October 27th, 2009 by Christopher Musico

The sun hasn’t even risen yet here in Colorado Springs, Colo., but RightNow Technologies is already pulling back the shades on what many have been wondering about since its acquisition of HiveLive back in early September.

The cloud computing vendor officially unveiled its November ’09 release this morning, including its debut of RightNow CX, a multichannel customer experience solution spanning across Web, social, and contact center touch points.

The full company-issued release for RightNow CX can be found here, but the highlighted capabilities are:

  • RightNow Web Experience, which contains Customer Portal, Chat and Co-Browse, Email Management, and Web Experience Designer;
  • RightNow Social Experience, integrating HiveLive’s technology with products such as Cloud Monitor, Support Community, Innovation Community, and Social Experience Designer;
  • RightNow Contact Center Experience, including Phone and Multi-Channel Interaction Management, Case Management, Voice Automation, and Contact Center Experience Designer; and
  • RightNow Engage, which brings in its marketing and sales functionality.

All of this is underpinned by the RightNow CX Platform, including the vendor’s self-learning knowledge foundation. RightNow Connect, according to information provided by the company, provides the integration framework to connect RightNow CX with its systems.

The November ’09 release also delves into social media, including:

  • RightNow Support Community, allowing for peer-to-peer support via discussion forums, question-and-answer pairing, and resource libraries;
  • RightNow Innovation Community, including functionality to capture and reveal customer insights in real-time;
  • RightNow Social Designer, helping companies looking to create customized communities to satisfy their business needs; and
  • RightNow Cloud Monitor, offering updated functionality including the ability to store search terms and sources in addition to configuring capabilities to set up global Twitter accounts for agent responses.

RightNow Chief Executive Officer Greg Gianforte will officially kick off RightNow Summit ’09 with his keynote address at 10:30 a.m. EDT. For those not able to attend, you can listen live (registration required).

For others, check back to our Web site for a news story, and keep tabs on my live-tweeting as Gianforte is on stage. Gianforte will have to answer many questions, as this is a definitive change in strategy — from internal-facing customer management solutions to externally focused ones — than displayed in years past.

I’m particularly interested to find out if this in essence tweaks the four pillars — e-service leadership, multichannel contact center, consumer-centric CRM, and RightNow’s Technology Ecosystem — upon which the company historically based its product iterations. What are some questions you have?

An excellent article, and on point, as always.

Is the integration of social media with customer care the future of our industry? Good question. If an agent bursts “out of the blue” into a customer chat offering a tweet that solves a customer issue, will it be viewed as helpful — or intrusive? The jury is out. Like all innovations, this one may well experience its growing pains before gaining due recognition in the marketplace.

One thing for certain: “Millennials,” the 80-million strong body of younger customers who’ve grown up on the Web and today embrace social media, have definite priorities when it comes to their service experience. It must be fast, reliable, accurate, and seamless across all channels: IVR, live agent, Web chat, e-mail, mobile and SMS. It must “know” each customer, leveraging business intelligence to integrate customer, product, billing and other data in real time, in each session. It must be proactive, providing instant, automated notification of account changes, flight delays and other events that impact their lives daily. Most Millennials, according to recent research by Convergys, actually prefer such automated self-service precisely because its flexibility and speed match their lifestyles.

All businesses now operate in the “experience” economy. Ensuring an outstanding experience through intelligent solutions is smart business.

Andrea Ayers
President – Customer Management

Comment by Andrea Ayers — — October 29, 2009 @ 4:56 pm

Hi Andrea,

Thank you for your thoughts and feedback. I think you make a great point that social media will have more growing pains with regard to customer service, and that it will have to be seamless with the other channels utilized today for service.

The Millennials will definitely have a large impact on how companies craft their customer experience strategies moving forward. Self-service can be a great tool if done effectively, which is something that hasn’t always happened based on the conversations I’ve had with other thought leaders in this space and also my own experience.

It will be interesting to see how this all continues to shake out, but I believe one thing is certain: this “experience” economy is here to stay until further notice. What’s peculiar to me anyway is why this wasn’t always the case.

Thanks again,

Comment by Christopher Musico — — October 30, 2009 @ 11:29 am

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