Following its April acquisition of cloud-based Web customer service software company Trinicom, KANA Software released multichannel Web customer service solution KANA Express for what it calls a "traditionally underserved" segment—midmarket companies.
"Express is our way of saying, 'Here's how you get customer service quickly and cost-effectively, because it's SaaS, it's very elastic pricing, and they pay for what they use,'" comments James Norwood, KANA's chief marketing officer. "Midmarket businesses live and die by the success of their online channels, yet the level of service was pretty rudimentary."
Today, midmarket businesses represent about one-third of KANA's customer base, but Norwood estimates that it could account for up to 50 percent within a couple of years; Trinicom served more than 200 midsize companies at the time of the KANA acquisition.
"It's a bigger market, and people were coming to KANA saying, 'Can you help us?' but it's harder to get smaller midsize businesses to put the dollars into customer service," Norwood observes. "They're very revenue-focused rather than service-focused. They're just trying to keep the lights on."
For those companies that want an enterprise-caliber product without too heavy a strain on budget and IT, KANA Express was designed to step in as more nimble alternative. The solution unifies customer contact records across multiple channels, such as live and automated chat, social media, Web self-service, phone, and email.
- KANA Express Agent Experience—a full suite of agent-facing applications from a single desktop with the ability to apply and monitor SLAs and response times.
- KANA Express Web Experience—a set of customer-facing applications with Web self-service, which includes natural language search, FAQ, auto-suggest, and portal services; live chat, virtual assistant, and Web form submission.
- KANA Express Mobile Experience—smartphone applications for customer service.
- KANA Express Social Experience—advanced social monitoring and analytics designed for organizations to listen and respond to customers directly.
Underpinning KANA Express is KANA's centralized knowledge base, which scans email, chat, and Web self-service interaction text to bring up relevant customer information and suggested answers.
It was this knowledge component that partly accounted for KANA's acquisition of contact center giant Ciboodle this July.
"From a technology perspective, it was a natural fit," says Mitch Lieberman, now vice president of product and market strategy for KANASoftware. "Ciboodle was starting to make investments in knowledge managementand Web customer service, and of course, the traditional KANA email response."
On the flip side, at KANA, customers were saying, "Well,you're good at online channels and Web customer service, but you need to invest in your contact center, your agent experience, and sort of all of the processes that flow behind that," Norwood adds. "The technology stacks were very complementary."