Cisco debuts customer interaction software suite

Cisco has announced a suite of software products designed to help firms manage customer relationships across multiple channels including the internet.

Known as the Cisco Customer Interaction Suite, the software includes the new 3.0 release of the company's Collaboration Server software, its Media Blender product, Cisco Media Manager (formerly known as Media Router) and a new product called Cisco eMail Manager.

Cisco's expansion into customer interaction software is based partly on its acquisition of WebLine Communications, the networking vendor said. Cisco also announced it has completed its acquisition of WebLine.

The new product in the Customer Interaction Suite, eMail Manager, is designed to help large businesses and service providers manage large volumes of customer inquiries that arrive by e-mail. The software shuttles incoming messages to the appropriate support team, and can suggest a relevant response template or send an automatic reply to a customer, according to Cisco.

Pricing for the Customer Interaction Suite starts at $US1500 per seat. The suite is available now for Windows NT, Sun Solaris and Linux, Cisco said.

Separately, Cisco revealed it is working with Citrix to co-develop technologies to improve the performance of applications that are accessed over the Internet and other networks.

The technologies will be aimed at large corporations and ASPs (application service providers), and will help to improve the performance of applications by allowing different types of data to be prioritised as it travels around networks. For example, data from a print job could be treated differently from data in an updated screen display that needs to be received quickly in order to ensure a smooth user experience, Cisco said.

The technologies will comprise part of Cisco's Hosted Applications Initiative, which the vendor announced earlier this year. Cisco and Citrix didn't say when the first fruits of their joint work will appear in the market.

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