RightNow Adds Self-service to eService Center

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 will be formally announced Monday but became available this week, also provides customer assistance via e-mail, live chat and phone, all using a common knowledge base.

One self-service enhancement in this version of the software 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, RightNow officials said.

"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 is planning to upgrade to Web eService Center 5.0 within the next month or two.

Another new feature in the upgrade that RightNow officials touted is SmartSense, which flags and routes customer inquiries, based on content that could indicate anger, such as use of exclamation points, writing in all caps, 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.

RightNow Web eService Center 5.0 also features RightNow Live, which adds live chat and co-browsing capabilities for customer service reps, support for up to 15 languages and XML (Extensible Markup Language) integration capabilities to other applications.

But what Pitney Bowes Morris said he likes the most is the new look and feel of Version 5.0, as well as its navigation.

"No. 1, the overall usability of the product has been improved," he said. "All the things we suggested, most have made their way into the product."

Morris liked the emphasis on self-service, as well, even within live chat.

"Chat has been enhanced quite a bit. It promotes more self-service now," Morris said. "While youre waiting to receive support, you can take advantage of the opportunity to solve your own problems. So the next time, you wont need live help."

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