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Cisco Sees Strong Growth in Social Media Call Center Software

By Paul Shread     Feedback

Cisco is reporting strong growth in its social media call center solutions just a few months after their launch.

Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO) is reporting strong growth in its social media call center solutions just a few months after the product's launch.

Since Cisco launched its SocialMiner contact center software late last year, the social media monitoring and analytics solution has been "flying out the door," John Hernandez, vice president and general manager of Cisco's Customer Collaboration Business, told eCRM Guide in a recent interview.

Hernandez cited Gartner to back up his claims. Thanks in part to publicity leading up to the launch, Hernandez said Cisco is growing twice as fast as the 12 to 18 percent growth rate of the contact center market and is gaining share on rivals Avaya (NYSE: AV) and Alcatel Lucent's (NYSE: ALU) Genesys unit. Hernandez estimated the core call center market at $3.5 billion, while recording and logging and social media technologies add another $2 billion to $3 billion to that market.

Hernandez sees Salesforce.com's (NYSE: CRM) acquisition of social CRM vendor Radian6 as "validating what we've been saying and focusing on."

In response to customer demand, Cisco now sells SocialMiner as a standalone social media data mining tool, and it can also be used with other call center infrastructure software for real-time analysis and reporting.

Social media can present data management challenges because of the sheer amount of social data that's out there, but Hernandez said Cisco's social media algorithm is "self-learning" and becomes "more accurate over time," so companies have less data to manage and sort through.

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Common uses of SocialMiner include salespeople looking for an edge, like a dissatisfied customer of a competitor, and proactive customer service — responding to a complaint as soon as the software discovers it in a social media posting in places like Facebook or Twitter.

Hernandez said Cisco will keep investing in the technology. Future uses will include refined keyword searches, semantic search capabilities to extract meaning and context and get more relevant results, and matching customers with the right customer service or company personnel. He said Cisco is partnering with research universities to further develop the technology.

With social media rapidly changing the way customers interact with companies and other customers, Hernandez said companies are realizing the value in social media data and social customer service. "It's great to see big companies embracing it instead of running from it," he said. "We see it growing significantly."

For more on social media data mining, see Who is Leading in Social CRM? and Social Business Intelligence - What Is It, and Do You Need It?

This article was originally published on April 26, 2011
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