As head of the customer relationship management practice at consultants Cap Gemini, Cathal McGloin found that clients were prepared to invest millions in building communications channels with customers, but little in the people delivering customer service over those channels.
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Company: Performix Technologies
Main activity: Call centre agent optimisation software
CEO: Cathal McGloin
HQ: Dublin, Ireland
Status: Privately held. The company has raised a total of £18 million in venture capital from a consortium of investors including US-based Highland Capital Partners and Ireland’s ICC Software Partners.
Revenues: Estimate £14 million in revenue by end of fiscal 2002
Key competitors: Performance optimisation software vendors such as Blue Pumpkin and reporting software vendors such as Actuate and Crystal Decisions.
Infoconomy comment: Performix has latched on to a fast-growing market for call centre performance optimisation, but may face competition from broader call centre software vendors capitalising on an installed base of customers.
In 1998, Cathal and his brother Ray set up Performix Technologies to develop a system that could help align call centre operations data with wider organisational goals. The result was Emvolve Performance Manager. It combines data, such as call duration and the number of calls processed per hour, with business intelligence and customer satisfaction reports. Companies can then see the affect of the performance of individual employees on the organisation as a whole.
Employees themselves can also keep track of their performance by viewing reports frequently updated on their desktop, while line managers can assess which employees are meeting goals.
One Performix customer claims to have reduced staff attrition rates – notoriously high in the call centre industry – by half as a result of implementing the product. "People who do this job often have no visibility of the goals and objectives of the organisation. Emvolve can help drive productivity and boost morale," says McGloin.
As organisations look to ensure they are getting a decent return on call centre investments, this sort of tool ought to prove popular. Analysts at Frost &Sullivan forecast that demand for such 'agent optimisation technologies' in the US alone will increase from $240 million in 2001 to $1.8 billion in 2005.
However, Dublin-based Performix may face increased competition from call centre and CRM software companies such as Genesys and Nortel's Clarify division as they realise the value of measuring agent performance and increase their focus on that area. Yet, throughout the downturn in IT spending, Performix has continued to grow fast. Revenues climbed 200% during the last year and the company has signed up high profile customers, including Cable & Wireless, Co-operative Bank, AOL Europe and Scottish Power. It now needs to add such bluechip names beyond the UK and Ireland.