• August 7, 2003
  • By David Myron, Editorial Director, CRM and Speech Technology magazines and SmartCustomerService.com

Text Chat and Beyond

Expanding the capabilities of its FootPrints Web-based service desk software, UniPress Software yesterday made available live eSupport tools from Atinav, developers of universal Internet access and communication applications. The integrated solutions are designed to enable help desk agents and customer service representatives (CSRs) to troubleshoot and solve technical issues faster and increase first-level support volume. UniPress has had live chat capabilities, but not a fully browser-based solution. The chat feature was already browser based -- users with a Microsoft Windows operating system running Microsoft Internet Explorer can log in hassle free -- but the remote control feature that allows agents to view and control the customer's computer was client-server-based and required a software installation on the customer end. "It's hard to help a customer install software over the phone. It could take 20 minutes to do that," says Michele McFadden, product manager at UniPress Software. "Now it takes no time. The agent can be remote-controlling within a minute of starting the communication." With the Web-based remote controlling solution from Atinav's aveComm technology, FootPrints Live eSupport enables support professionals to use a screen pop-up to ask for permission to temporarily view the customer's computer screen. After the customer clicks "OK," the agent can get a customer's eye view of the computer screen. With the customer's permission, the agent can also take control of the customer's desktop to help with various tasks, like installing a new driver or directing the customer to a Web site. The baseline FootPrints Web-based service software starts at $3,995 for a three-agent starter pack, which comes with two free Live eSupport concurrent session licenses. Additional FootPrints Live eSupport starts at $995 per session. The average small to medium-size customer, McFadden says, spends roughly $20,000 for the server software, 20 helpdesk agent or CSR licenses, and unlimited customer self-service. Yearly maintenance fees, which include unlimited technical support and upgrades is 18 percent of the first year implementation costs. This October UniPress and Atinav expect to integrate FootPrints Advanced Collaboration and Voice over IP (VoIP), offering multiple users collaboration tools for Web conferencing, VoIP, application sharing, virtual whiteboard, and file transfer. VoIP has come a long way in the past couple of years, enabling people to use it much like a regular phone. The benefit is talking long distance at the price of a local call. "If customers have a microphone and a speaker they can actually talk live over the Internet at no cost," McFadden says. "This is yet another support option for customers." UniPress already has more than 1,500 customers, predominantly in the financial services, education, healthcare, and manufacturing markets.
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