CRM Cover

April 2007

Magazine Features

The 2007 Service Awards: Introduction and Table of Contents

It's simply not good for companies to provide a substandard service experience. As more consumers make purchase decisions based on interactions with companies (thanks in large part to technology improvements and increased customer expectations), chances are that a company falling flat in delivering an exceptional customer experience will ultimately fail to deliver an improved bottom line. We honor those CRM vendors and their customer companies committed to making the end-user customer the business priority.

THE 2007 Service Leaders, Part 1

The customer care market in 2006 evolved at an enthralling rate, as providers of service-and-support technologies and services toiled to bolster their capabilities through strategic partnerships, head-turning mergers and acquisitions, and deepened research and development--all with the goal of helping companies provide stellar service. At the forefront of these developments are our 2007 Service Leaders--the contact center market's leading vendors in seven areas: computer telephony integration, interactive voice response, Web-support services, workforce optimization, quality monitoring, agent-facing universal desktop, and outsourcing services. The results are based on a blend of weighted criteria comprising analyst ratings for customer satisfaction, depth of functionality or services, and company direction, coupled with financial strength throughout the past year evidenced by revenue and revenue growth.

The 2007 Service Leaders, Part 2

The customer care market in 2006 evolved at an enthralling rate, as providers of service-and-support technologies and services toiled to bolster their capabilities through strategic partnerships, head-turning mergers and acquisitions, and deepened research and development--all with the goal of helping companies provide stellar service. At the forefront of these developments are our 2007 Service Leaders--the contact center market's leading vendors in seven areas: computer telephony integration, interactive voice response, Web-support services, workforce optimization, quality monitoring, agent-facing universal desktop, and outsourcing services. The results are based on a blend of weighted criteria comprising analyst ratings for customer satisfaction, depth of functionality or services, and company direction, coupled with financial strength throughout the past year evidenced by revenue and revenue growth.

The 2007 Rising Stars and Service Excellence

There are customer service technology vendors making dynamic acquisitions and expanding their broad product portfolios that don't necessarily fit neatly into one of the seven Service Leader categories. In keeping with that our third annual Service Excellence award recipient, M2M Holdings, made two smart deals that plunged it directly into the full-suite CRM and knowledge management arenas. Also, we present our second annual Rising Star awards, spotlighting under-the-radar tech providers that are making serious strides to deepen their competitive footprint.

The 2007 Service Elite

It's clear, as the impact of commoditization continues to sweep across various verticals, that devoting serious energy to customer care processes is a bona fide strategy for strengthening brand loyalty. CRM magazine acknowledges five companies that realized eye-catching returns on their contact center services and technology investments with service-and-support deployments in the areas of Web-support services, workforce optimization, speech solutions, hosted contact center services, and agent-facing universal desktop.

Front Office

Speech Is All the Talk

Analysts will likely be less forgiving of WFO vendors that ignore speech technology in the future.

Reality Check

Fueling the CRM Engine

CSO Insights' Sales Performance Optimization '07: Sales reps are spinning their wheels waiting for sales knowledge and relevant management tools to be integrated.

Customer Centricity

The Variance Factor

CRM needs new tools to help align customers and employees for the best service satisfaction.

The Tipping Point

Satisfying a Double Standard

How to capture the real self-service opportunity.

Pint of View

It's All the (Road) Rage

Be careful the sort of behavior you incentivize with your loyalty program. Really careful.

Insight

Winnowing Customer Care Woes

Craft applications with touch-tone and speech-enabled IVRs based on customer needs.

Condemned by Every Syllable She Utters

Ineffective speaking and presentation skills can kill a sale.

Guerrilla Marketing's Monkey Business

A crackpot scheme made an obscure cartoon show a household name, but was the bomb scare in Boston worth the buzz?

Market Focus: Telecommunications: The Name of the Game: Personalization

Telecommunications companies have unparalleled access to their customers. Will this pave the way to a new era of personalized content?

destinationCRM Dashboard

Required Reading: A Peak at Sales Process

Colin Beasty speaks with Russ Lombardo about his new book, CyberSelling--Using CRM Technology to Help You Sell.

The Pulse: How does your company determine if prospects are just shopping around or are actually looking to buy?

Statistically Speaking

Re:Tooling

Tech Solution: Speech-Enabled IVRs

Business Problem: CSRs are inundated with routine customer inquiries, which increases wait time and reduces agent effectiveness.

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