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ONLINE CUSTOMER SERVICE SOLUTIONS 2007 - BUYER'S GUIDE

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					Buyer’s Guide: Online Customer Service Solutions (2007)




Online Customer Service
Solutions 2007

A Buyer’s Guide
E-consultancy
May 2007


Copyright © E-consultancy.com ltd 2007 – not for distribution to non-subscribers
without written permission

                    Sample only, please download the full report from:
       http://www.e-consultancy.com/publications/online-customer-service-solutions-buyers-guide-2007




  Other E-consultancy Buyer’s Guides:
  Ad Serving Solutions
  Affiliate Marketing Networks
  Content Management Systems
  E-commerce Solutions
  Email Marketing Platforms
  Hosting and Managed Service Providers
  Online Advertising Networks
  Online Surveys and Research
  Search Engine Marketing
  Site Search
  Shopping Comparison Engines
  Usability & Accessibility
  Web Analytics

  http://www.e-consultancy.com/research/




Copyright © E-consultancy.com ltd 2007 – not for distribution to non-subscribers without written permission   1
Buyer’s Guide: Online Customer Service Solutions (2007)



 Table of Contents

1. Introduction                                                                    Error! Bookmark not defined.
   1.1 About E-consultancy .................................................. Error! Bookmark not defined.
2. Executive Summary                                                               Error! Bookmark not defined.

3. The Market                                                                      Error! Bookmark not defined.
   3.1 Market Definition and Scope of Report .................... Error! Bookmark not defined.
   3.2 Market Growth ......................................................... Error! Bookmark not defined.
   3.3 Drivers of Growth and Market Trends ..................... Error! Bookmark not defined.
       3.3.1 Focus on customer retention and engagement drives market growthError! Bookmark not defined.
       3.3.2 Businesses must meet customer expectations in multi-channel worldError! Bookmark not defined.
       3.3.3 Increased use of e-service technology as sales and marketing tool .. Error! Bookmark not defined.
       3.3.4 Interoperability drives ‘best of breed’ approach ................................ Error! Bookmark not defined.
   3.4 Return on Investment (ROI) case for Online Customer Service SolutionsError! Bookmark not def
   3.5 Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT)Error! Bookmark not defined.
4. Costs and Pricing Models                                                        Error! Bookmark not defined.
   4.1 Advantages of On-Demand / ASP Model .................. Error! Bookmark not defined.
   4.2 Pricing Models .......................................................... Error! Bookmark not defined.
   4.3 Trials and Pilots ........................................................ Error! Bookmark not defined.
5. Tips and Pitfalls: how to find the right supplierError! Bookmark not defined.
   5.1 Introduction............................................................... Error! Bookmark not defined.
   5.2 What does your organisation really need? ................ Error! Bookmark not defined.
   5.3 What kind of vendor are you looking for? ................ Error! Bookmark not defined.
   5.4 What additional resources – and buy-in - may be required to manage the software
   and get the most value out of it? ..................................... Error! Bookmark not defined.
6. Market Positioning Charts                                                       Error! Bookmark not defined.
   6.1 Explanation for Chart 1 – Company Focus ............... Error! Bookmark not defined.
   6.2 Explanation for Chart 2 – Business Focus................ Error! Bookmark not defined.
   6.3 Explanation for Chart 2 – Geography....................... Error! Bookmark not defined.
   6.4 Explanation for Chart 2 – Company Culture ............ Error! Bookmark not defined.
7. Matrix                                                                          Error! Bookmark not defined.

8. Supplier Market and Profiles                                                    Error! Bookmark not defined.
   8.1 Creative Virtual (Lingubot) – Company & Service DetailsError! Bookmark not defined.
   8.2 InstantService – Company & Service Details ........... Error! Bookmark not defined.
   8.3 InQuira – Company & Service Details ...................... Error! Bookmark not defined.
   8.4 Kana – Company & Service Details .......................... Error! Bookmark not defined.
   8.5 LivePerson (Timpani) – Company & Service DetailsError! Bookmark not defined.
   8.6 Microsoft (ASA) – Company & Service Details ........ Error! Bookmark not defined.
   8.7 Parker Software (WhosOn) – Company & Service DetailsError! Bookmark not defined.
   8.8 RightNow – Company & Service Details .................. Error! Bookmark not defined.

Copyright © E-consultancy.com ltd 2007 – not for distribution to non-subscribers without written permission      2
Buyer’s Guide: Online Customer Service Solutions (2007)


   8.9 Synthetix (SmartAgent) – Company & Service DetailsError! Bookmark not defined.
   8.10 Talisma – Company & Service Details .................... Error! Bookmark not defined.
   8.11 Transversal – Company & Service Details............... Error! Bookmark not defined.
   8.12 Trinicom – Company & Service Details .................. Error! Bookmark not defined.




                      Sample only, please download the full report from:
        http://www.e-consultancy.com/publications/online-customer-service-solutions-buyers-guide-2007




Copyright © E-consultancy.com ltd 2007 – not for distribution to non-subscribers without written permission   3
Buyer’s Guide: Online Customer Service Solutions (2007)


1. Introduction

E-consultancy’s buyer’s guides are the ideal starting place for anybody
researching new service providers in interactive market sectors. They contain
in-depth vendor profiles, to help you to evaluate suppliers quickly, as well as
market analysis to help you put things into perspective.

Vendors/suppliers are selected for the report based on a combination of factors, not
limited to but including:

              Analysis of capabilities (services / products)
              Clients and Partners
              Experience (qualifications / trade bodies / case studies / client lists)
              Expertise (by sector / topic),
              UK status (a UK office is preferred, occasional exceptions are made)
              Ability to take on and fulfil new projects
              Recommendations from trusted sources (or anecdotal evidence to the
               contrary)
              Google visibility
              Business model (a high % of turnover should be related to these services)
              Company website

E-consultancy does not explicitly recommend any of the suppliers featured in these
guides, principally because it is impossible for us to work with all of them to form a first-
hand opinion.

But we do believe - based on an intensive and careful selection process - that the chosen
service providers represent quality. Buyer’s Guides are typically updated on an annual
basis, so the information contained within is recent, valid, and reflects changing market
conditions. Send any questions or comments to E-consultancy editor Chris Lake via
chris@e-consultancy.com.

1.1 About E-consultancy

E-consultancy is an online publisher of best practice internet marketing reports,
research and how-to guides. E-consultancy, which was named Publisher of the Year at
the 2006 AOP Awards, also publishes buyer’s guides and has a directory of 100,000+
third party internet marketing white papers. Since moving to a paid-content model in
2003 E-consultancy has amassed thousands of paying subscribers, 50,000 registered
users and 145,000+ unique user sessions per month (audited by ABC Electronic).

Subscribers pay from £149 per year to access the exclusive and highly practical content.
E-consultancy has more than 100 events lined up for 2007, including roundtables and
monthly Supplier Showcases.

E-consultancy also provides a range of public and in-house training programmes,
such as seminars and workshops.
http://www.e-consultancy.com/about/
2. Executive Summary

Copyright © E-consultancy.com ltd 2007 – not for distribution to non-subscribers without written permission   4
Buyer’s Guide: Online Customer Service Solutions (2007)


This buyer’s guide covers the market for online customer service solutions,
sometimes described as the e-service market.

The vendors profiled in this report offer technologies ranging from email management
solutions and intelligent FAQs to virtual interactive assistants and real-life chat features.

According to E-consultancy, the UK market for Online Customer Service Solutions will
grow by 50% in 2007.

Trends in the Online Customer Services Solutions sector, covered in this
guide, include:

         Focus on customer retention and engagement drives market growth
         Businesses must meet customer expectations in multi-channel world
         Increased use of e-service technology as sales and marketing tool
         Interoperability drives ‘best of breed’ approach


                  Sample only, please download the full report from:
     http://www.e-consultancy.com/publications/online-customer-service-solutions-buyers-guide-2007




Copyright © E-consultancy.com ltd 2007 – not for distribution to non-subscribers without written permission   5
Buyer’s Guide: Online Customer Service Solutions (2007)




3. The Market

3.1 Market Definition and Scope of Report

This buyer’s guide covers the market for online customer service (OCS) solutions,
sometimes described as the e-service market. The vendors profiled in the report all sell
technology which can enhance the quality of interaction which companies have with
their customers or prospects.

The vendors profiled in this report offer technologies ranging from email management
solutions and intelligent FAQs to virtual interactive assistants and real-life chat features.

The detailed vendor profiles in Section 8 make the focus of each supplier clear. Each
profile also contains marketing positioning charts, aimed at shedding further light
on each supplier’s proposition.

For those who want an at-a-glance view of which vendors offer what technologies and
services, a summary matrix is included in Section 7.


3.2 Market Growth




                  Sample only, please download the full report from:
     http://www.e-consultancy.com/publications/online-customer-service-solutions-buyers-guide-2007




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Buyer’s Guide: Online Customer Service Solutions (2007)




3.3 Drivers of Growth and Market Trends

3.3.1 Focus on customer retention and engagement drives market growth

                  Sample only, please download the full report from:
     http://www.e-consultancy.com/publications/online-customer-service-solutions-buyers-guide-2007




3.3.2 Businesses must meet customer expectations in multi-channel world

In a multi-channel environment it is important for businesses to ensure that their
customers can switch between channels effortlessly. The experience should be as similar
and familiar as possible, notwithstanding the restrictions of a particular mode of
contact.

3.3.3 Increased use of e-service technology as sales and marketing tool

3.3.4 Interoperability drives ‘best of breed’ approach

A continued theme in the online customer service space is the importance of
interoperability with other technologies, whether CRM or complementary types of e-
service technology.




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Buyer’s Guide: Online Customer Service Solutions (2007)




3.4 Return on Investment (ROI) case for Online Customer Service Solutions

Online Customer Service (OCS) Solutions can offer organisations a number of
advantages ranging from highly tangible cost savings and cross-selling opportunities, to
softer benefits such as improved brand perceptions.

The actual time it takes to make your money back will vary between technologies and
vendors.


                 Sample only, please download the full report from:
   http://www.e-consultancy.com/publications/online-customer-service-solutions-buyers-guide-2007




3.5 Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT)

This section contains a ‘SWOT’ analysis for the Online Customer Service Solutions
sector.


3.5.1 Strengths

         The market for e-commerce is becoming stronger and stronger. Online could
          account for 20% of retail sales by 2010, according to the IMRG.
             o As people become more familiar with online browsing and shopping,
                there are increased expectations about levels of service.
                Companies therefore recognise that investment is necessary to
                differentiate themselves and, increasingly, just to keep up with their
                competitors.

                 Sample only, please download the full report from:
   http://www.e-consultancy.com/publications/online-customer-service-solutions-buyers-guide-2007




3.5.2 Weaknesses

         For some types of software the quality of service is only as good as the
          information that goes into them, which means that on-going focus and
          commitment is needed after installation.

3.5.3 Opportunities

3.5.4 Threats




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Buyer’s Guide: Online Customer Service Solutions (2007)




5. Tips and Pitfalls: how to find the right supplier

5.1 Introduction

In order to identify the right vendor it is important to understand that different
companies have different areas of focus. For example, the company may have a core
proposition around either an email response management system or virtual interactive
agents. Other vendors may offer a suite of services covering the whole OCS solutions
spectrum, describing themselves more broadly as CRM vendors.

So, in order to get the right fit with your own organisation, the first step is to identify
exactly what services, solutions and expertise you need. The detailed company
profiles and market positioning charts contained in this guide will help you to find the
right match.

This section contains some key considerations to keep in mind and some pitfalls to
avoid.

                  Sample only, please download the full report from:
     http://www.e-consultancy.com/publications/online-customer-service-solutions-buyers-guide-2007




5.3 What kind of vendor are you looking for?

Suppliers come in different shapes and forms and it is useful to have an idea of the
supplier’s background as an organisation.




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Buyer’s Guide: Online Customer Service Solutions (2007)




6. Market Positioning Charts

Each of the profiles includes market positioning charts which are shown in order to give
buyers a further understanding of where a particular supplier sits in the marketplace.

6.1 Explanation for Chart 1 – Company Focus

                                        Chart 1 – Business Model


       Off-the-shelf
    software/solutions


                                                                                       Where we
                                                                                       are going




                                                                                       Where we
                                                                                       are now


        Bespoke
   Software/solutions

                                                                                             Online customer
                       We sell software                                                     service consultants
                                                                                               and solutions
                                                                                                 providers


The vertical axis of this chart indicates whether the profiled company is more geared
towards customised software or off-the-shelf software.

The horizontal axis indicates to what extent the vendor sees itself as a consultancy
service compared to being a provider of software. For example, a position in the bottom
right quadrant of this chart indicates a company that has a consultancy approach and
offers customised solutions. The red circle indicates the company’s current position
while the blue circle denotes where it is heading.




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Buyer’s Guide: Online Customer Service Solutions (2007)



6.2 Explanation for Chart 2 – Business Focus

      Broad range of
         business
       software and
         solutions
                                                                                       Where we
                                                                                       are going




                                                                                       Where we
                                                                                       are now

     Focus on online
     customer service
         solutions



                              Focus on a                                                        Full range of
                             single, core                                                     online customer
                           product/solution                                                   service solutions



The vertical axis of this chart indicates whether a vendor is focussed purely on
customer service or offers a wide range of business software solutions.

The horizontal axis shows to what extent the company concentrates on one particular
customer service solution. A position in the bottom left of this chart therefore indicates a
vendor whose business is built around one particular customer service solution.




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Buyer’s Guide: Online Customer Service Solutions (2007)



6.3 Explanation for Chart 2 – Geography

       Our staff are
      spread around
      many locations

                                                                                       Where we
                                                                                       are going




                                                                                       Where we
                                                                                       are now


      Majority of our
      staff are in one
          location

                         All our work is in                                                 A small proportion
                              the UK                                                         of our work is in
                                                                                                  the UK


The vertical axis of this chart shows the extent to which a company’s staff are all in one
location.

The horizontal axis indicates what proportion of the company’s work is in the UK.




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Buyer’s Guide: Online Customer Service Solutions (2007)



6.4 Explanation for Chart 2 – Company Culture


      Predictable and
      process-driven
                                                                                       Where we
                                                                                       are going




                                                                                       Where we
                                                                                       are now

      Flexible, ad hoc
         approach




                          Small compared to                                                    Large compared
                            competitors                                                         to competitors




The vertical axis of this chart shows the company' preferred working style in terms of
whether they are more process-oriented or flexible and ad hoc.

The horizontal axis shows the company’s size relative to its rivals in the market place.




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Buyer’s Guide: Online Customer Service Solutions (2007)




7. Matrix
An at-a-glance overview of who’s doing what…


                    Sample only, please download the full report from:
       http://www.e-consultancy.com/publications/online-customer-service-solutions-buyers-guide-2007




8. Supplier Market and Profiles


                    Sample only, please download the full report from:
       http://www.e-consultancy.com/publications/online-customer-service-solutions-buyers-guide-2007




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