eGain Takes Call Centers to the Next Level

Kevin Newcomb

Updated · Jul 31, 2001

Interaction Management software provider eGain Communications Corp. (NASDAQ:EGAN) today launched E3 — eGain eService Enterprise — a tool for phone-based call centers to enhance productivity and evolve into multi-channel contact centers.

E3 is an integrated software solution that provides multi-channel interaction management, helping corporate call centers to Web-enable their customer interactions. It is a modular solution that integrates eGain's applications for knowledge management, inbound and outbound email management, real-time Web assistance (text chat and co-browsing) and four types of Web-based self-service, including innovative guided service. These applications had previously been available stand-alone, linked channel to channel or integrated via professional services.

Companies can deploy an initial knowledge management solution in as little as three weeks, gradually expanding the underlying knowledge base with structured cases over time. E3 provides a single conversational interface to access both case-based knowledge and unstructured corporate documents. Thus, as a company builds structured knowledge cases, users can access additional information using a familiar interface. E3's knowledge base can be used by both agents and customers, and can be accessed by all channels.

E3's modular solution is important selling point in today's economic environment, according to Mary Wardley, program director, CRM Applications research at IDC. “Our research shows that while end user organizations regard a CRM strategy as critical, the current economic environment has caused them to adopt a more long range, incremental approach in regards to implementation. With eGain's product set, companies can implement one or two at a time over time, with the assurance that the end result will be a cohesive solution.”

For real-time interactions, E3 offers blended queues for phone, text chat and Web co-browsing, backed by integration with 90 percent of the ACDs (automatic call distributors) on the market. E3's integration with call center equipment also provides cross-channel monitoring and reporting, so supervisors can track inquiry volumes and agent workload. E3 has built-in processes to escalate unresolved customer inquiries across phone, email, real-time text chat and co-browsing, and Web self-service.

“Adding new customer contact channels can complicate interaction management as a result of cross-channel effects, channel limitations and customer channel preferences,” said Tim Hickernell, a senior program director in META Group's Web & Collaboration Strategies Service. “Companies adopting hybrid-channel service must adopt multi-channel escalation strategies to ensure customer inquiries are answered in the shortest amount of time, through the appropriate channels and utilizing the lowest cost service resources possible.”

E3's real-time Web channels enable service agents to use E3's live Web technology to begin a joint session at a precise area of a site and escort the customer through the Web site page by page. Agents can even help customers jointly filling out forms, working within security parameters set for sensitive information such as credit card numbers, stock order transmissions, or personal data.

eGain eService Enterprise is available now for NT-based environments. A Solaris version of the solution is expected to be available by the end of the year. Pricing is based on the aggregate of cross-channel licenses, using a per-seat schedule for all agent-facing applications, and concurrent access numbers for the self-service environment. A typical multi-channel deployment for an entry-level configuration of E3 averages $200,000 for license, support and professional services.

Headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif., eGain has an operating presence in 18 countries and serves close to 800 enterprise customers worldwide.

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