Companies are always looking for quicker, more efficient ways to satisfy customers. Time is of the essence when your final revenue figures largely depend on loyalty and retention. There are myriad ways of collecting crucial consumer data, but often the biggest problem is the lack of an enterprisewide view of this information. Without it, nothing can be done to resolve issues expediently. Tampa, Fla.-based Pilgrim Software, a provider of enterprise compliance and quality management solutions, believes it has closed Pandora’s Box of customer data issues with its newest offering, the Complaints Synchronization Agent (CSA).
Prashanth Rajendran, chief operating officer at Pilgrim, explains that companies are constantly collecting feedback from different stages of a product's lifecycle from various touch points -- customers, sales professionals, dealers, and distributors are just some of the means by which information travels back to a particular company. Many times, Rajendran says, the contact center ends up as the collection point. "The data gets [there], but there is no systematic way of looking at a collection of information," he says.
Simon Jacobson, senior research analyst at AMR Research, agrees. "There is a tremendous need in the market [for this application]," he says. "You’ve got multiple dealers and end users out there, and odds are you’re capturing data multiple ways -- whether it's email, a dealer network, direct phone number, or portal. There needs to be a way to communize the information so you can conduct trending, have a comprehensive look at the issues, and figure out the root cause."
This problem isn’t just confined to a particular industry vertical, either. "The concept of the CSA was being developed as a custom job [for one of Pilgrim's clients], but we saw that there was a trend that came up repeatedly and felt the need to create a [generally available] product," Rajendran recalls. Building out the product for its entire clientele as opposed to specific custom jobs has its benefits, he adds: "We can deliver to our customers faster and also give best practices based on the experiences we have drawn from," he maintains.
The CSA enables companies to automatically update complaint record data from existing CRM, field service, or Web sites -- and to synchronize that record data with Pilgrim's SmartSolve database through Web services, or with the use of a middleware component. According to information provided by Pilgrim, an email is automatically generated to alert the appropriate coordinator to forge ahead with the complaint-handling process. Additionally, any automatic system changes from the complaints synchronization are updated in the audit train, so there is complete record-keeping compliance.
Because this is all automated, Rajendran says it takes the potential for human error out of the data-transfer process -- which is a good thing. "If this happens manually, the data that is being transferred becomes very inconsistent," he explains. "You’ll also find that with human nature…it becomes the whim of the person of what they will transfer and it makes it harder for you to maintain the consistent fashion of all relevant feedback."
Rajendran believes that his company's competitive footprint will be enhanced by Pilgrim being perhaps the first vendor to release an actual CSA product. Rajendran admits that other competitors may have been doing similar custom work -- but on a limited availability, he says, and only for specific clients. AMR's Jacobson backs him up: Other vendors have created similar solutions, Jaconson says, but Pilgrim is "one of the earlier [companies] to productize this." However, the integration Pilgrim provides between the CSA and enterprise applications is a differentiator. "It’s not so much the functionality that’s going to keep anyone ahead of competitors," he explains. "Rather, are you doing what the client wants -- quick and easy deployments, and integration with other enterprise applications?"