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PeopleSoft Predicts The Future: Of Its CRM Software, Anyway

In an unsettling environment, PeopleSoft moves forward with its CRM product plans.
Despite the upheavals of the last couple of weeks, PeopleSoft Inc. is moving forward with its product update plans. On Monday the vendor will release new analytics tools aimed at helping companies improve customer service and a tool to help the telecommunications industry better understand the value of each customer.

The PeopleSoft Predictive Analytics Solution for CRM applies real-time analytics to customer data and converts the assessment to an easy-to-read template for customer service or call-center agents. That should let service agents present customers with pitches they're most likely to accept, based on historical knowledge of past transactions. PeopleSoft says its tools also can help predict the likelihood that a customer will churn and can provide prompts designed to keep the customer interacting with the company. "We're taking data-mining information once done by the statistician and pushing that to the end business user in real time," says Barbry McGann, VP of product management for PeopleSoft's CRM division.

Also coming out Monday is PeopleSoft's Customer Profitability Management tool for the communications industry. That tool takes information from applications within each department of a telecom company, applies analytics to the data, and tells customer-service agents in real time what the overall value of a customer is to the organization. "The customer calls in and can be identified by their phone number," says Bill Hewitt, VP of Global Industry Solutions for the vendor. "CPM lets them either take action to terminate the conversation or extend the offer based on the profitability of that customer."

PeopleSoft has a similar application for the financial-services industry and eventually will extend the offering to other verticals as well.

The additions to the CRM offerings have value, one analyst says. "Clearly anyone who's had a conversation with a service rep that has a list of three things they need to tell you can understand the frustration of not having a knowledgeable agent," says Rebecca Wetterman, VP of Research at Nucleus Research. "Anything you can do to make a rep more knowledgeable of a customer's needs is a way to add value to the relationship."

However, Wetterman warns that reps using this tool need to be well trained to understand that they aren't limited to using suggestions on their computers, and they need to listen to what customers are saying. CRM "is not just about having a body on the phone, but a person who works to understand what the customer needs."

PeopleSoft wouldn't disclose pricing information on either tool.