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Interactive Intelligence Unveils New Customer Feedback Products
The unified IP business communications solutions vendor seeks to gain a firm hold with mid-size and large contact centers and enterprises in what one analyst calls "a large, untapped market."
Posted May 14, 2008
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In order to fuel the growing need to differentiate in customer service, companies must be able to accurately measure customer satisfaction. While many may believe there are myriad analytics solutions available to measure call times, first call resolution, and other metrics, executives at Interactive Intelligence believe they don't tell the entire customer story. Bearing this in mind, the business communications solutions vendor is unleashing new customer feedback management products on the market to help complete the story of the (potentially) satisfied customer.

Speaking on the importance of accurately measuring customer satisfaction, Joseph Staples, Interactive Intelligence's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, says, "Customer service is now the key battleground." Staples went on to explain that internal metrics and key performance indicators do not tell the complete story. "We need the voice of the customer," he adds.

The first customer feedback management product the company is introducing is Interaction Feedback, an automated customer satisfaction survey module giving organizations the opportunity to "accurately measure customer service levels in a timely and cost-effective way," according to information released by the company. Ken Landoline, program manager at research firm Yankee Group, says he thinks Interactive Intelligence is offering a product that contact center managers absolutely need. "Even though people think customer opinion about service is critical to their operations, when I poll people and ask how many people who manage contact centers actually do surveys with customers, the numbers are consistently under 30 percent," he explains.

Consequently, Landoline says amidst the lack of customer polling, a large market opportunity has appeared. "There is a large, untapped market for some good, effective products that are cost effective," he says. "While Interactive [Intelligence] is not the first one out there with this kind of solution, it is certainly a great compliment to its highly integrated suite. [The new product] will be a lot different than others that came out prior to this."

According to Staples, Interaction Feedback, which is designed as an add-on module to the company's Interaction Center Platform, will be generally available in the third quarter of this year. Features include:

  • wizard interface eliminating the need for programming expertise;
  • real-time supervisory alerts;
  • integration with call recording and scoring features;
  • removal of agent bias in the survey process; and
  • third-party question library from the CFI Group, which the company says holds a patented methodology for tying customer satisfaction to financial results.
Having an automated solution to remove the agent from the polling process is very important, according to Landoline. "In prior [customer feedback management] products, agents had to refer the caller to a survey or ask if they'd like to be surveyed," he recalls. "In these cases, there is a built-in agent bias, because with humans being humans, agents would refer good calls and not the bad calls to a survey. So [Interaction Feedback] removes the agent from the equation and makes it much more accurate."

Since the product won't be out until later this year, the biggest onus now for Interactive Intelligence is to sell the product. Staples believes there won't be any obstacles. "[The new products] are in response to customer demand," he says. "We don't need to evangelize in this case." Landoline believes as long as the company can show organizations how the product improves its bottom line, there shouldn't be any major selling issues. "It's easy to sell and deliver, so I think the real thing here is the education process of trying to show the ROI for the user to see how it will affect the bottom line."

Interaction Feedback is only the first chapter in Interactive Intelligence's customer feedback story. The company also announced that it is "actively developing a speech analytics/emotion detection product." According to Staples, the speech analytics software module will also be designed as an add-on to Interaction Center Platform, and will enable companies to monitor calls in real time to detect heightened states of emotion from either the customer or the agent. As it is still in the development phase, Staples says the target date for release is 2009.

Landoline says he's waiting for the next chapter. "I'm anxious to see what [the speech analytics product] is," he says. "Speech analytics, I think, is an important tool in the marketplace, as it has opened up another avenue of input from the customer. I can't wait to see what the product is going to do and how it'll be unique."


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