What if RightNow Was Just One of Us? (and Why That is Good)


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I came back last night from the RightNow Technologies User Group meeting (you will see another blog today about my “experience” getting here).

It was a great experience; it corroborated what I’ve been thinking lately:  SCRM is not at the 101 (introductory) level as we all thought, it is actually at the remedial level.

We really, really don’t know what we are doing – but we are trying to figure it out.

Meeting with RightNow customers’ (lots of them) during the sessions, meals, and networking opportunities gave me the chance to talk to  folks that are actually doing SCRM right now.  I got to hear what their problems were, what their approach was, what they were working on, what tools they used and what solutions they had implemented.

I also heard about their results.  What they tried that worked and did not work.  It was great to talk to others about SCRM.  Some of RightNow’s customers have built communities of millions.  Some of them are processing more email, chat, and twitter transactions than “leaders” in the SCRM tales; their results range from acceptable to very good by their own admission.

Riding on these tales is RightNow Technologies, who has a reputation for listening to their customers and building the solutions they want.  They had great successes, and some not so great along the way.  Alas, whatever they built was what their customers wanted and needed, and they did it in the best way possible: feeling their way around, putting potential solutions out for consideration, and seeing what works and what doesn’t.

I saw and heard the beginning of something good.  The RightNow CX initiative (will blog it in more detail tomorrow) is a very interesting approach to tackling the SCRM problem.  It takes the existing problems that RightNow is solving through Web and Contact Centers and adds Social channels and tools to manage them.

Is the model perfect? No, they were some hiccups during the meetings we had, some things still remain to be solved – but they provide a vision and a message that will probably serve as the starting point for end users to figure things out.  To try and succeed with solutions for their SCRM problems.  Being there gave me a lot of very useful, real-life information that I am ready to apply to my thinking (BTW, ego boost, everyone I talked to liked the way I explained SCRM – the roadmap I am building – some of them were just being nice, but I’ll take it).

RightNow trying to figure this out with their customers as they move along is actually a good thing.  It takes us outside of the mere theory of how to do this and right into a pragmatic method on how to solve the real-world problems.  I would like to see a more detailed delivery schedule for what was announced, and want to make sure that the message is tightened (which I know it will be in the next few weeks as changes already started to happen during the meeting), but I think that them being one of us, just feeling our way around is a good thing.

Looking forward to see the improvements along the way, and to learn from their customers what works and what does not.  Good start, and as I always tell them — I will be watching to see the progress.

What do you think? Should they have produced a framework and proclaimed it “ready”? Is this for SCRM as I say? Would love to hear what you think…

Esteban Kolsky
ThinkJar, LLC
Esteban Kolsky is the founder of CRM intelligence & strategy where he works with vendors to create go-to market strategies for Customer Service and CRM and with end-users leveraging his results-driven, dynamic Customer Experience Management methodology to earn and retain loyal customers. Previously he was a well-known Gartner analyst and created a strategic consulting practice at eVergance.


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