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Cisco Touts Social CRM Call Center Success

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Posted October 12, 2011 By Paul Shread     Feedback

Cisco's contact center business has posted strong growth in the year since the company added social CRM to the software.

In the year since Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO) added social CRM and analytics to its contact center software, the company has reported strong growth in the $4+ billion call center market.

The company has turned that strong growth and more than 15,000 customers into a 25% share of the contact center market, 15% behind leader Avaya and ahead of Alcatel Lucent's Genesys unit, according to analyst reports. Cisco is now number one in the interactive voice response (IVR) market in port shipments, edging out Avaya for the first time, according to Tern Systems research.

"We're pretty excited about the momentum," John Hernandez, vice president and general manager of Cisco's Customer Collaboration business unit, told Enterprise Apps Today. "We're on to something here with customer collaboration."

Cisco cited a couple of customer success stories this week to underscore how it is gaining traction in the call center market. Republic Services, for one, noted that Cisco Unified Customer Voice Portal's automated order entry saves approximately five minutes each for 100 to 200 daily service requests, "the equivalent of one to two full-time employees."

Hernandez said Cisco has learned much in the year since SocialMiner was added to the company's contact center software. Most important, he said, is that "your success increases if you really think about what each department is trying to do and leverage it at the highest level." Marketing, sales and customer support all have different needs, he said. Inside sales, for example, can use the tool to mine unhappy customers of competitors.

It is important to integrate social media monitoring and social CRM into business processes, he said, adding that it's that workflow that sets Cisco apart. The contact center software has an intelligent algorithm that sorts customer contacts by business rules and then sends the contact to the right call center agent, sales or support person, who must accept the assignment or send it on to someone else. The algorithm learns and becomes more accurate over time.

Hernandez said Salesforce.com's acquisition of Radian6 and "social enterprise" vision is a "fantastic confirmation" of the importance of the social CRM market. Cisco doesn't charge extra for SocialMiner; customers get voice and social media in the same package.

Next up for Cisco will be release 9 of its contact center software, expected to be released next June.

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