“Innso is the future of our industry,” states James Lee, innso’s VP Solutions & Strategy for North America. “It’s the technology platform that any organization serious about digital transformation needs to ingest in some way.”
It’s a bold statement to make, but Lee’s opinion is based on the company’s performance since its initial incubation within Sitel Group five years ago.
In that time, innso has methodically developed into an omnichannel engagement platform. It provides users with a 360° view of their customers, unifies often disparate systems to provide a single information source, leverages intelligent automation and can be employed to actively manage customer satisfaction and quality control. Innso also provides real-time customer insights for driving business decision making.
“We’ve grown because we have a unique understanding of operations,” explains innso’s founder and CEO, Nicolas Raffin. “Innso was born in the contact center environment, identifying real-world customer experience problems and creating real-world solutions. Up to now, each module of innso has been built sitting next to our client’s end user, whether it’s an agent, a coach, a manager or an in-store customer assistant.”
It’s an approach that since 2014 has seen innso go from zero to a team of 60 employees, capture large enterprise clients across banking, financial services, media, travel and hospitality, retail and manufacturing and attract over 20,000 licensed users.
Now that the company has achieved critical mass in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, it’s time to officially bring innso to North America.
“I see this initial inception and launch in the U.S. as a challenge, a good challenge,” says Lee. “As a software company that provides a very distinct product we have to be equally distinct about our branding and positioning and how they’re communicated.”
From CRM to CX solutions, America represents a potentially huge playground for a software company that can deliver. Innso’s challenge will be standing in exactly the right position within this market to best demonstrate its differentiation. And key to this will be demonstrating how well the company understands how North American organizations interact with CRM and CX software.
“Every market has common habits and practices but every country also has its own culturally specific elements and needs,” explains Raffin. “If you want to grow a business internationally, it’s crucial to have local expertise. You have to be close to the market and close to your clients. It’s why we’ve already established teams in Austin and New York who are primed to deliver.”
Innso was founded in France but it became an international company because with Sitel Group serving as what Raffin calls a “huge open laboratory,” he and his team were able to get first-hand experience of CX management and delivery across the whole of Europe and beyond.
“This is why each piece of our software, every module is useful,” Raffin points out. “There is no waste, we follow the client’s journey and discard anything that isn’t useful.”
Lee agrees. “The most important thing a software company can do is stay relevant,” he says. “The market is so diversified. It doesn’t matter where the company was founded, it’s judged solely on its capabilities. Does your proposition make sense to your audience?”
The optimum way of staying relevant is to never stop listening to what your customers are saying and to never let the business get to the point where it loses its agility.
“All of innso’s functionality was developed in the field. It comes from listening to exactly what customers are saying and also being prepared to hear what they think about what you’re already doing, all of the good things and all of the bad things,” explains Raffin. “It’s also why we share and co-create our product roadmap with our customers. Often as software companies grow bigger, they become disconnected from their customers. You have to maintain the time and energy to stay close to your partners and your clients and put yourself in their shoes all of the time.”
This ability to see the world through their customers’ eyes is also why innso has started developing more front-office functionalities to complement its back-office capabilities.
“We already have the capabilities to deliver a 360° customer view,” says Lee. “And we can use that capability for marketing, sales conversion and retention, revenue generation and even smart collections.”
At the same time, the company is also focusing even further on developing its existing conversational messaging platform and related support. In what is shaping up to be the era of social and instant messaging, brands increasingly need the right tools to be able to engage with their customers on their channel of choice and not lose track of the conversation as it jumps back and forth between social and more traditional channels. It’s why as well as a platform for managing these conversations, innso is developing processes for simplifying the sharing of any type of file format within live chat, a chat function within a brand’s app or via social.
Changing customer behavior means we have to place a priority on social channels as part of delivering a unified CX. But, like the technology underpinning conversational platforms, this behavior is evolving all of the time.The only way to respond to them is to remain agile and to never lose sight of the bigger picture.
“This is what really differentiates innso. Our speed of implementation is difficult to beat,” says Raffin. “But in addition to being able to deliver all of our own capabilities to help organizations get closer to their customers, we also combine our expertise with those of the wider Sitel Group to deliver CX-focused integrated solutions.”
To discover more about innso and how it’s redefining the future of omnichannel engagement, head to IBM Think 2020 where both Nicolas and James will be demonstrating how the company is leveraging IBM Watson to get companies even closer to their customers.