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Cisco Integrates Social Media With CRM

SocialMiner lets businesses find and respond to comments and complaints in social networks and blogs within its Customer Collaboration suite.

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Cisco is helping businesses dig into the wealth of feedback their customers disclose on social media sites about their products and services with Wednesday's release of SocialMiner, a software designed to let companies find and respond to consumers' updates, posts, and blogs.

The new solution enables companies to do more than monitor sites such as Facebook and Twitter, according to Cisco. Instead, businesses can use the latest addition to the Customer Collaboration suite to move beyond basic business intelligence to engage customers who want or need service, said Cisco.

"Companies are realizing that by ignoring the online chatter, they're opening up opportunities for their competitors and allowing dialogue about their brand to happen without them," said John Hernandez, VP and general manager of the Cisco Customer Collaboration business unit. "As an active user of social media, Cisco realizes the value of social media interactions to our business. Our employees were some of the earliest adopters of MySpace, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and other social sites. Our own consumer products group is already using Cisco SocialMiner to collaborate with their customers."

One-third of Americans have used Facebook or Twitter to rant or rave about a company, brand, or product, according to Nielsen. And 85% of respondents are willing to pay more than the standard price in order to ensure superior customer service, according to a Harris Interactive poll conducted for RightNow Technologies. Of those, 76% would pay 5% or more; 55% would ante up 10% or more; 27% would pay a 15% or greater premium; 18% would add 20% or more; and 10% would pay 25% or more, the October report said.

Cisco today also unveiled Cisco Finesse, a web 2.0 collaboration desktop for customer care representatives. The solution incorporates all the information they need in one place, simplifying and speeding the customer care process while improving accuracy, according to Cisco. The developer also took the wraps off a rich-media capture platform that supports the recording, playback, live streaming, and storage of media -- including audio and video -- with rich recording metadata. This allows businesses to search and store conversations for business intelligence, Cisco said.

"Cisco Finesse provides significant value to customers looking to modernize their agent desktop applications by incorporating web 2.0 technologies and enterprise mash-up capabilities to simplify agent interactions and backend integrations," said Andy Dignan, senior manager, unified communications at CDW. "With Cisco's new network-based recording platform, customers have access to rich media like never before. Leveraging the network for capturing not only voice calls but also video traffic opens up a world of applications, such as real-time analytics, that have not been viable before."

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