Posted tagged ‘eGain’

From “Channel Chaos” to “Channel Harmony:” Five Steps to Future Proof Your Multi-Channel Strategy

November 30, 2011

Tomorrow at 11am PT I am speaking on a webcast entitled, “Multichannel, Mobile, and Social Customer Support: How Consumer Electronics & Technology Companies Can Go from Chaos to Harmony.” Please click on the link to register. Even if you aren’t available for the live event, by registering you will receive a link to download all presentation materials and view the recorded version of the webcast.

Multi-channel has always been a hot button issue with TSIA members: what channels do customer want, how to build adoption for one channel over another, what is the cost and satisfaction per channel, etc. A few years ago I did a lot of writing and speaking on “channel islands,” meaning companies tended to add one channel at a time from different technology providers without the required integration work. As a result, most companies have knowledge, interaction history and customer data stored in a dozen or more systems, one for phone, email, chat, self-service, etc.

I’m sorry to say we have not made a lot of progress in fixing that problem, and from where I sit, the situation seems to be going downhill fast. There are hot new interaction channels emerging, such as intelligent agents; mobility and video are forcing companies to develop additional self-service sites and content optimized for smart phones and tablets; and social media and online communities are adding even more avenues for customer interactions. And none of it is integrated.

The last time I surveyed members, there was an average of 13 separate systems routinely accessed by front-line support techs to support customers. That’s a heck of a lot of “alt-tab” to move from screen to screen, and you know exactly what that means:

  • With so many applications to navigate, some data and functionality are just overlooked or underutilized, preventing ROI for the technology and negatively impacting productivity.
  • Without customer data integration, there is no true “360 degree view of the customer,” so no one really has a handle on “the big picture view” of customer attitudes, consumption or loyalty.
  • Customers have a disjointed experience, with agents from one channel not having visibility for incidents in another channel, and duplicate and conflicting knowledge depending on channel used.
  • Entitlement is inconsistent across channels, meaning expired customers receive support for free, and priority customers don’t receive the service levels they are paying for.

In tomorrow’s webcast, I’m going to build out the actual picture of a multi-channel environment and talk about the missed integration points. I’ll also give a simple five step plan to begin consolidating channels, and discuss how to add new channels thoughtfully so as not to exacerbate the problem. The webcast is sponsored by eGain, and you’ll also hear from Don Muchow, eGain’s Product Marketing Manager, about the advantages of consolidating channels to a single–or at least fewer–platforms. eGain has done a lot of work building out their channel strategy, now with ‘best of breed’ offerings for enterprise/federated search, social media channels and monitoring, as well as phone, email, chat, virtual agents, and a single knowledge management platform across every channel.

See you tomorrow, and thanks for reading!


eGain’s New Multisearch Gives Vendor “Best of Breed” Status for KB, MultiChannel, Self-Service, and now Search

December 14, 2010

One of the top support technology spending areas in the last 3 years has been intelligent search. With the number of content repositories–both inside and outside the firewall–increasing rapidly, both employees and customers need a single search tool that will allow them to access any number of content sources, in any format, in real time. As you can see in this chart from my annual Member Technology Survey, adoption of intelligent search technology rose 15% from 2009 to 2010, and almost of third of members report budget for search tools in 2010-2011.


Adoption and Planned Spending for Intelligent Search

Intelligent search is available from 2 primary sources: knowledge management vendors who have included intelligent search as part of their platforms, and specialist search vendors whose technology can integrate to existing knowledge infrastructure. But the total number of search providers has been pretty low, especially if you want a tool designed specifically for customer support and self-service–not a general purpose search tool that doesn’t really meet the use cases of support.

I’m thrilled to announce that as of last week we have one more source for intelligent search: knowledge management expert eGain. Last week eGain announced the availability of eGain Multisearch, an all-in-one search technology for web self-service and the multichannel contact center. Embedded in the eGain SelfService™ and eGain KnowledgeAgent™ products, eGain Multisearch delivers ease of navigation, content findability, and result relevance, while improving support tech productivity and ensuring best-practice compliance.

Key capabilities of eGain Multisearch include:

  • Multi-access behind a simple search box: eGain Multisearch puts their extensive set of knowledge access methods—keyword, metadata, natural language and intent-based search, question-matched search, and CBR-guided help (Case-Based Reasoning) behind a simple search box. The multifaceted, multi-path, blended navigation for answers helps reduce unproductive searches. Where the advanced version of eGain SelfService is implemented, search with a virtual assistant interface is also included as a seamless option.
  • Multi-sourced content: To further increase findability of answers, eGain Multisearch seamlessly federates and presents search results across website, contact center, enterprise, community, and social content.
  • Multichannel consistency: The underlying multichannel customer interaction hub platform, eGain OpenCIH™, ensures that contact center portion of the federated content is consistent across customer interaction channels.
  • Multi-role access: Access to search methods can be controlled by role or user. For instance, agents that are new or work in highly regulated industries can be made to follow a consistent, compliant search and interactive process.
  • Multi-process expertise: Today’s contact center agents are expected to handle process-intensive customer queries such as product selection, diagnostics and resolution, contextual cross-sell and up-sell, providing sales quotes, etc. in a way that is compliant with industry regulations and best practices.

The timing of this release is perfect, as we see companies evaluating search technology to improve support productivity and self-service success. Additionally, federating online community/discussion forum content with knowledge base content is a key step toward achieving rapid ROI for community projects. I also applaud eGain for building this technology themselves, instead of forming a partnership with a search specialist (which usually have a shelf life of 1-2 years).

If you have any questions about the new release, let me know and I can ask my contacts at eGain for additional information. Thanks for reading!

KM Megatrends: Social, Mobile, Global, Green

June 4, 2010

I’m doing a webcast with KMWorld and eGain next week on June 8th at 11am PT (click here to register!) on knowledge management (KM) megatrends.  When we had our content planning call, we brainstormed on top trends in customer service, and every one of them had a tie-in to KM.  We’ve divided up topics to discuss on the webcast, and I’m going to cover these 4 areas:

  • Social media/social service: New channels, increased transparency, customer in control
  • Mobility: Information access anywhere, anytime, on any device
  • Globalization: Meeting needs of customers regardless of geography or culture
  • Green Support: Reducing environmental impacts of support

I’ve blogged about some of these topics before, but the globalization angle is new. I’m adding a graphic here showing how many languages different industry segments currently support for phone, email and web self-service.

In how many different languages are the following support resources offered?

No surprise, consumer companies are out in front, but enterprise software firms are also far along the path to offering multiple languages across channels. Even small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) are getting in on the act. Why is this so important?

  • Increased self-service adoption and success with local language versions. If you want to boost self-service success, offering content in the customer’s native language is a great place to start.  Note that some companies are already WAY ahead in this effort, and here are a couple of “all star” company examples:  17 languages offered by Nikon (B2C), 32 languages offered by Xerox (B2B)
  • Huge improvement in translation tools and KM capabilities to create/maintain multiple languages. I’ve given a couple of Recognized Innovator Awards to Language Weaver, who has the single best (and accurate) translation tool on the market. Also, KM vendors like eGain are now able to handle multiple languages in a single instance, with reference customers for proof.
  • Cultural differences extend beyond language and can thwart success in other geographies. I’ve told the story before about how my first startup lost a big deal in Japan because of a stupidly designed icon in our product that was mis-interpreted as insulting by the Japanese prospect. North American companies have always tried to shove our approach to UI and workflow down everyone’s throats, but increasingly, we are seeing companies enter China starting not with sales, but development centers, building new product versions that are more in tune with local expectations, norms and culture.

I hope you can tune in next week to hear more, as well as additional megatrends to be covered by Don Muchow, Senior Solutions Consultant with eGain. Don always has great insight to share–not only has he been at eGain since 2003, but he also worked at early CRM vendor Scopus as well as Siebel, so he has seen a lot! Thanks for reading, and hope to see you on Tuesday!