Egain Aims High

SINGAPORE (07/04/2000) - Web companies should not rely on traditional approaches such as extending their front office software packages designed for telephone-based interactions to manage their customer service on the Internet, according to software vendor eGain Communications Corp.

"These packages, as well as home-grown solutions, have proven to be inadequate.

E-commerce customers are fast increasing in number, becoming more demanding, and less forgiving in their expectations of the level of customer service they want from a Web company," said Richard Meiklejohn, eGain's managing director for Asia-Pacific.

"Customer service is a critical component to any business, but more so for Web companies," said Meiklejohn. He added that organizations that provide different channels of communication to quickly and effectively respond to their customers' requests, are likely to foster customer loyalty, to reduce customer abandonment, and to increase sales.

The U.S.-based company has announced its plans to enter into the Asian market by September this year, and is hoping to draw Web-enabled business to its suite of "integrated and multi-channel" customer communication solutions (CCS).

Target customers include dot-coms, telcos, finance and manufacturing companies, or "any companies engaged in e-commerce" that have significant Internet presence and leverage customer interaction extensively.

"From a regional perspective, Singapore is a strategic location for us. We hope to establish our office in Singapore by September, which eventually will serve as our headquarters for Asia," Meiklejohn said in a phone interview. eGain's software products include e-mail response system, self-service systems, interactive Web and voice collaboration, which allows customers agents to handle customers' requests in real time.

"Web-based solutions is what we offer, as opposed to client-based packages offered by our competitors and traditional CRM (customer relationship management) players. And this is our key differentiator," said Meiklejohn. Its CCS platfom is built on a Web component architecture that allows resources to be shared.

According to Meiklejohn, the company provides both licensed and hosted services to its customers. In Singapore, eGain will offer both services, and the company is in the midst of searching for a co-location facility for its ASP (application service provider) business.

At the same time, the company is actively seeking local partners such as system integrators, VARs (value-added resellers), and solution providers to rollout its services. In Asia-Pacific, the company has partnered with NTT and Marubeni in Japan.

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