What's Your Name Again?
PROBLEM: Your customers interact with you through the Web, e-mail and the telephone; you need to seamlessly integrate information gathered from all of these contact methods.
SOLUTION: Clarify's eFrontOffice brings together Web, e-mail and telephone data to create a single profile of each customer. With this software, common consumer complaints about customer service- -such as having to repeat information every time their call is transferred- -can be avoided. The program enables a CIC to handle e-mail in the same way as telephone calls, prioritizing by service-level agreement, product and expertise required. It dynamically creates Web sites where customers can perform a variety of activities, including updating their profiles, initiating customer service cases, viewing tailored promotions and managing new sales orders. Priced per server; additional fees for users. (888) CLARIFY; www.clarify.com
GET A HANDLE ON TRAVEL EXPENSES
PROBLEM: streamlining the expense management process would help your business cut processing costs.
SOLUTION: Expense Express from InterPro Expense Systems was designed to regulate, enforce and manage the specific expense policies and processes of global corporations. The software helps streamline administrative processes, reduce operating costs, track and report complete expense information and includes multilingual, multicurrency and multitax capabilities. The software is easily configurable, thus eliminating the need to rewrite code. Pricing depends on configuration. (800) 290-2010; www.interproexpense.com
DOCUMENTS TO GO
PROBLEM: Your sales reps want to be able to view documents and spreadsheets on their palm organizers.
SOLUTION: Road warriors can store their important documents on their Palm organizer for easy reference and viewing with Documents To Go from DataViz. The program allows users to view desktop documents and spreadsheets on palm computers, thus eliminating the need to carry a notebook computer just to be able to reference important desktop word processing and spreadsheet files. The software supports Word 2000, Excel 2000 and AppleWorks 5 and runs under Windows 95, 98, NT 4.0 and Power Macintosh. Pricing begins at $39.95. (800) 733-0030; www.dataviz.com
PROBLEM: Your organization is looking for ways to make its Web site more effective.
SOLUTION: IntraNet Solution's new content server, Xpedio, provides a comprehensive platform to build and support Web enterprise applications such as partner extranets, report distribution and supply chain management. Add-on modules- -Xpedio Content Publisher and Xpedio ReportSite- - enhance the server's capabilities and help streamline Web publishing and enterprise report distribution. Content Publisher's template-based technology automatically publishes standard business documents or content in HTML or XML format as fully linked Web sites; ReportSite allows organizations to publish reports from sources across the enterprise. Content server pricing begins at $125,000; pricing for Content Publisher and ReportSite begins at $50,000. (612) 903-2000; www.intranetsolutions.com
A Single Solution
PROBLEM: You are looking for a single-vendor package to manage all customer service functions.
SOLUTION: Lucent Technologies' CRM Central 2000 software and tools are designed to help businesses optimize the way they support customer contacts, manage information and deliver work across their enterprises. The software supports multimedia customer contacts, manages and delivers business and customer information, automatically triggers the work required to fulfill requests and monitors service levels to ensure quality. It handles all areas of customer interaction, from the front-office call center to supporting functions, such as order processing, fulfillment or billing. It will direct customer contacts to the appropriate personnel through multiple media channels, such as voice, fax, letter, e-mail and the Web. For voice contacts, the software can work with the routing patterns already programmed into the company's telephone switch software. The price of a 100-seat system is $3,750/seat. (800) 247-7000; www.lucent.com
PROBLEM: You want a system to control and automate inbound and outbound contacts.
SOLUTION: The Mitel Call Center Commander product suite handles all major functions of inbound and outbound customer contacts. The products are designed to integrate with existing telephone systems and applications infrastructure. They enable Web integration, intelligent call distribution, advanced call handling, interactive voice response, desktop computer telephony, voice, fax and e-mail messaging and real-time detailed management reporting. The suite consists of four products, which can be supplied separately. Commander Server performs data collection and routing of calls, faxes, e-mail and Web inquiries. Commander Agent provides agents with customer information even before interactions take place. Commander Supervisor empowers managers to control workflow. Commander Report produces data reports that can help managers identify areas for improvement. The price is $2,500/seat. (800) MITEL-SX; www.mitel.com
KEEPING TRACK OF COMMISSIONS
PROBLEM: Your organization is searching for a software platform to help it administer its incentive compensation plan.
SOLUTION: Changing the commission process from an administrative nightmare to a tool that motivates the sales force is the goal of a recently formed partnership between Callidus Software and The Alexander Group. The companies will jointly sell, market and implement TrueComp, a software program that provides enterprise-scale capabilities to help organizations model, administer and report on incentive compensation plans. Callidus Software supplies the software program; AGI will install it and integrate it into a clients' system. Pricing depends on configuration. (800) 327-8525; www.alexandergroupinc.com
PROBLEM: You want to automate a wide variety of customer service interactions and functions.
SOLUTION: The Siebel Call Center enables agents to optimize customer contacts across a broad range of communication channels, such as telephone, Web, fax, e-mail and interactive voice response. It allows agents to create, assign, track and complete service requests using such problem resolution functions as related case analysis, diagnostic question and answer with decision tree traversal, and full text searching. The system can track sales opportunities, campaigns and accounts. It can also be used to create marketing collateral and presentations and to perform sales forecasting, performance tracking, call routing, scripting and profiling. Call Center will also track quality information captured during customer interactions to ensure that any problems are fixed. Please contact for pricing information. (650) 295-5000; www.siebel.com
PROBLEM: You want a system that can analyze data from multiple applications to create useful performance measures.
SOLUTION: Witness Systems' Performance Analyzer allows contact center managers to combine, assess and explore performance data from disparate sources, such as workforce automation products, predictive dialing systems, human resource records and quality monitoring programs. It eliminates the need for manual data collection and allows users to examine the relationships between different metrics. The system is designed to accommodate Web, e-mail and interactive voice response data, and can produce user-defined summaries, reports and graphs in a variety of formats, including HTML. The price is $31,000 for a 75-seat center. (800) 3-WITNESS; www.witsys.com
PROBLEM: You want a system to manage all your Internet customer-service functions.
SOLUTION: Genesys' Internet Suite is designed to bring all Internet-based customer communications under a single management system. Using the suite, customer e-mail inquiries can be answered automatically or by agents using suggested responses based on rules defined by call-service managers. A customer can download a chat program and communicate with an agent in real time. Customers can also request that an agent call and view the average wait time and number of calls ahead of them. A collaboration module enables service agents and customers to surf the Web together with synchronized desktops. E-mail, chat requests, Web callback requests and phone calls are managed in one queue and can be automatically routed based on a number of factors. The price for a full suite is $800 per seat. (415) 437-1100; www.genesyslab.com
THE FUTURE COULD BE NOW
PROBLEM: You want to add automated customer-service support to your Web site, and you need to do it right away.
SOLUTION: Right Now Technologies' Right Now Web 3.0 is designed to enable companies to rapidly deploy a Web-based customer-service system. The system is based on a database of frequently asked questions (FAQs). Web visitors can submit questions via e-mail. The system analyzes the e-mail for keywords and returns likely FAQs, which the customers can rate for effectiveness. If a customer asks new questions, support personnel can publish the question and its response to the database for future use. The system includes a natural-language, automated e-mail system, a customer-satisfaction survey, a service-contract administration module and multilingual product support for French, German and British English. The price is $19,995 for a two-year subscription license. (406) 522-4200; www.rightnowtech.com
PROBLEM: You want to automate your center's call-handling functions.
SOLUTION: Buffalo International's OTS NT system offers predictive dialing, automated call distribution, voice processing, call blending, coaching, recording and monitoring in one PC-based server, which is modular and scalable. Using digits entered by a caller, the system transfers incoming calls to a group of agents, a specific agent or an automated script. Any information gathered from the customer is transferred with each call. Voice-processing features allow call center personnel to easily record and play voice responses. Monitoring and recording functions include instant replay of agent screens and phones. The price starts at $1,000 per agent and up, depending on features. (877) OPENCTI; www.opencti.com
MAKING THE SWITCH
PROBLEM: You want reliable digital-switching boards for your custom call center application or for a third-party call management system.
SOLUTION: Amtelco's Infinity Series H.110 CompactPCI High Density BRI Board provides digital switching for off-the-shelf or custom call management applications. For example, the board integrates with Amtelco's Infinity System, which automates call distribution, voice processing, text messaging and computer telephony. The system is built to handle up to 50 stations, 12,000 accounts and 240,000 messages. Each switching board provides 32 ports and can be used with Windows NT or Unix. The price is $4,995. (608) 838-4194 ext. 206; www.amtelcom.com/xds
PROBLEM: You want to analyze customer service agent performance and provide effective, specific feedback.
SOLUTION: Mercom's IntellAgents2000 incorporates both voice recording and screen captures to give supervisors and managers a complete picture of agent activity. Voice-synchronized screen captures enable managers to evaluate the agent's knowledge of screen flows and data-entry skills and see the effect these factors have on customer service. The system allows call centers to determine which calls will be recorded and to house the data on an NT-based call recording, cataloging and archiving server. Quality trends can be analyzed by agent group, individual or marketing initiative. The price starts at $35,000. (888) 637-2661; www.mercom.com
PROBLEM: You want to manage remote agents and ensure they have full access to necessary information resources.
SOLUTION: Telephony@Work's CallCenter@nywhere provides the automated capabilities of a physical call center in a virtual environment. With the system, remote agents are empowered with the same synchronized screen pops, visual call control and help desk capabilities that agents might have in a physical call center. Features include automated call distribution, advanced queuing, interactive voice response, voice mail, computer faxing, unified messaging from standard e-mail clients and Web callbacks. Local and off-site supervisors can use remote monitoring and coaching features to manage agent performance. The price is $2,500 per simultaneous interaction. (858) 410-1600 ext. 703; www.telephonyatwork.com
CATCH THE WAVE
PROBLEM: It's that time; you want to enable your call center to provide Web-based customer service.
SOLUTION: Microlog Corporation's uniQue 2.0 is designed to Web-enable call centers ranging in size from 5 to 5,000 agents. The system prioritizes mixed-media contacts based on business rules, and uses skills-based or customer-priority routing to distribute the contacts. Agents can exchange Web pages or images with customers and can hold text-based chats with customers in real time. Customers can also click buttons to have agents call them. The system can be used to easily design scripted calls. All of an agent's work functions are represented as icons on a floating toolbar, and the only software requirement for the agent desktop is a Java-enabled browser. The software is hosted on the uniQue server and downloaded to agent desktops with a standard Web browser. The price varies, but begins at $1,000 per seat. The more seats ordered, the lower the price. (301) 428-9100; www.mlog.com
PROBLEM: You want a digital board for your call center system.
SOLUTION: Brooktrout Technologies' TR-IRAS, a form-factor board with digital telephony interfaces, offers up to 30 on-board modems for custom call center applications. Used in a server running Windows NT Remote Access Services or other remote access software, the board handles dial-in and dial-out requirements and mixed-media applications. For example, the board can be used to combine remote access and network faxing; to offer ISP service with data, voice and fax messaging in a single device over the same access lines; or to provide a unified messaging server, bringing voice, fax and e-mail under a single application programming interface and call-control system. The board is compatible with Peripheral Component Interface standards. The price is $6,945 per board. (888) 248-5401; www.brooktrout.com
WEB SERVICES WITHOUT THE WORK
PROBLEM: You want to use the Web for customer service, but you don't want to have to build and support the infrastructure in house.
SOLUTION: RightPoint Corporation's RightPoint.net Real-Time eMarketing Portal enables companies to provide personalized Web service without infrastructure capital outlays. RightPoint will manage customer profiles gathered from clickstream recording, surveys and existing corporate resources and combine this data with third-party demographics to determine what information best suits individual customers. As a customer explores a company's Web pages, the site's content server makes periodic requests from RightPoint.net to determine which marketing offers, recommendations or promotions to display. These Internet transactions are completed in sub-second time and the results are seamlessly embedded in the customer's Web site. The monthly subscription price starts at $7,500. (888) 328-2646; www.rightpoint.com
PROBLEM: You want an economical, easy-to-install system for automating call center functions.
SOLUTION: N-Soft's Etrog is call management middleware that enables companies to perform advanced call center functions, such as automated call distribution and host-based routing without custom development and with existing computer assets. It can interoperate with most desktop applications and call systems. Call centers can use Etrog's modules and templates to quickly implement such functions as play and collect, screen pops and outbound preview dialing. The system can route calls based on caller-entered digits or agent skills, and can provide personalized customer greetings. It can also record and access historical and real-time call statistics. Etrog can be customized using standard programming languages, such as Visual Basic or Visual C++. The price is $1,500 per user with a minimum of 10 users. (847) 981-6805; www.n-sfotna.com
THE ONE-SYstEM MANAGER
PROBLEM: You want a single system to manage and automate a variety of customer service functions.
SOLUTION: Melita's XChange call management system can be used for a wide range of inbound and outbound customer-care services. XChange enables such inbound features as automated routing by skills or customer-entered digits and pop-up customer-information windows. The system allows intelligent data and list management for outbound calling and automatic routing of callbacks to the original caller. Monitoring features are integrated into the system, including agent coaching during calls. It is based on industry-standard hardware and software, and so requires minimal training to operate.The price is $1,500 - $3,000 per seat. (770) 239-4561; www.eshare.com
WATCH AND LIstEN
PROBLEM: You want to monitor service-agent activity on the phone and the desktop to provide feedback and improve performance.
SOLUTION: With Periphonics' ScreenSentry, call-center management can record activity on agent desktops. When used with the company's CallSentry, a voice-monitoring and recording tool, the program enables complete review of real time and recorded customer sessions. Managers can listen to a call while observing the agent's desktop activity. A supervisor can also gain control of an agent's keyboard or mouse during a customer interaction. Recording can be started and stopped in real time, scheduled at periodic intervals or triggered by business rules. Playback requires only an HTML browser. Hardware and software systems start at $35,000, which includes a 12-channel system with concurrent recording. (516) 468-9000; www.peri.com