• September 23, 2003
  • By David Myron, Editorial Director, CRM and Speech Technology magazines and SmartCustomerService.com

RightNow Offers Email Marketing

The CRM hosting space will have to make more room for RightNow Technologies. The company, which already has more than 1,000 customers using its hosted customer service solution, yesterday announced it will be shipping in October its latest platform, RightNow Service 6.0. The product has more than 200 enhancements, and includes the company's first outbound marketing product, RightNow Outbound. RightNow Service 6.0 and RightNow Outbound will combine to create a centralized, agent-centric application, enabling service professionals to proactively service customers and marketers to create dynamic, customer-centric email campaigns. The integration of its service suite with its outbound marketing solution comes at a time when service organizations are being asked to contribute more to a company's top line growth, says Greg Gianforte, CEO and founder of RightNow. "Because most interactions with customers occur postsale rather than presale, both customer service managers and marketers are missing a golden opportunity to mine service data to proactively address customer issues and send the most relevant marketing messages," Sheryl Kingstone, CRM program manager at Yankee Group said in a prepared statement. Gianforte agrees: "There are more client touches in the service department than any other department." He adds that executives are realizing the importance of leveraging the information garnered from customer service interactions, but the data is often segmented and not shared with other departments. Hence, the customer service information is never leveraged in other departments, such as marketing. Gianforte warns that if customer service organizations do not share customer information with marketers, companies they stand to lose their customers. "Customer expectations are increasing," he says, led largely by innovative companies like Amazon.com that better target customers with effective personalized marketing campaigns. The enhancements found in RightNow Service 6.0 include a streamlined console for customer service agents; incident-queuing for skills-based routing; expanded knowledge-base searching capabilities; advanced customer interaction management capabilities to identify high-value customers; and an analytics reporting engine that enables managers to track customer trends, assess service performance, and implement customized exception alerting. RightNow Outbound provides marketers with the ability to conduct audience segmentation for targeted email campaigns and personalized, rich content generation. Message optimization features allow service managers and marketers to test alternative email messages for effectiveness and to tabulate the results to determine the best format, content, and timing for a specific mailing. Also, inline analytics and reporting allow service managers and marketers to measure the campaign performance and analyze the customer response data. "With RightNow Outbound you can test the effectiveness of various things like the subject line in an email, the time of day the email was sent. You can test to see if customers respond better to a free shipping offer or a 20 percent-off campaign to see which is most effective and you can see how many emails were sent, bounced, viewed, clicked, replied, or unsubscribed," says Danielle Wanderer, group product manager for RightNow Service.
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