RightNow's Latest Release Puts Things in Context

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.

Related articles: RightNow Embraces Web 2.0 The Montana-based CRM software provider unveils the November '07 edition of its flagship product, replete with trendy new features. RightNow Partners for a Mashup The Bozeman bunch signs partnerships with Demandware and Cast Iron Systems to expand its e-commerce and integration capabilities. Feature: The 2007 Market Awards: Hall of Fame Greg Gianforte has been one of our Influential Leaders in each of the last two years, and as his company, RightNow Technologies, celebrates its 10th anniversary, we welcome him to the CRM Hall of Fame. RightNow: Ready with More Multichannel Muscle RightNow Summit '07: The vendor's newest release adds emotion detection, sitemap functionality, personalized routing, and a bundle of new chat features. Beagle Honors the Wizzes in the Biz Beagle Research releases its third annual WizKid awards, which honors both big companies and niche players that have been frontrunners of innovation in the industry. RightNow Delivers on Voice Commitment Two years after first acquiring voice technology, the company integrates it into outbound processes and reveals an e-service trend. Customers Are Sick of Service, Literally Consumers can get ill over bad service experiences, but there is a silver lining: Most of them buy more from a company because of a good service experience. Net-Net: RightNow Buys Salesnet The customer experience management force gains SFA expertise, a workflow engine, and customers; an integrated solution should be ready by summer's end. RightNow Gets Schooled RightNow Higher Education, the vendor's first vertical-specific solution, is aimed at helping institutions recruit, retain, and inform students; additional tailored offerings will follow. RightNow's Voice The company's latest voice apps can ID callers and provide agents with information; one analyst says that integrating its CRM capabilities with customers' premise-based phone tools "will continue to be a challenge." RightNow Announces a Major Extension to its CRM Suite RightNow Summit '04: The on-demand solutions provider released RightNow CRM 7.0 at its user conference this week. RightNow's IPO Marks the Firm's Passage Into Maturity Now a more seasoned company with strong growth over the past two years, the customer service specialist goes public despite a lower pricing than anticipated. RightNow Offers Email Marketing Hosted customer service provider announces its biggest product upgrade of the year and introduces its first marketing product.
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