail-to-case annual productivity savings and headcount reduction due to improved dashboard and reporting capabilities.

Salesnet Extended Edition
(news - alert) The client, a technology solutions provider, determined that Salesnet was the best fit for their needs as the solution offered the workflow and detailed sales process functionality that the client was looking for. Salesnet was also able to offer a plan that allowed the client to implement the CRM system in parallel with their upgrade. While still in the implementation phase of the project, the client is already seeing great results and couldn’t be happier with their selection. “Already, everything we have seen from the product and the implementation has validated our decision,” they reported. The client also noted that unlike its competition, Salesnet’s workflow “is fluid and drives the rep right through the predefined process.”

Saratoga Systems
Saratoga CRM 6.5
(news - alert) The client company, a manufacturer of thermostats, has stated that its CRM user base and technology support personnel recognized the importance of maintaining the flexibility they had already experienced, first with Saratoga Systems’ SPS and then with Saratoga Systems’ Avenue. The latest upgrade to the next-generation Saratoga CRM gives the company the ability to jump forward significantly in terms of its underlying technology, with a single upgrade. More important, the company will retain all of its accustomed flexibility, and the new platform will continue to enable the sort of fastpaced future system configuration and development that the company needs to keep pace with the moving target that is CRM. According to the client, that level of power and flexibility is crucial to continue to respond efficiently to the changing needs and demands of its customers.

SAS Marketing Automation and
SAS Interaction Management

(news - alert) With more than 13 million consumer banking customers and one million business customers, the client, a large financial services company, needed to mine customer data efficiently and then deliver insight regularly across a variety of segments. To ensure success in those efforts, the company chose SAS Customer Intelligence. With SAS, the client defines contact strategies for customers with a consistent, personalized message across all touch points, including call centers, branch sales staff, service personnel and direct mail. SAS allows the client to understand customer behavior over time so its bankers can act on significant changes immediately — when intervention is likely to have the most impact, thus accelerating sales opportunities and salvaging at-risk relationships. Says the client, “The investment we’re making in expanding our customer insight platform will have a significant payback over the next five years.”

SER Solutions, Inc.
CPS Enterprise Edition (CPS E 2)
CPS E2 (news - alert) is a next-generation outbound contact center solution designed to increase customer satisfaction levels; foster loyal, long-term customers; and boost recurring revenue. The client, a direct supplier of mobile phones to nearly two million customers, began relying on outbound telemarketing in the mid-1990s to generate new business. As the center grew in size and success, its databases became larger and the number of campaigns increased. The client’s management team needed to increase its outbound dialing capacity. After an intense review of all industry providers, the client chose CPS Enterprise Edition (CPS E2), SER’s outbound call management solution. Within three months of implementation, the client had already reached its sales targets for the new group. With 50 full-time outbound agents and growing, the center was reaching 20,000 contacts per day, bringing the total to over 2.5 million connections in its first few months. Said the client, “We knew we had made the right decision when, within the first few weeks of use, CPS E2 was proving to be easier and more adaptable than our existing dialer and was helping us reach our sales goals.”

SITEL Outsourced Customer Care
(news - alert) The client, a solutions provider for the government sector, needed to retain outsourced customer care for its business with the new Medicare Prescription Drug Program. The client required a contact center partner that had the experience to handle calls of this nature, along with the ability to ramp up an extremely large number of agents in a short amount of time. Sixty SITEL employees were involved, including members from the technology, telecommunications, training, facility, human resources, LAN, WAN and account management teams. Three of the facilities were fully operational, and a normal program launch was implemented. Two of the sites were dark and had to be completely rebuilt, and the final site had to be rebuilt after a client close-out. These three sites needed new cable, electrical, workstations, phones and PCs. In October 2005, the program launched simultaneously — and trouble-free — in all six locations. Throughout the months of this program, SITEL exceeded all services levels, including the proposed quality goal of 90 percent.

SIVOX RealCall
After discovering SIVOX (news - alert) RealCall Simulation Tools, the client, a large telecommunications provider, is rolling out a call center training system that is flexible, easily deployed and highly interactive. It’s the closest the client’s trainees can come to real customer interaction without handling live calls. The SIVOX RealCall system will be rolled out to all 18 of the client’s call centers serving over 15,000 agents. Initially, the training will encompass five major customer scenarios: from initial customer service signups for new products through advanced training scenarios involving saving customer accounts during an initial request to drop service. The client estimates this training will have a payback period of less than four months.

Soffront Software
Soffront CRM
(news - alert) The client, which manufactures switching products for telecom software developers and service providers, had a simple request for CRM. When the management team members queried customer information, they wanted to be able to go to one place for any information needed — latest activities, recent trip reports, open technical issues, etc. The client has been successful with the Soffront CRM solution, as evidenced by the many firsts the company has been able to achieve, including one common system for tracking corporate-wide contracts. Information is synchronized across functional areas, resulting in more satisfied customers, and the client now has the ability to incorporate customer and site-specific data in one area for integrated tracking by the sales and support teams. Reporting shows that the client realized a 64 percent increase in user satisfaction with the Soffront CRM solution.

Talisma Corp.
Talisma Customer Interaction
Management (CIM)

(news - alert) The client, a global provider of imaging products, wanted to build competitive advantage through first-rate customer service and sought a multichannel customer communication system to facilitate this service. The client deployed Talisma’s Multi-Channel Customer Interaction Management (CIM) Suite as it provided a unified view of all customer interactions and provided integrated e-mail and chat channels for superior online service. With the Talisma Multi-Channel CIM solution, the client quickly realized the following improvements: a 30 percent increase in efficiency; a 38 percent reduction in the cost of handling enquiries; overwhelming positive feedback on the new system; and a dramatic increase of 1,125 percent in online enquiries.

(news - alert) The client, an insurance company, found that as their business grew, they had difficulties keeping up with the needs of their customers. Average hold times had increased to 20 to 30 minutes. The company selected Telephony@Work’s CallCenterAnywhere because it offered a single, pre-integrated solution to each of their pain points. CallCenterAnywhere provided a costeffective means of implementing the ACD with skills-based routing, selfservice IVR and quality monitoring and recording features the client needed to solve customer service problems. Since the deployment, the client has made significant improvements in customer service. Average hold times have been reduced to less than two minutes, and their abandoned call rate is at an alltime low. In addition, by enabling a large portion of their inquiry calls to be serviced through a self-service application, Student Insurance was able to manage their call volume in-house. They no longer required the services of an outsourcer, eliminating the associated $30,000 to $40,000 monthly expense

TELUS Communications Inc.
Telephony@Work’s CallCentreAnywhere,
hosted by TELUS

(news - alert) The client, a large credit union, said, “Member service continues to be absolutely critical as we reinvent neighborhood banking. We’re owned by our members, and while our legacy equipment and software were adequate for our operators, they simply didn’t represent the step forward we had to deliver to our members.” However, purchasing new equipment would have required a considerable capital investment. TELUS CallCentreAnywhere is Canada’s first fully hosted and managed multichannel call center solution. For the client, that meant having access to the latest call center features and functionality without capital expenditure. The client currently uses 25 TELUS CallCentreAnywhere seats, with the option to scale up at any time. Each agent needs only a phone and a computer to access the system, which resides at a highly secure TELUS Internet Data Center. TELUS maintains and monitors the system around the clock to provide guaranteed availability and built-in disaster recovery. If, in an emergency situation, the employees can’t access the client’s head office, the call center staff can log on and continue working.

Tigerpaw Software
Tigerpaw CRM+
The CEO of the client company, (news - alert) a telecommunications organization, spearheaded a switch to Tigerpaw after toiling through three failed applications in as many years. These unsuccessful stints left the client firmly back at square one, with disconnected sales, service and accounting silos that each required their own system of manual data entry. Said the CEO, “While many CRM applications claimed to offer integrated modules, it was Tigerpaw that delivered the true integration we required. The ability to enter information one time, in one place, saved us a lot of time and mistakes.” Tigerpaw enabled the client company to finally manage its complete customer lifecycle — from prospecting all the way through the sales process, ongoing service management and inventory tracking — and maintain easily accessible information throughout.

A New York-based local exchange carrier chose the inContact (news - alert) service solution from UCN to support over 50 customer care agents located in two geographically dispersed offices. The inContact system provides the carrier with a unified contact handling and management system, helping the company maintain its quality service levels while decreasing costs. The solution helped the client supplement the functionality of their existing PBX with intelligent network services that met their requirements for database integration, screen pop support, tracking, monitoring, recording and remote office support. “At the end of the day, we had a solution that was less expensive and easier to implement than a leased equipment solution,” said the client. “Plus, we wouldn’t have to worry about maintaining complex hardware and software at each site.” An added advantage is inContact’s inherent disaster recovery capabilities, enabling the carrier to quickly and easily redirect inbound calls to agents at a remote office or to at-home workers.

Unica Corp.
(news - alert) The client, a South American telecommunications provider, evaluated several vendors before choosing Unica’s Affinium software solution for enterprise marketing management (EMM). Affinium was chosen for its ease-of-use; breadth and depth of product functionality; and flexibility for creating, testing, executing and analyzing multichannel communication strategies. With Unica’s Affinium, the client is now able to automate the execution of coordinated cross-channel campaigns, allowing them to grow campaign volume by 20 percent in one year with the same resources. Specifically, over 100 targeted campaigns are run each month. Additionally, real-time relevant offer delivery in the call center has increased response rates by 50 percent.

Unipress Software
Footprints 7.0
(news - alert) The client, a large multinational company’s subsidiary that services the electric power equipment market, was challenged with centrally managing internal IT support for multiple, dispersed divisions. The client evaluated the solutions of several providers and ultimately chose FootPrints. Today, the client uses the solution to provide IT support, including PC and network support, to 1,000 employees across five divisions. The client’s IT department now manages roughly 680 tickets per month, or 23 tickets per day within a 30-day month. The client said, “FootPrints does save us time and money. In terms of hard dollars, we are saving nearly 50 percent annually in maintenance costs alone compared to what we were paying with our previous solution. Also, with that solution, we were using outside consultants. By completely removing the consulting fees from our departmental budget, we were able to invest in other areas more important to us.”

Verint Systems
Verint’s ULTRA Analytics Suite
ULTRA Analytics helped its client, an insurance company, (news - alert) address three main customer service challenges: increase first-call resolution rates; improve agent proficiency and identify areas for training; and manage quality and ensure high levels of customer satisfaction. Almost immediately after deploying the ULTRA Analytics Suite, the client was able to identify the root causes behind many of the repeat calls it was receiving. By addressing these issues, the company experienced an immediate and dramatic decrease in the number of incorrect transfers and unanswered customer issues that were the cause of high repeat call rates. Verint’s solution helped the company improve the proficiency of its agents by identifying specific skills that needed improvement. The client used the actionable intelligence it mined with the QM tool to develop a comprehensive agent feedback and training program that included refresher training for existing employees and new agent orientation programs.

Vertical Solutions Inc.
PowerHelp CRM
(news - alert) The client, a provider of corporate and residential Internet products, VoIP long-distance and PBXbased solutions, needed to install a CRM system to help it manage its growing business. The company evaluated more than a half-dozen CRM solutions to use internally before choosing PowerHelp CRM. The product met its needs with its full functionality and ease of integration, but the company was pleasantly surprised to discover the low cost of implementation for PowerHelp CRM. “Many of the CRM solutions we evaluated required extensive professional service fees for successful implementation — often upwards of 10 times the initial product price,” said the client. “PowerHelp CRM offered us out-ofthe- box functionality with minimal customization. It has the functionality that we need, is easy to use, and has a very low ratio of service to product costs — typically, the ratio is one-toone, or less.”

Witness Systems
Witness Systems’ Impact 360
(news - alert) The client, a provider of IT outsourcing and maintenance, used a variety of systems from different providers to handle forecasting and scheduling in its contact centers. This method delivered adequate results in help desk environments with small agent group sizes and a relatively low number of calls per agent. However, with the acquisition of a new, 500-seat product support account for a major computer manufacturer, it became clear that the client required an expanded set of workforce management capabilities. The company turned to Witness Systems. “We performed an evaluation and saw that this solution was the best. It not only provided the skills-based routing and virtual contact center support that we wanted, but also created schedules that reflected union regulations and regional laws,” said the client. Since implementing Impact 360 Workforce Management, the client has realized a significant return on its investment. “We’ve had a tremendous reduction in cost and headcount,” said the client.

ACT!-Integrated FaxRush, PrintRush and
ShipRush Server

With Z-Firm’s (news - alert) OmniRush Family, the client, an IT firm, automated steps throughout marketing, sales and fulfillment. From a single interface right inside ACT!, employees can print direct mail campaigns en masse, fax invoices upon completion of a sale, print shipping labels and answer customer inquiries about the status of shipments. With these activities integrated with ACT!, everyone in the company has a record of all activities and communication with each contact. When an order comes in, employees select that contact record in ACT! and choose either UPS or FedEx. The user simply checks a few options and the ready-to-use label prints. At the same time, ShipRush Server records the tracking number in ACT! history and automatically e-mails it to the customer. While a shipment might have taken five to 15 minutes to prepare before, requiring employees to copy and paste information among programs, now users can prep a shipment in seconds. CIS

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