We believe that all CRM is a function of the customer experience. Whether customers typically call into a customer support line or complain on Twitter, a successful customer service model is needed in order for any size organization to thrive. The competition is just too fierce.
Customer service is the deciding factor of whether a customer will continue to be a customer.
In no way, shape, or form is customer service easy. However, when you’re on the level of an Amazon or Best Buy, it can be fairly hard to answer thousands of phone calls, tweets, and e-mails per day, but you do have to manage it.
We've compiled a list of the top ten CRM packages available on the market. They all fit in the mold of the social CRM model, but they just happen to have deeper functionality in customer service and support.
In addition to having an amazing name, Sword Ciboodle, has been ranked among the top (and best in class) companies for process-centered CRM solutions. This means they kick butt in the world of complex call and contact centers.
Sword Ciboodle covers both sides of the equation, with Ciboodle Flow to Ciboodle Crowd, tracking and managing the customer experience. Whether you need live chat functionality or customer intelligence, Sword Ciboodle delivers on all levels of the customer experience. Its software offering is excellent, but the company also offers a direct approach to viewing client interactions and service.
The name — Get Satisfaction — says it all, right? Not as cool as Sword Ciboodle, but it defines exactly what this company offers. Get Satisfaction provides online community and support software for the small to mediumsize business, as well as enterprise-level clients. They also encourage user feedback for issues relating to bugs and different product features.
According to Business Week, the company’s platform also enables “productive conversations between companies and their customers to provide social support experience, build products, increase SEO, and improve customer loyalty.”
You could lump Attensity into any group, but we believe the product belongs in customer support and engagement. When using Attensity, organizations have the ability to listen, use, and respond to the vast amounts of data stored in both internal and online sources.
Attensity follows the CEM (customer experience management) model; these solutions are built on an extremely reliable platform that enables listening, analyzing, and relating to the customer experience in the online environment. This is important to you, the reader, because it allows you to easily listen and analyze the different social media sites for tweets, Facebook posts, and other messages relating to customer service.
Paul Greenburg said it best in his CRM Watchlist 2012: “Parature supports a solution and a platform for providing customer service in any physical environment.” Parature is truly a good solution for the companies and organizations that don’t have their own contact centers.
Parature, has three core competencies within their environment:
- social channels
- customer input management
- workload management.
Their mission is simply this: “To be the expert in customer service, not just customer service solutions.”
If you haven’t already figured this out, the world of CRM is filled with acronyms. We have another one for you. We aren’t sure if KANA coined it, but it’s still relevant. SEM (service experience management) means the convergence of CRM, knowledge management, analytics, and social media designed for customer service. Knowledge management is just one portion of the overall software package. This tool allows for management of different pieces of content and ideas from employees. With this tool, you can effectively manage the experiences and insight of your customers and employees.
The company has been through a fair amount of changes over the past six to seven years and has just started to make new leads in customer service management nay, service experience management. KANA has built and manages a complete suite of products that include SEM Agent Desktop, SEM Web Self-Service, SEM Knowledge Management, SEM Experience Analytics, SEM Chat, Case Management, and the list goes on. These products are at the core of KANA’s mission to transform customer service experiences.
Many vendors in the CRM, customer service, and social media space create offerings that tap into the knowledge base of both the employee and the customer. Moxie Software does it better than most, employing an understanding of social software that far surpasses that of most competitors.
This is steeped in the history of the company as a social solution. Moxie Software is one of the major customer service platforms that originally started in the social space. Since its creators started in the social media space first, they understand the concept of combining social media and customer relationship management better than their competitors.
Many of their competitors went from old CRM platforms to customer service platforms. Reach analyst firm Forrester believes that we’re entering a new era called the age of the customer. This means that the familiar phrase, “the customer is always right” is more of a rule than a suggestion. It means the focus on customers takes priority. Moxie understands this and delivers with software that understands social media and CRM.
If you’re part of a growing business with multiple revenue streams (both new and old) Pegasystems might be something to look at. It’s one of the leaders of BPM (business process management). I could give you an entire paragraph of jargon, but let’s keep it simple. Business process management is a fancy way of saying, “We have the systems that allow you to automate almost any business process within your company.”
The software and systems allow you to scale your operations with surprising speed, from goal setting to business logic. Pegasystems also offers what’s called the customer process manager (CPM), which is built on its core software and customizable to industry-specific models, processes, and interfaces. The CPM process helps businesses manage every aspect of their customer-facing product, including marketing, sales, and customer service.
In late March 2011, Astute Solutions launched its SRM (social relationship management) offering, which advanced enterprise social media management by integrating the following capabilities into a single offering:
- Monitoring: Astute Solutions gives you access to customer feedback in real time. This matters to your CRM strategy, especially from a customer service perspective, because you can respond and turn that customer from a supporter to a raving fan.
- Analysis: Analysis of data that’s pulled from customer feedback is paramount to any company’s success. By analyzing data, you can change processes within the company from marketing to sales.
- Engagement: Monitoring is just the beginning in regard to social media. With Astute’s social media management solution, you can engage customers who are sharing the buzz and positive sentiment in real time.
Astute provides a solution that includes not only natural language processing but also builds in a proprietary crawler. This crawler automates and manages searches over millions of different sites, forums, and social networks to track communication regarding your brand.
Contactual allows you to manage multiple aspects of your customer service experience, from call centers to virtual assistants. They also deal with an important aspect of service: the internal help desk. This helps your company scale (grow extremely fast) and still provide the same amount of support for your employees and customers.
Contactual is one of the only call center solutions within this list. It’s important to understand that while social media is an important aspect of customer service, the call center is just as important. Honestly, we probably wouldn’t have placed Contactual on this list if it weren’t integrated with Salesforce.com and NetSuite, which gives them powerful allies in social CRM and CRM support models. Their multiple integrations allow them to synchronize with different social CRM platforms to provide an overall customer service experience.
Last but certainly not least, Consona was one of the first companies to implement (successfully) knowledge-driven support (KDS), which integrates knowledge capture, reuse, and improvement directly into case management and support processes. This is more of an internal process for companies. Basically, a KDS gives contact center agents the ability and tools to quickly resolve customer service issues in all mediums from phone to e-mail to social media.
One of the coolest Consona features is multi-way chat, which helps a company’s analysts handle up to four chat sessions simultaneously and resolve issues faster. Consona also offers knowledge management solutions that allow for employees to work together to form a more social company.
One other thing to keep in mind is that Consona is the only CRM-based company that’s focused entirely on service and support. This allows them to focus and perfect their software for this one need.