ATG Commerce Service Center Debuts

ATG has introduced a service center application for its e-commerce suite, ATG Commerce, that builds on some of the company’s previous acquisitions. The Commerce Service Center contact center application integrates e-commerce functionality with back-end order administration, sales support and customer care.

Like most service applications, ATG CSC offers personalization tools so reps can identify cross-sell and up-sell opportunities. However, the product differentiates itself, ATG explained, because it not only gives agents a comprehensive view of the previous interactions the customer has had with the company, but also shows service reps what a customer is looking at while placing the call to the rep.

In other words, it shows the same catalog, promotions, coupons, cross-sells, up-sells and customer information that the customer is seeing at the Web store.

Competitive Differentiators

“The new ATG Commerce Service Center represents a unity between customer service and e-commerce that was desperately lacking in the marketplace,” said Cliff Conneighton, senior vice president of ATG. “Agents can now present relevant and personal offers at the right time, in the right way, throughout the entire buying process.”

While it may not qualify as a unique differentiating factor, the product offers tight integration of the voice channel into the service center — but that functionality is seen as increasingly irrelevant, according to Rebecca Wettemann, vice president of Nucleus Research.

“While a few years ago customers might call customer service to ask about a Web purchase, few online purchases today involve both a Web transaction and a phone call,” she told CRM Buyer. “People call only if they can’t buy what they’re looking for on the Web — either because the Web site is poorly designed or because they want a specific or custom item that isn’t available.”

There are other strong customer service/call center applications with a history in the marketplace that manage multiple channels of customer interaction — like RightNow, for example. They can also integrate with other applications to provide call center employees with single-application access to order and inventory information, she added.

Building on Previous Functionality

The current iteration of ATG Commerce is influenced by several acquisitions the company has made in recent years, Kelly O’Neill, product marketing director, told CRM Buyer. These include Primus, whose functionality is incorporated into the platform, and eStara, which can be integrated into it as an add-on.

“The evolution of this product started when we released the CSR (customer service representative) module service years ago,” she said. “That provided a starting point for customers that wanted to build out a custom solution for tracking orders and related processes.”

The only problem — for some firms, at least — was that there was a fair amount of work required on the front end, she said.

Several customers did implement the module, though, and ATG subsequently added to their work. It released Commerce Assist, which provided the earlier service functionality with a user interface that lessened the need for deep integration.

ATG updated the user interface with Ajax technology so pages could upload more quickly, and agents could input and download information more easily. Then, its acquisition of Primus allowed the firm to add strong search and knowledge management and response management processes to the platform. Last year’s acquisition of eStara — a US$48.3 million transaction — can also be used with the platform, O’Neill said, although it is not completely integrated into the core.

eStara specializes in click-to-call technology — an online e-commerce tool that lets a customer care rep contact a buyer online to see if the buyer has any questions.

“Fortunately, eStara is platform-agnostic, so it is easy for customers to integrate today,” O’Neill noted. “Our plan is to eventually integrate it into the product.”

The end result of this layering of technology, she said, “is a true agent service center that provides the functionality to handle the commerce lifecycle.”

ATG Commerce Service Center is available as licensed software or as part of the ATG Commerce OnDemand portfolio.

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