• December 16, 2003
  • By David Myron, Editorial Director, CRM and Speech Technology magazines and SmartCustomerService.com

Email Management: Be Local, Act Global

Email management is a global concern for KANA. The company yesterday unveiled its KANA Response 8 email management solution, with international support to capitalize on the growing business process outsourcing (BPO) trend. Roughly one year after its release of KANA Response version 7.5, KANA made available version 8, which joins KANA Contact Center and KANA IQ within the KANA iCARE suite of J2EE-based applications. That all three components of KANA iCARE are available in J2EE eases integration efforts, according to Ken Jochims, director of marketing at KANA. "Everything is running on the same framework, making them easier to deploy," he says. This positions KANA customers to capitalize on the growing BPO trend, enabling companies to benefit from low-cost labor available in offshore regions like India and the Philippines. Email responses can be conducted offshore and managed in the United States, using KANA IQ to look for customer-specific information. By enabling managers to keep tabs on the customer data in an outsourced relationship, Jochims rebukes the claims of those who argue outsourcing makes companies less informed about their customers. "A corporate office [in the U.S.] could have such a close connection to customer information in the knowledge base that they can monitor and manage it [remotely], so they don't have to do that in the local country," he says. Industry pundits are recognizing the importance of integrating email response management with other customer service applications. "Email like all other channels is moving toward the customer interaction hub, and therefore, must be integrated with other channels," Esteban Kolsky, senior analyst at Gartner, said in his report, "Simplifying the Process of Selecting an ERMS Vendor," released earlier this year. The email response-management system provides agent-assisted service with automated email response, Web forms, and instant messaging-request management. The solution's reporting features allow businesses to categorize and report the most frequently asked consumer service inquiries. KANA Response 8 integrates with KANA's Web-based self-service system, KANA IQ software. The solution can classify and route emails to the most appropriate agent. Kana Response 8 provides international support so agents can work in their native tongue. It also offers multichannel service analytics for analyzing customer inquiries. Additionally, the product can evaluate performance and accuracy of the email system, as well as customer service agents to identify trends and opportunities for improvement. "KANA enables us to meet our objective of improving customer service without increasing costs in the contact center," said Gudjon Arngrimsson, director of corporate communication for Icelandair in a statement. "The flexibility and scalability of KANA Response ensures that we are able to support our customers who increasingly rely on Web-based means of communication without [hiring] additional contact center staff." The KANA iCARE suite of is available for Global 2000 healthcare, telecommunications, and financial services companies.
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