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Cisco will acquire the startup CloudCherry to integrate Cisco contact center offerings with technology that tracks customer intent and satisfaction. The purchase is expected to take place by the end of October.
CloudCherry's platform tracks interactions customers have with a business before and after they decide whether to buy a product, such as their activity on a company's website. It also sends quick surveys to gauge customer satisfaction at various points in the purchasing process.
Cisco wants to bring that data into the contact center to help route incoming inquiries to the appropriate customer service agent. CloudCherry also tries to predict customer behavior -- insight that could help businesses decide when to offer a discount or attempt an upsell.
"CloudCherry gives Cisco the ability to gain contact center intelligence in a way they could not before," said Ray Wang, principal analyst and founder of Constellation Research.
CloudCherry currently does not integrate with contact center platforms. The startup sells its product to sales and customer service teams as a stand-alone app, competing with vendors like SAP Qualtrics, NICE Satmetrix, Medallia, Foresee and Confirmit.
Cisco expects to create a link allowing data to flow between its contact center offerings and CloudCherry's platform within the next few months, said Vasili Triant, general manager of Cisco's contact center business. The exact features enabled by that integration will be announced at a later date, he said.
Cisco's customers will have to pay for CloudCherry's technology for the foreseeable future. The product is currently too valuable to provide for free within a contact center, Triant said.
"This is a good acquisition for Cisco because it expands the value of a contact center within enterprise organizations," said Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research. "By analyzing customer data, organizations can continuously improve the experience on both ends of interaction -- the customer and the agent."
Cisco is not the first contact center vendor to pursue what's known as customer experience management (CEM). Genesys acquired CEM vendor Altocloud in early 2018 to gain insight into customer behavior. And NICE, which owns contact center provider InContact, bought CEM vendor Satmetrix earlier this year.
CloudCherry was incorporated in India in 2014 as Cloudcherry Analytics Pvt. Ltd. The company is now headquartered in Salt Lake City, operating in the United States as Customer Analytics Technologies Inc. The majority of its employees remain in India, with additional offices in Singapore and Malaysia.
CloudCherry has received roughly $16 million in startup financing. Cisco was an early backer of the company through its investment arm, Cisco Investments, which doles out $200 million to $300 million annually to upstart companies. Two Cisco representatives joined CloudCherry's board as observers in 2018.
Cisco is also a CloudCherry customer, using the company's technology to manage a customer loyalty program. Other notable CloudCherry customers include the shoemaker Puma and Singapore-based DBS Bank.
Cisco has more than 30,000 contact center customers worldwide, competing with Avaya, Genesys and Mitel. The company's on-premises contact center products support more than 3 million contact center agents, with its cloud software hosting another 300,000 to 500,000 agents, according to Triant.
Terms of the deals were not disclosed.