Nine New Treats From eGain
On Monday eGain Communications announced it has released a recharged version of its customer interaction hub software suite. The offering, eGain Service 7.6, features nine new apps targeting several elements such as short message service (SMS) interactions, Web self-service, chat, cobrowsing, email, call tracking and resolution, and knowledge management. The software suite, which is based on J2EE architecture, can be deployed on premise or on demand.
The nine applications can be categorized into three buckets: self-service, assisted service, and process automation. EGain Message Center, the sole new Web self-service product, allows customers to view their interactions with their product and service providers through an authenticated Web site. Four products--eGain Adviser, eGain CallTrack, eGain SMS, and eGain SME (subject matter experts)--fall under the assisted service cluster. The Adviser tool, which leverages eGain's Inference reasoning engine, provides agents with process guidance for handling various customer interactions, including upsells and cross sells. Virgin Mobile, which uses eGain Adviser as a "conversational tool" for agents to recommend service and hardware offerings, codeveloped the product with eGain, according to CEO Ashu Roy. Roy notes that while Virgin Mobile has been an eGain customer on the service side for more than three years, it's been "about one year or so that we've been working with them on the sales side to get this project going."
EGain CallTrack is the company's call logging and tracking system, while eGain SMS is a system for managing SMS interactions, according to the company. eGain SME is a collaboration tool for leveraging subject matter experts working within the contact center and in other areas in the enterprise.
The four remaining new products--eGain AutoClassify, eGain AutoWorkflow, eGain Notify, and eGain Survey--are the company's latest process automation solutions. EGain AutoClassify uses the company's Inference engine to classify and route queries. "As the email channel and the chat channel are becoming more and more common with the phone channel, classification of emails is becoming important from a skills-based routing [perspective]," Roy says.
EGain AutoWorkflow works with eGain Workflow Engine and eGain Adapters to automate processes; eGain Notify manages and delivers automatic reminders, alerts, and updates throughout the customer life cycle; and eGain Survey provides companies with an automated system for soliciting customer feedback, according to the company. Distance learning institution Penn Foster Career School has already implemented the suite.
E-service is moving away from being a subspecialty of customer service, according to Chip Gliedman, a vice president at Forrester Research. "Previously, customer service was a phone problem [and] email and chat were an e-service problem," he says. "This barrier is dropping. Companies do not want to manage multiple tools to deal with each of the channels, as this is a management nightmare. Rules in each product must be maintained. Integration between tools must be constructed, et cetera."
Additionally, Gliedman says, "We see a rise in the number of interactions that are taking place by other [means] than the phone--most notably through chat and email that results from a self-service experience initiated on a company's Web site. Having the tools to create a unified interaction platform should allow eGain to better address this set of needs."
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