Today, salesforce.com announced the intent to acquire Radian6, a leader in the social media monitoring space. You can find the details of the definitive agreement here. What I want to focus on is what this acquisition means to customer service.
First, the social listening vendor landscape is crowded and ripe for consolidation. Salesforce.com has just picked off the best vendor in this category of vendors, according to a recent Forrester Wave™ report. Radian6 helps salesforce.com extend its core customer service capabilities to the social channels like Facebook and Twitter, which are becoming increasingly important for companies looking to offer a differentiated customer service experience. This is not the first acquisition of this type; however, it is the most significant one, based on salesforce.com's market share and customer base. Expect to see similar acquisitions by CRM and customer service vendors in the future.
I’ve had an abundance of inquiries recently on co-browsing — allowing a contact center representative to interact with a customer using the customer's web browser — so I wanted to share some thoughts on the topic here.
First, the cautionary tale: I believe it that co-browsing can potentially be a solution looking for a problem. For example, if you are looking for a solution to customers having difficulty understanding how to complete a form, it may be more cost-effective to do a page redesign or offer click-to-chat.
But that said, co-browsing — when implemented at the right time and place — can be an effective approach to escalated and personal support. Co-browsing can be used for many objectives including support, sales, product selection, and account management. The value proposition is that co-browsing can improve call handle times, support sales, enhance customer satisfaction, and — in some instances — be a teaching tool that deflects future telephone calls as customers learn how to perform tasks in a co-browsing setting.
Co-browsing can be an effective tool when it is offered at the right time to the right customer. Here are a few key considerations for companies thinking about offering co-browsing:
There is consumer interest in the technology. According to the North American Technographics Customer Experience Online Survey, Q4 2009, 15% of US online consumers say they would be interested in using co-browsing as a customer service channel in the future. And before you ask — as I know some of you will! — there was no variation in the data by gender or age. In other words, interest was the same for men and women, and equal between Gen Y consumers and their grandparents.