• June 20, 2012

Info-Tech Urges Businesses to Adopt a Customer Service Management Platform

An explosion in social media and mobile in the past few years has created a dire need for companies to adopt a customer service management (CSM) platform to effectively manage customer service requests and retain clients, according to Info-Tech Research Group.

Infotech's CSM Vendor Landscape report also ranked Desk.com, Oracle Siebel, and Salesforce Service Cloud as champions in a market they feel is important to the survival of every customer-focused organization.

"Over the last few years there has been an explosion in the volume of customer interactions due to the popularity of newer channels, such as social media, email and mobile," said Tim Hickernell, associate lead analyst at Info-Tech, in a statement. "Customers now expect that customer service fits into their lives and is available through the channel of their choice. An organization that does not provide adequate channels and/or service risks having it broadcast by disgruntled customers over social media. It is imperative that every customer-facing organization have a strategy to deal with the increase in interactions and a best-of-breed CSM platform plays an important role in a successful strategy."

According to the report, Champion vendor Desk.com is particularly strong in social and offers Facebook, Twitter, and community forum integration as well as integration with Salesforce Chatter for social collaboration. Its sweet spot is with organizations with fewer than 80 employees that require flexible pricing solutions and with smaller firms that have complex service needs. They were also awarded the Value Award for offering the most bang for your buck out of the solutions evaluated.

Oracle Siebel is another champion in the report. Siebel Systems was the largest player in the market when acquired by Oracle in 2005. Since then, Oracle Siebel has continued to dominate the space offering all the bells and whistles, but at a steep price. Its current pricing model puts it out of reach for most small to mid-sized organizations, but large enterprises will find it an extremely attractive option, the report says.

Salesforce is primarily known for its focus on sales, but it does offer Service Cloud, which is aimed at customer service and ranked as a champion in the report. This solution is also priced prohibitively for smaller organizations but has a feature set that is very comprehensive and is a good fit for midsized to large organizations with more complex requirements and those using Salesforce.com for CRM as well, the report says.

TeamSupport ranked as an innovator in the report. With one of the highest product scores in the evaluation, its product offers help desk and customer service capabilities, making it a more comprehensive solution for smaller businesses, according to the report.

Zendesk is another innovator in the report. Its follow me mobile optimization makes it a good fit for midsized businesses and multitasking agents who need availability wherever and whenever, the report says.

For the full list of Info-Tech's recommendations for selecting a customer service management platform vendor, visit: http://www.infotech.com/research/ss/it-vendor-landscape-plus-customer-service-management-suites.

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