• November 1, 2006
  • By Colin Beasty, (former) Associate Editor, CRM Magazine

Tech Solution: Email Management Tools

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Email service needs to be fast, reliable, and accurate, yet many companies take longer than 24 hours to respond to inquiries, according to recent surveys. Traditionally, customer service solutions have not emphasized handling increases in email inquiries. Customers who experience long waits and off-the-mark replies are likely to pick up the phone and call a CSR the next time they have a problem, or go to a competitor. Fortunately there is an answer: email management tools.

KANA Response
Delivery Model: Web-based and installed software

Price: As part of KANA's on-demand suite of applications, pricing starts at $25,000; for the on-premise version, pricing starts at $95,000.

Business Benefits: KANA Response enables call centers to monitor email volumes, ensuring timely response so service levels are never exceeded. Call centers can increase response consistency and reduce reply time and agent training. Supervisors can analyze and improve contact center performance with reporting and analytics. The solution comes in an enterprise, midmarket, and hosted version.

Functionality: Designed to handle more than 500,000 inbound emails every day in numerous languages, KANA Response can automatically pull customer data in real time from other CRM applications and back-office systems to automate the resolution of transactional inquiries, such as billing adjustments or fee disputes. KANA Response lets agents populate the desktop with most likely solutions, prefilled replies that include context-specific customer data aggregated from back-end systems, canned phrase selection, and user-defined hot keys.

Contact: KANA at 1-800-737-8738; email at sales@kana.com; or visit www.kana.com

Kintera CRM

Delivery Model: Web-based

Price: Pricing for Kintera CRM is based on number of contact records in the database. For a 10,000-record, five-user, one-year contract, pricing would begin at $160 per month.

Business Benefits: A part of Kintera CRM (the company's suite offering), Kintera Email lets users manage and reply to high volumes of emails, and allows for email blasts of up to 500,000 per hour. By using customer data cross referenced with Kintera CRM, agents can automate follow-up emails based on actions the recipient made in previous emails.

Functionality: Agents can create automatic emails that are sent out based on day and time, such as renewals or pledge reminders. In conjunction with Kintera CRM, end users can arrange automatic reply emails based on content included in previous emails. A Query Manager uses a folder interface to create lists based on database fields.

Contact: Kintera at 866-546-8372; email at info@kintera.com; or visit www.kintera.com

Talisma Email

Delivery Model: Web-based and installed software

Price: The hosted version ranges from $60 to $100 per user; the on-premise version ranges from $700 to $1,500 per user.

Business Benefits: Email chains are tracked and stored, providing agents with a complete view of customer history across channels, putting the current interaction in context. Agents can leverage an advanced rules-based queuing and routing system to ensure emails are sent to the appropriate agent.
Functionality: Agents can reply to emails using agent productivity tools, such as canned content, single screen access to other systems, and a customizable interface. Talisma Email filters all incoming emails, replies with automatic acknowledgments, routes emails to the appropriate agent, suggests appropriate responses, and then automatically responds. It also creates a custom dictionary.

Contact: Talisma at 1-800-474-1149; or visit www.talisma.com

Contact Assistant Editor Colin Beasty at cbeasty@destinationCRM.com.

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