May 07, 2001, 10:19 AM —
In particular, companies would love to offer the level of individualized service currently available to customers through simple Web applications such as e-mail marketing and customized content.
But so far the needed personalization technology -- mostly built
around collaborative filtering and rules-based matching capabilities --
has been limited to the Web and perfected largely by the dot-coms.
Now CRM (customer relationship management) companies are looking to
spread that capability across the enterprise.
"Vendors have started pushing toward the idea of taking
personalization out of the online channel and doing things like hooking
it up to the call center to determine the right content to deliver to
customers," says Kathleen Khirallah, an analyst at Needham, Mass.-based
Khirallah, who watches CRM trends in the financial services market,
has seen a decided push in this direction, she says.
In part, the movement is the result of the dot-com downturn. But it
is also due to enterprises' growing demand for broader personalization
capabilities. "Online personalization technology has been used to drive
e-mail advertisement and content. In banking and in most enterprises,
that is just not enough channel coverage," she says.
To that end, companies such as Xchange, an analytics-focused CRM
vendor in Boston, have scrambled to create more comprehensive
solutions. To do this, the company has built personalization
functionality into its Real Time application.
Now customer service representatives at some of Xchange's larger
corporate customer sites can use customer interaction history across
all channels and data from CRM systems, transaction systems, and third
parties to recommend marketing offers and service treatment, says Jim
Goldfinger, senior vice president and general manager of Xchange's
Customer Value Management business unit.
Goldfinger cites an example of an Xchange banking client: A
financial institution was looking to identify high-value customers
immediately and target them for heightened services, he says.
"Once the customer is identified on the teller's system, Real Time
generates a real-time message to everyone in that branch office to make
sure someone goes and says 'hello' to this customer," Goldfinger
Even Internet companies are now looking to push the boundaries of
what personalization can do. Bill Bernahl, CTO of iExplore, a Web site
specializing in "extreme" adventure travel, says his Chicago-based
company built an entire business around personalization before
realizing the functionality could work internally as well.
"Now we are really focused on efficiencies in our call centers.