Observations from #AspectSummit15

Observations from #AspectSummit15

Last week I spent several days with Aspect’s executive team for the company’s annual analyst summit. The event took place in Cancun and was an excellent excuse to escape from the cold New England weather. Most importantly, however, the summit provided a forum for strategic and transparent conversations about Aspect as well as the trends impacting the contact center and customer experience management (CEM) space. Below are some of my takeaways from the event: 2014 was a success: The insights shared during last week’s meeting showed that Aspect continued growing its revenue in 2014; following a revenue decline in 2012 turned organic growth in 2013. This was largely enabled by growing existing client spend as well as adding a number of net-new logos across different product lines. The business plan executed by the management team is serving its purpose and will continue to guide 2015 activities – combined with the plans noted below. It’s also important to note that Aspect had a very strong executive presence in the meeting, showing that the company is eager to share its business results and strategy, but also that it highly values the opinions of industry analysts to ensure it keeps addressing the key trends impacting Aspect users as well as the broader marketplace into 2015 and the future.   Cloud remains a key area of focus: Cloud was a point of focus for Aspect in 2014, reflected by the announcement of Zipwire – the company’s pure cloud contact center offering –and remains to be one of the key areas of focus for the company moving forward. Aspect enjoyed a substantial annual increase...
3 Must-Read Research Reports during Customer Service Week

3 Must-Read Research Reports during Customer Service Week

Happy National Customer Service Week, everyone! In honor of this whole week dedicated to delighting customers and improving customer experience, I wanted to highlight recent Aberdeen Group research reports on the topic. All are available at no charge with a free Aberdeen membership. 1. Social Customer Care: Steps to Success in 2014 Social media has drastically transformed the modern-day customer experience management (CEM) programs. Findings in this report outline the characteristics of firms that reap maximum results from social customer care, and provide a roadmap for others to improve their performance. Highlights include: The adoption of social customer care grew more than four-fold between 2010 and 2014. Contact centers not using social media experience an annual decrease in revenue per customer contact. Best-in-Class firms provide agents with the ability to manage social conversations through a single screen. Top performers are 53% more likely than All Others to use single sign-on to access multiple applications via the agent desktop. 2.  Streamlining the Agent Experience Reduces Unnecessary Costs This report outlines best practices in empowering agents with the right processes and technology tools. The findings will depict the impact of these best practices in maximizing agent productivity and improving customer experience. Highlights include: Due to the lack of effective technology tools, 14% of agent time is spent looking for information. Integrating the contact center within omni-channel programs helps companies reduce unnecessary costs. Technologies used to help ensure consistency in messages delivered by contact center employees include screen capture and sharing, database management, desktop analytics, and unified agent desktop. 3. Customer Experience Management in Financial Services: The 2014 State of the Market Financial...
Observations from Connect 2014

Observations from Connect 2014

I spent the first half of last week in San Francisco attending Connect 2014, the user event of KANA, a Verint Company. This was a great opportunity to connect with numerous KANA clients, hear their stories as well as discuss the roadmap for KANA after being acquired by Verint in February 2014. I walked away with several observations from the event: Post-Acquisition Solution Integration: As the acquiring organization, Verint has heavy focus on integrating KANA capabilities with its own solutions – this was reflected in almost all conversations with the company executives. As with most mergers and acquisitions in the technology space, the success of the KANA acquisition will hinge on Verint’s ability to successfully incorporate their capabilities together. KANA has traditionally been a strong provider in areas such as agent desktop optimization and knowledge management. Over the past several years it also added capabilities geared to help companies manage the omni-channel customer experiences. When combined with Verint’s offerings in areas such as workforce optimization, enterprise feedback management and customer and engagement analytics these capabilities provide companies with a broad set of functionality to manage internal activities (e.g. employee engagement) as well as external (customer) interactions.   Serving the KANA user base: During the event I learned that Connect 2014 was the largest KANA user event to date in terms of attendance. In my opinion this reflects KANA clients’ interest in remaining up-to-date with solution capabilities, networking with peers but also learning more about Verint’s plans for the future of KANA. End-users I interacted with at the event indicated the roadmap that was provided during the conference made sense...
The Good and the Bad of Customer Service

The Good and the Bad of Customer Service

Customers today have power, and that power is changing the nature of the customer/company relationship. Growth in the adoption and use of mobile devices and social media means that customers can easily share their experiences with companies; both good and bad. In the examples below, we’ll see where good service, and the ensuing positive customer experience, had a positive outcome, and also learn how a negative customer experience can have far reaching consequences. Customer experience management (CEM) is not just another buzzword. The Aberdeen report State of the CEM Market 2014: It’s All About Better Use of Customer Data shows that firms that are Best-in-Class in CEM enjoy a 31.3% year-over-year increase in annual company revenue. While the financial benefits of CEM programs are important, so is the impact on company brand equity. When businesses satisfy customers, buyers are likely to share these positive experiences with members of social networks – amplifying the voice of the customer and affecting the organizations’ brand equity. For Panera Bread, a bakery/café restaurant chain based in the U.S., exceeding customer expectations paid off with improved brand equity. A happy consumer shared a positive experience with Panera Bread via the company’s fan page on Facebook. This customer-generated content received more than half a million likes and more than 20,000 comments (conversations). In other words, one customer sharing a satisfactory (and touching) experience was able to make more than half a million people aware of their story – hence influence their sentiment about Panera Bread. The above example with Panera Bread is a good demonstration of how delivering positive customer experiences helps to positively influence...
How to Fail in Personalizing the Customer Experience: We Just Send It!

How to Fail in Personalizing the Customer Experience: We Just Send It!

Personalization is a key ingredient of success in customer experience management (CEM). It helps companies deliver the right message to the right audience through the right channel (and device) at the right time. Findings from Aberdeen’s State of the CEM Market: It’s all About Better Use of Customer Data study shows that only 32% of companies today have the ability to personalize customer offers based on historical and real-time customer data. Why is personalization important? Aberdeen’s Customer Analytics: Converting Data into Insight for Superior Customer Experiences study indicates that companies personalizing customer messages successfully grow client engagement results. These results include metrics such as annual company revenue, customer retention rates and cross-sell and up-sell revenue. Amica, a mutual-insurance company based in the U.S., is one example of a company delivering targeted customer messaging. My car insurance is soon up for renewal, and I’m currently insured under a different provider. This week, I received a letter from Amica reminding me that the renewal time has come for my policy, and providing me with a personalized offer (with a special invitation number) recommending that I call to get a quote — and ultimately become a new client. As a consumer living the era of customer empowerment, I wanted to do my homework and learn about my options before renewing my service. I called Amica, and provided the necessary information to an agent to get a quote. After a few minutes, the agent told me that due to a minor incident (I may have rolled at 5 mph through a stop sign) several years ago, the company wouldn’t provide insurance coverage to...
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