Data Enablers: Calabrio’s Customer Engagement Revolution

In order to meet the ever-changing needs of their customers, online retailers have to have the ability to create a great customer experience. As consumers continue to interact with brands in more ways than ever before, there’s an opportunity to create deep, lasting engagement within those relationships.

But it takes the right approach.

Whether consumers want to interact with a business through the website, a call to customer service, or via chat or a mobile app, they expect consistent, personalized service across all channels. Creating links between these channels using analytics technology is what Brad Snedeker, director of innovation at Calabrio, said is the key to understanding customer buying preferences and behaviors because it provides a single view of all customer interactions, enabling retailers to better understand what’s happening in their business.

“Retailers are tapping analytics to create more personalized and engaging customer experiences, and while customers won’t notice the changes in backend technologies, they will notice that their voices are being heard, which will cultivate deeper customer loyalty,” Snedeker told PYMNTS.

“Calabrio empowers everyone, from the contact center agent to the chief executive officer, with the tools they need to analyze every customer interaction.”

In this week’s installment of Data Enablers, Snedeker shares why having a single view of their customers can enable companies to provide the best possible experience and also gain the insights needed to shape and perfect the overall customer experience.

Here is an excerpt of the conversation.

PYMNTS: What is Calabrio? Can you describe the business?

BS: Calabrio is a customer experience management company that is revolutionizing the way companies interact with their customers. We are changing the way enterprises engage their customers by providing a customer experience platform that truly captures the voice of the customer. With Calabrio, companies gain a single view of all customer interactions — from the contact center to the web and social channels. Our solutions are intuitive, which empowers management to quickly align activities and resources with the demands of today’s multichannel customer.

The Calabrio analytics suite — including speech, text and desktop analytics — turns the contact center into a learning center by analyzing 100 percent of customer interactions, unlocking the true voice of the customer and helping companies address issues that impact customer experience. With these analytics tools, the contact center now has a seat at the table — turning unstructured customer conversations into rich data that drives better decision making throughout the organization.

PYMNTS: What was the grand idea that sparked the creation of the company?

BS: Calabrio was spun off from Spanlink Communications Inc., the Golden Valley–based designer and builder of customized Cisco contact center solutions, in 2007. Spanlink separated the software and services assets of the company so that Calabrio could focus on further developing its customer interaction and workforce optimization (WFO) software. With Calabrio as an independent company, we could bring in an experienced team of software developers and focus on bringing an innovative solution to market at a time when the industry was just being defined.

Every day contact center agents interact with customers, and those customers are telling brands what they want (or don’t want) and need. Their voices went unheard for too long, but Calabrio was founded so brands could easily listen and glean insights from those conversations and turn them into strategies that make an impact across the organization. Since its beginning, Calabrio has designed solutions to get to the heart of what matters most: the voice of the customer. By developing and deploying solutions that allow brands to turn insights into action, Calabrio provides businesses the tools they need to understand their customers and take action to provide excellent service and cultivate loyal customers.

PYMNTS: What are some data or proof points on how the company has helped retailers?

BS: We have helped a contact lens retailer reduce shipment time and save up to $1.2 billion per year in compliance fines by providing the analytics needed to pinpoint prescription verification interactions.

We also helped an online retailer of more than 10,000 employees increase their QA sampling from 1 percent of customer interactions to 100 percent of customer interactions, which allowed them to identify a need for targeted agent training on how to handle difficult calls.

PYMNTS: Looking back since founding, what has been the proudest moment for the organization?

BS: Since Calabrio was founded, we’ve had a lot of great wins — and they’ve been for a variety of reasons. Being named a leader in workforce optimization by both Gartner and Forrester in the last year has validated that we’re truly doing something unique and special in the market and that we’re changing how contact centers are viewed within the organization. We’re not only transforming the work experience for contact center agents around the world, we’re transforming the customer experience by getting brands closer to their customers than ever before.

PYMNTS: What’s been the biggest hurdle? How did the company overcome it?

BS: The biggest hurdle we’ve had is simplifying our message in an industry where there is a lot of noise. Between speech analytics, Big Data, customer experience and digital transformation, there are numerous buzzwords that all paint these big, abstract pictures about what brands should be doing. At the center of everything, we help brands use these tools to monitor, measure and adjust business strategies to help them achieve growth and customer service goals. It’s what we work toward and it’s why we believe that what we are doing matters.

PYMNTS: What do you attribute to your success over the years?

BS: In 2009 Tom Goodmanson became our CEO and transformed our product strategy to focus on meaningfully solving complex customer challenges with simple solutions. His vision to redefine the standard for software ease of use has, without a doubt, been instrumental to Calabrio’s upward trajectory over the last 10 years.

PYMNTS: What is next? What does the future look like?

BS: For the contact center, the immediate future is a transition to the cloud. This is a big transformation as brands are looking to modernize their technology infrastructure in order to keep up with both changing workforce and customer demands as well as more easily leverage rich voice-of-the-customer data across the organization. The cloud allows unprecedented flexibility and scalability, which are not typically words associated with the contact center.

There’s also a huge opportunity for brands to listen to and learn from their customers and that opportunity will only continue to grow. We’re on the cusp of some really great things, especially with “smart” technology, machine learning and the Internet of Things, all of which will add complexity to how brands interact with customers. Where in the past phone, or voice, was the dominant channel for customer communication, today there are as many as nine frequently used channels that customers use to communicate with your brand, and you can expect even more options to pop up in the future.

Finally, the rise of artificial intelligence and machine learning are set to bring the next level of analysis and insight to customer data. Companies will begin to see patterns in customer experience data that will enable them to more accurately forecast customer behavior.


New PYMNTS Study: Subscription Commerce Conversion Index – July 2020 

Staying home 24/7 has consumers turning to subscription services for both entertainment and their day-to-day needs. While that’s a great opportunity for providers, it also presents a challenge — 27.4 million consumers are looking to cancel their subscriptions because of friction and cost concerns. In the latest Subscription Commerce Conversion Index, PYMNTS reveals the five key features that can help companies keep subscribers loyal despite today’s challenging economic times.

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