The 2010 CRM Service Awards: Rising Stars -- ClickFox (The Quick Fox)

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It’s one thing to crunch massive data sets to divine a few statistics. It’s an entirely different proposition to deliver results that can actually help drive actionable strategies that can enable a business to evolve and grow.

The analytics field has long struggled with this, but vendors are finally starting to drive real-world business improvements. In fact, two of this year’s Rising Stars are in the analytics field, but aside from sharing Atlanta as a home, the two companies are more different than alike: Nexidia (“The Wordsmith,”) is a provider of speech analytics; ClickFox’s strength is in customer experience analytics.

“I was impressed when ClickFox took apart its application and tuned it to specific applications aimed at specific business processes,” says Keith Dawson, principal analyst for information and communication technologies at Frost & Sullivan. “When you do that in a space that has had trouble getting traction—like analytics—it’s a sign that there’s a realization you need to actually produce the goods and not just talk about them.”

In mid-2009, ClickFox unveiled three separate analytics applications aimed at specific business problems for the contact center and for enterprises overall: operational efficiency, customer retention, and customer satisfaction. 

Dawson says that analytics has often involved a turnstile of different terms—including business intelligence, speech analytics, and Web analytics. “The poor contact center person has been bombarded by this idea of analytics, and for most of her career it’s been hard to get a handle on what value it can bring to her,” he says. “One of the things ClickFox has been able to do is turn this around and say, ‘Here’s what analytics can do for you.’ When you can talk about it from the point of view of the damage inside contact centers…then you’re speaking their language, and it’s something they can work with.”

ClickFox is no stranger to the shifting terminology. Founded in 2000 as a Web analytics firm, the company evolved as the CRM market did. Recognizing the wealth of customer information across multiple channels—voice- and speech-enabled interactive voice response (IVR) systems, computer telephony integration, contact centers, the Web, kiosks, mobile devices—ClickFox morphed to offer a cross-channel solution capable of aggregating data.

The company delivers actionable data that organizations can use to improve themselves, which may explain why ClickFox claims that every single customer is on track to expand its use in 2010, with financial services, utilities, healthcare, and telecommunications continuing as hot verticals. 

Now handling nearly a billion transactions each month, ClickFox is expanding into an advisory role by turning that accrued knowledge into best practices. In December 2009, ClickFox unveiled a customer experience return-on-investment calculator designed to measure customer experience across retail, Web, IVR, email, and contact centers. In January, ClickFox unveiled a benchmarking service the company believes will reveal the “secret formula” for customer satisfaction and operationally efficient service shared by top performers.

While the service will begin with standard metrics such as first-call resolution, customers will be able to compare themselves against industry compatriots as well as organizations in other verticals that may share the same business problems. While analysts wonder if this means ClickFox will go down the road of a separate professional services practice, many say that this is opening the door to creating more-complex, interesting metrics that can be valuable for operating performance. 

“ClickFox has a forward-thinking corporate mindset,” Dawson says. “[The company] is open to putting different kinds of spin on what it does and find[ing] contact center nuggets in [that] instead of going off and saying, ‘We’re an enterprise software provider,’ and ignor[ing] the contact center.” 

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