Forrester Research, Inc. (Nasdaq: FORR), a leading provider of research and analysis on the Internet and emerging technologies, announced today that customer service offerings from Siebel, Nortel, and Quintus currently hold top spots in its new Customer Service Application TechRankings, consisting of seven participating vendors. Cross-channel capabilities and customer self-service features distinguish first-place Siebel’s 2000 6.0, followed by Nortel’s Clarify eFrontOffice 9.0 and Quintus’ eContact Suite 5.5.1, both of which are tied for second place.
“Everybody knows what good service is — and it starts with fast and accurate responses to questions,” said Eric Schmitt, senior analyst and principal researcher for Forrester’s Customer Service Application TechRankings. “And that means firms need customer service applications that cover every channel — phone, fax, email, andWeb — and let customers serve themselves online. The vendors we ranked are all over the map with their ability to provide these capabilities.”
First-place Siebel’s 2000, with a score of 3.3 out of 5.0, received high marks for selling products for automating sales, marketing, and Web-based commerce and for its integration abilities, especially with third-party applications like ERP. Although Siebel is the largest pure-play software applications vendor in the customer service market, its product falls short in aspects of its infrastructure. For example, it fails to support database connection pooling or EJBs.
Nortel’s Clarify eFrontOffice 9.0 and Quintus’ eContact 5.5.1 both received total scores of 2.5. About 900 companies use Nortel’s product, which excels at case management and skills- and time-based routing, but its email response and knowledge base capabilities are still immature; however, the Clarify product has diverse end-to-end technologies, and the vendor has an established network of services and distribution partners.
Quintus, a Siebel reseller, has also acquired complementary technologies, such as email response and Web-based customer service products, but has yet to deeply integrate them. eContact’s strength lies in its combination of real-time queuing and routing with a library of connectors for computer telephony integration.
“The demands for quality service are constantly increasing as customers sort out good service from bad and make purchase decisions based on it,” said David Truog, research director at Forrester. “Even the best customer service applications vendors today fall down in basic needs like automated email response or integration with standard Java platforms. Forrester will continue to investigate the important vendors in this market to assess their ability to help firms deliver the best customer service possible.”
As of December 28, 2000, the following vendors were ranked by Forrester in its Customer Service Application TechRankings research: Avaya (formerly part of Lucent), Kana, Nortel, Quintus, Remedy, Servicesoft, and Siebel.
Forrester assesses each customer service application’s features and capabilities and each vendor’s strategy and market support. Forrester works with its partner, Doculabs (www.doculabs.com), to conduct laboratory-based product testing and assessment for each vendor on more than 100 attributes and then presents the analysis via an interactive research database. TechRankings’ research methodology combines rigorous laboratory-based product testing results and market analysis with vendor and user interviews. Forrester continuously updates its research and re-evaluates products to help firms understand rapidly changing technology markets, accelerate and improve product selection, and effectively gauge implementation costs and effort.
Since its launch in October 2000, Forrester has announced leaders in four eBusiness TechRankings categories: Customer Service Applications (December), Application Servers (December), Content Management (November), and Commerce Platforms (October). Future TechRankings categories will be announced, while current ones will be updated throughout 2001.
Forrester’s eBusiness TechRankings methodology is open, rigorous, and unbiased. TechRankings combines the results of hands-on lab tests, strategic market analysis, and in-depth research into the needs of technology users. Forrester does not charge vendors in any way to participate in TechRankings, and it tests and analyzes all products with Doculabs in a given category using identical, publicly available criteria.
Forrester extensively checks and verifies results and updates the research and rankings monthly. Any vendor wishing to be ranked may apply by contacting Forrester’s TechRankings research team at email@example.com. To learn more about TechRankings, visit (www.forrester.com/TR).