NICE is one of those companies that does not shy away from acquisitions. Throughout the years it has spent millions to buyout major companies like Dictaphone, FAST Video Security, IEX, Actimize, and more recently, eglue. For a company that started as Neptune Intelligence Computer Engineering (NICE) and founded by seven Israeli ex-military colleagues, the firm has come a long way to become the top vendor in contact center applications, video surveillance, fraud prevention, quality management, speech analytics, and workforce optimization.
In my briefing with Matt Storm, Director of Americas Marketing, the subject of operational efficiency in the contact center was central to our conversation. Today’s contact center is a place where the latest technological bells and whistles are found, and all that technology has opened up windows of opportunity to improve efficiency and implement analytics. What NICE envisions, according to Storm, is for the system to intelligently handle what the company calls “customer dynamics,” described as:
Customer Dynamics describes the continuous exchange of information and commerce that occurs between customers and businesses. It deals with the intricate relationships of your company with your customers. Customer Dynamics is complex, complicated and chaotic. But it’s ripe with opportunities to forge strong customer bonds, maximize profitability and create lasting competitive differentiation.
For example: Acme Bank has a Website and an IVR to serve its customers. One day Joe decides to use the Website to update his mailing address, but bank policy dictates that he speak with a service representative in order to verify his identify. So he leaves the webpage and dials the IVR. When his call is answered by an agent, NICE will inform the agent that Joe is probably on the phone because he couldn’t change his address on the Website and was directed to call.
That would probably be a pleasant surprise to Joe, not having to offer an explanation about his reason for calling. The key points are “real-time” and “multi-channel.” In order to maximize the impact of this customer dynamic, NICE needs to analyze these interactions real fast, real-time, and across all interaction channels.
That’s why the eglue acquisition was closely watched. It will strengthen NICE’s portfolio with a real-time guidance and decisioning engine — something to set it apart from the competition.
We’re already seeing the impact of the “real-time” trend in Web technologies. The value of Twitter is in its goldmine of real-time information, something that Google has partnered to tap into with its search. And live video is becoming more popular than recorded video.
For now NICE leads the way in understanding how real-time analysis of customer interactions can bring valuable insights in contact center operations. I expect others to soon follow.