BUSINESS AT NET SPEED Click for June 22, 1998 issue

At Your (Cyber) Service

It's rare to find a Web site that coddles customers, but improvements are on the way

SMART SOFTWARE
In the future, a smart software program will immediately parse customers' messages and automatically respond--either by firing back a canned answer or by ''interviewing'' the customer via E-mail to determine the proper response. If the problem is too tough, the software might then route the request to the proper employee.

BEST OF BOTH WORLDS
Phone support will no longer be what frustrated customers turn to when they can't find an answer online. With a click of an icon, they'll be able to launch a real-time computer chat, a phone conversation, or even a full-fledged videoconference with a service rep.

COMPUTERIZED COMPLAINT BOX
Electronic complaints will be logged into databases, just as calls to help desks are today. That means companies can mine E-mail to find recurring problems. What's more, if hundreds of customers demand a new feature, engineering can quickly go to work.




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Updated June 11, 1998 by bwwebmaster
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