thomas.wieberneit@aheadcrm.co.nz
How Zendesk moves the needle in customer service

How Zendesk moves the needle in customer service

The news On January 8, 2024, Zendesk announced the acquisition of Klaus, “the industry leading AI-powered quality management platform”. With AI driving a rapid increase in customer service interactions it is necessary for customer service teams to become more efficient while maintaining their quality of service. This is accomplished by a combination of digital and human agents across an increasing number of channels. Ensuring good quality requires a QA solution that is capable of scoring 100 percent of customer interactions, which is what Klaus’s AI is capable of. In doing this, it “pinpoints conversations with positive or negative sentiment, identifies outliers, churn risk, escalations, and necessary follow-ups. According to Zendesk, most QA software does handle only one to two percent of all customer interactions. With workforce enablement management capabilities, Klaus enables the identification of knowledge gaps and coaching opportunities with the goal of improving agent performance and productivity. The result is higher customer satisfaction. According to Martin Kōiva, CEO and founder of Klaus, “Zendesk and Klaus share a vision of Ai-led, personalized CX with businesses fully anticipating and acting on their customers’ needs. QA software plays a critical role in this, ensuring consistency, assessing both human and digital agent performance and providing actionable insights for strategic planning. As part of Zendesk, we will continue to build and deliver thes crucial capabilities, but now at an even greater scale”. The bigger picture Customer service personnel works in a high-pressure environment with lots of turnover; even worse, as frontline workers, they are often the first ones to deal with customers who are already less than amused – equipped with tools that...
What’s gonna happen with generative AI and CX in 2024?

What’s gonna happen with generative AI and CX in 2024?

It is this time of the year. Everybody (and their dog), has some predictions for 2024. As you can guess, reading this, I am participating in this game. Last year, I published three humble wishes to better the industry – and I am sad to say, that my three wishes stay wishes also in 2024. I’d say that this is partly because 2023 became the year of generative AI. We all know why. Pretty much every vendor got caught flat-footed by the meteoric rise of OpenAI. Correspondingly, in the course of 2023, we have seen a huge number of pre-announcements of one generative AI scenario or another being integrated into their software and then offered by enterprise software vendors. Mostly, these announcements were about low-hanging fruit. Which does not mean that they are useless or not valuable, quite on the contrary. Solutions, once they are available, have the potential to increase employee productivity and the customer experience. But, they are announcements or early adoptions. So, based on this, what will we see in 2024? And let’s limit ourselves to the realms of CRM, CX and customer engagement. Success stories The more announcements of something being available soon turn into actual usage, we will be able to see actual success stories. Customers will more and more move from trial mode to actually addressing business challenges and measure the degree of success of an implementation by the change of KPIs that can be attributed to this implementation. In some instances, we can see this already starting. Diginomica’s Jon Reed recently interviewed a representative of Loop insurance who gave some highly interesting...
How SAP plans to win the CX game

How SAP plans to win the CX game

The News A lot is going on in the SAPverse during October and the early days of November 2023. First, SAP conducted its CXLive event with CX-related announcements, then the company reported good Q3/2023 figures, a new version of its CX software that includes new generative AI capabilities got released and lastly, it executed its SAP TechEd event with a good number of AI-, BTP-, and ERP related announcements. As this is quite a lot, let me focus on SAP CX in this post. I will cover the TechEd related parts in another post soon.  During his keynote to SAP CX Live CEO Christian Klein named CX “a very critical part of SAP’s portfolio. There is no intelligent enterprise without CX”. This got later reaffirmed by Chief Marketing Officer for SAP’s industry and CX solutions, Sven Denecken, who said “SAP is very serious about customer experience. If you heard otherwise, that’s not true”. Why is this important? You’ll find out in the next section. The bigger picture Like every other company, too, SAP has jumped on the generative AI train. For some time now, we are hearing of a lot of announcements and available functionality. This includes an own co-pilot as well as an own foundation model that focuses on business data and business decisions. Focusing on CX, SAP announced the availability of a number of AI driven assistants that cover the whole chain from marketing through service but also lead into fulfillment.   With all these, SAP is in tough competition. The company is not perceived as a CX leader, some people even doubt it being serious about CX at all and also question the company’s...
SugarCRM explains how the third wave of CRM adds value

SugarCRM explains how the third wave of CRM adds value

The news On October 4 and 5, 2023, SugarCRM held its Connected event followed by an analyst summit in London. The first day – Connected – was targeted mostly at customers while the second day focused on analysts.  The event started off with an intense speech by Katherine Grainger, DBE, a British rowing champion. Her core messages were about team bonding, the importance of communication, continuous improvement, and perseverance (well, at least that’s my take). This was followed by information about what is new in the software and, more importantly, a customer panel.  The main sponsor, Mobileforce, placed some words about the partnership. In addition, the analysts had 1:1s with customers, partners, and Sugar executives. The second day was filled with information targeted at analysts. CEO Craig Charlton and his executive team shared about financial status, strategy and more in-depth product news. Sugar being a privately held, VC backed company, the financials are of course under NDA, so it suffices to say that the company is not one of the biggest players but on a solid trajectory with high win and customer retention rates. According to Charlton, this can be attributed to the word “ease”, which later got confirmed via a marketing study related by CMO Clare Dorrian. Going forward, the continuation of this growth shall be supported by verticalization, a concentration on AI and a focus on the upper mid-market and lower enterprise market. This is based on the assessment that CRM can become an assistant to its users via the smart application of (generative) AI to “let the platform do the work” for the users. The industry strategy got explained by the...
How a company matured with a little help of Zoho

How a company matured with a little help of Zoho

Early May, technology vendor Zoho conducted its annual signature event Zoholics in Austin, TX. During this event, Marshall Lager and I had the opportunity to have a conversation with Jason Yoffy, director of engineering at RJG, a training and technology company that on one hand trains plastic injection molders how to make better parts with less waste and on the other hand also provides technology to support better production processes. RJG exists since 1985. It mainly serves companies in the automotive and medical industries that create safety critical and precision parts from plastic with close to 200 employees. We were interested in learning the good, the bad, and the ugly about their journey with Zoho; the needs they had, the experience on the way and, of course, where Yoffy sees scope for improvement. You can watch the complete interview on YouTube. RJG used an “antiquated, server-based”, i.e., an on-premise CRM system that the company wanted to replace as it left much to be desired. The chief concern was “enabling our sales team to sell better.” A lot of processes still were manual, which did not keep pace with the company’s fast growth. Reporting was difficult, of low accuracy, and slow. Lots of relevant data didn’t even make it into the system. Given that, there was lacking transparency in the state of the business; the teams did not get an understanding where everybody was, what the state of initiatives was. Creating a quote for a customer took far too long. While all this is not uncommon, “we wanted to grow up and find a solution that would help us move into the future.” Naturally, one...