eGain Communications Corp. has released an upgrade to its eGain Assistant intelligent agent application that officials said more accurately answers questions that consumers put to Web retailers.
The software mimics an online customer service representative by responding to typed natural language queries with answers culled from a knowledge base. New in Version 5.0 of eGain Assistant is the capability to automatically convert knowledge, typically from Web FAQs, into "cases," or sets of questions for which there is a definite answer. Using this method, the application finds the correct answer 90 percent of the time, more than double the previous success rate, said officials at eGain, of Sunnyvale, Calif. eGain Assistant 5.0 can build more than 1,000 cases a day, and its dictionary has been expanded to 30,000 words, including basic retail terminology.
Assistant 5.0 has more than 40 standard reports for analyzing log files. Its available as a stand-alone product or as a module of eGain eService Enterprise, known as E3. As an E3 module, Assistant 5.0 can escalate a conversation to an automated e-mail management system via eGain Mail or to the appropriate live assistant via eGain Live, preserving a transcript of interactions.
Dawn Davis, who has used Assistant 5.0, could not verify an improved success rate, but Davis said the most noticeable improvement was in the reports, which are faster and easier to pull numbers from.
"At the most, it takes two to three responses to answer a question. Thats a good rate," said Davis, marketing programs manager at McAfee.com Corp., of Sunnyvale, Calif.
In related Web customer service news, RightNow Technologies Inc. last week announced Hosted Management System, which gives its hosted application customers more control over upgrades. The system lets customers set up test or pilot servers for upgrades and schedule an automatic upgrade of hosted production servers when theyre satisfied with the results of the trial. All upgrade control functions are provided via a secure Web interface, and the trial application is populated with live data.
eGain Assistant 5.0 and RightNow Hosted Management System are available now.