Kana Bridges CRM-Social Listening Gap

Kana Software has introduced a new service experience platform that combines CRM functionality with BPM, knowledge management, analytics and social listening — the latter a result of Kana’s acquisition last April of Overtone.


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The application is in fact the culmination of a few years’ of effort by Kana to integrate these various — but closely related — feature sets, Ajay Khanna, senior director of product marketing for Kana, told CRM Buyer.

“A few years ago, we started working to integrate knowledge management, business process management and analytics to create one platform that would not only monitor what customers were saying but help users respond to these customers in a timely, and when appropriate, automated fashion,” Khanna said. “We think we accomplished that with the release of Kana Social Listening and Engagement solution.”

Applying Insights

Perhaps the most significant achievement of the application is that it has bridged the chasm — it’s too big to be a gap, said Khanna, — between CRM and social listening.

“It is good that so many companies are engaging with social analytics and social listening to their customers,” he said. “But too many are stuck on the next piece, which is what to do with that insight they have gained.”

In a nutshell, the Kana app scours the customer’s social media landscape for relevant conversations, rates them based on their sentiments, and then — according to rules set up by the company — routes the comment to the service module for action.

“If it is a compliment, the company might want to send a thank you note. If it is a negative experience, the company will want to proactively reach out to the customer to see how to address the problem — or at the very least acknowledge the customer had a bad experience,” Khanna suggested.

Been There, Done That

Many CRM applications claim to be able to do that or something similar, but where Kana excels is in the automation of these tasks and the infusion of business processes and knowledge management, Mitchell Kramer, an analyst and senior consultant with the Patricia Seybold Group, told CRM Buyer.

“With its automatic characterization and sentiment detection, it knows how to handle social posts that require customer service,” he said.

Applications can easily get bogged down in the social noise that is out there, Kramer said — overwhelming social noise. “Think of the tweets you read that are meaningless — just people talking about getting a cup of coffee or whatever. Cutting through that noise to find the one tweet of someone who is complaining about a company can be very difficult.”

Various Features

The application comes with many features that can be grouped in broad categories. It begins with listen-and-engage functionality, which can follow customers in any number of channels. The analytics engine then picks out the important customer conversation in real time.

These are then filtered by text analytics algorithms to identify sentiment, topics and issues. They are automatically routed to appropriate service representatives. A customer service case is automatically created, which includes social and customer feedback data.

If appropriate, customers are sent links or relevant data via their preferred channel.

Making It Actionable

Spelled out, it seems like a simple process — but in reality, taking action with a customer’s social comment can be difficult, Khanna said.

“The knowledge management system has to be a sophisticated one so the system has the proper foundation from which to tweet or email a response,” he pointed out.

There will always be circumstances that might depart from what the knowledge management system supports.

“Even then, however, the agent is still empowered by a very powerful database,” said Khanna. “That is always the central aspect.”

Erika Morphy has been writing about technology, finance and business issues for more than 20 years. She lives in Silver Spring, Md.

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