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Personalization Software Adds Voice To E-Mail


April 2, 2001

Personalization technology is getting wilder by the minute, especially as companies continue to find ways to integrate call centers with online customer-service and marketing technology.

Check this out: Imagine you're a customer who likes to buy widgets on a regular basis. Widgets-r-Us, your favorite retailer, zips you a personalized e-mail invoice on a recent purchase, but there's an accounting error in the e-mail.

That's not a problem because there's an HTML link at the bottom of the e-mail that will automatically connect you to a customer service representative in the Widgets-r-Us call center and lets you have a conversation through the microphone and speakers of your PC.

This particular interaction is based on OneClick eMail Links service, a personalization software package released Monday by eStara.

The software can be used for customer service and account maintenance purposes, as in the widget example. For marketing, OneClick can be attached to opt-in promotional e-mails that let customers use their computers to link to and have conversations with sales agents.

Service and sales reps can integrate websites into their conversations as well by calling up specific Internet pages to appear on the customer's browser.

So, for example, if you're interested in green widgets, the rep could push the green widget page of the catalogue to your browser.

There's conversation monitoring, too. That allows the service agent to determine whether the customer's PC speakers or microphone are working properly and to notify the customer via e-mail if a problem is detected, and, if possible, how to fix it.

This is the second offering from 5-month-old eStara. The previous personalization software was limited to connecting customers from Web pages to customer service agents.

By Eileen Colkin, InformationWeek


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