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CRM Magazine: April 2007
Magazine Features
It's simply not good for companies to provide a substandard service experience. As more consumers make purchase decisions based on interactions with companies (thanks in large part to technology improvements and increased customer expectations), chances are that a company falling flat in delivering an exceptional customer experience will ultimately fail to deliver an improved bottom line. We honor those CRM vendors and their customer companies committed to making the end-user customer the business priority.
The customer care market in 2006 evolved at an enthralling rate, as providers of service-and-support technologies and services toiled to bolster their capabilities through strategic partnerships, head-turning mergers and acquisitions, and deepened research and development--all with the goal of helping companies provide stellar service. At the forefront of these developments are our 2007 Service Leaders--the contact center market's leading vendors in seven areas: computer telephony integration, interactive voice response, Web-support services, workforce optimization, quality monitoring, agent-facing universal desktop, and outsourcing services. The results are based on a blend of weighted criteria comprising analyst ratings for customer satisfaction, depth of functionality or services, and company direction, coupled with financial strength throughout the past year evidenced by revenue and revenue growth.
The customer care market in 2006 evolved at an enthralling rate, as providers of service-and-support technologies and services toiled to bolster their capabilities through strategic partnerships, head-turning mergers and acquisitions, and deepened research and development--all with the goal of helping companies provide stellar service. At the forefront of these developments are our 2007 Service Leaders--the contact center market's leading vendors in seven areas: computer telephony integration, interactive voice response, Web-support services, workforce optimization, quality monitoring, agent-facing universal desktop, and outsourcing services. The results are based on a blend of weighted criteria comprising analyst ratings for customer satisfaction, depth of functionality or services, and company direction, coupled with financial strength throughout the past year evidenced by revenue and revenue growth.
There are customer service technology vendors making dynamic acquisitions and expanding their broad product portfolios that don't necessarily fit neatly into one of the seven Service Leader categories. In keeping with that our third annual Service Excellence award recipient, M2M Holdings, made two smart deals that plunged it directly into the full-suite CRM and knowledge management arenas. Also, we present our second annual Rising Star awards, spotlighting under-the-radar tech providers that are making serious strides to deepen their competitive footprint.
It's clear, as the impact of commoditization continues to sweep across various verticals, that devoting serious energy to customer care processes is a bona fide strategy for strengthening brand loyalty. CRM magazine acknowledges five companies that realized eye-catching returns on their contact center services and technology investments with service-and-support deployments in the areas of Web-support services, workforce optimization, speech solutions, hosted contact center services, and agent-facing universal desktop.
 
Front Office
Analysts will likely be less forgiving of WFO vendors that ignore speech technology in the future.
 
Reality Check
CSO Insights' Sales Performance Optimization '07: Sales reps are spinning their wheels waiting for sales knowledge and relevant management tools to be integrated.
 
Customer Centricity
CRM needs new tools to help align customers and employees for the best service satisfaction.
 
The Tipping Point
How to capture the real self-service opportunity.
 
Pint of View
Be careful the sort of behavior you incentivize with your loyalty program. Really careful.
 
Insight
Craft applications with touch-tone and speech-enabled IVRs based on customer needs.
Ineffective speaking and presentation skills can kill a sale.
A crackpot scheme made an obscure cartoon show a household name, but was the bomb scare in Boston worth the buzz?
Telecommunications companies have unparalleled access to their customers. Will this pave the way to a new era of personalized content?
Colin Beasty speaks with Russ Lombardo about his new book, CyberSelling--Using CRM Technology to Help You Sell.
 
Re:Tooling
Business Problem: CSRs are inundated with routine customer inquiries, which increases wait time and reduces agent effectiveness.
 

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