Infor is one of the world’s leading application vendors, with products that address asset, financial, product life cycle, supply chain and workforce management. It also has a customer relationship management (CRM) product that covers the traditional CRM functions such as marketing campaign management, sales force automation and customer service, and a strong outbound marketing product that supports companies in delivering personalized e-mail to customers. Over the years I have written often about why companies have been disappointed by their CRM implementations; the primary reason is that while these systems support managing the internal marketing, sales and customer service processes, they do little to improve the customer’s experience during interactions.
This is where customer experience management (CEM) comes into play. In my view CEM is more important than CRM because it concerns the people, processes, information and technology that impact the customer who is interacting with a company through one of an increasing number of communication channels. As the top two channels remain calls to the contact center and visits to self-service Web sites, the main enablers of CEM are a smart agent desktop and smarter, natural language-based self-service applications. A smart desktop has technology that makes accessing applications and data easier for the agent and functionality that suggests next best actions and other assistance to the agent depending on the customer and the context of the conversation.
This brings us back to Infor and a product called Interaction Advisor which, although not marketed as a smart desktop, fulfills very similar functions. The product has four main components:
1. Dynamic profiling starts up when it receives data from a communication channel device that says a customer interaction has commenced. It sits in memory and builds a real-time profile of the customer that can include demographic data from, say, a CRM system, contextual data such as how long the customer has been waiting in a queue, and transactional data such as previous calls or visits to the Web site.
2. Business rules based on the customer's profile determine eligibility of that customer for certain messages or offers, telling the agent, for example, this customer is not eligible for certain loyalty benefits or don't make this offer again as the customer has already turned it down.
3. Real-time analytics, also based on the customer's profile and data collected as the interaction is taking place, determine the likelihood of a positive response to each of several possible messages or offers.
4. Arbitration makes the final determination as to what is presented to the agent or communication device as the next best action, message or offer. It can be personalized and delivered through all the standard communication channels (voice, IVR, e-mail or the Web) plus a few unusual channels such as slot machines.
Interactive Advisor thus provides intelligence for deciding how to influence the customer experience by dynamically changing what the customer hears or sees during an interaction. The only component of a smart desktop it doesn't include is a built-in interface to display messages on the desktop or any other communication device. Infor does have a number of standard methods for doing this, or it can build specific interfaces.
My research into customer experience management shows that companies are increasingly recognizing the importance of customer experience management and especially enabling their contact center agents to focus on the customer rather than all the systems on their desktop. Infor has a unique set of capabilities in Interaction Advisor that can play a key role in complimenting its own efforts to meet the needs of hospitality, retail and other industries. Has your company recognized and addressed this issue? If not, as well as evaluating some of the emerging smart desktop applications, I recommend you consider Infor Interaction Advisor as a possible solution.
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Richard Snow – Global VP & Research Director