The 2015 CRM Service Awards: Rising Stars

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While this year's Rising Star honorees offer diverse services, they share the ability to improve customer service interactions via the Web, a mobile app, or a conventional contact center.

A frustrating aspect of mobile apps is having to leave the app when support questions arise. Our first Rising Star enables companies to bake customer service directly into the app, allowing for seamless interactions.

While the Watson supercomputer took a brief hiatus from the spotlight after besting two Jeopardy! champs in 2011, it surfaced again in 2014 when parent company IBM introduced several Watson-powered applications. A partnership with Genesys "marries the cognitive capabilities of Watson with a well-entrenched domain expert in the contact center space."

We also honor a company that prides itself on delivering a "truer" cloud experience for contact center providers. It grew its revenue by 61 percent last year and entered into a partnership with Salesforce.com to build multichannel contact center technology for Salesforce customers.

The newfound focus of our fourth honoree, an industry veteran of nearly 30 years, on analytics and customer experience puts it on our list this year. Its new platform, enabling real-time speech analytics and combining it with information drawn from a company's CRM system, was a game-changing launch.

Our fifth award winner has introduced a platform akin to an online GPS that one analyst called "arguably the best-thought-out help tool...I've ever seen." In its three years of existence, the company has doubled in size and increased its revenue more than fivefold.

When it comes to business innovations, small enterprises are often left holding the bag. The acquisition of a live chat supplier by our last honoree enables user companies to "help right then and there," says one analyst. This year's accomplishments, according to this winner, "allow companies to...better interact with their customers in this crazy, changing world."

Although varied in their approaches, all six Rising Star winners have achieved their goals to improve customer interactions. Perhaps one of them will inspire better interactions for your business as well.

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