Start-up’s platform uses AI and analytics to improve customer experience
Cisco is bringing CloudCherry, a small company that has been part of the larger vendor’s investment portfolio, into the fold in hopes of bringing tools like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and predictive analytics to its contact center business.
The Lowdown: Cisco didn’t release details about the deal for CloudCherry, which had been partially funded by Cisco’s venture capital business, as well as from other investors, including Microsoft. The 5-year-old Salt Lake City-based company had raised more than $16 million over two funding rounds. The deal is expected to close by the end of the year.
The Details: CloudCherry will bring with it its Customer Experience Management Analytics Platform, which is aimed at enabling contact center representatives to improve the customer experience for its buyers. The real-time nature of the platform is key in ensuring the quality of that experience. Using AI, machine learning, and predictive analytics, agents can more easily mine customer data and understand the correlations between the myriad factors involved in the customer experience. Modifications can be made in real time; cross-selling, discounting, and couponing can be used to meet customer needs during a conversation; and the open API platform pulls together customer data from systems with customer records, transactional data, and other information in real time.
The technology also maps the customer’s entire journey with the company, from the first interaction through the final purchase to after-purchase care, and collects feedback from users via e-mails, surveys, and other methods.
The Impact: The acquisition comes five months after Cisco unveiled what its calls the new cognitive and collaborative contact center, which uses AI and analytics to enhance the customer experience. At the time, Cisco officials focused on cloud analytics with Customer Journey Analyzer, an intelligent agent for assisting human contact center representatives with contextual information called Cisco Answers, and a self-service capability dubbed the Customer Virtual Assistant. The contact center is a key part of Cisco’s larger collaboration portfolio. According to the company, Cisco products support more than 30,000 contact center customers and more than 3 million contact center agents around the world.
CloudCherry’s 90 employees will be folded into Cisco’s broad collaboration business, which is being challenged by cloud-based competitors like Zoom and BlueJeans Network.
Background: The CloudCherry deal follows Cisco’s acquisition earlier this month of Voicea, another Cisco-backed start-up whose technology delivers a real-time voice assistant to business meetings, something that will find a home in Cisco’s Webex products.
The Buzz: “With CloudCherry, we’re augmenting our contact center portfolio with advanced analytics, rich customer journey mapping, and sophisticated survey capabilities that all our customers can use – whether they’re using Webex Contact Center in the cloud or our hosted and on-premises solutions,” said Vasili Triant, vice president and general manager of contact center solutions at Cisco. “And with more than 17 integrated feedback channels available, CloudCherry can help us better understand and enrich the agent and employee experience as well. CloudCherry’s predictive analytics and journey-oriented solution helps companies understand the correlations between various factors that influence customer experience.”
“We have had the fortune of collaborating with phenomenal people at incredible companies over the past few years,” CloudCherry co-founder and CEO Vinod Muthukrishnan said. “At Cisco, we have seen first-hand how a world-class company and corporate investor operates. Across interactions with dozens of executives at Cisco, we have come to greatly respect Cisco’s culture, brand ,and absolute commitment to customers. Things we strive to be too. Cisco is also the global benchmark in Cognitive Collaboration and Customer Care solutions, which are very complementary to us and our world view. Hence, when the opportunity presented itself, myself and the leadership team were thrilled to grab the chance to work with leaders like Vasili Triant and Amy Chang [senior vice president and general manager of Cisco’s collaboration business] to create the future of cognitive customer care and collaboration.”