It’s been an exciting year in the contact center and CRM spaces. Our 2016 TMC (News - Alert) Labs Customer Awards are designed to highlight the leading companies in the industry and their recent innovations.
Winners range from Ameyo, which provides a flexible omnichannel solution; to Crexendo, which offers advanced contact center features bundled with voice; Five9, the 800-pound gorilla in the cloud contact center space; OrecX, a value-priced call recording solution provider; RightAnswers, which provides an innovative community building solution that gives customers the option to collaborate and receive self-service; and finally SAP (News - Alert), which has a solid solution allowing smaller companies to get all the benefits of a 100 percent cloud-based CRM vendor with the ability to upgrade to Enterprise SAP tools as your business grows.
In short, there is a lot of innovation and a disparate list of winners that can help you provide optimal service for your customers. Here’s the winners list.
Ameyo 4.0.4, released in March 2016, is an all-in-one, software-based communication solution that manages end-to-end customer journeys. This powerful and highly flexible IP-based contact center software enables personalized interaction with every customer across multiple channels, thereby driving better customer engagement.
Ameyo enables organizations to innovate and implement interaction-enabled business processes faster and at a lower cost. The product has been designed using service-oriented architecture with very powerful and granular API structure.
Ameyo’s toolkit approach extends to an end-to-end interaction process implementation with a cool drag-and-drop-based user interface. This eliminates the need for writing custom code for each business requirement. This approach enables the business user to view, manage, extend, and scale the technology to meet constantly evolving business requirements effectively. That results in a faster time to market at a lower cost. This feature also allows Ameyo to service enterprise clients using XML-based integrations, which reduces coding speed integrations.
Ameyo is a customer interaction management technology for companies, enabling them to reach out to potential customers, connect with them, complete their orders, manage their complaints, deliveries, and provide feedback through an integrated interface. Ameyo allows organizations to be more proactive.
It further allows a business to integrate its existing workflows and applications into a contact center solution, which has been a challenge for organizations that had to modify their internal processes to co-exist with standalone solutions. The multi-tenant architecture of the platform enables faster customizations and integration with the existing business at a lower cost than legacy contact center providers.
Over the past six months, the company has successfully added the following features:
- Ameyo Customer Engagement Hub: This is an end-to-end solution that integrates marketing and sales to customer support. Basically, the customer support agent sees what the customer sees and as a result can see the exact path taken by the customer to reach the support center. A specific use case is that when the customer is looking for shoes in an ecommerce website and he calls the contact center, the agent will know the history so that agent can recommend the best available options in shoes and give specific offers without asking the customer.
- Ameyo Omniqueue: This solution allows agents to service customers across multiple channels. Agents can address customer requests across voice, chat, SMS, social media, etc. on a single dashboard. All tickets are tagged in a single queue
- Ameyo Engage: This cloud-based call center software aims to simplify the technicalities of building a support center for a business. Using Ameyo Engage, a business owner can simply login and configure his or her own call center or a help desk, built entirely on cloud
The above three additions play nicely with the trend toward everything cloud and everything omnichannel. That’s the intersection of where contact centers and customer care is heading.
Crexendo Call Center
Crexendo offers an integrated call center product that changes the way customers view call center solutions.
Typically in the marketplace, call center products are offered as an add-on with premium prices ranging up to $150 per user monthly. Crexendo’s call center solution innovates in the space where companies find themselves dealing with an informal call center, or a first-time call center.
For companies just entering into the space, traditional solutions are too complicated. The small business market has been an underserved space that formal call center products don’t fit well into. This is what drives Crexendo to innovate – expanding the addressable market for call center functionality through superior design and implementation.
Built natively, from the ground up, the call center features are a natural extension of the phone system itself and included in the price.
Crexendo uses the triad of integration, price, and ease of use as its cornerstone of value creation in an underserved market. While many companies focus on the premium complicated features of larger and more formal call centers, Crexendo continues to break new ground in the informal, young, and evolving call centers that demand a different approach.
Included are a full suite of features, such as agent dashboards, admin dashboards, advanced call handling, automated reporting, CRM integration, integrated call recording, mobility, multi-location support, reader boards, real-time statistics, real-time supervisor/agent interaction, skills-based routing, and tiered management.
The solution is 100 percent cloud-based, hosted in a wholly owned data center, and managed by engineers who also develop the product. The company is PCI (News - Alert) compliant and also regulated by the FCC as a CLEC. Customers requiring local storage for compliance or similar reasons can elect to store their data off the cloud. This includes things like call recordings, reports, call records, and more. For clients without specialized needs, only phones and desktop/mobile apps are required onsite (all are browser-based). Everything else lives in the cloud and is managed for clients.
Crexendo’s engineers use the agile methodology of delivering new software to the user community every eight weeks. Every release is delivered on time to every customer at no additional charge and with no downtime.
The company has introduced a variety of new items in the past six months, including a new supervisor portal that allows flexible supervision in multi-location or multi-call center deployments (summary queues and cross-queue agent overview), advancements to the agent portal (including single-pane dashboard view for availability and status), automated callback in queue, callback in queue dashboard, custom reporting, and improvements to call recording (with rules-based redundant or off-cloud storage to ftp/SFTP/Dropbox).
Bottom line: Crexendo offers a free call center solution with most of the features a startup contact center will need as well as the backing of a CLEC.
Five9 Virtual Contact Center
Five9 is the largest provider of contact center software purely in the cloud, powering customer connections in inbound/outbound call centers. Five9 takes building and maintaining contact center technologies off customers’ plates by offering it as a service in the cloud, which allows companies to focus on what they do best – running their businesses.
At its core, Five9’s Virtual Contact Center is a tool to increase agent productivity and optimize multichannel solutions. The software is browser-based, with a modern, intuitive design. Its design visually guides agents through all interactions, making it easy and familiar for them who work in more than one channel. Whether a company wants to offer service via the phone, web, chat, email, mobile apps or social media, Five9 has them covered. An innovative technology layer called Five9 Connect powers the multichannel applications, delivering better customer engagements, faster response times, and ultimately empowered agents.
Five9’s omnichannel capabilities enable enterprises to seamlessly engage with its modern customers across all channels in a fully integrated multimodal manner. The latest release of the VCC not only enriches the experience with modern channels of engagement like websites, video, and WebRTC-based click-to-call, but also ensures that as customers move from channel to channel, their context and history moves with them.
Additionally, Five9 intelligent routing capabilities ensure that every interaction will be delivered to the right resource at the right time, every time. Five9 provides everything needed to run an inbound, outbound, or blended contact center, including multichannel sophisticated management applications such as real-time and historical reporting, recording, workforce management, quality monitoring, out-of-the-box and custom CRM integrations, and much more.
With Five9, organizations can balance their need to contain costs and still maintain a great customer experience by leveraging the cloud for their contact center. And they have less complexity and more control.
The updated Agent Desktop Plus has everything a customer service department needs to boost agent productivity, reduce training costs and skyrocket customer satisfaction. Additional features include:
- Customer Insights: This includes visualization to understand behaviors, patterns, preferences, and needs of customers.
- Easy Access: Everything the agent needs is accessible from one screen.
- Improved Response Rates: Agents are notified when immediate attention is required.
- Personalized Service: The conversation can be tailored based on the customer’s journey.
- Proactive Engagement: The agent can shift communication from reactive to proactive to meet evolving customer expectations.
Today, visitors to a company’s website are familiar with the generic chat invitation pop-up messages that invite them to engage in a chat with a contact center agent. This is commonly referred to as proactive chat. There are a number of shortcomings with the current approach. Five9 has developed a way to address those shortcomings and truly offer a personalized, proactive experience when engaging website visitors in real time. Five9 leverages web analytics to target specific website visitors based on their browsing behaviors and contextual information such as location, demographic profile, previous purchases, etc. to then trigger the creation of a preview interaction. This preview interaction is then routed to an agent based on skill group and campaign that the agent can then preview the visitor’s details. The contact center agent as a result can initiate a personalized proactive, context-based interaction with the website visitor, in a timely manner, and without exposing the visitor to queuing time in the contact center.
For a web sales scenario in which a website visitor is browsing products or has several items in a shopping cart, the agent could preview the visitor’s product interests then proactively engage the visitor with a specialized offer, promotion, or other initiative to close the sale with the first message to the customer. This personalized proactive interaction system is highly time sensitive, as market research indicates that the dwell time of website visitors on a particular page can be as short as 30 to 40 seconds. The invention addresses this time sensitivity by building in offer and engagement timers as critical components of managing how the interaction is handled by the system.
The latest Summer Release of Five9’s VCC include many new and unique features that make the agent desktop more focused on enabling agents to provide exceptional service. For example, Five9 customer journey analytics and lifetime journey visualization provides enterprises with insight into the full customer journey to provide a better understanding of behaviors, patterns, preferences, and needs for the entire customer experience. This enables enterprises to treat online presence just as importantly as any other interaction for any customer care need, and agents have greater insights into the history of the customers they are servicing. Meanwhile, Five9 proactive engagement shifts care from reactive to proactive to meet evolving customer expectations. Enterprises can see what visitors are doing live on their websites, in their mobile applications, or with agents. It combines analytics and context, in real-time, to predict customer behavior patterns and recommend next best actions, guiding agents to provide the optimal customer experience. And Five9 personalized service integrates the customer journey across systems to deliver a personalized experience, addressing many of consumers’ top expectations, which is to know their history. Leveraging data, knowledge, and resources across all systems eliminates the one-size-fits-all disjointed experience common with many businesses. Through deeper ecosystem integrations, such as with CRM and UC, Five9 leverages knowledge of the lifetime customer journey to provide the modern day consumer exactly what they expect: a personalized experience delivered seamlessly across systems and channels.
The Oreka TR allows every call that your staff makes or receives to be recorded and stored for later replay to help with settling disputes, or providing PCI or HIPAA compliance. The call recorder includes an array of features but at half the cost of many call recorder solutions. Features include screen recording, mobile phone recording, live monitoring, on-demand recording, multi-tenancy, multi-site recording, call tagging, audit trail, call exporting, auto-delete, and more.
The call recorder can also search, find, and categorize recordings based on time or date of call, incoming phone number, outgoing phone number, agent extension, timestamp, recording duration, direction (for a telephone call), remote party (for a telephone call), local party (for a telephone call), or other customer requirements.
This solution provides centralized management and remote site recording and operation with all leading PBXs based on an open source core. It is operating system agnostic (Linux or Windows), runs on commercial off-the-shelf hardware, has an HTML-based GUI, and exports to standard file formats. It supports G.711, G.729A, G.723.1, G.722, GSM6.10, and iLBC codes. And it can be up and running in under an hour using a download and a free, full 30-day trial.
Oreka TR is offered as a hosted solution through various communication service providers. The solution is 100 percent hosted and accessible via a simple web browser. Only a PC or workstation with a web connection is required at the customer’s facility. Other benefits include an open design via REST APIs allowing the system to adapt and extend. In addition, there are direct, third-party, and self-help support options.
Recently, the company added a new HTML5-based screen/audio player (OrkMPx) with instant playback and video auto-sizing, and improved support for PostgreSQL database, and added OWASP Level 2 security compliance
This social support tool comes in two flavors, one to address external communities for customers and another to support internal communities for teams and/or entire enterprises. The RightAnswers Community product can be stand-alone or incorporated into the organization’s knowledgebase.
The external (or customer) communities version empowers customers to find the answers themselves and help each other. RightAnswers customer communities provide a social self-service experience where customers can post questions, answer questions, browse, indicate accepted answers, and up/down-vote answers.
They increase customer satisfaction by empowering customers to quickly find answers themselves in a tool they want to use. The result is higher call deflection, reducing support costs and enabling the organization to handle more volume with the same number of customer service reps.
In addition, RightAnswers Community provides the ability to view knowledgebase solutions in the same place people view community discussions – giving a holistic view of available knowledge. This allows customers to find answers faster because they don’t have to search separately in the community and in a self-service portal.
Internal communities provide a place for teams or the entire enterprise to communicate and collaborate on projects. Organizations using RightAnswers Community improve productivity and create reusable knowledge that benefits the rest of the company.
An organization can use RightAnswers Community to create broad communities for the entire organization to collaborate, as well as private communities for specific teams or topics. RightAnswers Community discussions form a social intranet that gives context to each piece of content and helps people connect with each other. It includes everyone who needs to be involved, and enables them to ask questions, attach documents, images and links, and share knowledge.
It provides a central place to communicate across the company and address any issues. One application of an internal RightAnswers Community is a forum for support agents to help other agents find answers and deliver them to the customer faster. A community for support agents reduces training time for new agents when they can find answers in the agent community.
RightAnswers can be implemented in a hosted or on-premises scenario. For hosted, clients require only a browser. Equipment at the company’s hosted location includes an SQL database, application server, search server, and the RightAnswers application.
Forums, or communities, are not new. However, RightAnswers’ area of expertise is customer service and support – and RightAnswers Community is specifically designed to improve customer service and the customer experience. RightAnswers Community introduces several innovations in this area. RightAnswers Community seamlessly integrates with the CRM, ITSM, and/or other enterprise systems an organization is using. This streamlines the work for support agents when an issue is escalated, and improves customer service by enabling support agents to constantly monitor the community within their system of record – all enhancing the level of customer service. Another way RightAnswers Community enhances customer service is by enabling customers to access all available knowledge – not just community discussions – through RightAnswers Community.
RightAnswers Community is the only customer community that presents all available knowledge in a single place, not just community discussions but also related knowledgebase articles. This ensures that the most relevant knowledge is presented and the customer can find the answer as quickly as possible. RightAnswers Community also integrates seamlessly with the systems used by the support agents. This enables support agents to easily convert knowledge crowdsourced by the customer community into knowledgebase articles, for reuse by agents and in web self-service. Support agents receive notifications when a question in the community goes unanswered for a specified length of time and can supply the answer, providing a better customer experience. Customers can easily escalate tickets to the support agents, which include the customer’s entire search history. And RightAnswers Community provides extensive reports on the community, including ROI based on the number of deflected calls or any other metric defined by the organization, membership reports, and more. Such reports are not offered by most other customer communities.
RightAnswers Community delivers a powerful social self-service experience by combining community discussions with RightAnswers self-service. In this way the customer accesses the complete pool of knowledge that is relevant to the question being asked. This is one of the first customer communities products to deliver federated knowledge in the context of a community.
It also solves the zero-content problem that can cause customers to abandon a community when they don’t find answers to their questions. Since RightAnswers Community integrates with the CRM or other system used by the customer service reps, it prompts the reps to answer questions that have not been answered by the customer community, providing a better customer experience when the customer always receives an answer.
SAP Digital CRM
SAP Digital CRM is a simplified cloud CRM solution designed to meet the needs of individuals and small teams, but with enterprise-grade capabilities for sales, customer service, and now simple marketing campaign automation.
The solution is provisioned immediately upon purchase and can be set up in minutes by following simple, in-product walk-throughs. An individual customer service manager, for example, can go through the entire purchase and set-up process, and then use the system to answer a customer inquiry and prepare a service ticket in a matter of minutes. An individual sales manager can import customer data from disparate systems, including Outlook, Google, or CSV files, and immediately begin tracking and managing all customer interactions in one place. This digitally native app is available on SAPStore.com, with a free 30-day trial and priced at $23 per user per month. Access to data is available anytime, anywhere, and on mobile devices at no additional cost. It grows with a business and can be upgraded to the SAP Cloud for Customer solution anytime, using the same tenant.
SAP Digital CRM is a true multi-tenant SaaS application that runs in SAP Data centers in the U.S. and EMEA. There is no installation required on the customer’s landscape.
Digital transformation and the consumerization of IT are disrupting every industry, not least of which the technology sector itself. With SAP’s first digitally native offering, SAP Digital CRM, individuals – many of whom may have never done business with SAP before – can now buy from SAP and go from purchase to productive use in minutes. This end-to-end experience allows a single user to buy the offering on SAPStore.com using a credit card, with a simple one-click online agreement and get access to the tenant in less time than it takes to get lunch from the canteen. This required a reimagining of the product, the store platform, and commercial processes.
SAP Digital CRM uniquely offers responsive design mobile apps at no additional cost to the user, and without a need to upgrade to a higher priced tier.
This is the first digitally native offering from SAP. It is sold directly to individual business consumers and available only on the SAPStore.com. Individuals across both large and small organizations can now buy from SAP without the need for a purchase order, invoice, or lengthy RFP process.
The product runs on Windows, Macs, and Linux machines. It is built using the same DNA as the SAP enterprise offering, and shares many of the same powerful capabilities demanded by the company’s largest and most exacting customers. Customers can start with as few as one user and add or remove users right from the solution. There’s no sales person to call or new contracts to sign. Just set the number of users you need, and your bill adjusts.
Here are a few more of this product’s features:
- the ability to import contacts from Gmail and Microsoft (News - Alert) Outlook using CSV to get up and running quickly;
- the ability to sell anywhere with mobile apps for iOS, Android, and Windows devices;
- access to a social help desk (via Twitter (News - Alert)), for online collaboration and feedback to questions via the community of real-world users of the solution;
- collaboration capabilities using built-in tools that help with team selling;
- contact, lead, and opportunity management that tracks all customer information and interactions in one place;
- easy onboarding for teams and enhanced data access management options for leaders;
- email marketing for campaigns that measures and tracks response rates;
- email service ticket management, which improves customer satisfaction by quickly responding to customer inquiries;
- powerful, out-of-the-box reports and dashboards to gain insights to make smarter business decisions; and
- sales forecasting.
Edited by Alicia Young