A Sly Partnership for ClickFox and Talisma
Talisma Corp., a provider of customer interaction management software, earlier this week announced a new partnership with customer-experience analytics firm ClickFox. Officials from both companies say that the arrangement will help clients improve customer satisfaction levels while simultaneously reducing operational costs.
Atlanta-based ClickFox's analytics software provides insight into its clients' data by mapping every step of each customer's online behavior. Talisma, based in Bellevue, Wash., with a client roster that includes Aetna, Dell, and Microsoft, will now offer the ClickFox option as an additional product. (According to a Talisma spokesperson, the two companies do have several customers in common, including Sprint and eBay.)
The addition of analytics is meant to allow Talisma-ClickFox users to learn more about customers' activity by creating a visual map of customer behavior. According to ClickFox Chief Executive Officer Marco Pacelli, the union "will help our customers to better understand how their customers are chatting, emailing, moving through the channels, moving inbetween chats and emails -- basically what channels they're using as they're being serviced. It will show us where they're going and how we can better reflect that and improve our operation."
Talisma Chief Technology Officer Brad Birnbaum says he hopes to see the integration of platforms not only service existing deployments, but also help garner new customers, adding that the new arrangement gives Talisma an edge over its peers. "We feel that this partnership...will allow us to have a more robust analytical perspective than any of our competitors," he says, adding that this will help Talisma clients provide better service, and understand the interaction paths their
One factor that could be moving Talisma into this kind of partnership, according to John Ragsdale, vice president of research at the Service & Support Professionals Association, is the company's recent spate of larger customer wins, especially within the financial-services sector. Ragsdale says that firms in that sector have much higher standards for their software reporting and "a lot of requirements about sophistication." This is consistent, Ragsdale adds, with the general trend in CRM of using analytic technology to move beyond mere operational reporting.
With companies beginning to expect more from their customer reporting, he says, the Talisma-ClickFox partnership seems to be a step in the right direction. He also notes, however, that some relatively new players in the market, such as inQuira, have integrated analytics into their packaging from the get-go -- and that organically integrated analytics may be a smarter approach than analytic functionality plugged in after the fact.
While the early success of some of the up-and-comers may have been a factor in driving Talisma toward the arrangement with ClickFox, Ragsdale says he isn't swayed by a potential trend of software companies partnering with analytics firms. (The Talisma-ClickFox deal comes on the heels of a similar partnership, announced on January 14, between ClickFox and Wipro, one of the major Indian business-process outsourcing firms.)
"I think ultimately they have to own it," he says, referring to analytics. "Partnership isn't enough."
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