One of the biggest problems for companies when dealing with customers is understanding how to track customer conversations across multiple interactions and channels. Altocloud just launched a predictive analytics service for companies that claims to do just that for as little as $99 per month.
Altocloud, which also announced $2 million in seed funding, was started by Barry O’Sullivan, who previously headed up Cisco’s collaboration and communications group. He wanted to develop a system to track customer interactions across different Web site sessions, and connect them with the right agents at the right time, he said.
“Our software gathers all the context from the Web site. We monitor their journey through the web site, and then when they want to talk to a real person, we bring all that context to them,” he said.
An agent in a call with a user would know where I had been and what they had seen on the site, helping them to narrow down a potential sale.
Other products also track customer interaction over multiple sessions (indeed, entire advertising networks exist for this purpose) but Altocloud’s unique selling point is its machine learning capability, O’Sullivan claimed.
The service makes predictions based on customer demographics and Web site interactions, determining when to offer a particular customer a ‘call to action’, such as a telephone call with an agent, a with chat session, or simply a special offer on the website. It even pairs them up with the contact centre agent who it thinks would be most appropriate.
“We also integrate with whatever they have already,” he added. The firm’s Cisco integration enables a company using Cisco telephony products to deliver the information that it has gathered directly to their screens as a call happens.
Altocloud is noticing different behaviours between these two types of company, O’Sullivan said.
“The born digital companies are saying ‘The CMO is running things. We don’t want to deal with the call centre. We just want to integrate the technology into our web site in the same way that we would integrate Google analytics’,” he said.
The other kinds of companies are more driven by the CIO, who needs to manage integration with existing contact centre infrastructures.
Tracking customers already registered on a website is an easier task than tracking tire-kickers who may not have been registered on the site, but who may visit several times. The product can still help track these user via IP address, and potentially what company they are working for, if they are surfing from the office. It can also look at referral sites and perhaps even Twitter handles, based on where the user arrived at a Web site from.
“The goal is to pull you down the funnel, and we call that ‘shaping the journey’,” said O’Sullivan. Even this information can be matched against the surfing profiles of other users on a customer’s site, to determine when might be a good time to offer them a call with an agent.
Available as an online service, the product costs $99 per month for 10,000 ‘journeys’ (read: unique hits) per month. It rises to $299 per month for double that, and $499 per month for 50,000 journeys. These also include different allowances for voice and video interactions, and SMS messages.
Research has suggested that contact centre sessions in Canada will become increasingly diverse and interactive, making this kind of solution potentially significant for CIOs.