Weekly News Roundup

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Customer Strategy
Customer Experience
A look at the technology developments, industry updates, and research findings announced this week in the customer experience space

Acquisitions

NCR Acquires Retalix
Technology firm NCR Corporation has acquired Retalix Ltd, a global provider of innovative retail software and services. NCR is paying a cash purchase price of $30 for each Retalix share, a total transaction that amounts around $650 million excluding fees. Bill Nuti, NCR's chairman and CEO, described the acquisition as "another demonstration of NCR's commitment to global innovation, leadership, and delivering a world-class portfolio of solutions that create significant value for shareholders and customers."

New Products and Technology Developments

Nuance's Virtual Assistant Speaks 38 Languages
Nina, Nuance's virtual assistant for mobile customer service, is now able to speak and understand 38 languages. The update also enhances mobile experience for tablets, Nuance announced. The added language capabilities expand Nuance's market opportunity across North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. "By 'going international' we are able to address the rapidly growing worldwide demand for Nina Mobile with those organizations that want to deliver the same rich, innovative customer self-service experience around the globe," says Robert Weideman, executive vice president and general manager for the Nuance Enterprise Division..

Backupify Solution Accelerates SaaS Adoption
Backup and recovery solution provider Backupify has launched a core set of application programming interfaces to allow Software as a Service (SaaS) independent software vendors (ISVs) to quickly integrate the company's data protection functionality into their applications. The new platform is intended for SaaS ISVs who need a faster, more efficient way to offer customers better data security solutions in the cloud. The Backupify API and initial ISV partner integrations will be available in the second quarter but initial beta phase SaaS ISV partners include Apptivo, Freshdesk, Mavenlink, Nimble, and Pipeline Deals.

Ontraport Launches Integrated Business and Marketing Automation Platform
Business and marketing automation solutions provider Ontraport has launched an integrated business and marketing automation platform specifically designed to address the challenges and needs of entrepreneurs and small businesses. The platform, that has the same name as the company, replaces the need to have individual software tools that frustrate small businesses and instead replace them with a complete, integrated platform that captures the organizations' most critical business, sales, and marketing automation needs. The platform's integrated tools include content management, sophisticated lead tracking, rules-based marketing automation, online payments, and workflow automation.

Outsell Announces Platform Enhancements for Automotive Marketers
Software-as-a-Service company Outsell has announced major upgrades to its digital engagement platform, including an array of new campaigns and a new content catalog interface with intelligent filters. Version 3.5 of the platform offers a host of content capabilities for automotive brands and dealers, and the new content catalog includes mobile and social campaigns that will allow automotive marketers to tie their brand presence together seamlessly across all screens and tiers. The enhancements include an additional layer of flexibility through filtering capabilities that allow users to choose a set of campaigns based on audience needs and profit centers.

IntelliResponse's Virtual Agent Receives Predictive Matching Capabilities
Virtual agent technology provider IntelliResponse announced the general availability of IntelliSuggest, a new feature of IntelliResponse Virtual Agent 6.2 that leverages next generation predictive matching technology to deliver the one right answer to self-service questions with a very high degree of accuracy. According to Paul Smith, IntelliResponse's vice president for product and services, a common challenge with existing search and web self-service/virtual agent technologies is that their understanding of customer intent is not always clear or explicit, limiting the accuracy of responses. These technologies rely on keyword matching which drives the user to a set of results, leading to incorrect or ambiguous answers. The new technology plans to overcome that limitation, and the predictive matching capabilities match questions posed to possible answers in a company's knowledgebase based on the intent of the query, and not the keywords.

eWayDirect Launches Multi-Channel B2C Customer Acquisition Solution

eWayDirect announced the launch of CertainSource 2.0, a first-of-its-kind multichannel B2C customer acquisition solution that maximizes customer conversion and online marketing ROI by delivering the most valuable prospects and customers to leading brands. CertainSource moves beyond paid search, third-party emails, and affiliate marketing to deliver profitable online, tablet, and mobile customers for retailers, publishers, ecommerce, and insurance companies. The solution use a triple-qualification approach that individually validates each prospect to assess conversion intent, working across multiple digital touchpoints to determine those customers and prospects that are most likely to convert and become future customers.

IMN Launches Loyalty Driver Premier Campaign Manager
IMN announced the launch of Loyalty Driver Premier, its fully managed, single platform service that provides automotive dealers with a targeted marketing campaign manager. The solution integrates DMS and behavioral data from IMN newsletters to deliver relevant and timely messages to customers and prospects, while also providing closed-loop reporting that shows how many sales or service opportunities each campaign influenced. The customizable service also simplifies campaign management for dealers by allowing them to create a variety of campaigns, each with varying levels of involvement, to address any scenario or need.

FiveStars Brings Gift Car Capabilities to Small Businesses

FiveStars, provider of a loyalty automation platform for small businesses, announced that it now offers all-in-one loyalty and gift cards platform for SMBs as part of its existing Loyalty Automation Platform, which helps small businesses easily acquire, grow, and retain their customers. These cards are able to store pre-loaded values, encouraging gift card recipients to become repeat customers, while simultaneously turning loyalty programs into customer acquisition engines.

Optimal Inc. Launches Expander Subscription Software

Optimal, Inc. introduced its new Optimal Expander, a self-service software suite for interest-based keyword research based on social media data. The technology was designed to help marketers not only make their social media ad buys more productive, but also figure out what content will resonate more with their customers across earned and owned social media. Optimal Expander's sharing features further increase opportunities for collaboration in marketing departments and ad agencies. By providing the essential consumer insights tools to drive social media strategy, businesses of all sizes can drive creative and content planning, making the ability to share and follow up on these discoveries with colleagues and partners an integral part of the process. Users can reach their target audience by utilizing Expander's interest and affinity matching engine to uncover keyword targets, while team-based audience and media collaboration allows teamwork to thrive among coworkers, clients and partners.

Partnerships

RightAnswers Launches RightAnswers SuiteApp for NetSuite's SuiteCloud Computing Platform

RightAnswers, Inc., a leading provider of cloud-based knowledge management and self-service solutions, announced the availability of the RightAnswers SuiteApp, built using NetSuite's SuiteCloud Computing Platform. RightAnswers Unified Knowledge Platform integration with NetSuite brings a powerful combination of CRM and knowledge management, offering a more complete solution that improves customer service by allowing customers to get correct answers to their questions more quickly and easily through web-based self-service. Additionally, users benefit from the technology's ability to improve effectiveness in the operation of customer support departments by helping to reduce call volumes and costs, decrease escalations, and increase productivity.

Research

Banking Survey Finds Mobile Apps Fail to Satisfy Customers

Varolii Corporation announced the results of its national survey about mobile banking applications. The study, which surveyed 627 adult consumers across the United States, reveals that, while Americans increasingly want and expect to be able to conduct more advanced functions, like depositing checks and receiving real-time notifications on account activity, from their mobile banking apps, many of these financial institutions fail to deliver. Nearly two out of three consumers believe it's their bank's responsibility to immediately alert them when they have a low balance or insufficient funds to pay a bill, with nearly 70 percent of respondents agreeing that a banking application could have helped them avoid embarrassing overdraft or bounced check issues in the past. Surprisingly, 68 percent have never been notified of a low balance or reminder to pay a bill. According to the research, consumers want to receive these notifications and reminders by email (47 percent), text message (22 percent), and through their smartphone application (13 percent).

Survey Reveals Nearly Half of Local Businesses Never Update Online Listings
SinglePlatform, a division of Constant Contact, Inc., released the findings of its recent Small Business Pulse Survey, which explores trends within the space. The study, which polled more than 350 small businesses, reveals that 49 percent of local businesses admitted to never updating their online listings across channels, including search engines, review sites, or mobile apps. Therefore, by neglecting to offer accurate listings with the information consumers want and need to make a purchase decision, small businesses are robbing themselves of a critical opportunity to bring new customers in the door.

However, local businesses are beginning to realize that they can no longer rely on printed directories, local advertising, or foot traffic to attract new customers, with 85 percent believing it is important to be seen on major search sites and apps such as Google, Yahoo, TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Yellow Pages.

Other findings include:

  • 76 percent of small businesses rank attracting new customers as the number one thing keeping them up at night.
  • 84 percent of small businesses believe that having a website that can easily be viewed on a mobile device is important to their business. However, only 25 percent of small businesses know how to create a mobile optimized web site
  • 85 percent of small businesses believe that in the future more people will be looking for their business on mobile sites
  • 70 percent of small businesses say they don't have the time to manage listings on all of the sites that consumers use.
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