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Buyer's Handbook:

Customer experience management enhances branding and success

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Discover the leading platform vendors enabling CX management

Take a look at these in-depth roundups that detail the leading products that help companies manage their customer experience as well as their notable features and buying options.

Customer experience management (CEM or CXM) vendors offer an array of options, from customer relationship management (CRM) platforms with CX management add-ons to full-fledged CXM suites. Most of the major players offer integrations with other systems, reporting and analytics capabilities, voice-of-the-customer analysis and workflow optimization. Some provide inventory management and marketing optimization as well. Oracle, Salesforce and SAP typically are the first three names that come to mind when choosing a CEM vendor, but there are plenty of other options, including platforms more ideal for small to midsize companies. Most of these products are available in a SaaS model, although Oracle does offer an on-premises version of its CEM product.

Read on to discover more of the market for CX management platforms.

Appcues

Appcues customer experience, ideal for companies with web-based products, adds an "experience layer," enabling companies to publish onboarding documents, net promoter score (NPS) surveys and feature announcements on top of their products. Users can target segments using Appcues script and customize Appcues to emulate the look and feel of their brand. Some of Appcues' customers include Eventbrite, online graphic design software Canva and crowdfunding platform Indiegogo.

Companies may want to examine Appcues NPS Survey Software, which lets users install custom surveys with JavaScript. Appcues will then survey customers at random, and users can analyze data for their NPS. Appcues integrates with Arm Treasure Data, Google Analytics (to measure engagement in parallel with web sessions), Heap, Intercom, Mixpanel and Vero.

According to product review site G2 Crowd, customers indicated that Appcues makes it easy to set up launch flows, but flow analytics in the dashboard are not as easy to view.

Appcues offers a free trial of its product, and customers can purchase directly from the company. It is deployed as a SaaS product.

Bpm'online

Bpm'online bills its Bpm'online service product as a CRM system with a modern customer engagement center. It can be deployed in the cloud, although it is also available on premises. The product includes marketing, sales, and customer service functions, and the average implementation hovers around 65 users.

According to Gartner, Bpm'online's strengths lie in its user interface, business process modeling capabilities and relatively lower price than other enterprise CRM systems. Customers noted that it is easy to configure and modify. However, Gartner cautioned that there may be data migration challenges with Bpm'online, as well as real-time integration issues with complex environments.

Bpm'online offers a free trial option for cloud and on-premises deployments and starts at $25 per user per month for both options.

Clarabridge

Clarabridge's CX suite is the platform that houses CX Analytics and CX Social. CX Analytics allows users to listen to customer service conversations, including voice conversations that Clarabridge transcribes. CX Social is the social media listening and engagement product that analyzes the sentiment, tone and voice of the customer.

Forrester identified Clarabridge as a leader in data integrations and text analytics. Clarabridge excels in helping companies make the most of the data they're already collecting. It also has strong omnichannel capabilities and can aggregate a variety of data sources, including those from other customer engagement management vendors. Forrester scored Clarabridge very high for text analytics, feedback and data collection capabilities, and scalability. However, it did not score as well as its peers for usability and accessibility.

Contact Clarabridge directly for pricing and licensing information.

Intercom

Intercom offers features that segment customers, send them personalized messages and measure the effectiveness of these actions. The product uses data from Segment, Salesforce and other sources to conduct customer segmentation activities. Intercom Messages provides targeting and personalized messages and includes A/B testing. Intercom Inbox provides workflows for sales and support teams, utilizing automation and bots to provide answers to frequently asked questions and routing support or sales requests to the right contact. Finally, Intercom Articles provides a knowledge base with analytics to determine what customers are viewing and when.

A customer data platform allows Intercom users to track and filter data, as well as view customer profiles. Users can access this platform via the web or mobile apps. Intercom's products integrate with Google Analytics, Hubspot, Marketo, Salesforce, Slack and other tools via APIs.

Intercom targets SMBs and large enterprises with its products. It offers a free 14-day trial, and early stage companies can start on Intercom for $49 per month. The product is browser-based.

Medallia

Medallia Experience Cloud is a cloud-based platform that encompasses both customer and employee engagement. Medallia collects feedback from surveys, email, websites and SMS, as well as social media and review websites. It includes text analytics and predictive modeling to identify trends. Medallia offers industry-specific systems and has an integration layer that uses APIs to connect to CRM systems like Salesforce and collaboration tools like Slack.

Large enterprises are primarily the ones who use this software. According to Forrester, Medallia scores highly for data collection and feedback capabilities and analytics, as well as security, professional services offerings and usability. Users on the G2 Crowd review site noted that access to Medallia within IBM products can be a challenge, Forrester said. Contact Medallia directly for pricing and licensing information.

NICE Satmetrix

NICE Satmetrix NPX combines the ability to collect customer data, run automated analytics (including text analytics) and automate action management. NPX evolved from NICE's contact center product and Satmetrix's product that co-developed the NPS metric. Users can set up alerts, utilize machine learning and AI algorithms and even integrate with Salesforce.

According to Forrester, functionality, ease of use and cost are its main advantages. NICE Satmetrix NPX scored about average for text analytics, security and professional services offerings, but low for scalability. The product is deployed in a SaaS model. Contact NICE directly for pricing and licensing information.

Oracle

Oracle has two primary customer experience management systems: Oracle CX Solutions, an on-premises set of tools consisting of sales, marketing, commerce and service modules; and Oracle CX Platform, a cloud platform that encompasses all of these, but broken down into Marketing Cloud, Commerce Cloud, Engagement Cloud, Service Cloud, Social Cloud and Data Cloud. Oracle CX Cloud appears to be the offering that Oracle is promoting the most.

Of the modules available in Oracle CX Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Service Cloud, Loyalty Cloud, Social Cloud and Data Cloud will be most relevant to CXM buyers. Oracle also offers vertical-focused products like Retail Engagement Cloud Services. These products provide customer segmentation, campaign management and loyalty management.

Gartner noted that Oracle Service Cloud's complementary applications are strong when it comes to analytics and policy automation, two things that may matter to CEM buyers. Oracle CX Cloud products come as a subscription service running on Oracle's own IaaS and require little intervention from in-house IT staff. However, the pricing model can be complex, and reference customers reported to Gartner that professional services and support can be difficult to obtain. Additionally, its Case Management feature, which includes service requests and activity management, may not be as extensive as similar features available from other vendors.

Customers can purchase Oracle products directly from the company. Oracle Cloud Platform is offered as a free trial for up to 3,500 hours, and buyers can test-drive any of the PaaS or IaaS tools available.

Pegasystems

Pegasystems Customer Decision Hub is the company's CX management platform. It touts its AI capabilities that are built into its existing CRM offering as well as its ability to integrate with other data sources and systems. The Hub helps predict when customers will need help and includes a library of machine learning algorithms to automate workflows. According to Ovum, the Hub acts as an orchestration brain to monitor customer behavior patterns by gleaning information from machine learning algorithms. Ovum has flagged Pegasystems as leading in AI and process automation, and as scoring high in both security and compliance.

Gartner noted its CRM product, Pega Customer Service, as receiving the highest customer ratings for BPM, workflow, usability, adoption and managing complex cases. It can scale to over 5,000 users and includes marketing, B2B sales automation and field service support. The company offers industry-specific best practices and prebuilt templates. However, Pega has a limited choice of third-party software partners, and the product suite overall does not provide sufficient support for web communities and web-based customer service, according to Gartner.

Ovum noted that Pegasystems has historically focused on the top 2,000 global enterprise market but has migrated its applications to the cloud. Pegasystems has a limited presence in midmarket and retail.

Pega Platform offers a free 30-day trial. Contact Pegasystems directly for pricing and licensing information. 

Editor's note: With extensive research into the customer experience management market, TechTarget editors have focused this series of articles on vendors with considerable market presence and that offer CEM software that is enterprise-facing rather than customer-facing. Our research included Gartner, Forrester and TechTarget surveys.

Salesforce

While Salesforce is best known for CRM products, it offers Community Cloud and Lightning Platform for CXM purposes. Community Cloud provides a foundation for users to build portals, sites and mobile apps, while Lightning Platform provides the means to create sites and import data with a drag-and-drop builder. The combination provides ways to integrate data, from Salesforce and other sources, and use the data to personalize customer experiences. It also includes dashboards to analyze user adoption and engagement. Gartner noted one prominent strength of Salesforce is its ability to implement practical applications like image analysis and recommendations of its Einstein-branded AI. However, users are still determining the quality of its web content management capabilities.

Salesforce Customer Success Platform is the company's entire portfolio of products that connects all of Salesforce's cloud tools to one platform. Many companies who use Salesforce for CRM are also likely familiar with the Customer Success Platform. Ovum noted that the platform as a whole provides a strong environment for CX management, but there are still gaps in supporting customer journeys that touch multiple business units and multiple clouds. Its data management platform provides good analysis of interaction traffic, and Einstein's recommendations for targeting are excellent for optimizing communications.

Salesforce products are available in a SaaS model. Its partners, including Accenture and PwC, offer industry-specific products on Lightning, such as retail communications.

SAP

SAP's main product for customer experience is SAP C/4HANA, which includes SAP Customer Data Cloud, SAP Marketing Cloud, SAP Commerce Cloud, SAP Service Cloud and SAP Sales Cloud. SAP C/4HANA is SAP's relaunch of its CXM suite and replaces SAP Hybris. SAP C/4HANA integrates with S/4HANA to glean insights from the ERP system. Its products are typically common in large companies. It also provides customer data management, machine learning, personalization capabilities (SAP Commerce Cloud) and analytics capabilities.

According to Gartner, SAP's strengths lie in strong data privacy management capabilities, including consent collection, permission management, and preference and opt-in management. Machine learning capabilities integrate with the SAP Leonardo products and can provide information such as the best time to send emails or lead scoring. However, Gartner noted that SAP products can be difficult to integrate with products from other vendors, particularly CRM systems from other vendors.

SAP recently completed its acquisition of Qualtrics, known for Qualtrics Experience Management Platform. Forrester noted that Qualtrics had made significant investments in analytics capabilities. It offers the ability to collect customer feedback across different channels and locations, analyze data to identify at-risk customers, and offered a comprehensive "XM" suite that included features to incorporate employee engagement into the customer experience process. Analysts believe this acquisition may help SAP fill in some of its customer experience gaps in its C/4HANA platform. It is unclear what effect this acquisition will have on the Qualtrics products, however.

Prospective customers can purchase SAP products directly through the company or from a reseller.

Totango

For customer engagement products, Totango offers DNA-CX, along with Spark and Zoe. DNA-CX is the cloud-based platform that is required to run Spark and Zoe. Spark is the analytics product that provides information on churn rates, customer lifetime value and other metrics. Zoe provides access to customer data to employees and allows them to collaborate on projects. The product suite is designed to monitor customer behavior in applications. Customers indicated that data visualization is simple, and that it's possible to calculate customer health scores from multiple layers (trends, usage and performance). However, user reviews on the G2 Crowd review site indicated task workflows can be very basic, and logging customer interactions manually can be tedious.

Totango integrates with Slack, Salesforce, Netsuite, AWS and SAP. Customers can purchase it directly from the company or through its implementation partners, which include Deloitte and PwC. The products are ideal for companies with multiple products, hierarchies or channel partners. Contact Totango directly for pricing and licensing information.

Zendesk

Zendesk offers several products for engaging with customers, the most relevant being Zendesk Explore, a product that provides analytics to measure and improve customer experiences. Zendesk Explore is available in a SaaS model and is typically found in organizations with midsize customer support departments.

According to Gartner, Zendesk offers a good overall value, is easy to set up and use and has good API integrations with other products. Users noted that the tech support team is responsive as well. However, Zendesk does not have industry-specific versions of its products, and Gartner noted that it has received low scores for social media engagement, content management and email workflow management. While Zendesk does offer a library of integrations for programs like Hubspot and Harvest, customers may require the assistance of an implementation partner for more complex integrations. Contact Zendesk directly for pricing and licensing information.

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