Right Now puts service in customers' hands

Customer, serve thyself. that's the message customer support managers are sending, and one vendor is out to make sure that customers can serve themselves effectively.

Customer, serve thyself. that's the message customer support managers are sending, and one vendor is out to make sure that customers can serve themselves effectively.

Right Now Technologies Inc., of Bozeman, Mont., is releasing this month an expanded suite of Web-based customer service applications.

For dot-com companies, Right Now's suite is the answer to what can be an overwhelming customer service dilemma. Rick Lowe, vice president of customer service and support at Infonet Services Corp., in San Jose, Calif., said the suite is a boon for online companies that have to address customer service in a way that brick-and-mortar players do not. Lowe said he uses Right Now's applications to support half a million Web sites with a staff of 10 support specialists.

"Every morning, you open your door, and there's 6 million people standing there with $5 in their hand," Lowe said. "And every nine months, it doubles. Traditional LAN client/server applications do not scale in the Internet environment."

Lowe, whose company uses the latest version of the Right Now Web service suite, said he's able to track multiple sites under the umbrella of one application, thereby avoiding the need to install multiple instances of the same software.

Right Now Web Version 3.0, available now, includes enhanced e-mail management and call center and self-help applications, along with new components or ele ments. Among the new features is Right Now Contracts, which allows users to track maintenance contracts via the Web. Right Now Surveys, due later this month, will allow Web designers to determine customers' satisfaction with their sites.

Also due this year is Right Now Live, which allows support personnel to initiate a live Web chat or place a telephone call based on a customer's real-time feedback via a Web site.

Right Now also plans to add an SDK (software development kit) by the first quarter of next year.

For Ken Corpus, a technical support specialist in the scanner products group at Xerox Corp., in Stamford, Conn., the most intriguing component of Right Now Web 3.0 is a custom report generator that tracks customers' behavior on a site and automatically generates a report. Corpus said he plans to deploy the Surveys component.

"We are responsible for customer satisfaction," he said. "Right now, we either have to hire someone to do it or do it ourselves."

Users said the key advantage of Right Now is the software's ability to take care of customers online, thereby stemming the tide of support phone calls. Right Now handles more than 99 percent of customer support issues without the customer having to go beyond the capabilities of the system, users said.

Right Now Web 3.0 is available for $19,500 for a two-year license. Right Now Contracts costs $10,000 for the same license, as does Surveys. The company has not determined pricing for Right Now Live or the SDK.

Right Now can be reached at (406) 522-2900 or www.rightnowtech.com.

New Right Now

Right Now Web 3.0Facilitates Web-based self-service
Right Now ContractsAllows users to track service contracts
Right Now SurveysBuilds customer satisfaction surveys and produces reports
Right Now LiveAllows customer service reps to chat live online
Right Now SDKAllows users to build onto Right Now applications