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TMC Labs
February 2002

e-Services Suite

Santa Clara, CA
Phone: 408-982-8721
Fax: 408-982-8718
Web: www.yube.com

Hosted model: $60 per application per user per month; $150 for three applications or more per user per month.

Licensed model: $25,000 for Configurator per site; $10,000 per application; $1,000 per named user.

Professional services: $2,500 per day -- available for management consulting, branding, customization and integration projects.

RATINGS (0-'5)
Administration: 4.75
Documentation: 4.5
Features: 4.75
GUI: 4.75
Overall: A

Self e-service is the name of the game, and Yub' is attempting to help everyone win, whether the users are company administrators, customer service representatives (CSR) or the customers themselves. Built from the ground up for the Web and available for in-house licensing or as a hosted solution, Yub' e-Services Suite enables businesses of all sizes to quickly bring their entire post-sales customer services operations online and harness the Web for self-service delivery and collaborative problem resolution.

The e-Services Suite includes several Web applications in order to build one comprehensive solution that is ready for customer use. The Yub' Knowledge Base enables customer service organizations to build a repository of reusable problem resolutions and frequently asked questions (now separated as its own FAQ application), allowing customers to quickly find their own solutions to problems at any time of the day. Yub' e-Support allows customers to submit new support requests, obtain information with the Yub' Knowledge Base, track open support requests, add updates, escalate issues and collaborate with the service representative when necessary. Defect Tracking allows quality assurance, engineering and services organizations to diagnose and fix product quality issues through internal and external collaboration. The Field Service application enables organizations to implement prompt service delivery processes to optimize the productivity of service professionals and keep customers happy. The Events application helps manage scheduling and tracking activities for corporate events, such as seminars, trade shows and training courses; Yub's Conference Call schedules and tracks conference calls; and the RMA application provides end-to-end support for RMA management from initial request via online self-service to internal processing of the RMA, based on service level agreements and the eventual closure of the returns process by the customer.

Yub's Configurator is a Web-based administration interface that allows authorized users to create and edit user accounts and customizes the content, behavior and workflow of all of the applications in Yub's e-Services Suite. We found it to be generally easy to navigate the administration Web GUI. We could configure any account, site, contact or employee as well as add product information. All we needed to do was enter information like one would for any Web-based form. When adding an employee, it is important to designate a role for the person, whether it be as a staff user (CSR), account manager, sales rep or site administrator, because the user's role dictates what software capabilities and information the user may be able to access. For instance, a site administrator would have access to all of the settings while a staff user may have access to only the Accounts and Contacts tabs. Appropriate settings may be given to these users based on their responsibilities. Of course, customers would not have access to any administration tabs and are automatically designated as end users.

Because of the intuitive GUI and Yub's Site Administrator Guide, we were able to set up the rest of the administration settings for a simple test case scenario. As the site administrator, we looked at each of the fifteen tabs of the Configurator, which included the configuration options for all of the applications. After entering our product and release for our site, we added skills that may be attributed to our employees. Incoming requests can be assigned automatically using Yub's intelligent assignment engine based on each employee's skill set, availability or other criteria. However, a company can choose to have the requests routed manually.

We then configured assignment groups and other attributes, such as escalate notification, for staff users on all appropriate applications. In addition, we specified service level agreements. All of these configurations were accomplished simply by filling out Web forms or selecting the appropriate settings for each employee. Under the preferences menu, we could personalize and customize our Web site and e-mail notification messages, both of which would appeal to customers. Additional reports can be created for customer, knowledge base or defect requests and can be adeptly produced through the report generator. To make entering information even easier, we could export and import CSV files to/from programs such as Microsoft Excel. However, importing files may be a little tricky since the files must contain specifically ordered strings.

Customer And CSR Interactions
After setting up the administration settings, we took a look at Yub's e-Services Suite from both the customer and customer service representative's perspective. Through our examination, we had first-hand knowledge of all the applications and how they worked together. We first looked at the online help functions via FAQs and the knowledge base and self-service requests from customers. In other words, customers look to see if their question or problem can be answered through the FAQ or knowledge base. In most cases, this would indeed be all they need, but if not, they would submit a support request. The latter is more common in complex business-to-business problem resolution scenarios.

Then, as a CSR, we looked at the submitted requests and presented the customer with e-mail notifications and online activity logs on the progress of the request and how a resolution is being sought. On some occasions, we escalated requests as a customer. Subsequently, some of these requests were escalated a second time -- internally to upper management in our organization. We could also make conference calls that were scheduled and tracked in the system. Based on pre-defined criteria, we also scheduled field service so customers could be helped onsite. Once we decided a service request was finished, we closed the request, adding it to the knowledge base or as a FAQ when desired. Sometimes, we would also generate reports for the customer requests. On the whole, all of these functions were handled effectively online via Yub's solution, and maneuvering to each application was extremely easy.

Of course, no e-service system would be complete without extensive collaboration features between customer and representative and across multiple departments in an organization, even within and beyond a firewall. This was also handled with ease by enabling a shared view of the service request, a seamless integration of applications, easy browser access and the effective use of e-mail notification. While Yub' rightfully prides themselves on their suite's reliable and easy self-service, we do think that chat collaboration upon customer request and VoIP calls placed in strategic locations would be beneficial. Fortunately, Yub' thought so too. As a result, they have partnered to implement these features if their customers so desire.

Yub's entirely Web-based e-Services Suite is impressive. Its implementation and usability are quite simple. Implementation takes only days and the system requires very little training (the administration training being only a few hours). As for the suite itself, it provides very efficient self-service capabilities that enable customers to submit and track service requests, collaborate and escalate the issue as necessary and close the request upon a satisfactory resolution, without the necessity of making a single call. After reviewing this product, we were not surprised to discover that Yub's founders possess decades of customer service experience'it shows in the excellence of their product.

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