CRM Upgrade Targets Self-Service

An upgrade to rightnow Technologies Inc.'s eService Center online customer service software includes Web self-service enhancements.

An upgrade to rightnow Technologies Inc.s eService Center online customer service software includes Web self-service enhancements.

Web eService Center Version 5.0, which began shipping last week, provides customer assistance via e-mail, live chat and phone, all using a common knowledge base.

One self-service enhancement is the "Browse for Answers" technology that automatically organizes the customer service knowledge base into a logical, hierarchical structure based on the search and query terms that customers use, said officials at RightNow, in Bozeman, Mont.

"It gives customers another option to group the data to look at so that they can find what theyre looking for," said Matt Morris, Webmaster for Pitney Bowes Inc. The Stamford, Conn., company plans to upgrade to Web eService Center 5.0 within two months.

Another feature in the upgrade is SmartSense, which flags and routes customer inquiries based on content that could indicate anger, such as use of exclamation points; writing in all capital letters; use of certain keywords, including profanities; and even emoticons.

Morris said similar technology is already available in existing versions of the software. "Its not something weve used much, but its nice to have around," he said.

Web eService Center 5.0 features RightNow Live, which adds live chat and co-browsing capabilities for customer service representatives, support for up to 15 languages, and Extensible Markup Language integration capabilities to other applications. What Morris said he likes the most is the new look and feel of Version 5.0 and its navigation.

Pricing for RightNow Web eService Center 5.0, which is typically sold on a hosted model, is based on capacity and starts at $30,000 for two years.

In related news, Ask Jeeves Inc. and Kana Software Inc. have enhanced their respective CRM (customer relationship management) applications.

The JeevesOne suite of online customer self-service applications is Ask Jeeves first packaged software release of its natural language query technology. JeevesOne includes administrative tools to customize product, service, policy and information inquiries and to move customers to e-mail, chat or voice service, said officials in Emeryville, Calif.

JeevesOne includes 14 customizable Summary, Content Optimization and Customer Analysis reports that track and aggregate customers questions to provide insights into their preferences, needs and wants, helping organizations find content holes and information gaps.

Kana last week released iCARE (Intelligent Customer Acquisition and Retention for the Enterprise), which company officials in Menlo Park, Calif., said links contact centers and marketers via analysis of customer interactions. iCARE features five integrated CRM applications.