In the entire history of commerce, customers have never had it so good. Not only do they continue to be the focus of retailers’ attention, but personalized shopping, anywhere transactions, social sharing, fast and powerful comparative shopping, a good sense of what the customer will do next and a seemingly infinite recollection of every detail of every interaction are now combined into what can be described as the golden age of customer service.

But a golden age for customers can also be a major headache for companies. To get a sense of how to provide a golden age for both, CMSWire recently chatted with James Norwood, Chief Marketing Officer for one of the vendors in this space, KANA Software.

Trinicom, Ciboodle, Lagan

KANA, which offers hosted, on-premises or hybrid solutions for customer experience management, is a company on the move.

In April, it purchased Trinicom, which provided software-as-a-service (SaaS) customer service management for the mid-market. It bought Ciboodle in July, acquiring those solutions for agent desktops, contact center case management and social communities for customers.

Also in the summer, KANA released the next generation of its Web Customer Service solutions, with emphasis on Experience Flows, Contextual Knowledge and Social Analytics. The main intent, the company said, was to deliver “accurate answers consistently” and in the right context, so that customers can find what they need online without using expensive, operator-manned contact centers.

In October, it introduced Lagan Express, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform designed to handle customers for mid-sized public sector organizations, via phone, email, chat, web self-service, virtual assistant and social media. The technology was acquired when KANA bought Lagan in 2010.

“The whole customer service environment has been reinvigorated as it hasn’t been in a long time,” Norwood told CMSWire.

The Omni-Channel

That re-invigoration is leading to -- and resulting from -- the availability of sophisticated customer experience, technology-mediated solutions for every size and type of business.

For the past two decades, KANA has been providing solutions primarily for the enterprise, and now for the mid-market. At this point in its history, Norwood said, KANA is no longer interested in being a point solution provider. Some companies continue to provide point solutions to the lower end of the market, he said, but KANA “isn’t playing there.”

Instead, in the age when customer service across multiple and growing channels is the key challenge, KANA is primarily interested in providing what Norwood described as “end to end management with a single set of knowledge.”