2014 Temkin Group CX Vendor Excellence Award Winners

Watch this blog and my Twitter feed for an announcement about the 2015 CX Vendor Excellence Awards in January


CEVendorAward_logoToday we announced the results of the 2014 Temkin Group CX Vendor Excellence Awards. Once again we had a great group of nominees, making the scoring difficult for the judges. Congratulations to this year’s winners:

Allegiance

Clarabridge

Verint

Also, congratulations to the finalists: Confirmit, Enghouse Interactive, Mindshare Technologies, Qualtrics, and Walker.

In its second year, these awards recognize companies that provide products and services that help companies improve the customer experience they deliver. Nominees are rated based on their capabilities, results, and client feedback.

The CxVE Awards were judged by five noted customer experience experts: Mila D’Antonio (Editor-in-Chief at 1to1 Media), Denise Bahil (CX Transformist at Temkin Group), Desirree Madison-Biggs (Director of Customer Experience Insights & Advocacy at Symantec), Rick Meyreles (VP – Global Voice of Customer, World Service at American Express), and Bruce Temkin (Managing Partner & CX Transformist at Temkin Group).

I’ve included the first two section of the nomination forms submitted by the eight winners and finalists. Temkin Group is not responsible for the accuracy of this content. This information is directly from the submissions; the only changes made were to create consistent formatting and to remove graphics.

ALLEGIANCE

1) Company overview: Provide a short description of your company.

Allegiance, Inc. helps companies systematically reduce the time it takes to listen, understand and respond to customers’ needs and problems, creating customers for life. The company’s Voice of Customer (VoC) platform helps organizations to increase retention rates up to 25% while improving the customer experience and performance management. The Allegiance open architecture platform is offered in a variety of turnkey solutions and is fully integrated with an industry-leading partner network. Allegiance technology has been validated by leading customer-focused brands.

2) Make the case: Why is your company a great candidate for this award?

Allegiance differs from other CX-related vendors in several important ways.

First is our results-oriented philosophy. At Allegiance, we believe that acting on the voice of the customer to improve the customer experience is a means to an end. Our true objective is to help our clients achieve their business goals – namely reducing customer churn and increasing revenue. Accordingly, we help our clients connect their VoC and CX efforts directly to their business goals. Our software integrates easily with other systems like CRM, POS and ERP so that decision-makers can see the connections between customer experience, operational performance, and business results. This ensures that employees act on what actually matters, not just what customers say. It also enables VoC and CX leaders to prove the value of the actions they initiate by measuring the relationship between changes in customer feedback and changes in business metrics. Without this results-focused philosophy and approach, VoC and CX teams struggle to earn a seat at the executive table and drive significant change.

Second is our straight-to-the-answer software. Traditionally, customer insight practitioners have spent most of their time finding insights and very little time driving action. This imbalance has frustrated practitioners for years and has limited their strategic value in companies. Allegiance has invested in building software to tip the scales in the other direction. Our innovative Spotlight data mining module turns mountains of data into laser-focused insights in seconds and frees practitioners to spend more of their time driving change. According to Aeromexico’s Edouard Piquet, “Spotlight looks for relationships and tells you which attributes are most likely to move the Net Promoter Score (NPS), which is our benchmark for loyalty.” HireVue, a new HR technology provider, has stated that Allegiance Spotlight helps them to quickly find obscure patterns in their mountain of data to help guide deeper analysis. Spotlight has also earned recognition and awards from several third-party organizations such as TMC Labs and the Customer Experience Professional’s Association (CXPA).

Spotlight uses a patent-pending data mining algorithm to exhaustively but efficiently analyze every possible pattern in a dataset and surface only “smart” results that make business sense and represent significant opportunities to improve key metrics. It flexibly handles operational data alongside customer feedback, and it allows users to examine any key metric identifiable in their data. Unlike traditional analysis tools, such as cross-tabbing or correlation, Spotlight evaluates every possible combination of data points, not just individual relationships between drivers and outcomes. This makes results more focused and reduces time-to-action. In addition, Spotlight makes the power of data mining accessible to average business users by offering an easy three-step setup process and delivering results in clear business terms.

The Allegiance platform also offers several other capabilities that enable practitioners to spend their time more strategically. For example, the Bonfire survey builder allows survey designers to easily collaborate with other stakeholders right inside the product, ensuring they collect the right data from the outset. Bonfire’s social sharing feature also helps to amplify customer advocacy by sending customers who provide positive feedback to broadcast their thoughts on social sites, creating immediate value. In addition, the Allegiance platform fully integrates text analytics functionality from both Attensity and Clarabridge – the two leaders in customer feedback text analytics – which allows clients to benefit from the best tools on the market without adding vendor and systems management complexity. Similarly, slick integrations with systems like Salesforce.com and Adobe Marketing Cloud make it easy to get all the right data together so practitioners can focus more of their attention on generating value.

Third is our flexible, scalable engagement model.  Most CX software vendors engage with their clients in either a managed service model (where the vendor implements and manages the software) or a self-service model (where the client administers the software directly). The managed service model requires a high level of vendor involvement throughout the lifetime of the relationship, and it forces clients to pay and wait for every change or expansion of their programs. The self-service model gives clients more direct control and flexibility, but leaves clients to flounder as they get up and running. Allegiance offers the best of both worlds to balance long-term success with short time-to-value. CX practitioners can choose to engage Allegiance to design and implement a few areas of a VoC program initially to deliver quick results, and then gradually bring more administration in house so they can scale up their program without increasing costs.

Fourth is our contribution to industry thought leadership. As an emerging discipline, customer experience needs nurturing. Allegiance works hard to contribute. In addition to our regular blogs posts and whitepapers, we have published three full-length books featuring thought leadership and advice from successful practitioners, consultants, and academics. We regularly contribute content to industry events such as the Next Generation Customer Experience event and the CXPA Members Insights Exchange. We also conduct our own events to connect leading practitioners and advance the discipline. Our VoCFusion conference brings together hundreds of practitioners and thought leaders from across industries – largely from outside Allegiance’s client base. We also host intimate Executive Forum sessions with leading practitioners and influencers. Lastly, to further the credibility of VoC work specifically, we now offer a formal VoC Professional Certification.

Most important is the success of our clients. Allegiance has helped launch and support many of the world’s best VoC and CX programs. For example, we currently support award- winning programs at Aeromexico (1to1 Customer Champion), Avnet (Forrester), Frost Bank (Customer Service Champ by JD Power and 1to1 Customer Champion), Nicor National (JD Power), and Symantec (1to1 Media and Forrester). Other clients regularly earn recognition for their customer focus and business results as well.

Clarabridge

1) Company overview: Provide a short description of your company.

Clarabridge is the leader in Customer Experience Management (CEM) solutions.  Clarabridge enables Global 1000 businesses to intelligently listen to all channels of customer feedback, analyze them for insights, and act on them to improve customer experiences, satisfaction, and loyalty. Clarabridge is the seventh-fastest growing software company, powering CEM programs for companies including B/E Aerospace, Best Buy, Choice Hotels, Dell, Expedia, E.ON, Fidelity, Government of British Columbia, Intuit, J.D. Power, L’Oréal USA, Pella, PetSmart, QVC Inc., Sage North America, United Airlines, Walmart, Walgreens and Wendy’s International. Clarabridge is privately held with headquarters in Reston, VA.

2) Make the case: Why is your company is a great candidate for this award?

The only way to ensure accuracy in processing and analyzing customer feedback is to look at all of it, from every source – and Clarabridge is unique in our ability to do it. Our Intelligent Customer Experience (ICE) platform is the only solution with proven multi-channel analysis to harness all available sources of consumer feedback generated throughout the customer journey into a centralized hub. Facts, context, and sentiment are all captured to ensure that enterprises know everything customers are saying to them and about them.

Clarabridge uses sophisticated analysis technology, including advanced Natural Language Processing (NLP), to process this data and uncover actionable business insights. Sentiment scoring is applied to each word on an 11-point scale, for an unmatched degree of accuracy. By parsing the feedback in a way that emulates human language processing, Clarabridge is able to determine which words are grammatically connected in a speech sample, to uncover exactly what the customer is speaking about. Relationships among words and sentences become apparent, uncovering the themes in huge data sets and allowing the client to drill down into the root cause of changes in sentiment and feedback volume.

This unprecedented level of detail reveals insights that can inform business plans, inspire campaigns, alert organizations to product issues, or even just give the information that prompts a single follow-up phone call to a customer. In each case, the accuracy of the analysis leads to confident action.

Clarabridge combines groundbreaking, proprietary technology with the experience of over 300 customer engagements to provide the most comprehensive Customer Experience Management solutions available. Our customers are benefitting – 98% of our customers have improved their customer satisfaction rating year over year. We enable our customers to listen to everything, analyze intelligently, and act confidently – to improve customer experience, satisfaction, and loyalty.

Communispace

1) Company overview: Provide a short description of your company.

Communispace is the consumer collaboration agency uniquely equipped to harness the power and inspiration of consumers to drive business growth. Communispace has been the fastest- growing consumer insights firm in the US for the last four years, delivering unparalleled consumer engagement and business impact, with more than 700 communities launched to date.

The acquisition of Promise Corporation enabled Communispace to marry its unique research approach with the strategic consulting tools and processes that Promise successfully pioneered. The partnership also marked Communispace’s most significant step to date in expanding its global capabilities. Communispace has recruited members from 156 countries.

2) Make the case: Why is your company is a great candidate for this award?

Communispace uses both online and offline methods to help our clients collaborate with – and get inspiration from – their consumers to drive business growth.

By engaging consumers as strategic partner, rather than as mere respondents, we enable brands to build deep, trusted relationships with consumers. Through our community approach— from the composition of the membership to the projects we run and the facilitation we lead to the consumer-to-consumer engagement we enable — we create relationships among our clients key stakeholders: customers, prospects, and team members. These relationships are critical to develop key insights to deliver the best experience possible to consumers.

Communispace’s communities connect online and mobile technology with consulting, management and insight reporting services. Our offerings—from activity levels through impactful storytelling — allow clients to tackle business challenges and find untapped opportunities to meet their customers’ unmet needs.

Communispace has in-depth experience in managing custom communities for global companies across a variety of industries and applications. With community members coming from more than 156 countries, or 80% of the world, we know the key cultural nuances and methods to make a global community successful, and are able to provide services in a suite of languages, including but not limited to English, Spanish, Mandarin, simplified Chinese, French, Portuguese, German, Russian and more.

The firm employs a range of tools to enable real-time, immersive, brand-to-consumer interactions in order to understand consumer experiences in ways that no one else can. We see their experience over the course of months and years rather than seeing their experience as a single interaction. Consumers are willing to go to extraordinary lengths to show companies their customer experience and to partner with them to improve it. Communispace has the experience to build that partnership with consumers and allow companies to see their experiences through their eyes.

Confirmit

1) Company overview:  Provide a short description of your company.

Confirmit enables businesses to operationalize feedback and drive change throughout their organizations using the world’s most secure, reliable and scalable solutions for Voice of the Customer (VoC), Employee Engagement and Market Research (MR) programs.

We work with global 5000 clients to create multi-channel, multi-lingual feedback and research programs that engage customers, empower employees, deliver a compelling respondent experience, and provide high Return on Investment. With the power to listen to the Voice of the Customer, integrate it with business data to generate powerful insight, and take action, we deliver effective business change and create a competitive advantage for clients.

2) Make the case: Why is your company is a great candidate for this award?

At Confirmit, we’re committed to fostering innovation. Since our founding in 1996, we have been solely focused on transcending technology norms, nurturing client relationships with superior service, increasing global expansion and adding top talent for fresh perspectives in our ever- changing industry.

We’re fully committed to continued customer success with our clients reporting statistics including 90% retention rates, triple-digit revenue growth and a 20% increase in promoter score.

We believe our clients should be recognized for their customer success programs.  Our Annual Achievements in Customer Excellence (ACE) Awards recognize Confirmit clients for the highest levels of achievement in using Confirmit’s solutions to generate positive organizational change, enhance business processes and boost business returns. Last year’s Confirmit ACE Award winners for Best Use of Feedback Solutions include: Siemens Industry Inc., Building Technologies Division (Best Use of Feedback Solutions for Voice of the Customer); Best Buy (Best Use of Feedback Solutions for Voice of the Employee); Farmers Insurance  (Best Use of Feedback Solutions for Voice of the Partner); Akamai Technologies (Best Use of Feedback Solutions Across the Enterprise); 21st Century Insurance  (Best Use of Feedback Solutions to Drive Overall Business Impact); and, Citicorp Customer  Services SL (Best Use of Feedback Solutions in the Contact Center).

Alan Ciaverelli, VP, 21st Century Insurance shared that this award is especially gratifying as it demonstrates everyone in the company can contribute in some way to improving the customer experience. 21st Century Insurance has used this insight to drive continuous improvements to its business processes, including billing, website self-service experience, quality monitoring program, and automated phone system.

We believe the businesses that can adapt fast and respond  to changing customer and market requirements are the ones that will thrive.  To do this, they need to be more agile, more dynamic, and more intelligent in the way that they seek input from customers and markets.

We continue to see a greater need for mobile and an all-encompassing platform for listening to the Voice of the Customer. As such, we rolled out two major products in 2013 –  Confirmit MyMobile  – a customizable mobile feedback and research app that enables business to channel insights back to the right stakeholders via any type of mobile device – and a new version of  Confirmit CustomerSat – allowing users to bring key metrics from multiple survey programs together in a single dashboard to track performance against corporate goals.

At the end of this quarter, we will also introduce Confirmit Horizons Version 18, the latest release of our highly flexible, multi-channel Voice of the Customer solution. With Confirmit Horizons, on which over 900 million surveys have been completed in the last five years, businesses can:

  • Use any combination of channels to capture feedback, maximizing response rates and insight
  • Harness the power of mobile to access hard-to-reach audiences
  • Create at-a-glance dashboards or in-depth customized reports and deliver them automatically; online or offline through a wide range of channels
  • Build and run panels that deliver positive experiences to panelists
  • Unlock the insight within unstructured data
  • Run feedback and research programs, supported by world class technology

Version 18 of Confirmit Horizons will add significant new capabilities which are focused on three key areas; driving richer insight, empowering smarter decisions and enabling faster reactions. These have been developed in direct association with Confirmit customers to ensure that we’re focusing our efforts on the areas that will deliver the greatest value to their businesses.

We take pride in our global footprint and creating meaningful connections as we continue expanding worldwide. In June 2013, we hosted industry leaders and VoC visionaries from 19 countries and 18 industries at the annual Confirmit Community Conference in London and Las Vegas. AIG, Best Buy, GfK and others showcased how their Confirmit-powered VoC, MR and Employee Engagement programs drive innovation and financial results. The tremendous success of these events underscores our continued market momentum. We look forward to this year’s upcoming conference that aims to celebrate VoC practitioners and the heroic job they do to meet customer challenges.

In addition to bringing together thought leaders from around the world, we formed new partnerships with VoC specialists in regional markets, appointed Terry Lawlor to Executive Vice President for Product Management and promoted seasoned employee Tore Haggren to Senior Vice President, Voice of the Employee. With a strong and stable executive team, we’re focused on making strategic business moves to support our global expansion.

Earlier in 2014 we acquired Integrasco, a leader in social intelligence and text analytics. This milestone brings advanced technologies for capturing social insights and analyzing unstructured text into the Confirmit portfolio of software offerings. This will ensure that Confirmit’s customers can manage, analyze and react to the huge volume of unstructured from customers and integrate it with their more formal VoC data to create new insight.

Enghouse Interactive

1) Company overview: Provide a short description of your company.

Great communication is the key to a great customer experience. Enghouse Interactive’s solutions help organizations overcome the barriers to great customer communication and maximize the value of every interaction. We have the world’s most comprehensive portfolio of contact center, attendant console, IVR, call recording and knowledge base solutions from leading providers Arc Solutions, CosmoCom, Datapulse, Safeharbor, Syntellect, Telrex, Trio and Zeacom. Enghouse Interactive has thousands of customers worldwide, supported by a global network of partners and more than 600 dedicated staff across the company’s 16 international operations.

2) Make the case: Why is your company is a great candidate for this award?

For the purposes of this nomination, we would like to highlight some of the capabilities of Enghouse Interactive Communications Center (EICC) solution (also known as Zeacom Communications Center or ZCC in the US and APAC) and show how it helps organizations deliver a superior customer experience.

EICC is a multi-channel contact center solution used by customer service departments, help desks and sales teams to efficiently manage their inbound and outbound communications. EICC integrates with Avaya, Cisco, Microsoft and NEC voice platforms, giving our customers a real choice when it comes to picking the best solution to meet their communication needs. Contact centers handle the majority of customer communications coming into many organizations and the EICC contact center solution delivers specialized functionality that can dramatically improve the quality of these interactions.

Nobody likes to wait, so announcing to customers that they’ll have to hold to speak with a customer service representative immediately degrades the customer experience. EICC’s Callback functionality gives callers the option to leave a callback request during busy times, then hang up and get on with what they were doing. The caller’s message continues to move up in the queue until it is automatically delivered to the next available agent at which time EICC establishes a return call. WebCE, a continuing education provider, exceeded its customers’ expectations when it implemented Callback by responding to customers’ messages within minutes. You’ll find the WebCE case study in section 3 of this document.

Another way to dissatisfy a customer is to pass them around like a hot potato, but if an agent can respond to a customer’s request on the first call, you’re likely to have a happy customer. Often an agent needs to access a subject matter expert to resolve a customer’s problem and EICC helps them do this in a number of ways. Agents can use EICC’s Presence functionality to tell them who in the organization is available. What if the expert is already on a call? EICC gives the agent the ability to send a chat message to that person, and receive a chat reply, without having to put the caller on hold, transfer the call or call the customer back later.

If the organization uses Microsoft Lync as their voice platform, EICC’s integration with Lync gives agents access to Lync’s advanced collaboration tools like video, instant messaging (IM) and screen sharing to extract the information they need from experts both inside and outside of the organization. Agents save time and effort and customers gets the answers they need the first time they contact the organization.

Another way EICC helps organizations delight their customers is by letting them choose how they make contact and ensuring a quick response. EICC is a multi-channel contact center solution which means it equips contact centers to handle not only phone calls, but also email, web chat, SMS, fax and social media alerts. Our multi-channel capabilities allow every customer interaction to be queued, intelligently routed, monitored in real time and reported on.

Often phone calls will be given priority in a contact center, while emails are left languishing in inboxes and faxes are left waiting on the fax machine, waiting for someone to manually distribute them. The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) implemented email and fax queuing, streamlining the manual processes associated with these communication channels and significantly reducing their response times. Social media queuing is also used by TDLR to ensure that Facebook and Twitter posts are responded to in a timely manner. You’ll find the TDLR case study in section 4 of this submission.

Many business executives rightly acknowledge the important role agents play in customer satisfaction. Unfortunately, good agents are hard to keep. A 2013 ContactBabel survey of 205 contact center managers found that 27 percent of agents leave their jobs every year. That’s why we designed our new TouchPoint user interface in consultation with agents. We found that the necessity to bounce between various applications, struggle with window management, and constantly search for the right information or function on the screen can lead to agent dissatisfaction. It’s something any computer user can relate to, but for an agent it adds time to the call and can result in a poor customer experience.

TouchPoint simplifies the agent desktop by exposing its functionality in an intuitive way, providing the relevant options based on what the agent is doing at the time. It has a much smaller footprint and a clean, uncluttered layout, unlike the big screen interfaces typically used by agents. We found that agents used a lot of post-it notes to capture information while on a call, so we created the ‘scratch pad’. Agents use the scratch pad to take notes which get transferred with the call if it is passed to another agent. TouchPoint has been designed to empower agents to interact efficiently with customers, and the wider organization, to deliver better customer service. EICC also provides the business intelligence needed to drive customer-centric behavior. Our Snapshot solution provides real time statistics on service levels and agent activity so agents and their supervisors can respond to issues as they occur (see Figure 2 on the next page). The Community Mutual Group found that this increased visibility resulted in calls and emails being answered faster. You’ll find the Community Mutual Group case study in section 5 of this submission. EICC also supplies detailed historical reporting, allowing contact center managers to accurately measure performance across all communication channels and resource their teams to meet fluctuating customer demand.

Using real time statistics and reports, managers can view the results of a call and extrapolate customer satisfaction – but do these metrics truly reflect everything the organization needs to know about the customer experience? Surveying your customers when they call in allows organizations to capture customer feedback immediately after an interaction with an agent. EICC offers a fully integrated survey function that gives customers the option to participate in a customer satisfaction survey at the completion of their call, without the agent’s knowledge or involvement. Customers who elect to be surveyed are automatically transferred to a series of questions after the agent hangs up and can respond to the questions using their phone keypad.

Mindshare Technologies

1) Company overview: Provide a short description of your company.

Mindshare Technologies is the largest provider of cloud-based Voice of the Customer (VoC) solutions for the Food Services, Retail and Contact Center industries. Using a proprietary customer review platform, Mindshare collects feedback in real time to help companies retain customers and increase profits. As a full-service partner, Mindshare provides tactical instruction, strategic guidance and customer experience consulting to global brands and multi-unit operators. For more information, visit http://www.mshare.net.

2) Make the case: Why is your company is a great candidate for this award?

As customers increasingly turn to the Web for reviews to help guide their purchasing decisions, Mindshare Technologies is helping major, quick-service restaurants and retailers respond to this shift in customer engagement with OpenTellTM, a product that collects and publishes customer reviews online. OpenTell helps brands guide their operational and marketing decisions by giving them honest, unfiltered feedback from real customers who have actually been to the locations, tightly integrated with the tools to help fix any problems before – and immediately after – they happen. No other VoC or reputation management provider offers this combination of functionality.

OpenTell removes the pain points that often accompany open-review websites where anyone can leave feedback, whether or not they have visited the location. OpenTell provides brands with a range of benefits unavailable in the market before now, including:

  • Authenticity – Every review on OpenTell originates from actual paying customers. Only customers with a validation code from their receipt are invited to leave feedback. This approach virtually eliminates spam and fraudulent reviews from influencing public perception.
  • Timeliness – OpenTell continuously generates a high volume of reviews to ensure available reviews reflect recent brand experiences and are continually fresh and relevant. A study conducted by Mindshare found that nearly half of locations on third-party review sites had no new reviews during a 17-month period.
  • Accuracy – Because feedback is always based on a statistically significant sample size, reviews on OpenTell offer a comprehensive and accurate representation of the customer experience at each location.

With these three benefits, OpenTell helps brands improve their online reputations by leveraging their most valuable asset – their satisfied customers (For unsatisfied customers, companies can respond to and remedy those subpar experiences in near real-time, leveraging Mindshare’s Incident Management and Alerts capabilities).

Customers have great experiences with brands every day, but millions of positive reviews are locked inside the walls of companies. Consumers today demand greater transparency and more conversational relationships with brands. OpenTell is the most significant step to date in facilitating this fundamental shift in the nature of customer engagement.

OpenTell is the first product launched by Mindshare following the company’s recent acquisition of its complementary company, Empathica. Using Empathica’s patented GoRecommend® solution, OpenTell mobilizes brand advocates by inviting customers to share their positive experiences on social media. GoRecommend extends the reach of great customer experiences beyond OpenTell by allowing customers to share their review on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Yelp! And TripAdvisor.

OpenTell is powered by Mindshare’s integrated text analytics capabilities, which translate raw customer reviews into actionable insights, enabling location managers to address subpar performance areas and continuously improve the customer experience.

Qualtrics

1) Company overview: Provide a short description of your company.

Qualtrics makes it easy to capture real-time customer, market and employee insights that inform data-driven business decisions. Enterprises, academic institutions, and government agencies rely on the Qualtrics platform to gather and understand customer satisfaction, NPS, customer experience, brand, market, and employee feedback. Founded in 2002, Qualtrics serves more than 5,000 enterprises worldwide, including half of the Fortune 100 and 97 of the top 100 business schools.

2) Make the case: Why is your company a great candidate for this award?

At Qualtrics, customer obsession is ingrained in our culture and is the first trait we look for when hiring for our team. All employees are engaged in our mission to provide customers with the best insights possible. A customer-obsessed culture empowers all of our employees, regardless of their role in the company, to continually think of new ways to improve the customer experience.

While this customer-focused philosophy is evident in our work culture, it’s also at the core of each of our products. Qualtrics believes that improving customer experience begins with capturing the right customer and employee insights to make immediate, specific changes that will enhance the experience, while at the same time help to retain and delight customers.The Qualtrics platform allows organizations of all sizes to gather data faster and more easily than ever before. With real-time customer and employee insights, organizations can make smart, data-driven decisions that have a measurable, immediate impact on customer experience.

The Qualtrics platform includes:

  • Qualtrics Research  Suite is an easy-to-use platform for organizations to capture, analyze and act on insights. Using Qualtrics Research Suite, organizations can gather real-time customer insight to take immediate and specific action to improve the customer experience.
  • Qualtrics Mobile  extends the features and benefits of Qualtrics Research Suite to smartphones and tablets, giving organizations the ability to capture in-the-moment customer experience feedback anytime, anywhere; online or offline.
  • Qualtrics Site Intercept gives organizations unprecedented abilities to gather feedback from targeted website visitors. Rapidly capturing the “whys” behind website visitor behavior provides unique and valuable insights to improve the customer’s overall web experience.
  • Qualtrics Employee Engagement provides a flexible platform for organizations to improve employee engagement, directly impacting and improving the customer experience. Organizations that focus on employee engagement can see significant and measurable improvements in customer experience and satisfaction.
  • Qualtrics Innovation Exchange will launch in Spring 2014. This revolutionary new marketplace is an industry first and will help organizations drive innovation efforts by providing 24-hour access to expert content, professional services and turnkey solutions for specific business problems. The Qualtrics Innovation Exchange will be the first searchable website for all things insight-related. Comparable to an app store for business solutions, the Innovation Exchange is a place where thought leaders can create and share best practices, proven methods, and innovative survey designs. Users will be able to upload their own content to the community to contribute ideas and share solutions with other insight professionals.

Qualtrics not only helps organizations of all kinds to improve customer experience, but is also committed to providing its own customers with the best customer experience in the industry:

  • Award-winning customer service: Qualtrics provides superior customer service, distinguished by free, unlimited 24/7 support. In an era when it’s difficult to get anyone in an organization to pick up the phone, a Qualtrics employee answers every call.
  • Qualtrics University: Qualtrics customers have free access to the Qualtrics University website with hundreds of article, videos and other training resources to help users create successful customer experience programs.
  • Enthusiastic, engaged customers: Qualtrics recently hosted the Qualtrics Insight Summit, the first-ever insight event of its kind. Nearly 1,000 “insight seekers” gathered to learn from some of the industry’s brightest minds and to dive deeper into the customer insight capabilities of Qualtrics products. Customers were also eager to network and learn from other users. The response to the Insight Summit was overwhelmingly positive, evidence of an enthusiastic and engaged customer base.

We will continue to learn from our customers as they use Qualtrics products to pioneer new ways to measure and improve customer experience. We are inspired by their innovative work and amazing results!

Verint

1) Company overview: Provide a short description of your company.

Founded in 1994, Verint is a provider of customer-centric workforce optimization and voice of the customer solutions. The software is designed to help organizations enhance customer service operations in the contact center, branch banking, back-office operations and marketing environments to drive operational excellence, increase customer satisfaction and loyalty, and optimize enterprise performance.  It helps capture and analyze complex, underused information sources, such as voice, video and unstructured text and allow its customers to make “big data” actionable, enabling more informed and effective business decisions.

2) Make the case: Why is your company is a great candidate for this award?

Verint’s industry leadership and influence is evident as more customer experience, contact center and marketing operations have become buyers participating in conversations together that lead to improved bottom line business value across the enterprise. This trend supports the evolution of the contact center as a critical element within an organization’s structure, responsible for improving internal efficiency and driving customer engagement and meeting both internal and customer metrics.

Verint is at the forefront of providing Workforce Optimization and Voice of the Customer (VoC) Analytics technology (which is comprised of speech analytics, text analytics and enterprise feedback management), to help companies transform into a customer-centric contact center— with a focus on improving agent performance and service recovery, while also increasing customer satisfaction and relationships.

Addressing the needs and demands of ever-changing business environments, Verint helps customers gain a detailed perspective into their own employee perceptions and sentiments, and how they directly link to customer satisfaction and business performance. By asking employees what they care about, these enterprises can keep a pulse on employee needs, better understand motivations and perceptions, and help create and maintain a loyal and committed staff. Employees also provide valuable insight on how to improve business processes and the customer experience, which is aligned with customer feedback for a true holistic view from both perspectives.

In support of this evolution, Verint further expanded its single, best-of-breed Voice of the Customer Analytics solution in 2013. The enhancements are designed to help improve customer experience and operations for VoC professionals and their organizations. By capturing different types of feedback (transactional, relationship and employee) the company is helping customers succeed in their ability to capture customer feedback across interaction channels (i.e., phone calls, surveys, social media and more), correlate and interpret it in the context of business objectives and take action to drive change and respond more effectively to customer, business and market demands. Verint is uniquely focused on customer engagement and how the voice of the customer permeates throughout an enterprise, and offers a variety of solutions to improve customer satisfaction, loyalty and operational efficiency.

With innovative product enhancements driven by today’s business needs, Verint is positioned to support customers in their efforts to provide a positive customer experience, overcome business challenges, find service opportunities and remain competitive in today’s evolving market.

Its major launches, acquisitions and achievements in the past year include:

  • Proactive customer engagement
  • Fraud and authentication
  • Voice of the employee
  • Customer Experience Program

Proactive Customer Engagement

Verint recently announced that it has joined forces with KANA Software. The combination of Verint and KANA creates the broadest set of Customer Engagement Optimization solutions through a robust blend of software and services that span workforce optimization and customer service and support offerings.

Verint offers workforce optimization and voice of the customer analytics solutions, including voice recording, voice biometrics, quality monitoring, speech analytics, text analytics, enterprise feedback management, workforce management, performance management, desktop and process analytics, eLearning and coaching. KANA brings compelling customer service solutions, such as agent desktop, case management, knowledge management, and email, chat and social media response management.

The result is a robust portfolio from a single provider, combined in a way that has never been done before, and designed to help organizations transform customer engagement. With Verint Customer Engagement solutions, organizations have the tools they need to optimize their workforces, improve their business processes, and enrich their customer interactions by:

  • Capturing and managing cross-functional information about customer interactions and workforce performance across delivery channels.
  • Leveraging analytics and intelligence to uncover trends, and discover why certain employee and customer behaviors occur.
  • Using guided business processes and recommended dialogues to deliver fast, precise, personalized service—from next best action, to next best offer.
  • Connecting communications channels to create complete, consistent and contextual experiences that count every time customers engage.

Fraud Prevention and Identity Authentication

With an increased focus among enterprises to safeguard customer identity and private information, companies worldwide are investing in technology and services that help mitigate risk, prevent fraud, reduce fraud-related loss and improve the customer experience—all while decreasing contact center operating costs. As a result, risk management, fraud prevention and identity authentication are high profile topics in many organizations.

Through its acquisition of Victrio, a provider of fraud and authentication solutions, Verint is offering solutions that help manage compliance and risk, while also heightening the level of security available to contact centers to ultimately improve the customer experience.

The combined solution couples Victrio’s voice biometrics and predictive analytics with Verint’s customer-centric workforce optimization solutions to offer financial institutions the ability to securely and accurately authenticate customers calling into the contact center to prevent fraudulent activity. Thus, saving organizations millions in potential lost revenue and helping to maintain positive customer experiences.

Voice of the Employee

Studies have shown a direct relationship between customer and employee satisfaction. Both impact profitability. This year, Verint introduced a Voice of the Employee (VoE) solution that is based on its Voice of the Customer Analytics software. It helps customers gain a detailed perspective into their own employee perceptions and sentiments and how they link to customer satisfaction and performance. With Verint VoE, companies gain a single, holistic view of both the VoE and Voice of the Customer to cultivate personnel, products, services and supporting business processes, as well as foster increased engagement, improved customer loyalty and new opportunities to drive revenue. By asking employees what they care about, businesses can keep a pulse on employee needs, better understand motivations and perceptions, and help create and maintain a loyal and committed staff.

Verint VoE helps companies engage and listen to their employees on an ongoing basis, understand satisfaction and engagement levels within the organization, and respond accordingly. This enables functional areas across the business, such as Human Resources, to learn about what drives performance, perceived obstacles and areas of misalignment. For example, one global retailer surveyed 135,000 employees in eight languages across its global locations, achieving cost savings of up to 75 percent of an outsourced solution and heightening response rates to 80 percent, all through its use of Verint VoE technology.

Verint Customer Experience Program

Much like the organizations Verint services and supports, the company is committed to providing the best experience possible for its own customers. It seeks to be an industry leader for customer loyalty by building upon its own customer-centric culture to create a consistent customer experience.

To satisfy this need, it formalized an effort to build the Verint Customer Experience program. This committee sets program strategy, monitors customer loyalty, establishes goals for improvement and resources the Customer Experience Program Office. The program is sponsored and supported by Verint’s President, who leads the executive committee that oversees the program and reviews the customer feedback.

The primary goal was not only to implement its own voice of the customer initiative, but also to create a methodology that could be deployed in any organization to understand customers’ needs and expectations across interactions and channels and evaluate the extent to which those expectations were being met. The methodology is powered by Verint people and technology with customer journey mapping as a core component. The result of the journey mapping is a highly visual tool that is used to communicate to the organization, inspire organizational change and create competitive advantage.

The journey map helps Verint get beyond speculation of what is happening with customers based purely on the last interaction or hearsay. Verint can analyze the customer experience at each stage of the interaction across multiple channels from the customers’ view, and gain an “outside in” perspective. This enables Verint to ensure that customers don’t get trapped in functional silos, or passed from department to department looking for service. It also applies to Verint employees when they want to implement change based on customer feedback.

The model helps create a vernacular that enables employees to identify various stages of the customer’s journey and how to work with them along the way to better meet their needs. For example, employees now understand that they are tasked with helping customers during a “moment of truth” that helps create focus for a specific action. For those employees involved in this step of the process, they can better understand the critical role they play in the customer experience process.

The program also enables customers to learn whether a customer interaction has to be done well, and better understood the ways it could potentially make or break the relationship. Understanding that these “moments” determine which interactions impact brand perception, no matter how they are defined, employees better understand how to use this insight throughout the organization to measure, analyze and monitor the overall experience. As a result, employees talk about whether or not customers have gone through one process over another and whether they have the information necessary to move between interactions successfully. It helps employees understand customers better and gave them insight to improve the journey process. From feedback insights and driver analysis, priority focus areas are developed and teams are deployed to improve customer satisfaction. When key metrics are met, the areas continue to be monitored to assure customer satisfaction continues.

In the end, customer success is a priority.

Walker

1) Company overview:  Provide a short description of your company.

Walker is a customer intelligence consulting firm. Helping businesses for more than 70 years, Walker’s diverse team of consultants provides tailored, comprehensive solutions to help companies achieve their business objectives and grow shareholder value. Walker specializes in customer retention and growth strategies, using predictive analytics, cutting edge technology, and expert consultation to deliver results. And it works – Walker clients outperform the market by more than six to one!

Walker’s primary focus is delivering results for business-to-business organizations. Our client list includes dozens of market-leading companies that span a variety of industries.

2) Make the case: Why is your company is a great candidate for this award?

Listed below are four key reasons we feel Walker is a deserving candidate for the Customer Experience Vendor Excellence Award:

1.  EXPERIENCED LEADERS, FOCUSED ON THE FUTURE

One of Walker’s greatest assets is our experience. For close to three decades we have been almost exclusively focused on helping companies achieve their business objectives through the use of customer insights and intelligence. Our senior consultants average more than 18 years of experience and they are supported by equally experienced marketing science professionals and information technology specialists. We know of no firm that offers this level of expertise. And yet, experience isn’t everything. It would be easy for a company to get stuck in their ways. Not so at Walker. We’re constantly considering what’s next. To deepen our understanding of future customer experience trends we recently conducted our own research and published Customers 2020, a report that looks carefully at changing customer expectations, addresses how companies must adapt, and considers how the roles of customer experience professionals will evolve. This report provides an important roadmap for delivering the right solutions and services to help each Walker client establish and maintain a competitive advantage.

2.  AN EFFECTIVE, COMPREHENSIVE APPROACH

Walker offers a comprehensive range of services to deliver complete solutions for our clients. We aim to provide everything needed to deliver the most effective customer intelligence to drive strategies, action, change, and results. Our services include:

  • Tailored consulting – At Walker we believe how we work is just as important as what we do. Our consultants work collaboratively with CX leaders to ensure (1) success is defined– metrics are identified and actively measured and monitored; (2) executives are engaged– this builds the connection of customer insights into the strategic decision making process of the business; and (3) the journey is well-planned – A strategic vision and long-term roadmap is used to architect the process. Because each client is unique we work together to set clear objectives and design tailored initiatives to achieve them using journey mapping and strategic audits to establish a practical roadmap. We guide clients on program design, execution, communication, action planning, alignment with business strategies, and program validation.
  • Technology Tools – Walker has developed an unmatched set of tools to accelerate the way customer information is gathered, analyzed, and put to use. Unlike many technology companies that offer a one-size-fits-all “platform,” Walker delivers an integrated set of applications that are designed around the needs of each user group within each client organization. We listen and learn about the organization and design a customized technology solution to address their unique needs.
  • Research models and frameworks – With a strong background in research, Walker is constantly developing and validating methods and models to better understand customer relationships. We don’t rely on a single metric or model. Instead, we determine the right research approach to serve each client.
  • Analytic sciences – Walker delivers services to help companies maximize the use of their customer information by integrating all available sources. Our team of experienced marketing scientists deploys advanced analytic techniques including predictive, longitudinal, descriptive, profiling, segmentation and other proven approaches aimed at understanding and anticipating customer needs.
  • End-to-end  program  execution – Often overlooked are the day-to-day tasks of implementing customer intelligence initiatives. Our staff of highly trained project managers, quality specialists, and consultants carefully manages each program to ensure that rich, accurate customer information is effectively delivered and put to use.

3.  UNIQUE SPECIALIZATION IN B-TO-B

Not only is Walker keenly focused on customer experience strategies (it is virtually all we do), but we specialize in solutions and services for business-to-business organizations.  The challenges for B-to-B companies are unique and we believe our expertise in this area makes a big difference for our clients. Our approach to journey mapping, information gathering, action planning, and technology tools are all particularly effective in driving action through strategic account managers, channel partners, service organizations, and many other areas that are highly relevant in B-to-B organizations.

4.  SHARP FOCUS ON RESULTS

Results are what matter. In fact, we track our clients’ collective business performance and compare it to the performance of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the NASDAQ Composite, and the S&P 500. While we are proud our clients outperform the market by more than six to one, we are just as focused on how they achieve specific business objectives within various groups and departments. Consider these examples:

  • With Walker’s help, a market leading technology firm identified 53 percent of executive customers who are likely to increase their spending with them.
  • Through a VoC program implemented with Walker, a global semiconductor firm exceeded their goal with 93 percent  delighted customers (Truly Loyal).
  • A leading information management company documented nearly $6 million in savings resulting from relationship program follow-up implemented by Walker, and identified more than $9 million in at-risk revenue from their VoC.
  • Accounts moved to Truly Loyal at this Fortune 500 manufacturer demonstrated an eight percent increase in year over year revenue.
  • A market-leading packaging company saved more than $1 million by successfully executing a web-based survey program, partnering with Walker.

About Bruce Temkin, CCXP
I am a customer experience transformist, helping large organizations improve business results by changing how they deal with customers. As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. I am also a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Simply put, I am passionate about spotting emerging best practices and helping companies master them. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. My “title” is Managing Partner of the Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm that helps organizations become more customer-centric. Our goal is simple: accelerate the path to delighting customers. I am also the co-founder and Emeritus Chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of CX professionals.

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