Selfservice Company is a repeat contestant in CRM Idol from last year and aim to help you address your information overload problem in the digital era. They have been helping enterprises address the relevancy & sufficiency gap in the information present in Knowledge Bases for the past seven years and have a nice roster of big clients across a host of industries like Toys-R-Us, Unicef, Philips, Staples and ING. They have a razor sharp focus on what they want to enable: provide the (single) right answer, the first time; when a customer goes to your website and asks a question.
This has translated into an impressive number of questions that have been answered by their products over the years across the various implementations; a projected 100m questions in 2012! That speaks volumes about the strength of their virtual assistant obviously however we are glad to note that they don’t limit themselves to this core feature. They are evolving into a customer interaction hub and have grand plans of market expansion into newer geographies too with multilingual products.
Their improvements to the product line with semantic search and sentiment analysis is promising as is their integration with various CRM systems and various social sites/services. These integrations allow them to leverage the power of communities for self help as well as build business rules based escalation over live chat. It’s really handy for the agents since the session history of where the site visitor had been and did what before she was escalated to the agent is made available along with any CRM records proactively. However since they face a heavy competition in Live chat product category it has been made available for free and thus maintaining focus on their product strength.
Their introduction of a Semantic Search App for Salesforce ServiceCloud is interesting in that it brings back answers even if the keywords are not what were originally present in the query.
This is a great feature; however we are doubtful if they will be the only providers. While an early start might provide them an advantage, sustaining that advantage on the face of competition from the likes of Salesforce, SAP, Oracle, etc. in the semantic search area would require constant improvements to the semantic algorithms as well as easier configuration by business users (it’s already very easy requiring only 30 minutes of training; and the bubbles based drag and drop UI to improve accuracy of recognition provides for a great UX).
Their multilingual capabilities were not built using translations since they were found to be unsuccessful; for proper semantic analysis they had to build their product from the ground up for all the languages. They already support most major European languages like English, German – including dialects, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese; but what is more impressive is that they are working on oriental languages too like Simplified Chinese and Arabic.
With such strong KM tools their business has indeed grown and now they have more business from the UK and Germany too. Next year they are expanding into the USA and with the Asian languages we hope they will look at Asia Pacific too pretty soon making them a truly global vendor.
All in all, while we are happy with the current capabilities and performance as well as the roadmap, an eye on the rear view mirror is a must to stay relevant while the bigger players try to play catch up. The Selfservice Company is definitely a competitor to have on your radar.
Reviewed by the CRM Idol 2012 Primary Judges
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