Qualte XL Web-Based Customer Support

Qualte XL is a Web-based customer-support application that offers such features as “smart” e-mail, self-building knowledge bases, problem ticketing, escalation and customer-support databases. Touting its fast deployment and low total cost of ownership, Qualte says the self-service software is designed to remedy major pain points for small to mid-size companies.

Customer relationship management technology can be cost-prohibitive, particularly for small firms and those at the lower end of the mid-market, Yankee Group program manager Sheryl Kingstone told CRM Buyer Magazine, so low TCO can be a major plus.

What the Mid-Market Wants

The mid-market has been skeptical about customer-support systems and CRM in general. “Many CRM [applications] are complicated and time-consuming to implement and use,” said Qualte chief executive Peter Kim. “You need to show lower risk and lower barrier to entry,” he told CRM Buyer.

Qualte’s hosted software can be accessed remotely, and deployment costs are low, he pointed out, adding that implementation takes about a day without customization and five days if modifications are required.

Qualte XL’s startup fee begins at US$5000, with an additional price tag of $65 per seat per month. A minimum of five licenses is required, Kim said, adding that the technology takes only a few hours to learn.

Broad Brush

Despite the wariness of mid-market companies to take the CRM plunge, feature-rich customer service offerings are very important to their success, Kim noted. The goal of such applications is to merge the different channels customers use to communicate. “We want a 360-degree view of the customer,” he said. “We want to be able to review customer history, for example, regardless of the channel it came in — Web, e-mail, phone or online chat.”

To complement its customer-support product, Qualte has partnered with sales force automation (SFA) vendors, such as Salesnet and UpShot. Offering sales and marketing automation with customer support makes Qualte more competitive, Kingstone said, allowing it to deliver additional functionality important to many mid-size customers.

Wide-Angle View

One such customer is Pictage, an online photo distribution site that uses Qualte XL to handle its help links and Salesnet to manage its photo database on the front end. Combining the feature sets helps reduce manual data entry by integrating pertinent sales and customer-service information, said David Shevock, vice president of marketing and account management at Pictage.

Qualte XL enables Pictage to answer 25 percent of incoming e-mail queries automatically, Shevock told CRM Buyer, with responses generated by the firm’s knowledge base.

“I can also use it as a management tool to understand where our staff is spending time and how fast it is responding to customers,” Shevock said.

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