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Review: Island Data Express Response

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Posted April 12, 2002 By EnterpriseAppsToday.com Staff     Feedback

Island Data Express Response is an automated customer service solution that reduces your call center burden and can be used to cross-sell and up-sell, identify your best (and worst) customers, and pinpoint untapped revenue opportunities so you can stay one step ahead of the competition.

By Bonny L. Georgia

The key to building lasting, profitable relationships with customers is making superior customer service your top priority. But if your e-business is too overwhelmed by online inquires and service requests to respond in a timely, thoughtful manner, you could be leaving sales on the table. Island Data Express Response is an automated customer service solution that reduces your call center burden by fielding the majority of queries without human intervention. It can also be used to cross-sell and up-sell, identify your best (and worst) customers, and pinpoint untapped revenue opportunities so you can stay one step ahead of the competition.

How it works
Express Response is a Web-based, hosted application that integrates with most existing contact center applications. When a customer visiting your Web site needs assistance, they submit their call for help using several methods -- Web forms, e-mail, FAQ searches or live chat. All questions are funneled into Express Response's sophisticated analytics and autoresponse system. Incoming messages are then screened by the Query Profiling System (QPS) for tone, urgency, profanity, and six other client-definable rules to determine the most appropriate response.

Non-urgent questions or questions of a repetitive nature are taken care of immediately by an auto responder, which searches a central knowledge base for potential responses, then pushes the most likely answer and supporting materials to the customer. Island Data estimates that roughly 50 percent of customer queries are eliminated at this autoresponder level, reducing call volumes and call center costs dramatically.

Messages flagged by QPS as sales opportunities or customers at risk of being lost are routed to a salesperson or live customer service representative for immediate attention. Customers are also escalated to a live agent whenever scripted answers fail or a personalized response is required. If there isn't enough detail in a query to craft a response, agents may request additional information from the customer before answering.

Knowledge base development and support
Without a deep and dynamic library of support documentation to draw from, the auto-responding aspect of Express Response is dead in the water. Recognizing that you may not have a full-time knowledge manager to oversee the care and feeding of this critical resource, Express Response makes it painless to author and edit new knowledge base content on the fly. Every customer query is tracked so agents can turn freshly scripted responses into future support files. Customers are also encouraged to submit feedback reports when a FAQ file fails to answer their question or when auto responses are not helpful, identifying the need for additional content.

Usage patterns and customer feedback is used to rank the most helpful documents so the best are always presented at the top of your FAQ and to service agents first (documents used least may reveal the need to review and revise). Another tool for identifying gaps in your knowledge base is Express Response's "concept finder" utility that clusters similar unanswered queries together so you can build a document to address them, or pinpoint problems with the associated product or service.

Powerful backend reporting
A variety of trend identification, session auditing, and service reports included with Express Response help you keep tabs on call center performance, and extend functionality as a CRM tool.

The Administration Portal presents a one-page "dashboard" view of your entire customer service operation. Graphs chart session volume trends, while red, yellow, and green alert icons tied to custom thresholds highlight the hottest sales opportunities and issues that require immediate attention.

Because all stored customer sessions can be reviewed, searched and sorted, you can see not only how many messages arrived during a given time period but what the hot topic was, and whether your agents handled it effectively. To aid in sales calls or follow up on tough cases you can review a detailed history of all interactions with a specific customer.

Overall
Express Response is an enterprise-class, end-to-end customer service solution that collects online customer queries (via e-mail, live chat, Web forms, and more), prioritizes them, and automates their resolution so customers get the support they need, fast. While customers benefit from faster, more accurate service, dynamic knowledge base building, custom metrics and backend reports capture the feedback your marketing team needs to keep customers happy and boost future sales.

Who's using it:
RealNetworks, Adobe, NetGear, DialPad, Cox Communications, Canon, Intel

Fees:
You'll pay a one-time setup fee of $3,000 to $50,000 based on the level of customization and integration needed. Per-session fees range from as little as $.01 per session up to as high as $.60 per session; discounts apply based on the total session volume for each month.

Pros:
Secure, hosted Web application that can be implemented in as little as one week; works with most existing call center applications. Automated responses offload repetitive questions and low priority issues so agents can concentrate on your toughest customers.

Cons:
No ability to "rent" call center agents if needed. Pricing structure favors high volumes of service transactions.

At-a-Glance Features
Product/Company Island Data
Rating (Out of five)
URL http://www.islanddata.com
Fees See above
System Requirements An Internet connection and a Web browser
Platforms Any
Review Summary Express Response is an end-to-end customer service solution that collects online customer queries (via e-mail, live chat, Web forms, and more), prioritizes them, and streamlines their resolution so customers get the support they need, fast. While customers benefit from faster, more accurate service, dynamic knowledge base building utilities, custom metrics and backend reports capture the feedback your marketing team needs to keep customers happy and boost future sales.

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