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KANA-Ciboodle Combination to Give Companies More Comprehensive Customer Engagement Solutions

KANA Software, Inc., Tuesday acquired the contact center provider Ciboodle from the Glasgow, UK-based Sword Group in order to provide the firms’ customers with a comprehensive customer engagement solutions. The combined company will continue under the KANA name.

The combination provides companies with one resource to combine call center and Web-based customer management, said Vikas Nehru, KANA vice president of product marketing. Though companies have been attempting to provide comprehensive customer service across channels for some time now, the reality is that most still handle call center and Web-based contacts with customers separately, meaning that a call center agent won’t know about Web communications and someone handling Web communications usually isn’t aware of customer going through the call center, even though both are critical in managing the customer experience. KANA also helps companies with their customer experience management with customers through social media.

Nehru said that KANA has built a strong reputation providing email response management, knowledge management, web self-service, and live chat, often referred to as web customer service (WCS), whereas Ciboodle has built a strong reputation providing business process management, dynamic case management and agent desktop solutions, sometimes referred to as contact center customer service. The end result is comprehensive customer engagement, which is critical to company performance.

"The customer's experience within the service channels can enhance or ruin the perceptions of an organization's reputation and corporate brand,” said research firm Gartner in a report on customer service automation initiatives is September of 2011. “Many of the technologies designed to help employees do their jobs also influence the conditions that produce the customer experience. The same applies to the technologies that are designed to allow customers to help themselves. Customers benefit directly from a specific technology and/or from activities enabled by a technology that creates positive experiences, leading to greater customer loyalty, brand recognition and increased sales.”

The combination is expected to position KANA to take advantage of an extensive $5 billion-plus market opportunity for customer experience management, which analyst firm IDC forecasts will grow between 5 and 12 percent through 2015.

According to KANA, the Ciboodle acquisition adds new complementary product offerings and industry expertise, extending and enhancing the overall KANA value proposition -- particularly around agent desktop, business process and case management in the contact center. KANA had earlier acquired  Trinicom, a provider of cloud-based web customer service and customer interaction management, in a deal announced announced April. That acquisition expanded the company's market reach to mid-sized businesses globally via software-as-a-service (SaaS).

KANA is creating a new global customer service leader that is increasingly the choice for mid-sized and large enterprises alike, serving both the public and private sectors, with solutions available on-premise or in the cloud,” said KANA President and CEO Mark Duffell. “With the acquisition of Ciboodle, we are bringing together two significant enterprise players in the customer experience management arena with strengths in depth for both the contact center and for web customer service.

The combination of KANA and Ciboodle effectively accelerates each company's product roadmap by an estimated 12-18 months -- allowing the new company to focus on our customers' more strategic initiatives in emerging disruptive areas such as cloud computing, mobility, and big data analytics that will clearly differentiate KANA in its established markets and help penetrate new ones as well,” Duffell added.

Since 1986, Ciboodle has pioneered software- and services-related solutions that help customer-centric organizations deliver consistent service, so their customers can get answers to their questions quickly, simply and in ways that create a positive and beneficial relationship,” said Sword Ciboodle CEO Mike Hughes, when the deal was announced. “Going forward, the combination of these two companies who share a very similar culture, will fuel increased dominance in a wide array of markets including retail, communications, financial services, utilities and government, with the ability to grow in emerging and adjunct markets as well.”

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