Product review: ServiceWise increases client satisfaction

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 (maggie_biggs@infoworld.com) is InfoWorld Test Centre technical director and acting section editor for Enterprise Computing.

THE BOTTOM LINE: VERY GOOD

ServiceWise 1.0

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.

Pros:

+ Windows and Web client accessible

+ Complete incident-tracking tools

+ Supports knowledge-base creation

+ Useful report and graphic facilities

Cons:

- 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

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