RightNow Adds Agent Scripting to Contact Center Toolbox

RightNow Technologies has gone deep with contact center functionality in November 08, the latest quarterly update of its flagship Software as a Service CRM application. The new version builds on RightNow’s strong self-service platform with the addition of agent-scripting technology, a desktop add-in framework, and guided assistance.

RightNow has also bundled many of its contact center features into a new software package. It includes the agent scripting introduced in November 08, feedback features, and cross-sell and upsell functionality.

It combines both new and existing features of several different modules from the main application, Andrew Hull, product marketing director, told CRM Buyer.

Agent Scripting

The most significant upgrade in November 08 is the agent-scripting functionality — for which there is currently strong market demand, Rebecca Wettemann, vice president of research at Nucleus Research, told CRM Buyer.

“A contact center manager wants to have consistent quality in the way the agents interact with the customer,” she said. “He also wants lower training costs for the call center agents, of course.”

The new features will let RightNow go head-to-head with other contact center applications, added Wettemann.

“Typically you see this level of functionality with client-server applications,” RightNow’s Hull pointed out.

The agent-scripting feature includes complex branching logic, control over the format and layout, the ability to capture and validate data right within scripts, and a graphical user interface that lets general business users create scripts.

The second addition — the desktop add-in framework — is designed to make it easier for users to add functionality to the agent desktop, as well as to integrate and centralize applications, tools or Web services.

The third new feature, guided assistance, provides agents with a series of prompts or answers to questions customers pose. This can be used with RightNow’s broader agent-scripting capabilities.

Enterprise Contact Center Package

Sold as a separate product, the Enterprise Contact Center Package includes RightNow’s on-demand customer relationship management solution — with its Service, Marketing, Sales, Feedback, Analytics and Connect functionality — as well as such tools as agent scripting, guided assistance, online chat, rules-based contextual workspaces that change based on the customer interaction, customizable workspaces, customer feedback, reporting and the add-in framework.

The price point for the package begins at US$100 per seat, with the end price dependent on the customer’s volume of transactions and other points subject to negotiation.

Year in Review

This past year, RightNow has focused on a mix of product upgrades from Web 2.0 technology to the elements important to the contact center.

The August 08 version included a customer portal with widgets, video, forums and blogs, as well as a studio development environment that gave users the ability to integrate the application with Adobe Dreamweaver. August 08 also rolled out more collaboration tools, such as co-browsing and chat.

In the May 08 version, RightNow added chat to its expanding Feedback feature set — the last channel out of the primary four channels of chat, e-mail, voice and the Web that didn’t have feedback.

In February 08, RightNow updated its flagship product with new agent desktop functionality, customer-tracking abilities, enhanced analytics and chat features. February 08 also included a contextual workspace — that is, a user interface for contact center service reps that changes dynamically based on the context of the agent’s task and information about the customer.

Prior to adding the feedback and agent desktop features this year, the last time RightNow gave its contact center app a big boost in functionality was last year, when it significantly enhanced its voice application. It first introduced the voice software in June 2005 when it acquired Convergent, a voice automation vendor. The upgrades it added last year included enhancements to its inbound functions plus new outbound features.

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