Shock, Horror! Software For Customer Service Without A Degree


Why is it that software companies assume everyone on the network is an IT person?

Just look at the vast majority of network management software, or even general enterprise business software and even IT-savvies typically still need a training course or two to get up to speed. When it comes to helpdesk – I mean just think about the average call centre person you deal with – why should that person have IT written all the way through them?

Such is the reasoning behind the release of Sostenuto CSM by the guys at Sunrise Software – a customer service management solution built from one of my favourite frameworks of the decade (Sostenuto – see various reports on the Broadband-Testing website for proof of this). I popped down to the Sunrise offices in Chessington recently for a demo, eschewing the attractions of the zoo and the theme park in favour of the Sunrise offices, principally because I knew they’d take me for a pint afterwards .Mind – thanks to the wonder that isn’t the British rail network, it took me over three hours to do a 40 minute journey – so, not too bad you’re thinking – so it was a good job that the software is so easy to demo that we still made the pub (just about) on time.

The idea is that, to date, CSM solutions are too long-winded (praise the lord!) and are therefore both too complicated and too expensive to use (hallelujah!). And they don’t speak to the user in English, but ITish. Geoff Rees, would-be rocker and also sales director at Sunrise reckons that the classic CSM product is ideal for “internally focused” IT guys but is not designed for basic “human” query management – aka, normal people trying to find out what’s happening. As it happens he’s correct and his taste in guitars isn’t too shabby either.

The point he makes is that no two customer service departments are the same – it’s likely that agents will use unique terminology and the way a query is handled will also be very specific to each individual organisation. So, with the Sostenuto solution, you create the interface to suit the business model, very much like my mates at do for general enterprise software. So, the business controls the software, not the other way around. Which is nice…

And looking outside of the Sostenuto applications – ITSM and CSM – that have primarily been developed to date, do not that if you fancy the idea of creating other service management tools that follow the Sostenuto approach, you can do – just speak nicely to Martin (Devonian lager lout) Julyan at Sunrise and he’ll build one for you. He’ll even tell you which bits of Plymouth and good to live in and which are to avoid and then tell you to live in Torquay instead. Nothing Fawlty about the software though; check it out!