In 2011, organizations will ramp up their multichannel customer service initiatives. This will be harder to do than in the past, as customers now expect more: They are increasingly online, want self-service options, and demand responses in real time, often through their mobile devices. Social media, such as Twitter and Facebook, has also grown to be an important new channel for interacting with customers and engaging in innovative ways.

 Navigating the complex customer service solution ecosystem is difficult, as there are many good solutions available. One category of solutions to consider is the customer service capabilities provided by leading CRM suite software solutions providers. These vendors provide core customer service transactional and data management capabilities. There are also many specialty solution providers that provide best-of-breed capabilities that are good options to fill specific gaps in your customer service technology infrastructure.

To help you sort though the choices, I recently investigated 24 specialty customer service solution providers that offer solutions for cross-channel interaction management, knowledge management for customer service, business process management for customer service, customer communities, and customer feedback management, both traditional and via social listening platforms. In summary, I found that:

  • eGain, Genesys, Moxie, Parature, and RightNow offer mature and comprehensive solutions for multichannel management. LivePerson and FrontRange also provide multichannel communications capabilities, if your needs match their offering.
  • Inquira and Servigistics provide strong knowledge capabilities. Other vendors provide comprehensive knowledge bases as part of a greater multichannel solution.
  • Pegasystems and Sword Ciboodle lead in business process management (BPM) solutions for customer service. Amdocs, Consona, KANA Software, and Numara Software provide niche process-centric customer service solutions.
  • Jive Software and Lithium lead the way in providing a robust and feature-rich offering for community management tools. Mzinga should also be considered if your business case aligns with their solution.
  • There are many companies that offer traditional enterprise feedback management solutions. Some to consider include Allegiance, Confirmit, Medallia, and Vovici.
  • The social listening platform space is equally crowded. Attensity and Visible Technologies are two companies to consider that offer listening platforms for customer service.

Use my new report as a guide to finding solutions to strengthen your customer service capabilities.