PRODUCT PROFILE

Kana Response 7.5

E-mail was the first electronic channel for addressing customer queries, and Kana has been active in that space since the application’s early days in the late 1990s. Kana designed its Response 7.5 e-mail management system to help global enterprises respond quickly and efficiently to customer queries while keeping human interactions to a minimum.

Recent upgrades to the e-mail management tool include improved language capabilities and a feature that provides links to a company knowledge base.

Kana Response is robust, has a large installed base and integrates well with other key modules in the company’s CRM suite, Timothy Hickernell, senior program director of Web and collaboration strategies at Meta Group, told CRM Buyer Magazine.

Watch Your Language

Kana is peddling this offering to companies that are pursuing worldwide CRM strategies. It answers inbound e-mail and Web inquiries in multiple languages, and the user-interface language settings — as well as formatting for currencies, dates and measurements — can be localized easily and quickly. This helps businesses lower their service costs because customer-service reps can operate in their native language and can handle multilingual content using the same application interface.

This is beneficial for enterprises looking to consolidate worldwide customer-service operations, explained Kana Response product manager Greg Bowman. “It has a lot to do with economics. Companies are not getting more headcount and are looking for ways customers can help themselves,” he told CRM Buyer.

Self-Service Session Links

Kana Response directs customers to Web self-service sessions in its e-mail responses to help them resolve questions on their own. By integrating Kana’s ResponseIQ knowledge base with Response 7.5, agents can automatically respond to customer e-mails with a link to a relevant Web page. This feature eliminates the need to answer many routine queries manually.

The application also provides multichannel tools for analyzing customer inquiries, evaluating performance of both the e-mail system and customer-service agents, and identifying trends and opportunities for improvement.

Additional Benefits

A high-performance Web-based client is designed to offer customer-service representatives the convenience and speed of a desktop application with the deployment benefits of a Web architecture. This provides IT departments with zero-maintenance client deployment and self-maintenance capabilities at the agent desktop as new versions are loaded onto the server.

Other features of Kana Response 7.5:

  • Automatic routing of messages to work queues, priority queues and department queues;
  • Using automatic responses and suggestions to minimize human intervention;
  • Increasing the use of inexpensive automatic responses by incorporating artificial intelligence to analyze and classify messages;
  • Setting up automated e-mail management by department to reflect each department’s specific processes;
  • Using real-time chat sessions to service complex and time-sensitive requests;
  • Running real-time reports on message activity and using service analytics to identify operational improvement opportunities.

    Market Outlook

    The customer-service e-mail segment has seen a lot of consolidation in the past few years. Populating the landscape are such CRM vendors as Siebel, E.piphany, Kana and Onyx, along with a group of contact-center companies that includes Avaya, Cisco and Genesys. A few pure-play vendors remain in the customer-service e-mail realm as well.

    For those looking to make a purchase, “buying decisions depend on what companies already have installed,” Hickernell said. Companies with heavy investments in CRM are apt to use e-mail technology from vendors with that focus.

    Response 7.5 is attractive to Kana’s large CRM customer base for that reason, and although e-mail is not the most cost-efficient customer-service technology, Kana is well suited to address a mixed-channel scenario, Hickernell said.

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