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Best Customer Case Management: The 2019 CRM Service Leaders Awards

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THE MARKET

Customer service is a major factor in consumers’ shopping habits, In fact, 67 percent of consumers in a recent survey by the International Council of Shopping Centers reported that good customer service encourages them to shop longer and spend more money across industries and services.

It’s no surprise, then, that competition in the customer case management category is fierce. Vendors know that effective customer case management can be the difference between building a lifelong relationship between customers and companies and destroying that relationship forever. With powerful artificial intelligence capabilities that automate repetitive tasks for agents, leaving them time to offer better service, the solutions in this field are only getting stronger.

THE LEADERS

Oracle scored well in depth of functionality ( 4.1), but there are ways it could strengthen its offering. “Customers praise Oracle’s capabilities within the Service Cloud,” says Forrester Research vice president and principal analyst Kate Leggett, “but they also say that the integrations are not sufficiently broad or deep within Oracle’s CX portfolio.” Analysts see promise in the vendor’s direction. “Oracle continues to invest in advanced artificial intelligence and other capabilities for case management,” says Rebecca Wettemann, vice president of Nucleus Research.

Pegasystems received a whopping 4.4 in depth of functionality, and with 3.9 scores in company direction and customer satisfaction, the vendor did well all around, struggling only in cost. “The combination of deep process management expertise and case management gives Pegasystem a unique approach that excels for brands with complex support needs,” says Ian Jacobs, a principal analyst at Forrester Research. Leggett also praised Pega’s business process and case management capabilities, which “orchestrate the end-to-end customer journey in real time, across communication channels, with predictive analytics for next-best-action capabilities.” Wettemann did express some concern about Pega’s future. “Its aging technology and heavy services/skills requirement limit value and flexibility for customers,” she says.

Salesforce.com’s recent investments in automation are starting to pay off in case management, says Jacobs, “easing the burden on agents by removing the need to perform so many repeated tasks.” Accordingly, the company scored a 4.3 in overall direction, and Salesforce shows no signs of slowing down. “[Service Cloud] is bolstered by strong system integrator relationships, a large developer network, and a very broad marketplace,” Leggett says. Plus, its customer satisfaction score, one of the highest in the category, reflects its focus on keeping users happy. “Salesforce’s investments in AI, analytics, and field service, as well as integration, are driving additional ROI for customers,” Wettemann says.

Zendesk impressed with a 4.1 score in company direction this year, though dropping slightly from its 4.2 last year. Its customer satisfaction score was lower as well, dropping from a 4.1 in 2018 to a 3.9 this year. Still, the company is a tough competitor in this space. “Straightforward case management is perfectly suitable for midmarket companies or enterprises with simple processes,” Leggett says. And “the infusion of machine learning into Zendesk’s ticketing is helping its customers resolve tickets more quickly,” according to Jacobs.

THE WINNER

Capturing the top spot for the second year in a row, Microsoft received a strong 4.0 in depth of functionality and improved its cost score from a 4.1 to a 4.3 this year, showing that customers see more value from the product. “The vendor has a unique value proposition with applications built on a modern platform fueled by AI,” Leggett says. “Microsoft is bringing Azure ML and field service capabilities to bear in driving rapid time to value for customers,” Wettemann says. As a result, the company is seeing “increased adoption by larger firms,” says John Ragsdale, vice president of service technology research at the Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA).

ONE TO WATCH

Freshworks emerged as the One to Watch this year, thanks to its “simple, usable case management solution aimed for the small and midmarket companies with simpler processes,” Leggett says. The company earned a respectable 3.7 in company direction and 3.6 in customer satisfaction and could become an even stronger competitor as it grows. Analysts also praised the company’s unique offerings and user-centric thinking. “Private notes and other collaboration features give agents using Freshworks intuitive ways to work together to resolve customer issues,” Jacobs says. 

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