eGain puts a face on self-service Web app

Customer relationship management (CRM) vendor eGain Communications is set to launch an improved version of its Assistant 5.0 Web...

Customer relationship management (CRM) vendor eGain Communications is set to launch an improved version of its Assistant 5.0 Web self-service software.

Assistant 5.0 is a Web-based support tool that answers questions that visitors submit in a natural-language format.

To make the system more lifelike, a Web agent projects animated facial expressions onto a box in the screen.

New to the product is an expanded case-building capability that automates eGain's ability to build the product's answer database. The software's ability to answer questions is based on clusters of knowledge such as frequently asked questions.

"Basically, when we go out to build an application for a customer, we request the customer to provide us [with] all the knowledge that he wants to build from in a question-and-answer format," said Pedro Cortopassi, engineering manager for eGain Assistant.

"What they've done in 5.0 is they have incorporated, or fine-tuned, more of that case-based reasoning," said Assistant 5.0 user Milton Santiago, first vice-president and head of electronic banking products at ABN Amro Bank. "It makes it very conversational, so that in some cases people think they are really speaking to a live person."

ABN AMRO uses Assistant 5.0 for a self-service cash management application.

"The self-service component of eGain gives us the ability to give the customer self-service responses that are first of all accurate and consistent," Santiago said.

Santiago said, however, that he would like to see more animation in the application so that the face the customer sees looks more lifelike. But he said he anticipates this kind of progress from eGain in the future.

Version 5.0 also includes enhanced reporting, which allows almost instantaneous daily activity reports. The software also contains support for Japanese and Italian.

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