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Alison Diana An Initial Look at Attensity

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By Blake Landau

Text Analytics Are Proving Key to Effective Customer Experience Management

It's no secret almost every company today has a data problem. In most businesses and industries only 20% or so of information is kept in formal databases. The rest is unstructured, hidden in e-mail messages, call logs, memos and instant messages.

So for most companies the ability to organize and extract useful information from unstructured data is a foreign concept. Fortunately, Attensity began championing this cause about a decade ago, as one of the first text analytics and text mining solutions out the gate. For companies who understand the value of investing in customer experience, Attensity may be a key tool in their portfolio.

When I was working at IQPC launching Customer Management IQ I heard about Attensity—a lot. The vendor is popular with the contact center world due to its solid sentiment analysis capabilities, and seems to have better brand awareness than many other vendors in the space.

So What is Attensity?

Attensity is a customer experience management solution that has steadily grown over the past 11 years, while receiving a litany of awards and recognition, and in fact was named a "CRM Rising Star" by CRM Magazine just last month.

Attensity's suite of Customer Experience Management (CEM) solutions help customers to listen, analyze, relate and act on millions of customer conversations, no matter where they take place. The products are designed to be used by customer service and contact center organizations to increase customer retention and reduce churn, marketing and PR organizations to improve product quality and brand loyalty, and IT organizations to provide an enterprise-wide text analytics platform for customer experience management programs.

Attensity's CEM suite is built on a text analytics platform and offers highly visual tools to perform social listening (aka social media monitoring) and response. While there are a number of social monitoring tools in the marketplace, it's the ability to respond and close the loop to customer conversations that separate the vendor solutions.

Attensity's software application extracts facts, relationships and sentiment from unstructured data, which comprise approximately 85% of the information companies store electronically according to Teradata. The product is also known for its use of natural language processing technology to address collective intelligence in social media and forums; the voice of the customer from surveys and polls; Social Customer Relationship Management (sCRM); e-services; research and e-discovery; risk and compliance; and intelligence analysis.

Attensity effectively consolidates structured and unstructured data to support more comprehensive analysis and lead to better decision making. To achieve this, Attensity interrogates unstructured data from a variety of sources using extraction algorithms that parse the data and associate meta content.

From an end user perspective Attensity 360 can be an attractive choice. Beyond a functionally rich product which delivers an inviting user experience, the company has a strong track record, loyal customers, and year over year growth. Attensity is best suited for organizations with large volumes of unstructured data. The company has so far enabled government and Global 2000 customers to transform unstructured text, integrate it with structured data, and leverage it with an enterprise data warehouse for analytics and decision support.

Thought leader and CRM extraordinaire James Taylor seems to be a fan as well, and reviewed Attensity 5.5 applauding the "focus on massive scalability. With 75M web sources and an explosion of social media monitoring, customers had a need, obviously for scalability. Add in some very large customers who want to do longitudinal analysis over many years of data and you get a need for really large scale analytic infrastructure."

Attensity has been upheld as a visionary—a company that demonstrates a strong understanding of current and future market trends and directions. Their product portfolio and product road maps—according to a majority of analyst firms—exhibit innovation in architecture and integration.

Despite a compelling solution, Attensity faces stiff competition from text analytics competitors such as Autonomy and Clarabrdige, social listening competitors such as Radian6 and Vocus; business intelligence competitors such as SPSS and SAS, niche competitors such as Lexalytics and Open Text (with its acquisition of Nstein), and a host of platform and point solutions in customer experience management (CEM), business intelligence (BI), knowledge management, call center and voice of the customer market spaces.

A Case in Point

One of Attensity's more popular case studies comes from Whirlpool, the home appliance manufacturer that uses Attensity software to help extract information from the 400,000+ customer service calls the company receives each month.

Tom Welke, a Whirlpool general manager, told his story to the NY Times. His case study dates back almost a decade, but the lesson continues to stand. During a microwave oven recall Whirlpool found out their machines were arcing and producing electrical sparks, which caused the food inside to smoke.

The general manager told the NYTimes he combed through records of recent customer calls by searching for the words ''arcing'' and ''smoke.'' His team found 18,500 records that matched. Six people then spent a weekend reading the results, eventually coming up with 700 calls from customers potentially related to the problem. Leveraging unstructured data allowed Whirlpool to identify a potentially serious issue before an accident, and the ensuing headlines that certainly would have followed.

I like this example because it shows how simple it is to solve a customer quandary, on such a massive scale, if you have the right technology. It's amazing to me that so many organizations a decade later still lack the CRM data and technology they need to operate efficiently. CRM, social CRM and text analytics tools provide the means to manage, automate and deliver intelligence to decision makers. Without the tools, customer experience management across multiple channels, real-time fact-based decisions, intelligence from unstructured data and scalable business processes are little more than a dream. End

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Comments — Comments for this page are closed —

Guest Denise Johnson
  Attensity added a lot of value when it acquired Biz360 last April, giving it social media monitoring and improved analytics. I've used Attensity to find social conversations, trend topics and discover competitive analysis, and have been pleased with the product.

Guest Marti Chandler
  I'm in the financial services industry which in many ways is a technology adopter leader, but frankly when it comes to social media, I think the industry is more of a technology laggard. Attensity released an industry specific version of their product for the retail banking industry, and that got our attention. We've seen the demo, not yet bought the product, but the capabilities to spot dissatisfied customers early, better measure customers by demographics (especially householding), view customer trends, understand the specific reasons for customer churn and develop and measure better up-sell and loyalty programs – all within the language and metrics of the financial services industry, looks very compelling. I suspect social tools will see more adoption and better payback as they verticalize their products for specific industries.


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They take the language that people use every day and compile it in a way that a machine can use… and that allows people to start using this tremendous amount of intelligence which has gone untapped."

~ The New York Times


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