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November 1999

Four New Means To Enhance Customer Relationships

Editors' Choice award Accumulated Knowledge Drives Right Now Web 3.0

One of the keys to providing effective Web self-service to one's customers is to put in place a system that is both easy to use and also can take accumulated data that pass through it and learn from them to answer questions in the future. This concept is used in Right Now Web 3.0 from Right Now Technologies.

Instituting a Web site can triple a company's customer inquiries. Based on the fact that the majority of customer questions are repetitive in nature and thus can be predicted with great accuracy, Right Now Web 3.0 presents visitors with a dynamic selection of frequently asked questions (FAQs). As visitors interact with the system, they rate the effectiveness of published FAQs, causing useful solutions to be presented first for future customer questions. For questions that are not addressed by the published knowledge base, customers submit their questions to support personnel. When support personnel respond to the questions, they can publish the question and the answer into Right Now's Organic Knowledgebase Engine, thus making the solution easily accessible to future visitors.

Right Now Web 3.0 incorporates four major new modules. Right Now Email combines Right Now's Organic Knowledgebase architecture with artificial intelligence to provide automatic e-mail responses to customer questions. When a customer is unable to find an answer to their question in the public knowledge base, they can send an e-mail to the support department. Right Now Email intercepts the customer's e-mail, analyzes keywords and phrases within the customer's query, acknowledges receipt of the question and provides likely answers to the question. Once the visitor receives a response, they can rate the usefulness of the recommended solutions by clicking on a hyperlink, which automatically captures the information. The information is then used to predict the solution's relevance to future questions.

The Right Now Contracts module is designed for companies who provide service contracts to their customers. Right Now Contracts allows these companies to manage customer support contracts either by incident or by expiration dates, and deliver support accordingly. When a user has exhausted their current service contract, they are automatically prompted to renew the contract prior to submitting their next service request.

Right Now Surveys, an automated customer satisfaction survey module, can generate surveys, tabulate the results and generate reports, which can be scheduled for automated delivery.

No. 542, www.ccsmag.com/freeinfo 

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Editors' Choice award Customer Interaction Management From Kana 4

E-mail can be both a blessing and a curse. On the saintly side there is the ease of use, its use by seemingly everyone, and the ability to shoot off a letter to a company from its Web site. Its devilish side lies partly in its virtues, on being on the receiving end of more e-mail than your company can handle quickly and effectively in a personal fashion, thus alienating all those customers and potential customers awaiting a reply, and in the fact that its full potential as a channel for targeted, effective marketing has yet to come to fruition. Building on its previous e-mail solutions that address the e-mail phenomena, Kana Communications, Inc. has launched Kana 4, which includes Kana Response, Kana Connect and Kana Commerce.

Kana Response is used to manage e-mail and Web-based communications, as well as perform proactive outbound e-mail customer service. The Kana Response product line includes Kana Mail, Kana Link, Kana Classify and Kana Forms.

Kana Mail includes extensible merge fields, which incorporate data from other systems such as a customer database into Kana Mail to customize and personalize outgoing messages; queue prioritization, which assigns priorities to message queues; automatic message escalation within queue prioritization; and scheduled reporting, which can run reports automatically at predefined times and save them in a variety of formats.

Using Kana Link, an integration package for integrating Kana systems with existing applications, businesses can access and control platform functionality with cross-platform APIs, meet company-specific requirements with a customizable user interface and integrate data across enterprise applications with an open data model.

For incoming messages, Kana Classify uses artificial intelligence to “learn” the content of a company’s communications and automatically respond or automatically suggest responses based on history of responses to date.

Kana Forms manages the detailed customer information received via Web forms to provide quick and accurate responses to customer inquiries. This customer information can also be manipulated to provide business analysis.

Kana Connect (which uses the software of the Kana-acquired Connectify) enables marketers to profile, target and engage customers in one-to-one conversations through permission-based e-mail communication. Kana Connect is designed to drive repeat transactions and reduce customer attrition by enabling companies to engage customers in e-mail conversations, deliver individually targeted messages and minimize human error associated with sending targeted messages

Kana Commerce, a new product line, is designed to convert browsers to buyers as well as keep buyers informed of the status of their transactions. The first product, Kana Notify, automates and manages transaction-related e-mail, such as order confirmations, receipts and shipping notifications, reducing the number of customer inquiries and providing a means to cross-sell and upsell customers to new products and services.

No. 543, www.ccsmag.com/freeinfo  

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Editors' Choice award Vocalcom Enters U.S. Market

French call center software provider Vocalcom has announced its move into the U.S. market with its turnkey call center solution, the Herm�s Pro suite, which is designed to be an all-inclusive solution. Herm�s Pro has the capacity to manage from 4 to 400 positions of work; up to 250 different DDI numbers; up to 99 simultaneous outbound campaigns; 32 fax lines, accessible from all work- stations; and up to 1,200 simultaneous IVR calls.

Herm�s Boost offers three dialing modes: preview, progressive and predictive. It also manages recalls and personal callbacks on scheduled dates and times.

Among the features of the Herm�s ACD are ANI with a CTI link; redundant and lost call tracking; automatic recalls; skills-based routing; estimated wait-time announcements; IVR and voice mail.

The call center adminstrator, Herm�s Commander, allows the configuration of inbound and outbound campaigns as well as the CTI link between telephony, data processing and human resources. It also manages agent groups, skills and call blending.

For the call center manager, Herm�s Statis manages call center statistics such as production reports, personnel call back and recall time tables, individual agent statistics and ACD statistics, and provides various graphical reports.

Herm�s Screen is a screen script generator that includes written text for the agent and provides pop-up objection answers and conditional links between the different pages in the script. It allows data entry during the telephone conversation and can also send an e-mail or fax as confirmation of information.

Real-time agent supervision is provided through Herm�s View, which permits agent monitoring and call logging, conference calling, and alerts the supervisors when specific ratios have been exceeded.

Available plug-ins for Herm�s Pro include Herm�s Net, which allows agents to answer Internet calls and automatically returns calls from a Web call-back button and transfers the calls to an agent. Other plug-ins include Herm�s Quotaris, for the management of surveys and opinion polls; Herm�s Organize, which optimizes appointment setting; Herm�s Order for online telesales order taking; and Herm�s Galileo, and interactive voice response generator.

No. 544, www.ccsmag.com/freeinfo

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Editors' Choice award Instant Messaging Customer Connections From FaceTime

If you have been a regular reader of this magazine, we hope that by now you have the message that for your business to prosper, you need to retain your customers by providing the best possible customer service and that this is especially critical in the dot com age, where those customers are just a click away from your competitors. Another lesson we hope you have learned is that online customers are more likely to stick with a company and complete an online transaction if they have access to human assistance. It’s all about managing these customer relationships.

To provide a rapidly deployed solution for these thorny problems, FaceTime Communications introduced its suite of services, the FaceTime Message Exchange. FaceTime has upgraded its services suite with the release of FaceTime Message Exchange 3.0. 3.0 is designed to use the capabilities of next-generation communications networks to enable e-businesses to integrate inbound sales assistance, inbound customer service and instant messaging-based customer relationship management applications.

One of the new capabilities in 3.0 is a “Customer Supportal” to provide personalized, integrated Web-based access to business intelligence, news and reference information, site administration and community. It enables customer assistance to be viewed, analyzed and communicated across the entire enterprise.
Business intelligence in 3.0 captures consumer information before, during and after interactions, allowing for user-defined reporting, ad hoc query and multidimensional analysis (OLAP). This is designed to enable businesses to understand assisted service and self-service customer behavior to improve Web site content, navigation, services and business processes.

A new customer profile system in 3.0 is used to capture customer information and integrated communication history — including transcripts of e-mail and instant messaging conversations to enable one-to-one customer service.

Enhanced e-mail management in 3.0 provides a single architecture, rules engine, queuing system and agent workstation. This can provide a seamless consumer experience across e-mail and instant messaging, and can also enhance agent productivity.

In addition, America Online, Inc. (AOL) and FaceTime have announced that FaceTime is the first company licensed by AOL to run online customer assistance business applications on AOL’s Instant Messenger (AIM) network. Under the agreement, FaceTime will receive a license to integrate AIM into a customer service support tool, enabling FaceTime to use AIM in customer service and e-commerce communications applications it develops for its e-business customers. With AIM integrated into these applications, FaceTime e-business users will have the ability to communicate instantly with AIM’s network of more than 43 million consumers, consisting of both AOL members and users of AIM over the Internet.

No. 545, www.ccsmag.com/freeinfo 

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