• August 3, 2004
  • By Coreen Bailor, (former) Associate Editor, CRM Magazine

Self-Service Magic

As customers grow increasingly interested in self-service, companies look for new ways to improve the self-service experience. Kanisa has unveiled Kanisa6 to help organizations do so, offering what Ben Kaplan, Kanisa vice president of marketing and products, thinks are "key drivers" for customers to want to update to the new solution. The latest version of the company's application suite for service resolution management explores a variety of areas that help users navigate through self-service. According to Kaplan, the new version's most significant feature "is the enhanced business process support for self-service and we call those resolution wizards. They guide the user through a resolution process online." For example, Kanisa offers an error code wizard and in this instance, they can guide the user through identifying the type of error code they are receiving and the type of solution the company can provide. "You can envision lots of these resolution wizards being deployed for not only error codes, but return materials authorization, installation guides, the allocation of mutual funds for a 401K, an account lookup, [or] a password reset," Kaplan says. The upgrade also offers an integrated version of Kanisa Expert Forums as a mechanism for customers to receive service. Previously, Kaplan says, Kanisa had two ways of delivering help: optimizing the relationship between agents and customers with the Support Center product, or optimizing the way customers could help themselves with the Support Site, Kanisa's self-service product. "Now we offer expert forums, which is a way for expert customers to help other customers--in effect, for Kanisa to offer a peer support application. And this is done via communities where customers with expertise in products or services basically post threads and resolve customer problems online." Kaplan says that now, "with resolution wizards and true business process support, the world of self-service opens up, really, into...new frontiers beyond just search, and reaching true resolution of customer issues." Another new feature in Kanisa6 are pagelets, XML based UI and application components that can be easily deployed, customized, and easily embedded in other applications. As an example, Kaplan says, "If a company has already deployed an entire Web infrastructure or portal infrastructure, our pagelet architecture allows Kanisa to plug and play inside other Web infrastructures." Other key components include intuitive authoring with autotagging, detailed Web-session tracking, and a machine learning-and-reputation model. Kaplan says: "[The] learning engine-and-reputation model...uses implicit and explicit feedback to improve the relevance of searches not only for content but also for people. With our collaboration capabilities in both Support Center and Kanisa Expert Forums, we can continuously improve the help that people get when they search for content and when they're trying to find experts to solve their problems." According to Kaplan, most of the enhancements are oriented towards its self-service application, Support Site: "We really wanted to invest heavily in a next generation self-service application, and we did that in version 6." Related articles: Online Service: Better for Customers, Or for the Bottom Line? Customer Self-Service: Are You Ready?
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