Okay, I’m really sorry to have to write about more social media stuff, but please bear with me. After a briefing on Monday with Genesys about their latest social media strategy (announced recently during G-Force APAC), I believe this is newsworthy. So hear me out…
The latest Genesys 8 platform is said to be more open and modular. That’s a good product engineering decision, but probably came about because of market driven forces. The communications world is embracing Web technologies which are inherently more open, as well as standards such as SIP and VXML. If Genesys wants to stay ahead as the #1 CTI product vendor then it had to adapt to these trends and satisfy customer demands.
But there’s something more happening to Genesys these days. It appears to be evolving from a contact center product to a quasi enterprise communications product. The company used to talk your ear off about contact center optimization and metrics, about how GVP and T-Servers and InfoMart will make your contact center grow wings. It’ll design a system to give your contact center more horsepower — no, unicorn power — humming along inside the data center with double rainbow as the backdrop. Oh, the magic!
While the contact center basks in divine intervention, the rest of the enterprise eyes it with envy and, sometimes, with a terrible curse.
Well, the whole enterprise can now enjoy Genesys. In part thanks to the attention given to social media which is typically handled by the marketing department (or the hip intern working minimum wage). Social media demands constant monitoring of the various interaction channels, and because the results can be so dynamic and unpredictable, it’s something that various departments within the enterprise needs to be engaged in. A customer may tweet about a complaint — route that to customer service; somebody leaves a note on Facebook about a job opening — route that to human resources; or the person chooses both mediums to interact — what to do then?
In essence, the enterprise is the contact center. If the enterprise is serious about customer interaction engagement, then it needs to let everyone know that no matter which department you work in, from this point on you are also a contact center representative.
I think Genesys got lucky with the timing. The social media tidal wave arrived just as Genesys reworked its platform into something more developer-friendly and modular. Suddenly partners are signing on left and right to create integrated applications on the G8 platform because clients are demanding a holistic customer engagement experience across all interaction channels. Old time partners like Virtual Hold Technology continue to focus on more traditional contact center applications on G8. Then there are newer partners like Lithium Technologies and InQuira which focus on online communities and knowledge management with hooks into G8.
As much as this strategy is getting tons of attention (hundreds of tweets since announcement), there are only field trials for now. Five customers have signed up to brave the new world of Genesys and social media. I don’t know who they are, but I’m very interested to see them in action. (Unfortunately, the demo video and screenshots provided by Genesys don’t offer much more technical details on how this solution comes together.)
The goal is to break down walls and dissolve silos. My next question is, Will this eat into Social CRM adoption or usage? After all, I believe CRM vendors were much quicker to tie into social media than contact center vendors.
The oldie (but goodie?) press release:
Melbourne, Australia, August 17, 2010 — Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) today unveiled the Genesys Social Media Strategy that urges companies to aggressively bring social media practices to the next level by using business tools to tie social media community interactions with customer service and marketing organizations. The unique insights as well as social media tools were shared at the Genesys G-Force Melbourne User Conference and are available online.
Consumers expect companies to engage with them via social media and while almost every company has made an attempt to establish such a presence it is typically done manually in standalone deployments and in response to consumer queries and complaints. The lack of an enterprise-wide social media strategy and engaging with consumers only, in a department-by-department basis, contribute to a poor consumer experience and ultimately undermine brand advocacy and loyalty.
“For the past few years social media has impacted the way companies communicate with consumers and their employees, resulting mainly in the leveraging of Facebook and/or Twitter as another channel to distribute press releases and other marketing material,” commented Brian Riggs, Research Director, Enterprise Software and Communications at Current Analysis. “As enterprises approach to social media matures, it will be critical for them to invest in tools that allow them to integrate social media efforts across marketing, communications and the contact center and directly impact revenues and operational expenses.”
The Alcatel-Lucent Genesys Strategy encourages enterprises to construct an integrated social media approach that builds on four actions:
- Listen: Capture and leverage community / tribal knowledge to gain valuable insight into consumer sentiments about products, services and emotional engagement with the brand
- Prioritize: Define and prioritize what actions to take toward the community, individual posts or within the enterprise
- Engage: Proceed with relevant actions to respond, inform and notify individuals as appropriate while focusing resources on consumers of particular value to the company
- Integrate: Integrate conversations across marketing and customer service organizations and other touch points while leveraging expertise across the broader enterprise and existing IT investments
G-Force Melbourne shows social media tools
Genesys has started to integrate tools into its offerings to help enterprises begin to create a foundation for a strong cross-functional approach to social media. A few of these will be shown at G-Force Melbourne including:
- New upgrades that integrate with Facebook and Twitter to respond, inform and notify consumers while leveraging Genesys’ market-leading customer interaction management (CIM) platform to direct and route messages to the most appropriate resource.
- A community building platform from Lithium Technologies’ that allows enterprises to monitor and address consumer issues outside of the traditional contact center. When combined with the Genesys Contact Center/Customer Service Software, agents are given visibility into valuable community content and consumers can easily navigate from a self-help area to a live agent.
- Ability to integrate social monitoring through an open interface, facilitating the ability to listen to and capture content from consumers on social sites. Genesys software then manages, prioritizes, escalates, assigns service level agreements (SLAs) and routes the interactions to the best possible resource.
According to a 2010 study by the Society of New Communications Research, “72 percent of respondents said they used social media to research a company’s reputation for customer care before making a purchase, and 74 percent choose to do business with companies based on the customer care experiences shared by others online.” With such large percentages of consumers using social media to acquire knowledge about a company to form a purchase decision, it is critical that companies integrate social media into their marketing and customer service business.
“As more consumers use social media there is an increasing desire to engage with businesses,” said Eric Tamblyn, vice president, Genesys Product Marketing at Alcatel-Lucent. “Marketing and customer service departments are both challenged with supporting these new touch points and retaining consumer information collected if the conversation extends to other departments. By leveraging the Genesys solution’s ability to optimize interactions across voice and non-voice touch points, businesses can proactively market and provide consistent customer service via Web applications, phone or mobile devices, delivering an exceptional experience for their consumers.”
About Society for New Communications Research
The Society for New Communications Research (www.sncr.org) is a global nonprofit 501(c)(3) research and education foundation and think tank dedicated to the advanced study of the latest developments in new media and communications, and their effect on traditional media and business models, communications, culture and society.
About Genesys software solutions
Genesys software solutions from Alcatel-Lucent manage customer interactions over phone, Web and mobile devices. The Genesys software suite handles customer conversations across multiple channels and resources – self-service, assisted-service and proactive outreach – fulfilling customer requests and optimizing customer care goals while efficiently using resources. Genesys software directs more than 100 million customer interactions every day for 4,000 companies and government agencies in 80 countries. These companies and agencies leverage their entire organization, from the contact center to the back office, while dynamically engaging their customers. For more information, go to www.genesyslab.com.
Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) is the trusted transformation partner of service providers, enterprises, strategic industries such as defense, energy, healthcare, transportation, and governments worldwide, providing solutions to deliver voice, data and video communication services to end-users. A leader in fixed, mobile and converged broadband networking, IP technologies, applications and services, Alcatel-Lucent leverages the unrivalled technical and scientific expertise of Bell Labs, one of the largest innovation powerhouses in the communications industry. With operations in more than 130 countries and the most experienced global services organization in the industry, Alcatel-Lucent is a local partner with a global reach. Alcatel-Lucent achieved revenues of Euro 15.2 billion in 2009 and is incorporated in France, with executive offices located in Paris. For more information, visit Alcatel-Lucent on the Internet: http://www.alcatel-lucent.com, read the latest posts on the Alcatel-Lucent’s blog http://www.alcatel-lucent.com/blog and follow us on Twitter:http://twitter.com/Alcatel_Lucent.
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