Constellation ShortList™ Customer Service and Contact Center Software

Constellation Research is launching a new program, and I’m happy to share that the vendors that have been listed on the Constellation ShortList™ for Customer Service and Contact Center Software. The program offers buyers of technology a list of offerings to consider in their pursuit of digital transformation to provide the best capabilities to drive leading customer service.

The Constellation ShortList presents vendors in different categories of the market relevant to early adopters. In addition, products included in this document meet the threshold criteria for this category as determined by Constellation Research. This Constellation ShortList of vendors for a market category is compiled through conversations with early adopter clients, independent analysis, and briefings with vendors and partners.

Customer service and contact center software helps solve customer challenges faster by offering the right tools and support, regardless of channel or device (e.g., phone, tablet, email, chat, text, website, Facebook, other social networks). These offerings can effectively manage inbound communication for increased first-contact resolution, in addition to providing co-browse capabilities to allow visual communication for quicker query resolution. Additionally, they can support the reduction of cart abandonment and increase customer satisfaction with in-cart assistance. This type of software provides personalized care through the use of analytics, offering insight into customers’ behaviors for relevant, contextualized service that can predict future needs. Companies can identify new opportunities by integrating these customer insights into their companies’ innovation processes.

The software also creates seamless, online experiences with a knowledge base that learns from every interaction, enabling them to match content to consumer intent, which results in higher conversion rates. The top solutions also provide smart customer self-service, allowing customers to help themselves by fostering peer-to-peer support communities and eliminating the need to reach out to the contact center.

Constellation considers the following key criteria for these solutions: Self-service capabilities, case management, natural language processing for knowledge management and search, omni-channel and device customer journeys, mobile customer service and self service, queuing and routing, workforce optimization, predictive and prescriptive rules and advice, next-best action, natural scripting, customer feedback collection capabilities, IVR, visual IVR, inventory optimization, mobile enablement, social and digital engagement simplified user design (UX/UI), reporting and customer analytics, integration to IoT (Internet of Things) platforms and devices, data dashboard and data visualization.

Each Constellation ShortList evaluation will be updated every 90 days as needed. Constellation clients may work with the analyst and research team to conduct a more thorough discussion of this ShortList. Constellation can also provide guidance in vendor selection and contract negotiation.

The ShortList is determined by client inquiries, partner conversations, customer references, vendor selection projects, market share and internal research. The Shortlist includes:

  • Aspect
  • Avaya
  • Cisco
  • Genesys
  • inContact
  • Interactive Intelligence
  • Oracle
  • Salesforce
  • Verint.

For more information about the ShortList, please visit the Constellation Research site.

@DrNatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research, Covering Customer Facing Applications.

Share

Innovations in Performance Management: Verint’s Workforce Optimization

Why is this announcement so important? Verint® Systems Inc.  announced substantial enhancements to its Verint Workforce Optimization software designed to help contact center, back-office and branch operations better manage the performance of employees and operations.Armed with a brand new user experience and analytics, this latest release includes innovations in performance management to help organizations gain even greater insight into how employees are performing, how well goals are being met and how to better engage and take action on these insights.

This technology release comes at a time when market adoption for performance management software is projected to rise, according to research conducted by Saddletree Research. In a recent survey 22 percent of respondents identified performance management as the “most likely” solutions to be replaced in 2016.  

Why Is It Important to Balance Cost, Quality and Customer Service? Managing performance and productivity in a typical enterprise is no easy task, given disparate systems, complex processes and the differences in performance metrics between roles and functions. Performance management is a practice and culture that applies to individuals, teams and departments. It requires organizational buy-in, transparency, regular measurement and a focus on business-oriented goals. To help companies master these dynamics, Verint Performance Management features a unified set of dashboards, scorecards, coaching, e-learning and gamification capabilities that enable a closed-loop cycle and advanced approach to performance management.

What Does This Latest Release Feature? This latest release features a new state-of-the-art user interface that supports advanced visualization, data exploration, and analysis of employee and company-wide performance, providing critical executive insights that support time-sensitive decision making and actions. The enhancements also enable managers to work more effectively with the addition of new flexible scorecard widgets and dashboards. Likewise, employees benefit from a more intuitive performance scorecard and greater visibility into their individual metrics and achievement of goals. 

What Does the Scorecard Include? The solution also features scorecard workspaces that offer performance summaries and overviews, heat mapping, performance comparisons and multiple views of key performance indicators (KPIs). Using these scorecard workspaces, users can visually and automatically identify answers to employee engagement questions, such as: Which employees are meeting and exceeding goals and which areas need improvement? Is the performance of employees consistent across time? Where is performance improving and declining? How do peer comparisons map and trend? And how does the performance of individual employees change over time?

How Can Companies Benefit from Advanced Analytics? In addition, a new improvement opportunities widget has been added to Verint Performance Management, enabling organizations to automatically surface KPIs that represent opportunity and improvement areas based on user-definable criteria and data analysis. With this capability, managers can quickly identify the employees and KPIs that need attention based on their scores or recent trends.

What Does Gamification Have To Do With Performance? Also embedded in this latest release is the ability to leverage Verint Gamification, a solution that applies game mechanics and behavioral science “game thinking” in a business setting. Using gamification, organizations can engage employees, motivate them to improve skills and knowledge and solve problems, as well as enable them to take action and immediate control over their performance. The latest version of Verint Performance Management became generally available in November 2015.

For more information about Verint Workforce Optimization solutions, click here.

@DrNatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering Customer-facing Applications In the Cloud That Drive Better Business Results and Awesome Customer Experiences
Share

Cloud-Based Customer Service and Customer Experience: Verint’s Acquisition of Contact Solutions

Cloud-Based Customer Service and Customer Experience. Verint® Systems Inc. announced its acquisition of Contact Solutions, a leading provider of real-time, contextual customer care solutions. The combination of Contact Solutions advances the Verint Customer Engagement Optimization portfolio with the addition of cloud-based solutions that enhance voice and mobile self-service through automation and analytics-driven personalization. By joining Contact Solutions’ strong self-service capabilities with its advanced customer analytics, engagement management and workforce optimization solutions, Verint is extending omnichannel engagement across the enterprise. With this acquisition, Verint is furthering its mission of being the world’s leading Actionable Intelligence® platform that enables organizations toprovide crucial insights that empower decision makers to anticipate, respond and take action.

Cloud-base Voice and Mobile Self-Service. The combination of Contact Solutions and Verint will increase the value proposition that customers of both companies receive. Verint customers will be able to extend their investments in omnichannel customer engagement with expanded cloud-based voice and mobile self-service options. Contact Solutions’ dynamic customer base—including many public sector and commercial organizations—will have access to new world-class actionable intelligence with the ability to leverage leading customer engagement optimization solutions to help transform their end-to-end customer engagement.  

Personalization Engine: Providing Intelligent One to One Service. Today’s forward-thinking organizations understand the value of delivering personalized and contextually relevant interactions that enhance the customer experience and heighten loyalty. Backed by a robust set of analytics, Contact Solutions’ personalization engine analyzes and adapts call flow and the pace of interactions based on caller behavior. For example, if a caller most frequently selects “account balance” from a set of menu options, the personalization engine can detect this behavior and dynamically rearrange the menu so “account balance” is always the first option presented to that caller. This reduces both time and effort, resulting in better experiences for customers, and decreasing interaction costs for the enterprise through higher automation rates and shorter calls.

Cloud-based Solutions Extends Engagement Optimization Across Smartphones, Tablets and Personal Computers. The rise of “digital-first” approaches to customer engagement has opened the door for consumer engagement at any point in the customer journey. Thanks to the widespread adoption of smartphones, mobile self-service is on the rise and growing in popularity. To address customer demand and market dynamics, Contact Solutions delivers My:Time™ (its patented digital engagement platform.) This cloud-based solution extends engagement optimization across smartphones, tablets and personal computers. With advanced, cross-channel messaging functionality, it enables customers to start a digital interaction on one device and continue it on another, allowing continuity and continued personalization of interactions. Leveraging My:Time’s App2Agent™ functionality takes mobile customer service another step forward by enabling a seamless transition from self-service to live service within a mobile app, mobile web or web application. This will advancing mobile self-service and engagement.

Privacy and Security: Combating Contact Center Fraud. The combination with Contact Solutions also will add functionality to Verint’s solution set focused on mitigating risk, identifying fraud and reducing loss. For instance, Contact Solutions’ capabilities complement Verint Identity Authentication and Fraud Detection, the innovative technology that delivers passive voice biometrics to profile and recognize the voiceprints of fraudulent callers—while makingcaller authentication faster, easier and more secure. Backed by advanced analytics, Contact Solutions brings advanced “upstream fraud detection” functionality that can identify suspicious caller behavior within voice self-service interactions. As potentially threatening interactions surface, red flag detection alerts users to problems and tailors appropriate responses.

MY POV: Businesses need to decide the evolution into the cloud, especially when it comes to customer engagement, customer service and especially mobile and self-service. As customers become more and more attached to their phone, and their expectations for customer engagement higher than ever, it’s really time businesses decide on their digital transformation strategy and start now. Tomorrow is too late!

@DrNatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research
Covering Cloud and IoT That Drive Better Business Results and Awesome Customer Experiences

 

Share

Communities Add Business Value: Verint Advances Customer Engagement Optimization Portfolio with New Release of Telligent Social Community Software

Verint System, Inc and Selligent announced a major new release of its Telligent Communitysolution. Among the latest advancements to the Telligent Community are the new community management tools and user experience capabilities, workflow enhancements, new content management and moderation functionality, and ongoing API investments, as well as solution availability in a Community as a Service (CaaS) model.

These advancements are designed to further organizations’ use of actionable intelligence that flows through their communities as they focus on the advancement of strategic objectives, such as gaining a holistic view of customer service effectiveness, integrating social experiences on the web and supporting digital transformation initiatives. 

The Telligent Community social software platform— which is available in SaaS, on-premises and now CaaS deployment models—enables customer service and digital marketing organizations within a business to create compelling, online, branded communities for customers, partners and employees to collaborate and engage. This new release marks the first community product introduction to follow the acquisition of Telligent by Verint in 2015.

Community Management Advancements for Increased Efficiency: The suite of Telligent applications and services features advanced management capabilities designed to reduce the time and resources required to manage the community. Among these are new moderation functionality, updates to leaderboards, search engine optimization (SEO) updates, new content management tools, and enhancements to question and answer (Q&A) workflow for customer support use cases. All of these enhancements are designed to free the community owner to spend more time with customers.

Staging and Publishing Workflow Enhancements to Simplify Deployments: New workflow capabilities in the Telligent solution enable users to stage and preview changes and updates to the community prior to rolling them out into live user environments. For Telligent customers upgrading from previous versions or upgrading widgets, these staging and publishing enhancements can save valuable time and effort, and simply workflow and deployment.

Addition of Intelligent Content Management and Moderation Capabilities: Also new to the Telligent Community is the introduction of analytics, user reputation and abuse reporting to enhance and simplify workflow associated with moderating content and users. These expanded moderation capabilities provide services across all content published within the community and add a process that enables content authors to appeal when content is incorrectly moderated. This represents yet another advancement designed to ease the workload of the community manager.

New Community as a Service Offering: In addition, the Telligent solution is now available in a Community as a Service (CaaS) model. By using CaaS, organizations can benefit from the full suite of applications, services and management tools offered by Telligent Community. The CaaS offering is a Telligent managed service solution that enables customers and partners, and their developers, to build the unique, creative community experiences they desire.

Ongoing Investment in the API Economy: For developers, the solution features a host of advancements, including moving many of Telligent Community’s integrations to open source on GitHub. It also has new editors for managing content, as well as editors for managing all design elements, such as CSS. Further enhancements involve expanded APIs, WebHooks and application tracing, all designed to simplify development efforts for customers and partners that want to build on the Telligent platform. The solution also includes updates to its widget studio functionality for managing the full user experience.

More Words From The Executives: “Telligent is delighted to bring these new capabilities to market as we continue to invest in and grow our business in social software for customer and employee communities,” says Rob Howard, vice president and general manager for social communities, Verint Enterprise Intelligence Solutions.™ “These latest advancements are designed to offer our customers more deployment model options, enable 100 percent customization and simplified management, and add advanced functionality for sharing ideas and feedback.”

Customer communities serve as a natural extension to customer engagement optimization, and Verint offers communities as part of a comprehensive platform with ties to engagement management, customer analytics and workforce optimization. Using the Telligent solutions, organizations can uniquely provide actionable intelligence across customers’ omnichannel experiences to include voice, chat, email, web self-service, and customer and employee communities. Leveraging community software, companies can foster customer-to-customer and employee-to-employee collaboration and trust, support and drive enhanced self-service and social support, lower service costs, and enable destinations for dynamic digital marketing campaigns, while fostering new levels of customer and employee engagement.

 As communities become more and more important to companies, as the research in my paper has shown, it’s important to a businesses strategy to include a community. You can download an excerpt and learn more about my research findings on the business value to communities, that goes far beyond just Customer Service.

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 12.08.35 PM

@DrNatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering Customer-facing Applications That Drive Better Business Results

 

 

Share

Consumers Can Research a Company and Schedule Appointments Faster and Easier

Often times, as a customer, you want to know a little bit more about what a company offers and when you find that information you want to be able to act on it.  With the  partnership between Verint and TimeTrade, customers will have more seamless omnichannel experiences for consumers.

How Will This Partnership Work? The TimeTrade platform will integrate with the Verint Branch Workforce Optimization solution, enabling customers to research financial products and services, and schedule an appointment to meet with a branch professional on a desired date and time in their preferred branch location.

Can Customers Find Remote Specialists if They are Not At the Branch? In addition to scheduling appointments with branch employees that have the right skills for a given topic, the combined offering can schedule remote financial specialists to meet with customers and branch employees by video conference for even greater omnichannel customer engagement. This enables the broader sharing of resources across the bank enterprise, whether they are in a contact center or another location. For example, for mortgage appointments, customers can schedule an appointment in their preferred branch but be connected with a mortgage representative in another location via video conference.

How Will Brands Measure Success? Following these interactions, key metrics can be automatically added into the bank’s performance management scorecards, enabling them to track customer satisfaction, gauge customer wait times and other efficiencies, determine interaction success rates, and identify areas for training and development.

What Do The Executives Have to Say? Chris Zaske, global vice president, strategic operations, Verint Enterprise Intelligence Solutions,explains, “A top priority of the retail banking organizations we serve is to provide superior experiences to their customers—both on- and off-line—with the goal of also growing revenue. Partnering with TimeTrade and integrating with its platform supports this goal by helping our financial institution customers optimize branch personnel by scheduling their time to meet with customers and better utilize their capacity. By making it easy for customers to schedule appointments in advance, banks are connecting digital interactions with skilled branch associates that can improve close rates, as well as provide follow-up on future cross-sell and up-sell opportunities.”

Gary Ambrosino, CEO of TimeTrade goes on to say, “In-branch service has been suffering, and banks are losing customers as a result. We recently did a study and found that 60 percent of consumers lack a personal connection to their banks. In the same study, we found that a significant majority (83 percent) are willing to come into a branch during a week day if offered a guaranteed time to meet a representative. We believe the responsibility is on the associates and bank managers to re-build these relationships. Our goal in bringing a TimeTrade and Verint solution together is to provide the tools banks need to make this vision a reality, so they no longer risk losing out to the competition.”

MY POV: This is a very interesting partnership in that it does extend the branch beyond the solid walls of a financial office and allows the customer to more easily access the right person, maybe even in their jammies. With the increase in work-at-home employees, this may be a very smart move!

@DrNatalie Petouhoff

VP and Principal Analyst, Customer Facing Applications of Marketing, Sales and Customer Care, Service and Experience, Constellation Research

Share

Verint® Acquires Telligent® to Extend Online Community Customer Experience

As you might recall, Telligent®, acquired Zimbra, whose purpose was to help organizations enhance support, drive digital transformation and to ensure brand consistency. Today, Verint acquired Telligent®.

The reason for the acquisition? Verint wants to extended its customer engagement optimization portfolio with the addition of a market-leading, enterprise-class community solution. As a result, organizations can uniquely provide actionable intelligence across customers’ omnichannel experiences to include voice, chat, email, web self-service, and now customer and employee communities.

Was This Acquisition a Good Move For Verint? MY POV: This seems like a very good move for Verint, as having a community offering is key to customer care. Communities are a critical part of customer service as well as customer engagement. With the combination of Verint and Telligent, customers will be uniquely positioned to use the actionable intelligence that flows through their communities to help achieve important strategic objectives, including the ability to gain a holistic view of customer service effectiveness, integrate social experiences on the web and support digital transformation initiatives.

How Is Having An Option for Online Communities Useful To Brands? By integrating communities into their customer support and marketing strategies, organizations can lower their service costs, redirecting routine customer queries to their communities for quick answers to frequently asked questions. Through powerful analytics, they also can gain critical insights into buying trends and patterns; evaluate marketing content and campaign effectiveness; enhance social selling; take action on voice of the customer feedback about products, services and overall experiences; and heighten loyalty.

How Do Communities Play a Role In OmniChannel Customer Engagement? As consumers continue to self-serve and seek insights and perspectives from peers, the importance of social communities has grown. With increasing demand for more real-time engagement and personalized service, communities are becoming sought-after and valued sources for customer support. Likewise, marketers are turning to social communities to infuse new digital content, advance social experiences in their online properties, and take action by tracking and analyzing buyer behavior and site activity. There’s not one department that can’t benefit from an online community. And, while that is true, not all departments know the business case. There are huge business reasons for every single department  – customer facing or employee facing – that can benefit from an online community.

Does Your Brand Have a Community?  If not why? What are you waiting for? Want the ROI of online communities beyond customer service? I’m your ROI gal!

@drNatalie VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Don’t forget to submit your case study to the Super Nova Awards!!!! NOW!! 

Share