Best Enterprise Feedback Management (EFM) Software: The 2018 CRM Service Leaders

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THE MARKET

Originally intended to allow companies to solicit and centrally manage feedback from their customers, enterprise feedback management (EFM) software is having its reach extended beyond basic surveying tools to handle information from multiple channels and modalities and to collect and manage data not just from customers but also from employees, partners, vendors, suppliers, and others. It is also being integrated not just with CRM systems but also with human resources systems and other internal back-office applications. Real-time and predictive analytics are also starting to play an increased role in this market as the window of opportunity to take action shrinks.

But at a time when the competition is but one mouse click away, many companies still have not embraced EFM technology. According to Forrester Research, EFM solutions are still largely underutilized. In fact, less than half of companies (42 percent) are using one or more technologies to support their voice of the customer programs, and less than 20 percent of companies are using EFM to solicit feedback, the research firm discovered.

THE LEADERS

After not making the leaderboard last year, MaritzCX returns in 2018; it received a healthy 3.9 in depth of functionality from analysts. Back in 2016, Esteban Kolsky, principal and founder of ThinkJar, said the company had a “good vision” and “good direction,” but that its product execution was “faltering a tad” and needed “to be tightened.” With a customer satisfaction score of 3.6 this year, up from 2016’s 3.4, MaritzCX appears to have listened. 

Also back on the leaderboard after a brief absence is Medallia, the champ in this category back in 2015. It clearly struggled in the past few years, but not in 2018, earning a 3.8 in depth of functionality and a 3.7 in customer satisfaction. Medallia’s implementation and configuration have been complex historically, but the company has doubled down on user experience. With a 3.6 in company direction, analysts are becoming cautiously optimistic about its future.

Our One to Watch last year, SurveyMonkey makes it onto the leaderboard this time around. Its affordability earned the company a category-leading 4.5 in cost. “Survey Monkey is still one of the most accessible tools [in this space],” says Rebecca Wettemann, vice president at Nucleus Research. Still small with limited capabilities, SurveyMonkey does have areas that need improvement. The company earned a 3.3 in depth of functionality and company direction—scores that it’ll need to raise to stay competitive in this fluid field. 

The third comeback story this year belongs to Verint Systems (Vovici), which reprises a leadership role largely on a solid 3.9 in depth of functionality. The company’s customer satisfaction score (3.3) leaves room for improvement, but nevertheless, its solutions offer “excellent breadth and depth, and its platform includes strong social capabilities as well,” according to John Ragsdale, vice president of technology and social research at the Technology Services Industry Association.

THE WINNER

A newcomer to the leaderboard last year, Qualtrics emerges as our winner for the second year in a row. The company received impressive scores of 4.4 in both depth of functionality and company direction, and it brought home a solid 3.8 in customer satisfaction, largely due to its powerful analytics tools. “Qualtrics offers the best embedded analysis capabilities of all the solutions in this category,” Wettemann says. However, like many other vendors in this market, Qualtrics needs to focus on cost. The company earned a score of 3.3, which is relatively low compared to the other leaders in this space. 

ONE TO WATCH

Slipping off the leaderboard this year, NICE is still a worthy competitor in the space. It earned a 3.9 in company direction, but it struggled in other areas. Most notably, its score for depth of functionality fell from 4.0 last year to 3.4, which hurt its performance overall. It did, however, improve its score for cost—last year, the company earned a 2.0, but it received a 3.0 from analysts this year.


[Editor's note: The overall award rating is based on a composite score of analyst ratings for customer satisfaction, depth of functionality, company direction, and cost. For the cost score, analysts gave the highest marks to vendors with the lowest expected costs. Company revenues were also factored into the overall score, but these numbers are not included in the chart above.]

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