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July 1999


Humanize Your Web Site

Congratulations, you have a corporate Web site, but now the fruits of your labor have brought the unexpected: more inquiries than you can handle. Self-service options are wonderful, but there are still millions of online browsers who do not have the technical know-how to negotiate through often confusing topographies of Web sites. If these people are going to stay on your site and make a purchase, they need human help and they need it now, before they fly off through cyber space looking for someone who can help them with what they need. The human interaction will not only help these lost souls find where they are going, but it presents a perfect opportunity for the agent in your call center to capitalize on the good feeling of being helped personally to not only increase customer retention, but to offer the customers an upsell or cross-sell. In this roundup we have highlighted companies that provide the following products to help humanize your Web site:

A - Call-Me Buttons - these offer the cyber browser a button to click on to schedule a callback from an agent;

B - Text Chat - these products offer the chance to initiate a text chat session with an agent while the customer is still on your Web page;

C - E-mail Management/Automatic Response Systems - these help you control the overwhelming flood of e-mail in an orderly fashion and can offer autoreply e-mail based on the content of the incoming e-mail or offer suggested replies to the agent;

D -Web Self-Service Solutions - offer the online customer the tools and knowledgebase access to find answers to their own questions without human intervention;

E - Screen Synchronization/Push Technology -gives the agent the ability to see where the customer is on the company Web site and send pages to the customer, in other words, the agent and the customer are on the same page;

F - Web Callthrough - provides the technology through Internet telephony or voice over Internet Protocol to allow the agent to speak with the customer through multimedia PCs while the customer is still online;

G - Data-Wake/Clickstream Analysis - presents the agent with a record of where on the corporate Web site the customer has been and can also be used for analysis for later fine-tuning of Web pages and marketing campaigns.

For the companies listed, you will find a contact name, phone and fax numbers, Web site, product name and the categories in which the product falls.


KEY
A - Call-Me Buttons
B - Text Chat
C - E-mail Management/Automatic Response Systems
D - Web Self-Service Solutions
E - Screen Synchronization/
Push Technology
F - Web Callthrough
G - Data Wake/Clickstream Analysis


Acuity Corp.
Dean Cruse
P: 512-425-2246
F: 512-719-8225
www.acuity.com
WebCenter
A, B, C, D, E, G

Aditi Corp.
Jodi Sorensen
P: 425-897-2912
www.talisma.com
Talisma
C

Applix, Inc.
Sheila VanBatenburg
P: 508-870-0300, ext.371
F: 508-366-2278
www.applix.com
Applix Service
D

Apropos Technology
Jody Wacker
P: 630-472-9600
F: 630-472-9402
www.apropos.com
Apropos Version 4
A, B, C, D, E

Aspect Telecommunications
P: 408-325-2200
F: 408-325-2746
www.aspect.com
Aspect Customer Self-Service Suite: Generations Web; Aspect Customer Interaction Suite: Aspect Web Agent
D, F

ATIO Corp.
Christian Jensen
P: 612-837-4055
F: 612-837-4020
www.atio.com
CyberCall
A, C

Brightware, Inc.
P: 415-884-4744
F: 415-884-4740
www.brightware.com
Brightware 3
C

Business Evolution
Kate Doyle
P: 609-951-0216
F: 609-951-0882
www.businessevolution.com
@Once Epress
B

Cincom Systems, Inc.
Vicki Kirby
P: 800-2CINCOM
F: 513-612-2000
www.cincom.com/encompass/
Cincom Encompass
A, B

Clarify, Inc.
P: 888-CLARIFY
F: 408-573-3001
www.clarify.com
eFrontOffice
A, C, D, G

Convergys Corp.
Renea Morris
P: 513-723-3334
F: 513-421-8624
www.convergys.com
CyberResponse, CyberResponse E-Commerce, CyberResponse Reporting
C, D

Corepoint Technologies
Robert Boucher
P: 401-851-4127
F: 401-851-443
www.corepoint.com
Corepoint Mail Analyzer; Corepoint Web Collaboration
A, B, C, D

CosmoCom, Inc.
Lisa Dicksten
P: 516-851-0100, ext. 209
F: 516-851-1005
www.cosmocom.com
CosmoCall
F

Davis Software
Dawn M. Smith
P: 214-758-3642
F: 214-758-3641
www.davissoftware.com

TELE-SCOPE
C

Davox
Chris Lawrence
P: 978-952-0200
F: 978-952-0201
www.davox.com
Unison
A

Dialog Software, Inc.
Jeff Rider
P: 212-697-2690
F: 212-697-2129
www.dialogsoft.com
DIACOM, DIRECT E
C, D

Easyphone, Inc.
Kelly Bevan
P: 408-965-1700; F: 408-965-1712
www.easyphone.com
Easyphone 4.04
A, D, F, G

Edify Corp.
Maurice Okawaki
P: 800-944-0056
F: 408-982-0777
www.edify.com
Electronic Workforce
A, D

eFusion
Joanne Collins
P: 503-207-6441
F: 503-207-6500
www.efusion.com
eBridge Interactive Web Response System
B, E, F

eGain Communications
Steve Klann
P: 800-60-eGain
F: 408-737-8400
www.egain.com
eGain Email Management System (EMS) 2.0, eGain Web Collaboration System (eGain WCS)
A, B, C, F

EIS International, Inc.
Janet Wynkoop
P: 800-274-5657
F: 703-787-6720
www.sersolutions.com
eShare NetAgent
B

eShare
P: 888-ESHARE4
F: 516-864-0833
www.eshare.com
NetAgent
B, C, D, E, G

FaceTime Communications, Inc.
David Hsieh
P: 650-574-1600
F: 650-574-2700
www.facetime.net
FaceTime Message Exchange (FME)
B, C, D

Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories, Inc.
John Bara
P: 888-GENESYS; F: 415-437-1260
www.genesyslab.com
Internet Contact Suite: Genesys E-Mial, Genesys Web Call Back, Genesys Web Call Through, Genesys Chat
A, B, C, F

GlobalPhone Corp.
Stephen McCarthy
P: 703-533-2122; F: 703-533-2445
www.webcallback.com
WebCallback Service
A

GWI Software
Matt Franklin
P: 360-397-1000; F: 360-397-1007
www.gwi.com
GWI Collaborative Front Office
D

Hewlett-Packard
Smart Contact Call Center
P: 888-290-8950; F: 888-290-8953
www.hp.com/go/smartcontact
HP Smart Contact
A, B, C, D, E

icontact.com
P: 312-345-1344
F: 312-345-1880
www.icontact.com
iContact
B, E

IMA
Bob Ventresca
P: 800-776-0462
F: 203-925-1170
www.imaedge.com
IMA EDGE Internet Access (CyberEDGE)
A, B, D, F

Infra Corp.
Chris Wade
P: 562-596-8110
F: 562-596-2101
www.infrahelp.com
Infra Help, Infra Web, Infra Change
E, D

Interactive Intelligence, Inc.
P: 317-872-3000; F: 317-872-3000
www.inter-intelli.com
Enterprise Interaction Center (EIC)
A, B, C, D, E, F

Kana Communications, Inc.
P: 877-480-KANA; F: 650-566-2401
www.kana.com
Kana CMS 3.0
C

Knowlix Corp.
P: 801-924-6200; F: 801-924-6110
www.knowlix.com

iKnow
D

Line4, Inc.
Gina Gerhard
P: 510-748-1571; F: 510-748-1534
www.line-4.com
LiveTouch
A

Lucent Technologies
Walter Beier
P: 908-953-6902
F: 908-953-6091
www.lucent.com/callcenter
CentreVu Internet Solutions
A, B, C, D, E, F

Lynk
Jamie Kahn
P: +972-4-990-7564
F: +972-4-990-0334
www.lynkweb.com
TeleLynk
F

MATRAnet, Inc.
Toby Chaum
P: 650-598-4777
F: 650-598-4799
www.matranet.com
M>WebTouch2.0
A, B, C, E, G

MediaSoft Telecom
Gabor Barta
P: 514-731-3838; F: 514-731-3833
www.mediasoft.com
IVS WebLink
D, E, F

Melita International
Mike San Fratello
P: 770-239-4734; F: 770-239-4489
www.melita.com
WebContact
A

MessageMedia
P: 303-440-7550; F: 303-440-0303
www.messagemedia.com
MessageMedia
C

Microlog Corp.
David Burd
P: 301-428-9100; F: 301-540-5557
www.mlog.com
uniQue
A, B, C, E

Motive Communications
Michelle Duron
P: 415-512-0500, ext. 246
F: 415-512-0600
www.motive.com
ActiveLink
D

Multiactive Software Inc.
Brenda Christensen
P: 604-601-8000
F: 604-601-8001
www.multiactive.com
Entice!
D

Mustang Software, Inc.
Jim Harrer
P: 805-873-2529
F: 805-873-2457
www.mustang.com
Internet Message Center
C

netDialog
P: 650-372-1200; F: 650-372-1201
www.netdialog.com
netDialog OCM System
A, B, C, D, E, G

NetManage Inc.
Jeff Peterson
P: 408-973-7171
F: 408-342-7870
www.netmanage.com
SupportNow
B, E

NewChannel Inc.
P: 650-261-9500
F: 650-261-0473
www.newchannelinc.com
NewChannel ESP
A, B, E, G

Nortel Networks
Carter Cromwell
P: 800-4NORTEL
F: 408-565-2081
www.nortelnetworks.com
Symposium WebResponse Server
C

Octane Software, Inc.
Jim Lambert
P: 877-OCTANE
F: 650-357-0295
www.octane.com
Octane 99
C, D

Oracle
Kathy O’Leary
P: 650-506-2209
F: 650-654-6214
www.oracle.com
Oracle Call Center
A, D, F

PakNetX
Chris Botting
P: 603-890-6616
F: 603-870-9395
www.paknetx.com
PNX ACD
A, B, D, E, F

PhoneMe Ltd.
Damon Oldcorn
P: +44-1380-733-007
PhoneMe
A

Picazo Communications, Inc.
Pam Stephenson
P: 214-219-5656, ext. 104
F: 214-219-5663
www.picazo.com
Incline
A, C, E, F

PipeLive.com
Gary J. Ritter
P: 516-630-3386
F: 516-630-3299
www.pipelive.com
PipeLive 3.0
B, E

POINT Information Systems, Inc.
Erik Haagensen
P: 800-311-0215
F: 781-416-2730
www.pointinfo.com
Team POINT
A, D

Precision Consulting & Automation Inc.
Roger Samuel
P: 416-407-3187
F: 905-799-2958
www.pcaonline.com
Prop Web Help Desk
B, D

ProAmerica
Bruce Benesh
P: 800-680-6292
F: 972-680-6134
www.proam.com
Connect-Care
D

Quintus Corp.
P: 800-542-1283
F: 510-770-1377
www.quintus.com
eContact Suite, WebQ
C, D

Reach Telemanagement
Rick Rettig
P: +81-3-5423-2871
F: +81-3-5423-2782
www.reach.co.jp
Callme Button
A

RightPoint Software
Kevin Faulkner
P: 650-287-2005
F: 650-524-2187
www.rightpoint.com
RightPoint Real-Time Marketing Suite
C, G

Rockwell Electronic Commerce
Bill Pollock
P: 630-227-8000
F: 630-227-8186
www.ec.rockwell.com
Internet Communications Studio
C, E, F

Servicesoft Technologies, Inc.
P: 800-737-8738
F: 781-449-0107
www.servicesoft.com
LiveContact, E-mail Contact,
Web Advisor
A, B, C, D, E, F

Siemens Information and Communication Networks
Ed Rebello
P: 408-492-6999
F: 408-492-2227
www.icn.siemens.com
MX Web, MX Email
C, D, F

Silknet Software, Inc.
Michael Bettua
P: 603-625-0700
F: 603-625-0428
www.silknet.com
eBusiness System
C, D, E

Simware Inc.
Diane Allingham
P: 613-727-1779
F: 613-727-3533
www.simware.com
Salvo
D

Sky Alland Marketing
P: 800-351-5055
F: 410-312-4970
www.skyalland.com
WebAssist
A, B, F

Stream International, Inc.
Steve Capoccia
P: 781-575-6800
F: 781-575-6972
www.stream.com
Emediate
A, B, C, D

SoundLogic
Sheri Morita
P: 609-904-6600
F: 604-904-6610
www.soundlogic.net
Multimedia Interaction Suite
A, B, C, D, F

Telephony@Work
Eli Borodow
P: 888-854-4224
F: 619-546-3192
www.telephonyatwork.com
CallCenter@nywhere
A, B, C, E, F

Tornado Development
Reeran Kim
P: 310-546-6319
F: 310-750-6619
www.TEMS.com
TEMS
C

V*Channel, Inc.
Alan Yatagi
P: 408-980-9999, ext. 102
F: 408-492-9999
www.vchannel.com
FAXLink Web Fax-on-Demand
D

VocalTec Communications, Inc.
P: 201-228-7000
F: 201-363-8986
www.vocaltec.com
Surf&Call Center
F

Xantel Corp.
Tim Manning
P: 480-446-4005
F: 480-446-4005
www.xantel.com
WebClick


Tips For Call Centers Considering Web Enablement

BY STEPHEN WOOD, OVUM, INC.

  • Try before you buy. Call center outsourcing agencies are now offering Web-enabled call center (WECC) services; ranging from handling simple callbacks to the whole enchilada, including voice and video over the net.
  • Don't be deterred by the sky-high price tags when looking to implement an in-house WECC. Vendors often drop prices substantially if companies agree to act as a reference site for their WECC product.
  • Look at your existing vendors to see what WECC products they offer. Many of the major call center vendors are offering a full range of Web functionality, and although these will cost you more than building a best-of-breed WECC, systems integration costs will be substantially lower.
  • Be sure to see the WECC product working in a commercial environment. Beware of vendors who talk of hosts of blue-chip users who are not willing to go public.
  • Reach for the lowest fruit. Implementing callback is the simplest form of WECC, and also currently the only solution that offers carrier-grade audio.
  • Don’t be tempted to think that service-level unification across all contact media is an ideal business strategy. The WECC is the bridge between the high-cost live agent interaction and the low-cost Web interaction. True effectiveness stems from balancing these channels with customer needs and customer revenue in a contact media integration (CMI) strategy.
  • Don’t forget your brand. Offering a WECC can be a real bonus in marketing terms, but only if your CMI strategy maintains brand image coherence across all media. Remember, a brand is not a static thing. Each interaction customers have with your company forms their perception of your brand.
  • Determine what your agents’ core skills are and how these relate to the WECC. Usually, the predominant skill set will be verbal. This should be kept in mind when multitasking agents across text- and verbally based media.
  • Establish a small pool of agents who are dedicated to providing WECC services. This will assist in gauging the value of WECC to your contact strategy, reduce your initial training costs and keep SI costs to a minimum by operating the WECC applications in a stand-alone environment. This is obviously not a strategy for the long term, but is good for testing the proverbial water.

Trends
The WECC is unquestionably in the technological “chasm-crossing” stage. It is slowly changing from being a means of asserting competitive advantage to being something that customers will come to expect. Over the past year, there has been rapid adoption of the WECC by both enterprises seeking to realize their latent e-commerce revenues though the call center, and call center operators leveraging the hype and functionality of the Internet.

Companies that are adopting WECC primarily view this technology as having three main aspects:

  1. The reactive, which focuses on fielding customer-initiated communication,
  2. The interactive, which augments verbal interactions with collaborative Web sessions between agents and customers, and
  3. The active, whereby the WECC system can actively monitor your site, using algorithms to locate potential customers or browsers who are having difficulty completing an e-commerce transaction and enable you to “push” live-agent help to them.

However, the third aspect of WECC has been the slowest to realize its commercial potential. What is surprising about the inertia slowing the adoption of the active tactic is that the process mirrors the popular movement in outbound call center campaigns, away from “cold calling” to “warm calling.” As the surfer is on your site, he or she obviously has an interest in your products or services, so why not develop it? The main argument being used to explain the reluctance to use active WECC features is that such approaches are far too aggressive for customer-facing environments.

VoIP is still the “holy grail” for the WECC, as it offers global, visual and verbal communication at a fraction of PSTN prices. Let’s separate the spin from the substance as far as VoIP goes: carrier-quality audio-over IP is still approximately five years off. However, Cisco’s $2 billion acquisition of GeoTel and multiple global carriers’ IP beta projects indicate that this is undoubtedly the critical area for call center solutions vendors to watch.

Stephen Wood is lead analyst at Ovum, Inc.and co-author of Ovum's report, Next Generation Call Centers: CTI, Voice and the Web.







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