RightNow Announces a Major Extension to its CRM Suite
Addressing a packed house at RightNow Technologies' 2004 User Conference, CEO and Founder Greg Gianforte revealed what he referred to as the largest announcement the company has ever made--the unveiling of RightNow CRM 7.0.
The on-demand CRM suite comprises RightNow Service 7.0, RightNow Sales, and RightNow Marketing. The new solution "features some look and feel changes, much of it based upon [customer] feedback," says Mike Myer, vice president of development. "The upgrade for 6.0 to 7.0 is evolutionary, not revolutionary."
The enhanced version of RightNow Service features an Offer Advisor component that equips agents with a tool that can automatically suggest potential offers or promotions that may be appealing to the customer given his history. It also features computer telephony integration support, which aims to improve agent productivity by providing instant, automatic screen pops for incoming calls, in addition to providing consolidated performance metrics across phone and online channels. "You can tie call data with incident data," Myer says.
The sales application includes an interactive user interface, pipeline management and forecasting, contract/proposal generation, multiple sales methodologies support, Microsoft integration, and application accessibility from disconnected locations. RightNow Marketing new elements comprise integrated Web forms for capturing online customer data, campaign tracking, event triggering, and a Graphical Campaign Designer tool. According to Myer, RightNow wanted to mirror marketers' behavior within the system: "It's as simple as erasing and drawing on a whiteboard."
The suite will be generally available in the fourth quarter of 2004, but RightNow has already signed 27 RightNow CRM 7.0 customers.
According to Gianforte, RightNow CRM 7.0 exemplifies the company's Customer Lifecycle Care philosophy. "Customer Lifecycle Care is about broadening the scope of customer service," he says. "When you integrate sales, service, and marketing, one plus one plus one equals five, because you get more increased value [and] we hear from our clients that they do need to drive increased value out of the support organization."
The new solution wasn't the only item on the agenda. Bob Thompson, CEO of CustomerThink, was on hand to provide insight on why putting customers first is "smart" business. According to Thompson, CRM success includes five elements:
strategy for customer value
metrics to guide the journey
alignment of human resources
redesign of customer processes
technology to optimize results
To fully maximize a CRM initiative, Thompson says, the top question to consider is "what value are you delivering to your customers?" Loyalty is built on value, he says, and if you're not aware of how your customers perceive you, you won't be able to build loyalty, and therefore drive revenue. "To be successful you should really be thinking about the exchange of customer value," he says.
One RightNow customer, an educational toymaker, experienced firsthand the challenges of delivering value, especially during fast growth. A representative of that company stated: "We figured out that there was going to be a need for support. We needed to work with marketing to maximize more opportunities and to make sure we could have an avenue to upsell." But the toymaker was also using Outlook, and manually sorting emails and rules, and had just a few FAQs on its Web site. The company spokesman said: "We had a lot of pieces all over the place, and with RightNow we started to patch the pieces."
With the RightNow solution the toymaker reduced the amount of initial contacts to its call center. As a result of the improved knowledge base, the company can provide more information to agents for problem resolution and use marketing tools to complement their support contact.
Danielle Wanderer, RightNow group product manager, pointed out how companies like this one can use exceptional service to grow the top line: "Sales is an extension of good service."
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