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Technology Highlights
November 2001

An Autumn Harvest Of Solutions

2001 Editors' Choice Awards

XMS 2.0 From Vividence

Web sites can be helpful and easy to navigate, or they can be a royal pain. Some look as if the designers were more concerned about presenting 'cool' graphic effects than actually making the sites useful. Vividence Corp. was founded on the principle of understanding why things work and don't work on the Web and how to find unique insights into customers so companies are able to predict customers' intent before they come to the site. Vividence's XMS 2.0 consists of three components, hosted software, Research Panels and a Knowledge Library, that clients use to create large-scale customer experience evaluations on any live Web site and generate dynamic reports combining comprehensive customer experience insights with analytic tools. The software portion consists of two Web-based applications (accessed through a secure client extranet): the TestScripter, an application for building customized evaluations; and CustomerScope, a reporting and analysis tool for generating insights from qualitative and quantitative data gathered during an evaluation.

The Vividence Knowledge Library is a repository of methodology guidelines, evaluation templates, industry benchmarks and publications that draw upon Vividence's professional research expertise in such areas as customer acquisition and retention, marketing strategy and product development. The Template Library includes guidelines and examples for using and customizing each question and task. The Vividence Research team develops a comprehensive set of customer experience metrics to provide objective comparison data for understanding evaluation results. The Vividence Research team also produces monthly briefs and quarterly in-depth reports that provide insightful analysis on industry best practices in Web site design and customer experience management.

Central to Vividence XMS are the panels, whose members provide the feedback that is used to evaluate a site. During an evaluation, the Vividence Browser tracks panelists' detailed movements and captures their feedback as they pursue a set of tasks and objectives. The Vividence Research Panel (VRP) is a professionally managed panel of over 150,000 individuals representing a broad spectrum of demographic profiles. The VRP allows clients to construct samples that match their specific criteria. Clients can also create their own Private Panel by recruiting panelists from their own customer or employee lists or through acquisition efforts.

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2001 Editors' Choice Awards

eGain eService Enterprise

Handling customer information coming in from various media is perhaps the greatest challenge for contact centers, and finding a solution that can efficiently and effectively handle these interactions is also a challenge. The eGain eService Enterprise (E3) is designed to provide a solution that stretches from voice to Web self-service to e-mail and live Web collaboration. According to Max Fiszer, vice president of marketing at eGain, eGain eService Enterprise supplies the tools to provide intelligent escalation, passing along vital customer information as the contact escalates. E3 is built on Internet-class architecture, is available on multiple platforms and provides multi-language support across service channels and user profiles for ease of use by corporations with a global reach. The eGain Call Center Bridge is a CTI solution that integrates eGain's Internet communication solutions with company ACDs so Internet contacts can be centrally queued, routed, logged and monitored.

To help contact center agents provide the right answers to customer inquiries, the eGain Knowledge Agent uses case-based reasoning to determine the appropriate questions that will help them arrive at the correct answers. User profiles help ensure customers receive documents that meet their individual needs.

E3's Web self-service module consists of a customer service portal, a virtual Web site assistant, guided help for complex questions and dynamically generated FAQs. When a customer visits the portal or asks for help at the Web site, the eGain Assistant (a virtual assistant) determines the nature of the customer's inquiry through a series of natural language questions. Different courses of action are then taken based on whether the inquiry is simple, complex or uncommon. If the customer cannot find an answer, he or she can immediately escalate to a live agent.

For e-mail inquiries, E3 provides routing rules that ensure the right agent receives the inquiry, and provides agents with customer information profiles and a complete history of prior interactions. Agents have access to customer information profiles and a complete history of prior interactions. E3 also incorporates list and campaign management tools, such as segmentation, message personalization, secure messaging and automatic list updating.

To serve customers who are sending in inquiries from a company's Web site, eGain Live and eGain Interact provide the agents with the ability to engage in online text chat, cobrowsing and callbacks. For example, agents can guide customers around Web sites or assist in filling in forms, and all the while the agent has access to customer and company information to ensure a successful experience for the customer.

In addition to these features, E3 provides reporting tools for performing qualitative as well as quantitative analysis.

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2001 Editors' Choice Awards

Golden Voice's VirtualVoice

In busy call centers, agents may handle hundreds of calls a day, repeating certain short phrases regularly for almost every call, which means they must speak thousands of the same words day in and day out. This accumulated repetition puts stress on the agent's voice and also leads to rising stress levels on their bodies, which, as we have seen throughout the industry, leads to burnout and turnover. Golden Voice Technology & Training has developed a product designed to help reduce that stress by allowing agents to record often-used phrases they can play over the phone at the touch of a button. GoldenVoice's VirtualVoice hooks up behind the phone and can record up to eight minutes or 81 messages for playback.

VirtualVoice has a solid-state memory built-in that will save the recorded messages in the event of power outages. An agent can use VirtualVoice with either a handset or headset. Up to nine users can have access to each VirtualVoice, each with nine recorded phrases, and it is designed to optimize the recordings for each user's voice. Additionally, it adjusts to keep the recording/playback volume to that of the live voice. Applications for the VirtualVoice include greetings and closings, intermediate phrases, call branding, regulatory phrases and disclaimers.

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2001 Editors' Choice Awards

Intelligent Optimization From deuxo
'What to do about sales?' has been a question posed, I would guess, at least since accounting records were first written in cuneiform on clay tablets in Mesopotamia. Obviously, over time there have been advances in sales and marketing techniques, including the advent of sales and marketing automation software in the past few years. deuxo has taken the process further to produce its Intelligent Optimization (IO) product, which is used to pinpoint undeveloped leads gathered from mailings, phone calls, trade shows, e-mail, etc., and develop them over time. According to Bob Merlo, chief marketing officer at deuxo, sales force automation and marketing automation were just automating current processes, and IO was developed to complete the continuum between marketing and sales.

IO includes Intelligent Qualification (IQ), an automated scoring engine that intelligently determines the level of a prospect based on a pre-determined profile that deuxo works with the client to create, so that leads are qualified based on characteristics the client is seeking, which are input from the sales and marketing teams.

The Lead Optimization Engine uses automated tracks that allow users to determine the optimal path to a sales-ready opportunity. In a point-and-click environment, campaigns can be customized for each 'level' of prospect to determine, based on your previous responses, which 'touches' to use when. Once a campaign has run, the responses can be analyzed to determine if it was a successful campaign. If not, users can look through the historical response data to determine what has worked before, or they have the option of testing various touches and measuring the response.

IO includes Intelligent Assignment, which is a proprietary method of assigning opportunities to make sure all opportunities are followed up throughout the process, no matter how the business is set up.

The IO includes a set of standard reports as well as the ability to customize reports, and integrates with Microsoft Excel. IO's reports are printable and can be e-mailed, and there are options available to create user groups that have various permissions to view reports.

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