The on-demand supplier of customer service solutions targets contact center efficiency.
Posted Feb 26, 2008
Contact center agents have way too much information to master -- a state of affairs not likely to change anytime soon. With the release of RightNow February '08, however -- the latest edition of RightNow Technologies' CRM solution, unveiled yesterday -- agents may be able to put all that information in the proper context. RightNow's latest release features the use of contextual workspace and topic monitoring that's designed to increase agents' proficiency. The company hopes that its workspace platform will reduce call time and allow agents to quickly arrive at solutions through a more specialized and relevant interface.
"Once you enable consumers to interact with you, no matter how many self-service channels you place, at some point, as we all know as consumers, you need to escalate the conversation to a human being," says RightNow Vice President of Product, David Vap. "It would be great if the human is able to access the same information as consumers and it's a productive environment." The February '08 release, he adds, focuses on improving that particular agent in real time and dealing with the context of customer service.
The contextual workspace gives agents a drag-and-drop menu, allowing them to specify topics. For instance, if a customer calls about bill payment, the agent is presented with a desktop menu on the topic, weeding out unrelated items. The agent is immediately able to relay to the customer the most relevant, personalized, and up-to-date information. As a result, the agent should be able to resolve the issue more quickly, saving time and confusion for both parties. RightNow's solution hopes to avoid the all-too-familiar "all servers are currently busy" message.
Along with contextual workspaces, the February '08 edition provides Microsoft Office Ribbons that coincide with what agents are working on. The ribbons change based on what an employee is trying to do and removes applications that aren't necessary. If an agent is engaged in customer relations, only programs and applications necessary to that venture will be shown.
A second facet of the new edition involves topic monitoring. Vap says that the company has found that the most interesting and important customer feedback comes from write-in comment boxes. However, because blank-field data is unstructured and difficult to analyze, companies often struggle with what do with those comments. (See today's other news story, "Mining for the Gold Within Text," for more on unstructured data.) February '08 looks for trends, recurrences, and keywords among user comments to immediately address problems and prominent issues.
In August 2007, Bozeman, Mont.-based RightNow introduced emotion-detection features that ask customers to apply an emotional rating after using text-based consumer communications. By pairing those emotion features with the new topic monitoring, RightNow aims to be as current and complete on customer service feedback as possible.
"RightNow is very strong in the services space in that they were early to recognize that multichannel service is important and have continued to build on that," says analyst Rebecca Wettemann of Nucleus Research. The emerging challenge for customer service solutions, she adds, involves how -- and even if -- the consumers will respond. According to Wettemann, RightNow has been successful and thorough in thinking about user-adoption.
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