With customer case management becoming more important than ever, competition in this category is increasingly tight. A recent Harvard Business Review study showed that when companies respond to consumers’ reviews online, even if they’re negative, their reputation improves. When HBR analyzed TripAdvisor’s reviews, for example, it found that one-third of hotels increased their ratings by at least half a star within six months of their first management response. But can companies scale these crucial responses and effectively manage customers’ other issues, regardless of their preferred channel? Today the answer is yes, thanks to artificial intelligence, automation, and other new-age technology from the players in this space.
With its powerful Service Cloud, Oracle continues to be a viable leader this year, though it earned a slightly lower score for depth of functionality than it did last year—3.9 versus 4.1. It’s all relative, however; while Oracle customers continue to praise its depth of functionality, its case management offering is simply not as robust as Microsoft’s, Kana’s, or Pegasystems’, according to Kate Leggett, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research. Customers are also holding Oracle to the integration promises it has made in recent years, and for the time being, “integrations are not sufficiently broad nor deep within Oracle’s CX portfolio,” Leggett adds.
Last year’s One to Watch, Pegasystems makes it onto our leaderboard this year, largely due to a solid 4.1 score in depth of functionality. “Pega has very strong business process and case management capabilities, which are used to orchestrate the end-to-end customer journey in real-time across communication channels, with predictive analytics for next-best-action capabilities,” according to Leggett. Overall, the company is “always a leader in process-oriented CRM,” adds John Ragsdale, vice president of technology and social research at the Technology Services Industry Association.
Salesforce.com continues to shine as a “customer company,” Leggett says, though it was unable to defend last year’s title as the category winner, as Salesforce’s lofty price tag kept it from the top spot. Nevertheless, the Salesforce Service Cloud is maturing, and with a score of 4.3 for company direction, it has a promising future. “The product is bolstered by strong system integrator relationships, a large developer network, and a very broad marketplace via its AppExchange, all of which increase its market penetration,” Leggett says.
Zendesk makes it onto the leaderboard once more this year, earning an impressive 4.2 in company direction and a 4.1 in customer satisfaction. “Zendesk offers an excellent interface that users love, and its customer success team is invested in achieving customer outcomes,” Ragsdale, says. Plus, its affordability—the company earned a 4.3 in cost—makes it appealing for companies of all sizes. “Zendesk’s straightforward case management is suitable for midmarket companies or enterprises with simple processes,” Leggett explains.