Archive for June 2009

nGenera CIM Launches nGen CIM Suite Version 8.3

June 30, 2009

I had a chat today with Christopher Musico, Assistant Editor at CRM Magazine about yesterday’s announcement that nGenera CIM, formerly known as Talisma, has released version 8.3 of their Customer Interaction Management suite. I had a deep dive with the nGen CIM gang back in February about their short and long term product roadmap (something few software vendors are willing to discuss in detail with analysts), and it is good to see them delivering on that vision.

For me there are three key elements in version 8.3: (more…)

Announcing the Fall 2009 Recognized Innovator Award Categories

June 24, 2009
Fall 2009 AFSMI, SSPA, TPSA Recognized Innovator Awards

Fall 2009 AFSMI, SSPA, TPSA Recognized Innovator Awards

I am happy to announce the categories for the Fall 2009 Recognized Innovator Awards, which will be held in conjunction with our upcoming Technology Services World conference in Las Vegas, October 19-21 at the Mirage Hotel and Event Center. Awards are presented to association partners, and judged by a panel of association members and industry insiders.

In time for the conference, JB Wood, CEO of the AFSMI, SSPA and TPSA, will publish a new book detailing the immense challenges – and opportunities — facing the technology service and support industry. To support this theme, the Fall 2009 Recognized Innovator Awards will focus on categories that are key components of the book, illustrating how association partners enable member success by providing innovative technology and services to help companies survive the complexity onslaught– and even prosper. The fall categories are: (more…)

Web Collaboration: Hottest Support Technology for 2009

June 16, 2009

I promised to come back with more details from my 2009 Member Technology Survey, and this post is focusing on the #1 area of spend this year:  Web Collaboration.  Since I announced the survey results at TSW last month, I’ve had several emails and calls asking what exactly it means, and what is the value for service.  I’ll try to address those questions here.

The 2009 Member Technology Survey was open to corporate and community members of the AFSMI, SSPA and TPSA.  There were over 300 responses from SSPA members–the most ever for this annual survey.  Thanks to everyone who participated–I’ve sent early copies of the reports to all respondents.

It is no surprise that overall spending was down this year, with technology budgets averaging about half of last year. But, and this is a big but, unlike other areas of the enterprise who are cut-cut-cutting, our survey showed that technology companies continue to make investments in core support technology and infrastructure, particularly in areas with strong ROI and big impacts to the customer experience. This chart shows the percent of members with approved budget in 2009 f0r new technology in the top spend categories.

Top Support Technololgy Spending Areas for 2009 (more…)

The Trouble with Twitter: Where’s the Business Use Case?

June 11, 2009

One of the challenges of being a technology analyst is most people assume you are ripe to jump on every technology bandwagon that comes along. And I admit, I’m often ready to jump on board and go for a ride. So at the risk of being labeled a Luddite, I’m going to ‘come out of the closet’ with an unpopular opinion:

I am not a fan of Twitter, and have yet to find any viable business case for a Twitter integration for customer service and support beyond brand monitoring.

I was suspicious about Twitter from the beginning, when the main people I knew adopting Twitter were ego maniacs who assumed everyone was dying to know what they had for breakfast, how long they waited in line at Starbucks, the price of gas from their latest fill up, and how hard they laughed at Dilbert that morning. (The same people whose Facebook status shows what song is currently playing on their Internet radio station.) Sure, maybe there was an insightful message now and then, but:

  1. Tweets are 1-way. Yes, you can reply, but I don’t think anyone wants to argue that Twitter is an excellent 2-way communicator. It is primarily outbound.
  2. Tweets are out of context for the reader. Sure, they are in context for the sender, but the stream of consciousness blather doesn’t come at convenient times for the reader, and they are unlikely to remember important information when they do need it days or weeks later.
  3. Fads don’t last. First everyone battled to see who had the most MySpace friends. Then MySpace became déclassé, so the same group started trying to win the most friends battle on Facebook. And now that even your parents are on Facebook, the contest turns to who has the most followers on Twitter. By next Spring, some new channel will have emerged and Twitter’s impact will fade as well.

Bottom line: With the amount of information I have to consume to do my job growing exponentially, this is not a thread of content on my priority list.

Then, multiple service and support vendors starting talking about Twitter integration. (more…)

How do you compensate for CSAT? Please weigh in!

June 9, 2009

We receive a lot of inquiries from SSPA members regarding incentives and rewards for customer satisfaction scores. This information is not currently in our SSPA Benchmark, so I would love your participation in this polling question:

Please take a moment and vote!  I will recap the findings in a later post.  Thanks for participating!

CRM Insight Podcast: The Business Case for Self-Service

June 1, 2009

I recently recorded a podcast with the always fun and insightful Laura Hoyt of SearchCRM.com. Here is a link to listen to the podcast; registration is required. I thought I would pass along some highlights from our interview.

Q: Is self-service a strong investment in today’s economy? Do you expect this market to grow over the next few years?

A:  Absolutely. Even in a down economy I’m seeing strong spending for knowledgebase tools and self-service technology, because of the bullet-proof ROI. According to my 2009 technology survey of over 300 technology companies, technology budgets allocated to KB, self-service and multi-channels tools represents 30% of the total budget, compared to 22% last year. And, even though spending has slowed, we still are seeing companies investing in 2009 and 2010 in KB and self-service. It’s not just about call deflection, today it is about being competitive and offering an exceptional customer experience.

Q: What’s the best way to get upper management on board with a self-service initiative?

A: I recommend three steps.

1. Build the business case. Check out my report from last year, “The ROI of Knowledge Management: Building a Business Case for KM Investments.”
2. Analyze customer demographics. There are lots of studies out there, including some of my own, showing channel preferences by demographic. If you still think phone is everyone’s preferred channel, you are hopelessly outdated. If customers are demanding self-service, you have to offer it.
3. Survey survey survey. The Voice of the Customer can be very compelling for executives. Ask customers what they like and don’t like about your self-service site, and what features they would like to see. (more…)