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[June 16, 2000]

Motive AnswerWeb Addresses High-Touch Customer Service Needs For Complex Online Applications

Motive Communications, Inc. announced Motive AnswerWeb, a new application that enables companies to provide efficient, high-touch service and support for e-business applications.

Motive AnswerWeb addresses a business-critical problem faced by thousands of companies implementing e-business applications -- the need for a high-touch service model for supporting valued customers engaged in complex and high-dollar business processes. For example, companies need to be prepared to answer customers' highly-detailed questions online about the products being configured and sold or the business terms set up for a company. If customers can't get these issues resolved quickly, efficiently, and as part of the online experience, they will revert to old methods such as the telephone, defeating the purpose of the online application and setting it up for failure.

While many organizations are considering using their existing call center as the service arm for their online business, companies implementing e-business applications must expand and adapt their service model to effectively compete in the online world. Motive's e-service software allows e-businesses to deliver the very best traditional customer service online and creates a competitive advantage by increasing customer loyalty, revenue opportunities, service capacity, and market share.

Motive AnswerWeb provides a complete Internet-based service and support infrastructure specifically designed for e-business applications. Current Internet-based service solutions offer access to basic answers or generic customer service representatives, but this model can't effectively address the depth and variety of questions that arise in e-business transactions such as ordering hundreds of computers, buying a complex piece of industrial machinery, or completing a complicated online form. Motive AnswerWeb enables companies to build an e-service network that seamlessly links internal service information and personnel as well as external suppliers and partners into a single web of high-touch service for customers. E-service networks, powered by AnswerWeb, uniquely employ in-depth context about users and what they are doing to automatically provide highly targeted self-service solutions or connection to a service expert.

"Instead of service being a source of failure for online initiatives, Motive AnswerWeb enables companies to turn high-touch service into a competitive weapon for attracting and retaining customers, and ultimately, growing their e-business," said Scott Harmon, CEO of Motive Communications.

"As a supplier of e-business solutions to interconnect business communities, Great Plains believes Motive's AnswerWeb solution and its e-service network capabilities are highly complementary to our corporate strategy," said Tom Ableidinger, director of global support for Great Plains. "AnswerWeb provides us with a scalable, online service solution that will enable us to network service personnel at our company and our partners to collaborate on answering customer's questions and solving their problems," Ableidinger added. "Motive's technology can help us tackle the intensely competitive landscape by using service as a key differentiator in attracting and retaining customers."

Motive AnswerWeb Key Technologies
Motive AnswerWeb provides a set of unique technologies that enable companies to build e-service networks to deliver high-touch service and support for their e-business initiatives. The three key technologies are:

  • e-Service Business Rules - When taking business online, companies must be able to take along the business rules that define their current service relationships with customers. Examples could be company discount schedules, credit terms, or shipping options for each customer. Individual customers may have further rules that govern the access provided to procurement agents versus IT operations staff. AnswerWeb's business rules enable companies to set up fine-grained e-service delivery based on a company, department or individual and then deliver answers and experts based on these rules.

  • Fulfillment Network Engine - AnswerWeb provides a sophisticated infrastructure that enables companies to bring together new and existing personnel to provide service and support for an e-business initiative. Any person either inside the company or externally at business partners or suppliers can be linked into the Motive AnswerWeb e-service network to act as an expert resource for users. For example, a business-to-business trading exchange may have thousands of suppliers along with the company hosting the exchange. The fulfillment network syndicates service requests according to business rules and connects users to the correct expert or group, regardless of whether the request relates to the exchange itself or requires the aid of an expert who works for one of the many suppliers to the exchange.

  • SmartBridge - This technology creates a bridge to the e-business application server or the user's browser and gathers in-depth contextual information about the user and what they are doing. For instance, if a customer is purchasing an automobile and has a question about tire options, SmartBridge can delve into the application server and determine the exact field where the user experienced the problem and the dependencies surrounding it. AnswerWeb then uses the information to deliver highly targeted self-service solutions or a high-touch connection to an appropriate expert. Motive is partnering with Trilogy, webMethods, Tradeum, and other leading suppliers of e-business application solutions to enable tight integration between SmartBridge and applications built on their commerce platforms.

Motive AnswerWeb In Action
Motive AnswerWeb can be easily integrated into any online application and is surfaced as a service button within the Web application. When a customer needs assistance, he or she clicks on the service button and Motive AnswerWeb, using the SmartBridge technology, delivers self-service solutions that are highly customized to the user, the business rules associated with their company, and the exact point in the application where the problem occurred. If the self-service solutions don't address the problem, using the same interface, the customer clicks on a contact button for one of several experts; again, this connection to a specific expert is delivered based on the context of the problem and the user. When the expert receives the question, SmartBridge delivers detailed contextual information about the user and the application. The user and expert can then engage in an efficient electronic dialogue to address the problem or question. Once the problem is solved, the answer can be captured dynamically in a variety of document and media formats and reused for self-service in the future, according to the appropriate business rules.

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