Successful customer service organisations need a well-equipped arsenal of tools that will increase efficiency. TechExcel's ServiceWise 1.0 is a comprehensive solution that meets the challenge. It is a worthwhile investment for sites that want to improve customer relations.
This first release of ServiceWise finds TechExcel entering a crowded market with a wide array of available solutions that are geared toward improving customer relations. ServiceWise fares well when compared to its rivals, such as Epicor and Onyx Software.
I particularly liked the fact that ServiceWise can be flexibly deployed. Those selecting ServiceWise can purchase and deploy the product in either client/server or Web mode. Alternatively, TechExcel can host the product for customers at their location.
The only drawbacks to ServiceWise that I found were in its limited server-platform support and Web-server support. Rival Unipress Software can be deployed on multiple platforms, including Linux and Solaris, as well as on a variety of Web servers. By contrast, ServiceWise server support is limited to Windows NT, and Web deployments are limited to Microsoft's Internet Information Server.
These restrictions aside, I found that ServiceWise was marvellously easy to install and deploy -- both in client/server and Web modes. Only minimal training costs will be incurred before administrators and end-users can be productive.
You can use ServiceWise to fulfill a number of different customer-related functions. Your sales personnel might use the product to monitor customer activity, search the knowledge base, or have an online conversation with a customer and a support representative. ServiceWise also provides useful functions for customer-support managers and staff. Managers can quickly check on open issues at any given point in time.
The ServiceWise administration functions are flexible and powerful. I was able to make certain customer-support fields mandatory, while making others read only.
Companies that need to improve customer-support functions without making a huge investment should give ServiceWise a look.
Maggie Biggs (firstname.lastname@example.org) is InfoWorld Test Centre technical director and acting section editor for Enterprise Computing.
THE BOTTOM LINE: VERY GOOD
Summary: ServiceWise is a full-featured solution for service organizations that want to improve customer relations through improved efficiency of support and customer service functions.
Business Case: ServiceWise is an easy-to-use tool that will require minimal user training while helping your company's sales, technical, and customer-support staffs improve communications with customers or clients.
+ Windows and Web client accessible
+ Complete incident-tracking tools
+ Supports knowledge-base creation
+ Useful report and graphic facilities
- Limited server-platform support
- Limited Web-server support
- First entry in a crowded market
Cost: $US1,995 for application and server; $995 per support user; $495 per sales userPlatform(s): Server: Windows NT; Microsoft Internet Information Server; Clients: Windows 95/98, Windows NT 4.0TechExcel Inc., Lafayette, California; +1-800-439-7782; http://www.servicewise.net