Attensityrecently announced its acquisition of Biz360, which provides software for monitoring social media . This is one of many takeovers that are regularly occurring in the rapidly developing market to support customer interactions taking place in the cloud. One might wonder, why all the fuss about social media? The fact is that every day more customers use social media sites to express views on any sort of issue – including their experiences with customer service – and to collaborate with others; companies simply cannot ignore the potential impact of these discussions – on their brand, perceptions of them in the market and in extreme cases even their bottom line. The vast increase in the volume of social media communications was one of the key drivers behind this acquisition.
Attensity already provided companies with a way to gain insights into what their customers say about them on various social media sites as I wrote about already (See: “Attensity Listening to Social Media World”.(Using its text analytics tools, companies can understand types of entries, volumes, sentiments of users and trends. Biz360’s main asset was its ability to copy with very large volumes of interactions across a greater range of sites. The combination of the two will enable Attensity to support almost limitless numbers of interactions and better help companies cope with this fast-growing phenomenon. Attensity has begun to integrate the two product lines and in parallel has enhanced its analysis capabilities to help companies gain deeper insight into what customers are saying.
However, coping with larger volumes and delivering better insights are only parts of what companies need. As Ventana Research has come to understand, getting better information and insights is worthwhile only if you take action based on the knowledge. We see the ability to act as a key to transitioning from reporting and analysis to true performance management, where companies strive to understand what is happening in their organization, to align what is happening to their strategy and then to optimize their processes and people to deliver the desired business outcomes and goals. Attensity is embracing these principles in the acronym LARA, for listen, analyze, relate and act. The listen part is about collecting interaction data (social media site entries), followed by text analytics to understand the content, relating this to information from other systems to enhance the view, and finally initiating action. To this end Attensity is working on enhancing its Engage product to take output from the analysis and, using rules and a knowledge base, to create workflows and alerts so someone takes the necessary action. For example, if the analysis identifies a customer who has collaborated with someone else to solve a previously unresolved issue, the solution is added to the knowledge base, customer service is notified to respond in this way to the customer and any others with the same issue, and as agents in the contact center receive calls about the same issue they can be directed to the solution in the knowledge base.
This ability to drive action based on analysis puts Attensity in a strong position to help companies figure out how they should respond to the increasing use of social media sites. My research into customer experience management shows that while calls to contact centers and visits to self-service portals are still the main channels through which companies interact with their customers, the use of social media sites is the fastest growing. The research also shows that most companies are not prepared for this transition. Has your company fully embraced social media? Do you really understand what your customers are saying about you? Are you in a position to take action? If not, I recommend you look at how Attensity can help, and please let us know how you are dealing with this new challenge.
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Richard Snow – Global VP & Research Director