Customer Service Supplier and Product Update 2Q2012

2Q2012 Was Another Mixed Quarter for Customer Service

September 6, 2012

2Q2012 was not a good quarter for customer service. Customer growth and financial performance were mixed again, this time for the fifth consecutive quarter. However, products and company activities were up. And, once again,, had a big quarter and earned a Customer Service Star for 2Q2012. Starting with this report, we also add a new vendor to our watch list: VirtuOz.


2Q2012 was mixed quarter for customer service.

Customer growth was mostly flat or down for the quarter. Only one of our suppliers——improved in both new and repeat customers. VirtuOz, our newest addition to the suppliers we cover, had very good customer growth.

Financial performance was mostly down as a result. However, IntelliResponse,, and VirtuOz had good financial quarters.

2Q2012 was a hot product quarter—two new products and many significant enhancements. Only two of our suppliers did not make any product announcements.

Company activity, especially M&A activity, was at a high level. Consona merged with CDC Software to become Aptean. KANA acquired Trinicom and Ciboodle. acquired Buddy Media. earned a Customer Service Star for 2Q2012, its fifth in the past six quarters.

Social-service continues as the hottest trend in customer service. Integration is on the rise, helping businesses create richer customer service experiences by linking applications from different suppliers faster, easier, and at a lower cost.


With this report, we continue our ninth year of quarterly updates on the suppliers and products in customer service. These updates focus on factors that are important in the evaluation, comparison, and selection of customer service products. More specifically, we examine these factors in our quarterly updates:

• Customer acquisition and overall customer growth

• Product activity

• Company activity including mergers and acquisitions, partnerships and alliances, and hiring

• Company financial performance

In our evaluations of quarterly performance, we want to see continuing customer growth, ongoing improvements in products, steady company viability, and good financial performance. We don’t want to change our evaluations based on a quarter’s news, but we do want to raise a red flag when that news deviates from a positive, multi-quarter trend, or to wave a green flag when that news is particularly good. When significant product and company events occur, we identify and highlight those that could have an impact on customer service products and technologies, suppliers, and the market landscape.

Changes to Customer Service Suppliers and Products

Here are the customer service suppliers and products that we currently cover:

  • Aptean Knova
  • Attensity Analyze, Attensity Respond
  • eGain Service, eGain Social Experience
  • IntelliResponse Answer Suite
  • KANA Service Experience Management, Experience Analytics
  • Moxie Software Spaces
  • Oracle RightNow CX
  • Service Cloud, Radian6
  • VirtuOz, VirtuOz Intelligent Virtual Agent

Our list has changed for 2Q2012.

Missing is Astute Solutions. We’d been covering the firm and its ePowerCenter, RealDialog, Social Relationship Management products since 2Q2008. As we gathered input for this report, Astute asked us not to be included for this quarter and for the remainder of the year. Astute is a privately held company that was sensitive about providing customer growth information to us. Note that 2Q2012 was setting up as a quiet quarter—no product announcements, no company announcements, and little hiring. In fact, Astute has been quiet for several quarters. The firm hasn’t made any product announcements since 1Q2011.

VirtuOz is new to the list. VirtuOz is virtual assisted-service supplier. We published an evaluation of VirtuOz Intelligent Virtual Agent on July 26, 2012. It’s a very strong offering. See the VirtuOz section of this report for more detail about the company and about the product.

On August 7, Consona Corporation merged with CDC Software to become Aptean. Both companies had offered broad lines of customer service, CRM, ERP, and supply chain applications. Both built their application portfolios through acquisition. The new Aptean is currently in the process of integrating its pieces and parts.

A Mixed 2Q2012

Overall, customer service performance was quiet for the quarter in customer growth, financial performance, product activity, and company activity. One exception...

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