Apps Aim to Smooth Customer Interactions

ePeople and Kana applications are designed to improve customer relationships.

Improving the quality and scope of customer interactions and learning from those interactions are essential to improving customer relationships. In different ways, software developers ePeople Inc. and Kana Inc. are trying to help their customers better achieve those goals.

ePeople this week is rolling out Version 5.1 of its ePeople Teamwork software, a collaborative customer service application that can be accessed from within Microsoft Corp.s Outlook e-mail client.

Meanwhile, Kana last week announced four vertical-market-specific customer service applications for the telecommunications and banking industries.

ePeoples and Kanas products are chiefly used to handle customer interactions while retaining information from those interactions to improve customer service.

Version 5.1 of ePeople Teamwork lets users remain in Outlook while doing a host of tasks, including interacting with customers or partners in work spaces, finding subject matter experts, and capturing and accessing knowledge from those interactions. Users can also link customer issues to accounts, manage tasks and projects, and document the resolution of customer service, according to officials in Mountain View, Calif.

Separately, Kana is targeting specific vertical markets with its new customer service offerings, according to Kana officials in Redwood City, Calif. The applications include Agent IQ for Telecommunications, Agent IQ for Retail Banking, Customer IQ for Retail Banking and Agent IQ for Branch Banking. The Agent IQ products are used by customer service agents to resolve customer service issues. Customer IQ for Retail Banking is a customer self-service product.

ADC Telecommunication Inc. uses Kanas existing IQ software as its knowledge base for handling customer service issues online. Candyce Anderson, project manager for the Minneapolis-based company, said Agent IQ for Telecommunications could allow her company to respond to customer issues directly at its site.

"It has a lot of interesting features that look like they could be beneficial for our business, like chat so customers could contact our internal agents through the Web," Anderson said.