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Article : How To Weigh Up The Value Of Your Customer Relationships

Today, most organizations have a philosophy about how they interact with their customers and more, their customers' customers. We have finally reached a point where CRM is not only considered in isolation, but is practised holistically, so that all of the divisions of an organisation, from production, to marketing, are able to add value to an approach designed to endear the customer to the company. When you consider the importance of understanding and meeting the needs of the customer, and doing it well, it is easy to understand why CRM has become an essential component of the corporate strategies identified by most senior executives.

Interestingly, out of 550 CEOs surveyed in a Conference Board study, 45 per cent identified customer loyalty as their key strategic issue, putting it first among all of the issues that were raised. However, another study by analyst firm Meta Group of the 50 largest end-users in the CRM market, demonstrated that 90 per cent of these CRM users were unable to measure a tangible return on their CRM measurement. This has become a key issue in appropriately deploying CRM initiatives and deciding a suitable level of investment in them.

Sarah Faux

Some of the key questions that executives need answers to include:

  • What is the value of the customer base that certain CRM initiatives are protecting and/or enhancing?

  • What is the optimal amount of capital that would most efficiently protect or maximise the customer value base?

  • Out of the many CRM initiatives under consideration, which provide the greatest return in protecting or enhancing customer value in the shortest amount of time?

  • How would the prioritisation of these CRM initiatives change over time, given a change in the key drivers of customer value?

  • What single metric can all parts of an organisation utilise to measure their progress in enhancing customer value?

In their quest for good measurement metrics, companies have traditionally used financial metrics such as Internal Rate of Return (IRR), Net Present Value (NPV), Return on Investment (ROI). All of these techniques have obvious merits and could be easily used to relate to a CFO's requirements for hard figures. Unfortunately, they also require the use of an equation, which looks at the company in its entirety. This assumes that the company enters a fixed end state and has little reference to the impact of the company's action on its customer segments. Valuing CRM initiatives requires an iterative methodology, as the end-state is not always known in beginning of an assessment of those initiatives. Most of the traditional metrics do not accommodate the unknown factors associated with customer relationships and thereby may provide misleading information regarding the financial returns from a CRM initiative.

From my experience, a better method of evaluating CRM initiatives would be to measure their impact from an operational, customer and shareholder value perspective. The airline industry is currently a very good example of a sector that has a very comprehensive approach in using CRM to segment and manage its customer database. Customers can be moved up and down segments, and earn varying amounts of upgrade points depending on their frequency of flight, choice of airlines etc. This market is also a good example of where a customer can then be locked into a relationship with a specific company, as once you had earned a significant amount of upgrade points with one airline it is unlikely that you would switch to economy class in another. If the metric employed utilised the latest advances in corporate financial theory, then it would also need to be coupled to a practical set of tools and techniques to implement the CRM evaluation programme. The goal of any such evaluation programme should be to provide a company's management team with a common language for evaluating their CRM activities in both the planning and actual implementation of those initiatives

In order to meet this need in organisations, executives are in need of a methodology that evaluates, prioritises, selects and tracks specific CRM initiatives and the incremental value contribution to the various customer segments of the enterprise. For instance, a company with a discrete budget for CRM initiatives or with a tight timeframe in which to achieve certain results (e.g., increased customer profitability or decreased churn rate), could utilise a specific type of programme to identify those projects with the greatest return in the shortest amount of time. Also, such a programme should be flexible enough that it can double as a scenario-planning tool to rearrange the initiatives as economic and competitive market factors change.

Critically, I believe that it is also vital that any measurement tools employed by organisations should be able to assess the "time value" of a CRM initiative. The results of this full evaluation thinking can then be used in calculations to help executives make a decision on whether to execute their CRM initiatives. Essentially, this should enable a company to estimate the tradeoffs associated with executing an initiative immediately, as opposed to delaying implementation for a period of time. This ability to "weigh-up" the alternatives could identify the projected return from CRM initiative by translating customer-related operating and performance metrics into a quantifiable financial impact that could then be used to measure the incremental customer value contribution from those initiatives. A good example of this is when organisations trial a variety of different communications channels, such as email and SMS. Because of the nature of these mediums, it would be relatively easy for a company to be able to track the returns that they receive from this, and to reliably estimate the effect that these communications have on the customer relationship - meaning that the organisation can choose the most cost-effective method.

An underlying assumption relates to a company's ability to identify and isolate its key CRM drivers, enabling executives to identify those key drivers and factors that provide the greatest incremental value. This measurement should be based on financial levers derived from the operating variables of specific CRM initiatives, based upon those that a company would use to enhance customer loyalty. The inter-relationships among the various factors used to identify the progress of projects should be matched with the traditional measures of financial valuation, such as IRR, NPV and ROI. The principal drivers of the metric should include the revenue from customers, the probability of retaining those customers as well as the costs of acquiring and retaining those customers.

The objective of an analysis of an organisation's CRM initiatives is to measure the profitability of the company's customer segments and to calculate the extent to which identified CRM initiatives add incremental value to the targeted customer segments. As an example, it is likely that a company looking to evaluate its CRM programme would go through some - if not all - of the following stages:

  • Initially an enterprise would need to organise its customer information into appropriate segments. Once those customer segments are identified, baseline profitability measures for the various segments would need to be established

  • Next the enterprise's strategy, strengths and weaknesses relative to best-in-class performers would need to be examined in order to determine the maximum potential return from investments in the customer segments and the minimum investment that would be required to protect the most important customer segments

  • The identified CRM initiatives would then be prioritised according to the customer-centred financial metric. In order to capture the volatility associated with deferring decisions on these CRM initiatives, a follow-on analysis of the initiatives should be conducted to determine the impact on the profitability of the customer segments as a result of deviations in costs and benefits due to timing

If you can convince senior management to conduct a full analysis of its CRM programmes, they are likely to experience many benefits, including: being able to establish the value of customer segments targeted by certain initiatives and compare the incremental results from the initiatives against the baseline value; and through the quantification of business drivers, the analysis could establish several alternatives for investment in initiatives with the goal of preserving and enhancing customer value. In addition, a flexible customer-centred metric could be utilised by the Marketing function as a scenario-planning tool to rearrange project priorities when factors affecting the individual projects change. The analysis could be utilised to measure the contribution from different customer segments and estimate the incremental impact of CRM projects on overall shareholder value. This ultimately will enable many companies to put a return on that which, up to now, many believed as being completely in-quantifiable. But, as markets continue to become more competitive and consumers become increasingly fickle in their choices, companies have little choice but to continue in their efforts to develop their relationships. This means that CRM is here to stay, so its time for businesses to focus on this, quantify their results and ensure they are getting the maximum return on their investments.

About Sarah Faux:
Sarah joined Datapoint in July 2002 as chief executive officer, after five years as Senior Vice President at eLoyalty Corporation. During her time with eLoyalty, she launched and managed eLoyalty Ventures, a venture capital fund backed by eLoyalty Corporation and three co-investors to identify and invest in the next generation of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) companies. Additionally, Faux has over 10 years experience in CRM and has spoken at many international events on developing customer loyalty solutions.

About DataPoint:
Datapoint specializes in extracting value from call centres by making them work commercially, operationally and technically. The company is known for its honest and straightforward approach towards protecting current and future investment in call centres. Datapoint has 20 years experience in call centres and during this time it pioneered a number of solutions: for example, telephone banking, (First Direct), an expert agent selection system, and the Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) enabled dialler (BT).

Today's Tip of the Day - Quality Provided By Agents

Read today's tip or listen to it on podcast.

Published: Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Printer Friendly Version Printer friendly version

2022 Buyers Guide Artificial Intelligence

Page: 12
Acqueon Technologies Inc.

Acqueon's AI-driven conversational engagement software enables sales, marketing and service organizations to engage in emotionally connected dialogs with customers via their channel of choice for significantly improved results. The Acqueon suite adds multichannel campaign management, contact center analytics, desktop, and CRM connectors for your contact center software of choice, including Amazon Connect, Cisco, Nice inContact, and Twilio. Acqueon conversational engagement software leverages the Acqueon IQ platform to aggregate data from the various applications, assemble rich customer contexts, and drive next-best-action using powerful statistical and predictive models.


Answering Machine Detection
Answering Machine Detection (AMD) enables you to determine the receiving side of an outgoing call and tailor your call flow accordingly. With AMD you can determine if a human, answering machine or fax machine has picked up an outbound voice API call.

3.) Agara

Agara is an autonomous virtual voice agent powered by Real-time Voice AI. It is designed to have intelligent conversations with your customers, vendors, and partners without any assistance from human agents. It can handle a wide variety of calls including inbound customer care calls, outbound lead generation calls, appointment scheduling calls, and overdue payment recovery calls.

Agara is available for several industries including banking, insurance, retail, e-commerce, airlines, and telecom. Powered by advanced Real-time Voice AI that understands speech in real-time, automatically determines the right process to follow and guides the caller along in the process with natural conversation.


Aktify is personalizing interactions between brands and consumers at scale with machine learning. It allows contact centers to offload their leads that are not responding to agents to Aktify where AI will be used to follow up through SMS until the customer is ready to talk to an agent. Aktify produces something out of nothing, as typically unresponsive leads are not focused on.

Balto Software Inc

Real-time call guidance and post call data analytics
Balto Software is a provider of real-time intelligent call support and coaching. Our software solution leverages artificial intelligence to listen to both sides of a call and deliver mission-critical information and feedback to sales representatives immediately. Our solution is fully customizable and our current customers include sales teams and customer service groups in sectors ranging from debt collections to healthcare and home improvement.

Call Adapt

Soundboard Software
Call Adapt is a cloud-based digital soundboard application designed for contact centers. It works with any type of call and integrates with your existing dialer system. Powered by smart audio technology, Call Adapt gives your agents the ability to converse with customers in real time using programmed keyboard shortcuts. The result is perfect pitch delivery and less time spent on repetitive tasks.


Cognigy.AI is a Conversational AI Automation platform that enables enterprises to easily create and operate AI-powered virtual agents to automatically handle calls and chats from customers and employees.

Consilium Software

Consilium UniChAI™
Contacting customer service can often be a challenging experience with waiting on hold forever being one of the top reasons for client dissatisfaction. Furthermore, repeating information that was already provided to a chat agent, and generally spending too much time getting answers to questions can all lead to a lengthy, and often frustrating, customer journey. With unlimited scalability, enterprise-level security, and best-in-class data privacy features, UniChAI™ is a conversational AI platform which is playing an important role in improving some of these aspects of customer experience (CX) through chatbots – which are intelligent and natural-language virtual assistants meant to augment a c...
(read more)


ContactEngine connects conversations across entire customer journeys with One Voice delivering exceptional CX and demonstrable business value for organizations around the world.

ContactEngine provides proactive customer service by helping your customers through the channels they’re most comfortable with. It aims to contact your customer before your customer contacts you.


Daisee builds technology that empowers people to solve problems by making interactions simple and smart so they can have a more significant impact, be more productive and be better at what they do. We believe incremental improvements carry huge potency and provide exponentially greater change for the better.

Genesys customers can now automate risk and quality management using Daisee’s speech and sentiment analytics and remediation workflow software. Daisee helps improve customer experience, ensure regulatory compliance, identify missed commercial opportunities & training requirements as well as provide valuable insights back to the business directly from the frontline – the true voice-of-...
(read more)

eGain Corporation

Automate the routine and boring and augment the interesting with eGain AI (Artificial Intelligence). eGain is a pioneer in AI for contact center customer service and customer engagement and has developed cutting-edge technology as also best practices and proven use-cases over the last two decades. eGain’s patented Case-Based Reasoning (CBR) technology, called Guided Help, is a simple but powerful AI technology used to find answers to customer issues, and for process guidance and decision making. Along with Knowledge and Analytics, Artificial Intelligence forms the core of the eGain Customer Engagement Hub platform and its omnichannel and digital-first capability.

eGain Corporation

eGain Knowledge+AI
eGains omnichannel customer engagement solutions power digital-first experiences for leading brands. Infused with AI, machine learning, knowledge and analytics, our award-winning platform helps clients automate and optimize customer journeys via virtual assistance, messaging, social, mobile, web, and contact centers.


Automated Language Testing
Emmersion offers automated assessments to quickly and accurately test speaking, writing, and grammar fluency in 9 languages and counting. We help contact centers improve CSAT scores by screening for top talent and retaining top performers.


Conversational AI
We help you automate your QA program using artificial intelligence. Why just listen to 6 calls when you can listen to 100% of your calls that too without adding any additional resources.

We empower QAs to get to the right calls, find coaching and training opportunities and improve overall Customer experience.


Scale up your business using Convy AI, the artificial intelligence that acts like a human helping enterprises to better interact with their clients and agents to be focused on the value added transactions.
Convy.AI is used to support, entertain and simplify the experience of million of customers every month.
Convy.AI understand natural language (but supports also button based UIs), simply integrate many front end (chat, email, whatsapp, IVR, Alexa, google home, ...) and it's zero code admin interface enables everybody to manage conversations.


ExecVision is a conversation intelligence platform built to drive human behavior change which positively impacts individual, team, and organization performance. The software ingests, transcribes, and analyzes conversations to provide actionable insights for coaching, upskilling, and more informed decision making. Sales, QA, customer success and support teams use ExecVision to create a consistent experience across the customer journey.


Most customer-facing interfaces make it the end user’s job to figure out how to navigate and find their way to where they need to be. This is true of websites and mobile apps as much as it of touch-tone IVRs. The interface is usually designed for the most generic of uses; and because making changes is expensive and time-consuming, these interfaces tend to be inflexible with regards to evolving times, use cases or user needs.

AI can help create user interfaces that are adaptable and personalized. Advances in Conversational AI make it possible to interact with the user in natural language. Many IVRs are being re-configured to work this way and businesses are also introducing text-based cha...
(read more)


Automate up to 70% of messaging conversations on your website, SMS, Facebook Messenger, Apple Business Chat, WhatsApp and more. LivePerson has a complete solution to create, manage, and optimize bots for businesses of all sizes.

Master of Code

Conversational AI Solution
Conversational AI Solution offers the next wave of customer and employee experiences through business preferable digital channels: website and mobile chat, mobile app, SMS, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Google RCS, Apple Business Chat, Amazon Alexa, Slack, Microsoft Teams. Our Conversational AI Solution enables brands to easily help customers to do self-service to increase their containment rates and save time and money.

How we create conversational experiences:

Virtual Assistants/Bots: Chat or Voice.
Customer self-service helps to save you money, time and boosts your containment rate.

Conversation Design.
A user-centric conversation design methodology that converts and retains yo...
(read more)

Mediatel Data Srl

Contact Center Solution AI-Driven
Mediatel Research and Development team developed Artificial Intelligence Engine, part of the Contact Center platform, suitable for vocal interactions using Natural Language Processing modules and digital interactions, used in chat sessions, for chat bots, email management for email dispatching or text messages.
Page: 12

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