Archive for April 2007

Cisco makes a big play for eService with WebEx, eGain

April 27, 2007

My very last week at Forrester (June 06) I published an eService Wave, rating the leading multi-channel customer service vendors:  eGain, Kana, Rightnow, Talisma, etc.  There was a bit of controversy because I included Genesys, a telephony vendor.  And they did very well.

I’ve always assumed that eService would be consumed by a larger market, and the likely candidate was CRM.  But, 12 years into the CRM industry, the largest vendors still refer customers to eService partners.  It seems to me more likely that the telephony vendors will be the ultimate acquirers of leading eService capabilities.  (more…)

Google CRM shows ubiquity of market

April 17, 2007

Who’d have thought we would one day see an ad for CRM that says, “dude… that’s awesome!” But that is exactly the tag line for CRM for Google applications on the Web store for Etelos, a Seattle-based vendor of OnDemand applications.

Based on surveys of SSPA members last fall, I predicted that mid-market technology companies would spend $309M on CRM in 2007, more than twice the amount budgeted for CRM by >$1B technology companies.  I thought that the mid-market CRM vendors, such as Salesforce, RightNow, FrontRange, etc., would be the recipients of this business.  But who knows, maybe a chunk will go to Etelos and Google.

Accordng to Etelos, more than 1,500 businesses and 15,000 users requested their CRM for Google apps during the beta period. Etelos CRM for Google is now available at three levels (more…)

SSPA Best Practices Conference Update: Recognized Innovator Awards and Technology Sessions

April 13, 2007

I’m excited to bring you an update on our upcoming SSPA Best Practices Conference, to be held May 6-8 in San Diego.  Our theme this year, “Optimizing Support to Deliver Exceptional Customer Value,” is exemplified by incredible content from our members, industry luminaries, and our own SSPA Benchmark Database.  In this update, I’m going to focus on a topic near and dear to my heart:  service and support technology.

I will be giving a keynote address in the opening session entitled, “Battling the Perfect Storm: New Technology Trends in Service and Support.” Service and support organizations are being pummeled by a “perfect storm” of technical complexity, rising interaction volumes, and increased customer expectations. As a result, service levels are declining across the board. But there is a lifeline for organizations caught up in this perfect storm – innovative new technology that helps keep service and support afloat.

There will be a lot of great material at this year’s Best Practice Conference about innovative technologies and services, and here’s a preview:

(more…)

Highlights of Talisma CIM 8.0: Slick VoIP and Elegant Offer Management

April 9, 2007

I was given a briefing last fall on Talisma’s plans for their next major release, Customer Interaction Management (CIM) 8.0, and now that the release is ready to go GA (general availability) later this month, the gang at Talisma spent some more time with me last week, including a demo of the new version.

There are two major additions to the suite in 8.0 that not only offer slick and differentiating functionality, but also solve a major pain point for companies wanting to add additional support channels:  how can we give customers new avenues to reach support without opening the flood gates and overwhelming the agents?  I would go so far as to say that Talisma has not only solved this problem–their solution is elegant. (more…)

The Return of the Chat Bot (And This Time They Work!)

April 5, 2007

Those of you who have seen me speak over the years know that I love to give examples of bad self-service technology, and nothing has received more of my stage time than the terrible early products for automated chat dialogs, aka chat bots, response robots, or avatars.  Call them what you will, they were bad.  In fact, one of the largest US wireless carriers did a huge launch a few years ago with a certain chat bot with a female personality, which was derided in the press as a “repulsive cockroach-like alien” because of its inability to answer even the most basic question.

So much for making service a differentiator! (more…)

Services Innovation Alive and Well: Launch of SRI

April 2, 2007

SRI Logo

It is not every day that initiatives launched by associations garner press coverage in the NY Times, Business Week, InfoWorld and CNET.  But that is just what the SSPA, and our sister association TPSA (Technology Professional Services Association), did last week with the launch of our Service Research & Innovation Initiative.  Of course, partnering with IBM and Oracle for the launch didn’t hurt.  Here are the articles:

What is SRI? (more…)