Calabrio CEO Looks to Bring Customer Service to a New Level

The omnichannel customer environment presents businesses with a host of new challenges. Tom Goodmanson and Calabrio are helping to address them all.

You don’t have to be a customer-service professional to have heard stories about customer-contact centers colossally failing to address consumer concerns. These failures have come from a wide range of industries, from media conglomerates to major transportation companies.

While much of the public accepts such stories as commonplace, Tom Goodmanson, president and CEO of Calabrio, is on a quest to change those perceptions. Calabrio provides call recording, quality assurance, workforce management, and analytics  services for customer contact centers and seeks to put human interaction back at the heart of customer service. To that end, Goodmanson insists that companies need to rethink how they view interactions with their customers.

“Most organizations focus on the idea of optimizing their contact centers,” he says. “What they need to do is structure them to function as opportunities for greater customer engagement.”

Goodmanson and Calabrio are making these efforts in an industry that has historically relied on hardware systems, manual processes, and quality teams that, in spite of their best efforts, can monitor only 1-2 percent of customer interactions. Not only does this result in inadequate sampling to determine customer satisfaction and levels of agent training, it typically focuses on phone contacts while neglecting other platforms, such as email and online chat, which have become integral parts of the omnichannel market environment.

“We consistently leverage and solicit feedback from our own customers so that we’re constantly improving. That’s not intuitive to every company, but it’s part of our DNA.”

The company is addressing those shortcomings with its Calabrio ONE customer-engagement suite. The browser-based software solution is designed to provide total transparency across all channels, including the ability to automatically analyze 100 percent of all communications. The resulting data is then harvested to create customized dashboards.

“Sixty-four percent of consumers under the age of thirty-four don’t want to have to deal with businesses over the phone, so it would be ludicrous to limit our technology to voice calls, or for businesses to ignore so many other channels,” Goodmanson says.

The company has made tremendous strides since launching Calabrio ONE in 2007. The software is installed on 1.5 million desktops, with 4,000 customers worldwide. The company also won three 2015 TMC Customer Magazine Awards, for Innovation, Technology, and Communications Solutions Product of the Year.

Much of this success has come from Calabrio’s commitment to listening very closely to its own customers. In an ongoing effort to ensure that its solution is easy, personalized, and “smart” (referring to its analytics capabilities), two-thirds of Calabrio’s product innovations come from user suggestions, and new features are often developed with ongoing input from customers.

Prioritizing users and their experiences applies to outside partnerships as well. Calabrio works with Cisco and Avaya to ensure seamless integration with their network platforms, as well as design firms Ackman & Dickinson, Saturn Technologies, and Frog Design to create consistent, intuitive interfaces and workflows.

Goodmanson believes Calabrio is able to pursue this unique approach because its solutions make up an integrated suite built on a single code base. By contrast, many competitors have developed their products through acquisition, resulting in technological and cultural incompatibilities that hurt functionality.

“Aside from optimization that’s possible because of our cohesive foundation, we consistently leverage and solicit feedback from our own customers so that we’re constantly improving. That’s not intuitive to every company, but it’s part of our DNA,” Goodmanson explains.

As a result, Calabrio ONE boasts implementation that is up to six times faster than competitive products, a unified interface, integration with other enterprise solutions (such as Salesforce.com), and automatic graphic trend indicators with drill-down capabilities for identifying more granular source data.

Goodmanson’s mission goes beyond developing a holistic view of customer interactions. Equally important is providing companies with agent insights, such as identifying top performers, finding who needs additional training, and placing employees in positions that are best suited to their personalities and skill levels.

The results achieved by this kind of granular analysis are illustrated by a number of current Calabrio users. One university now avoids more than $2.5 million in lost tuition annually through earlier identification and retention of at-risk students who would otherwise withdraw. A major jewelry company was able to continue a highly lucrative marketing effort after identifying a small, but very vocal, group of consumers who responded negatively to the campaign. And a national coffee company used Calabrio Analytics to track the effectiveness and proper use of coupons and discount offers.

“Comprehensive, intuitive analytics provide a level of customer understanding that simply wasn’t possible before,” Goodmanson says. “Now they are essential—along with putting the customer at the center of business strategy.”