Catch up with eGain: New Applications Released in Version 7.6
I have known some of the folks at eGain from the early days. eGain got their start with email response management systems (ERMS) back in 1998, and I believe my first meeting with eGain was in 1999 when Clarify was interested in partnering with an ERMS vendor. During my Giga and Forrester days, I was invited to speak at some eGain conferences, both in the US and in Europe. Interestingly, unlike most of the players in this space, eGain has kept the same core executive team for many years, and this has helped them have a consistent vision and not go after every new trend and buzzword.
I had a briefing with eGain on Wednesday to hear what’s new, and to get more information on eGain Service 7.6 that was released last fall. For a ‘point’ release, 7.6 had a lot of new capabilities, including 9 new applications. Some of these were frequent customer customizations that have now been productized and added to the base product. Here are some of the new capabilities that I found the most interesting:
- eGain Advisor. If you are a frequent reader of my research you know how important I think intelligent upsell/cross-sell is for all inbound support centers. And creating incremental revenue is also a key piece of moving toward Value-Added Support. Leveraging their Inference engine, embedded process management and a very flexible UI, eGain Advisor identifies appropriate offers to extend to customers in context of the service interaction (SSPA members should check out this research report to understand why context matters). Here’s a screenshot of the product in action, taken from a large international banking customer:
- eGain CallTrack. I’ve long maintained that the traditional CRM customer information model was overkill for many consumer industries, and eService vendors are gaining more visibility for basic customer management and incident tracking with their more consumer-friendly approach. The eGain Calltrack product (integrated call handling, knowledge base, and customer information) is a good fit for B2C contact centers, handling and resolving inquiries from both anonymous callers (customers or prospects) and authenticated customers. eGain supports a multi-channel customer hub, including phone, email, Web, chat and now SMS.
- eGain MessageCenter. HIPAA and consumer privacy acts have complicated the email channel for healthcare and financial services companies, and MessageCenter offers a secure place for companies to communicate with customers when legislation or ‘best practices’ make regular emails off limits. When you send an email to the customer (including a response to an email they sent you) the customer receives an email with a link to a secure location on your website to read and respond to the email text. With eGain MessageCenter, customers can also open new cases/tickets, check their status, and get a complete view of their past interactions with the business.
- eGain SMS. eGain has added a new channel to the mix: SMS messaging. While US teenagers love texting, it hasn’t found adoption to as large an audience as in Europe–there are televised speed texting contests in the UK–but interest is growing. I love text messaging, and send 5-10 a day from my Samsung slider phone. Now, companies using eGain can instantiate inbound SMS messages from customers as a support incident, and respond back via SMS with information. Notifications based on events and across the customer or issue lifecycle can be sent to customers through SMS, email and voice channels.
- eGain AutoClassify. I have said multiple times that ERMS is the single most underutilized tool in eService (see the recommendations section of this document). Though capabilities have continued to mature, support managers I speak with are still afraid to turn on ‘auto-response,’ so even simple, repetitive questions continue to come to live agents for assistance. Maybe AutoClassify will help change that. Instead of relying on text parsing and rules to identify appropriate content for auto-response and auto-suggest, AutoClassify uses artificial intelligence to understand what the customer is asking and provide an accurate answer, including leveraging eGain’s inferencing engine for intelligent reasoning and eGain’s Data Adapter to pull in real-time customer information from external systems to help filter the correct response.
- eGain Notify. Today’s demanding customers want the right content at the right time, and they want it personalized. Notify eliminates the need for a 3rd party messaging application (one more nail in that coffin, I’m afraid) completely. You can create rules that fire off any event (bounced check, running low on cell phone minutes, possible fraud transaction on a credit card, etc.) and send the customer an instant message via phone (automated voice messaging), email or SMS text. And customers can even sign up for messages (think airline gate changes). This is another area I see as more popular in Europe and of growing interest in the US. On my last trip to the UK, I was surprised at the number of pay-as-you-go messaging services: news headlines, sports scores, weather reports, anything you can imagine, delivered via text to your cell phone.
Obviously, eGain has moved way beyond ERMS, now offering a full suite of ‘best of breed’ eService tools, including knowledgebase, diagnostics, web chat and collaboration, etc., but I still think they understand the complexities of email–which continues to grow in volume according to SSPA Benchmark Metrics–better than most.
If you have any comments or questions, please add a comment or drop me an email. Thanks for reading!