2Q2010 was a very good quarter in customer service. Customer growth, both in new business and repeat business was mixed, up for some suppliers, down for a few others, steady for the rest. Financial performance was improved, driven by the customer growth and by larger deal sizes and professional services. Product and company activity were both quite heavy, with many significant new products, many new partnerships and alliances, and three acquisitions.
Company activity—the partnerships, alliances, and acquisition—was the most interesting aspect of the quarter. They expand market reach and strengthen product offerings. Here are the highlights:
- Astute Solutions announced a strategic alliance with Gamma
Engineers, a privately-held, Whitby, ON-based supplier of
social media products. Then, on August 3, Astute Solutions
acquired Gamma Engineers.
- Astute Solutions announced a technology partnership with 24-7
INtouch, a privately-held, Toronto, ON-based contact
- ATG announced an alliance with SPEED FC, a Dallas, TX-based
provider of fulfillment and call center services, to
provide online sellers with a direct-to-customer
fulfillment and customer service solution.
- Attensity Group acquired Biz360 Inc., a privately held, Redwood City, CA-based provider of social media monitoring and market intelligence.
- Consona CRM announced that Bharti Airtel, a telecommunications services provider for organizations in Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan, will partner with Consona to launch a new version of Consona CRM’s NetXpert desktop portal to all Bharti Airtel broadband subscribers.
Consona acquired of Compiere, a privately-held, Redwood Shores, CA-based provider of cloud-based, open-source ERP and CRM software that has focused in the distribution segment.
InQuira and Genesys jointly announced an OEM agreement. Under the terms of the agreement Genesys will offer InQuira’s knowledge platform as an integrated application within the Genesys eServices suite.
InQuira announced an agreement with SAP for integrating InQuira’s knowledge management technologies and applications within SAP CRM.
IntelliResponse announced a partnership with Lithium Technologies to integrate IntelliResponse Answer Suite with Lithium’s Social CRM and Customer Community platform.
IntelliResponse signed a partnership with NOVO 1, a Fort Worth, TX-based contact center outsourcer. NOVO 1 will integrate IntelliResponse Answer Suite into its outsourcing offering.
RightNow announced a partnership with the Teleperformance USA business unit of Teleperformance Group, a provider of outsourced CRM and contact center services based in Paris, France. Within the partnership, Teleperformance will offer RightNow CX within its Contact Center on Demand (CCoD) hosted contact center offering.
Salesforce.com acquired Jigsaw Data Corporation, a privately-held, San Mateo, CA-based provider of cloud-based, crowd-sourced data services. These services create and manage business contact data using a Wikipedia-style crowd-sourcing model.
The three 2Q2010 acquisitions broaden and deepen product lines and expand markets. Technology from Gamma Engineers brings the first support for social media to Astute Solutions ePowerCenter and RealDialog offerings. Compiere’s CRM software gives Consona CRM a foothold in the distribution industry and can be the seeds to a more open, more easily deployable CRM offering than the firm’s current offering, the former Onyx. Jigsaw’s services for business contact data deepen Salesforce Sales Cloud. Business contacts are great leads.
InQuira’s agreements with Genesys and SAP continue to expand the market for InQuira’s technology. InQuira already has a similar agreement with Oracle. The partners rebrand and offer InQuira’s products as their own.
The partnerships with contact center services providers/outsourcers—Astute Solutions with 24-7 INtouch, ATG with SPEED FC, Consona CRM with Bharti Airtel, IntelliResponse with NOVO 1, and RightNow with Teleperformance—can deliver the broadest benefits to customer service software suppliers, to contact center services provides/outsourcers, and to their customers, the organizations that deploy the services and the software.
They’re good for contact center services providers/outsourcers because customer service software offerings enhance their services. They help agents/CSRs deliver better customer service experiences by making it easy for them to find the answers to customers’ questions and the solutions to customers’ problems.
These partnerships are good for customers. They get a more complete contact center solution, an outsourced solution that bundles agents, telephony, case management software, and knowledge management software. These are the critical and necessary resources for delivering excellent customer service.
These partnerships are good for customer service software suppliers because the contact center services providers/outsourcers essentially resell their software. More agents/CSRs will use their software to help answer customers’ questions and solve customers’ problems. They also provide additional validation of the customer service software space. Customer service software has become an essential component of the contact center. All of the suppliers that we cover now have these kinds of partnerships. The partnerships have helped make 2Q2010 a very good quarter for customer service and will help ensure more very good quarter in the future.
Customer Service Company and Product Update
A Very Good 2Q2010 for Customer Service
By Mitchell I. Kramer, Sr. VP and Sr. Consultant, Patricia Seybold Group, September 16, 2010