Posted tagged ‘analytics’

3 Ways Search Is Saving Customer Support: View the OnDemand Webinar

March 5, 2015

Yesterday I had the pleasure of co-presenting a webinar with one of my very favorite speakers, Diane Berry, Senior VP of Market Strategy for Coveo. Diane was a past winner of our TechFutures event and is always a dynamic speaker with great content. We had big attendance for yesterday’s webinar, and the OnDemand version is now available for viewing. I thought I would give you a quick look at what we talked about, and you can view the OnDemand event at your leisure.

Enterprise search is increasingly a cornerstone of a company’s knowledge management strategy. During the webinar, I talked about what I call “the three realities of enterprise search:”

  • A single knowledgebase for all information is unrealistic. Valuable content is stored across the enterprise—and in people’s heads. Yes, a knowledgebase for capturing tacit knowledge is critical, but that is only one source of information. Online documentation, product manuals, release notes, forum conversations, etc., are all critical to support technicians and customers. Companies need search technology to search everyplace at once, not just a single repository.
  • Knowing the right place to look for information is impossible—especially for newer employees. Surveys tell us that TSIA members have a dozen or more applications and content sources that they routinely access to support customers, and knowing where to look to find what you need can take years to learn. Unified search pulls from every content source, every time; the actual location of the content is irrelevant.
  • Filtering search results to find exactly what you need is a necessity. We know that 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results. Not only do you need relevancy analysis (which we discuss in the webinar), but you also need filtering options to allow knowledge workers, and customers performing self-service, to find exactly what they need without rephrasing their search over and over again.

Diane and I then went through the list of “The Three Ways Search is Saving Customer Support,” and based on my inquiry conversations, that is no exaggeration. How is enterprise search saving support? Here are the three points we discussed:

#1. Search turns your community or customer portal into a self-service, case deflection engine.

I’ve heard companies afraid to use the word “deflection,” thinking it implies they don’t want to talk to customers. This is simply not the case. My 2015 Social Support Survey shows that 46% of customers PREFER self-service, and only 11% prefer phone. Giving customers a dynamic and sucessful self-service experience is exactly what they want. And it is a win-win, since fully burdened support calls for B2B companies can be $700 or more, and self-service sessions typically cost less than $10.

#2. Search gives employees insight from across  your entire enterprise ecosystem.

One of the hot trends I’m seeing is imbedded, dynamic, contextual search. Imbedded because it sits within your CRM or other system of record, so no additional searches or windows are required. Dynamic because search results constantly update in real time, depending on what you type. And contextual, because the results are filtered based on the case title and notes you type in, as well as the value of any custom fields such as product or failing component. In this way, employees can see a list of related content from across the enterprise: related cases, knowledge articles, documentation, forum conversations, as well as lists of experts on the topic in case you need to escalate.

#3. Search analytics identify trends, knowledge gaps, and optimize relevance.

A couple of weeks ago I had an opportunity to spend an hour with Diane and her analytics team focusing on how analytics can improve the success of a knowledge management program. I was so impressed with the conversation that now I’m writing a new research report, “Leveraging Analytics to Boost KM Success: Proactive Analytics Automate the Knowledge Maintenance Process,” to be published later this month. In particular, analytics can help proactively identify content gaps, improve relevance scores, and recognize content consumption trends. In the webinar, Diane provides examples and screen shots to illustrate these.

Here is the link to view the OnDemand version of the webinar:

The webinar is only 30 minutes, and we did receive some interesting questions during the Q&A period at the end. Be sure to follow the link and watch the webinar when you have time.

And as always, thanks for reading!


TSW Day 1 Top Attended Sessions: Big Data, Social Media, Rev Gen

October 17, 2012

Greetings from Las Vegas! I’ve heard the weather is beautiful outside…though I doubt I’ll leave the Mirage until I head to the airport on Thursday! TSW is going great, with over 1,000 attendees. I always look forward to getting the stats on which breakout sessions had the most attendees, as it is a clear way for attendees to “vote with their feet” on the topics that matter. Yesterday at 4pm we had our breakout series called the “Power Hour.” Each session is presented by a TSIA researcher or exec, covering hot topics across service disciplines. Here were the top 3 attended Power Hour session in order of attendance:

  1. How Social Is Transforming Tech Services: Pre-Release TSIA Research Uncovers Leading Trends and Best Practices. Shawn Santos, our director of programs and our research lead on social media, always is a big draw. His data on adoption, staffing, ownership and business impact of social media and online communities is pretty amazing, and as far as I know, a unique data set in the industry. In fact, Shawn has collected enough data from enough companies that we are looking at introducing some social media benchmarking early next year–stay tuned.
  2. Big Data: Three Inspiring Stories of Service Analytics. I had a suspicion I would have one of the top attended session when they brought in 2 more rows of chairs, and there were still people standing in the back of the room. This session launched my new research report, “Market Overview of Service Analytics. Creating Actionable Insight in Three Categories: Business Analytics, Customer Analytics, and Consumption Analytics,” with some creative and informative presentations from 3 panelists: Jennifer Batley from Walker Information; Tom Duly from YIDATEC; and David Lowy from Moxie Software. Jennifer did an interactive game with live electronic voting–very cool, illustrating the importance of analyzing all customer touchpoints to assess the strength of the account. Tom presented some very interesting operational dashboards, showing cost and productivty improvements with Asian outsourcing, specifically some data on doing busienss in China. David talked about how data is “hidden in plain sight,” and gave examples of mining available customer data to impact not only service, but product management, sales and other divisions.
  3. SRG Power Hour: The State of Offers and Pricing. Presented by Julia Stegman, who launched our Service Revenue Generation (SRG) discipline at TSW Vegas last year, this session included some of the “hot off the press” benchmark data Julia has gathered from her members, along with emerging pacesetter practices on service and maintenance sales and renewals.

I’ll be back tomorrow with the top attended sessions from today. Thanks for reading!

Service Analytics: Big Data Success Stories

October 15, 2012

When I kicked off my major research project this year on Big Data back in May, I figured I was going to end up recommending every service organization hire a data scientist and become experts on big analytic platforms. Today at Technology Services World, my Big Data research findings are being published for TSIA members, “Market Overview of Service Analytics. Creating Actionable Insight in Three Categories: Business Analytics, Customer Analytics, and Consumption Analytics.” Surprisingly  there are no recommendations for hiring data scientists, or necessarily investing in an enterprise analytics platform.

What I found in my research interviewing more than 20 partners and members about service analytics is that the application vendors, from quality monitoring to knowledge management to Professional Services Automation (PSA) are including more sophisticated analytics into their base applications (often an OEM of a ‘best in breed’ analytics product), allowing business users to create and drive some very innovative dashboards and reports, without the need of a data scientist.

My Market Overview of Service Analytics includes case studies from SYKES, Aptean, Verint Systems, Compuware, RIM, Avaya and others–9 case studies of service analytics in all. Each explains how many data sources are involved, the intent of the analytic, and how the results have enabled companies to drive business results. Most members I talk to about Big Data all have the same question: where do we start? Hopefully this report will provide a look at real-world examples of Business Analytics, Customer Analytics, and Consumption Analytics to help TSIA members get started.

Today at 4pm, I will lead a Power Hour session on the topic, “Big Data: Three Inspiring Stories of Service Analytics,” with more case study examples from Walker Information, YIDATEC, and Moxie Software. Come join us, hear what other companies are doing, and then head back to your company next week with a “get started” plan for Big Data!

TSIA members can access my full report on

Thanks for reading, and hope to see you for Power Hour today at 4pm!

Interview with Partner Advisory Board Member Diane Berry, SVP Marketing and Communications, Coveo: Big Data

March 1, 2012

TSIA has recently launched our very first Partner Advisory Board, consisting of technology, service provider and consulting partners in the TSIA partner network. This is a great opportunity for us to stay current on marketing and spending trends in other industries, as well as track emerging best practices in our own industry. We have an impressive list of partners on the board; here is a link to view the complete list.

I will be bringing you interviews with our Partner Advisory Board members, a few at a time. Today’s interview is with Diane Berry, SVP Marketing and Communications, Coveo.  Coveo Insight Solutions™ leverage the full breadth and depth of information available across your organization, whether it resides in systems behind the firewall or in the cloud, to increase enterprise innovation, competitiveness and agility.

John Ragsdale: I’d like to extend a warm welcome to Diane Berry, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communication for Coveo, and thanks for participating in this blog interview. Could I ask you to start with a little background on Coveo?

Diane Berry: Coveo is an Insight Solutions software company with a new radically new approach to information integration. We help organizations get a much higher return on collective knowledge and information, and place the customer at the center of operations to facilitate sales, marketing, customer service and product engineering.   In effect, by aligning information better, we help companies establish one-to-one relationships with customers and prospects to increase sales, build customer loyalty and build more innovative products that reflect customer/marketplace needs.

As you know, with all the talk about “big data,” there is tremendous value in information that is never realized.  Companies are overwhelmed by unstructured information both within the enterprise and in social media. Coveo unlocks the value in that information with our technology, and we make it highly consumable for the users, whether that user is a customer service agent, a marketing manager, or the customer. Our customers share a common belief: “waiting for the perfectly integrated system is a losing game!”

Our unified indexing technology, at a very high level, creates structure within information where none exists, across systems and across customer interaction channels. Our platform connects with and pulls information securely from basically all enterprise and social systems to create a virtual integration layer that is always up to date. In this Unified Index, we enrich the data, consolidate and correlate it, and discover information relationships to help users become, as we say, “insightfull.”  From here, the information is consumable via role-based Insight Consoles.   If you think of, say,  Yahoo! Finance on the Internet, you get an idea of the type of mashups that we provide, in real-time, both on company websites and within the enterprise systems and the social media—however, an important difference is that the information is instantly assembled in alignment with the context of the user. The interface, in effect, “knows” the user and serves up personalized information.

John: I first became aware of Coveo as an innovative enterprise search vendor, but clearly you have expanded your platform beyond just search. But let me start with search, since poor search technology is at the root of many of problems we have today with customers, call center agents and support technicians all struggling to find the right answer amid an ocean of corporate content. How does Coveo solve this problem?

Diane:  Yes we do start with an Enterprise Search 2.0-approach to consolidating and correlating information from basically any system, whether that is within the enterprise, in the cloud, or even in social media. This is our Unified Indexing Technology. You can think about it as a real-time, virtual information integration.  The system is always indexing the latest changes from each system, so the agent—or the customer—always has the latest, contextually relevant information in front of him or her.  With the most recent version of our platform, Coveo 7.0, we’ve introduced Multi-Channel Text Analytics on top of the Unified Index. This creates information relationships that help agents solve challenges quickly and easily, and can also helps customers  to solve even complex issues via self-service.  There is a growing swell in a new technology category – Insight Solutions. Today, that is what we bring to market – solutions that help agents, executives and customers gain insight from the unprecedented—and still growing—mountains of unstructured and structured data in enterprise and social systems.

John: I fear the challenges you are solving are getting worse every year. According to my annual technology survey, 21% of technology support groups are using generic data warehouses like Lotus Notes and MS Sharepoint instead of a specialized knowledge base tool, up from 0% in 2007. What I’m hearing is that CIOs are pushing generic tools down the throats of business users, and as a result, content is being dumped into these repositories with little or no indexing or search capabilities. As one member told me, Sharepoint was a “black hole of content” for them—they could enter all the data they wanted, but they would never retrieve it again. This seems to make sophisticated search a “must have” for more companies. Is this something you are seeing in the field?

Diane:  Well, we do see this happening, and yet we see that even with sophisticated knowledge bases, companies face the same problems. It is difficult to get the information you need, because it never only resides in a “system of record.” (And yes, as you say, sometimes these “systems of record” – such as SharePoint – don’t easily give up what they have ingested….) Over the past decade, regardless of the promise of integrated solution suites, information systems have more than doubled within enterprises. For one of our customers, we are indexing 74 different systems – that is CA Technologies, which as we are all aware has grown significantly through acquisition. So this is not just about the large amounts of data, it is also about different types of data; the geometric growth of data is a strong challenge in and of itself.   All of our customers have either a knowledge base or generic data warehouse as you point out, or both in many cases, and in a strong M&A environment there may be multiples of both, plus CRM(s), plus issue defect databases, plus PLM systems…..add on top of all of this multiple customer and developer communities, plus social media such as Twitter, and you have an unbelievable mess for agents to sort through to find the answers they need.

John: I just had a conversation with a member yesterday about launching a “voice of the customer” program, and I’m happy to see interest brewing on the B2B side to improve the customer experience. Clearly social media is raising the stakes for this, with companies ignoring customer sentiment at their peril. Coveo had a major announcement last fall that will have a huge impact on analyzing customer conversations: Coveo 7.0 with Multi-Channel Text Analytics. Could you talk about this new product?

Diane: We are very excited about Coveo 7.0, as I mentioned earlier. The implication for VOTC programs is huge – and, I think, finally takes them beyond surveys to the combination of survey, multi-channel interactions, social media (including community) interaction, all correlated with their products, history and cases.  Equally as important, with Coveo, companies easily share this information across silos, so engineering and product development use it as they develop roadmaps and products, sales & marketing use it as they talk with customers and market to them. It is a virtuous circle of sorts.  This is possible because the platform is completely modular and extensible. I mentioned CA Technologies earlier – CA has rolled out Coveo to its customers via the company’s self-service portal as well as all of its employees.  These employees benefit from role-based access to a common, unified index of information across the company, and placing the customer squarely in the center of operations.  I think customer centricity, which this approach enables, is often the end goal of VOTC programs.

John: With the economy still questionable, clearly companies are not investing in new technology unless they understand where the return on investment comes from. I’ve seen some impressive case studies from your customers, including some TSIA members, on the actual benefits from implementing Coveo. Could you explain where the ROI usually comes from? What sort of metrics do you see impacted?

Diane:  Yes the economy remains questionable; however we are seeing growth in our customer base, as well as plans for growth as they develop solutions that enable their customers to save time and money—particularly with the movement to cloud-based solutions. I think you’ll see that this applies both to companies in growth mode as well as in savings mode.  I was with one of our customers a couple of weeks ago, who is currently rolling out Coveo to its customer service teams, and as a second phase will provide it to their customers for self-service. They are developing new cloud-based offerings which they believe will increase their market share considerably, and quickly. And yet they want to double capacity without adding headcount in their customer support operations—and without impacting customer satisfaction. So, basically, they want to double their capacity. Coveo will enable them to do this, first by helping their agents to become much more effective and efficient, and secondly through self-service, by helping them to deflect calls for even complex issues.

As another example, CA Technologies uses Coveo as the backbone for pulling together information across the enterprise.  With Coveo, CA connects 74 different systems, including customer communities.  If we take just customer service, where they serve approximately 150,000 customers, CA has achieved tremendous results over the past couple of years using Coveo Insight Solutions: Here are some stats shown by CA during a recent Gartner webinar:

  • Overall Satisfaction:  Up 40 Basis points
  • Knowledge Base Content Satisfaction:  Up 90 Basis points
  • Online Usability:  Up 50 Basis points
  • Time To Resolution:  Down 15%
  • % Opened Online:  Up 41%
  • Customer service capacity increase:  Up 8%
  • Customer service staff reduction:  Down 5%

So they were able to increase capacity, reduce costs, and increase customer satisfaction at the same time – until now, these were diametrically opposed goals. Here is a link to a YouTube video of CA talking about their savings.

John: Thank you for being here, and thank you for agreeing to serve on our inaugural Partner Advisory Board!

Diane:  Thank you John, it is always a pleasure, and it is an honor to be involved in the TSIA Partner Advisory Board.

Coremetrics improves the Customer Experience by differentiating Visit vs. Visitor

April 23, 2008

I’ve been blessed with some amazing managers over the years.  The first was Judy Walden during my days as a support tech at JCPenney, who pushed me to think outside the box and be creative in attacking problems.  Another was Joe Davis, who was my boss at Clarify during the dark days after the Nortel acquisition.  Joe was the first executive I’d worked for with a “No BS” policy–he called ’em as he saw ’em, was clear and direct, and never afraid to discuss the occasional elephant in the room.  These two people have a lot to do with my becoming an analyst–a career that requires creative solutions to problems, and a level of frankness that some people find a bit uncomfortable.

Joe is now CEO of Coremetrics, the original “click stream analytics” company, and yesterday I went in for a briefing to better understand how Coremetrics can help support organizations improve the customer experience.  Though Coremetrics is best known as a solution for marketing professionals, there is a lot in their suite applicable to support.  The biggest takeaway for me was their in-depth understanding of Visit vs. Visitor, which gets to heart of why some knowledgebase vendors have ridiculous claims about the success of their self-service technology.

Here’s an example.  Let’s say a customer has a problem with their mobile phone.  (more…)