Aspect Communications Announces IP-BASEd SElf-service with VXML Capabilities; Aspect Communications and Kana Sign Agreement

SAN JOSE, CA - Aspect Communications Corporation (Nasdaq: ASPT), the provider of business communications solutions that help companies improve customer satisfaction, reduce operating costs, gather market intelligence and increase revenue, announced an IP-based self-service offering with VoiceXML (VXML) capabilities. The combination of IP-based self-service with VXML changes how customers use voice self-service. While customers are accustomed to voice self-service for routine tasks like checking balances and paying bills, IP and VXML open a wide range of more complex activities like filling out forms, placing detailed orders or completing any transaction that could also be handled on the Web. Aspect's solution offers a single development environment for creating rules that handle self- and live-service via voice, the Web and e-mail. Aspect's software is completely standards-based and integrates with VXML 2.0, allowing customers to perform the same self-service functions over the phone that they perform on the Web. Using natural language, customers can request information, fill out forms and place orders, and the enterprise uses the same databases, application servers and business rules as it does for the Web to process the voice self-service interactions. The Aspect IP Contact Suite enables fully integrated multichannel communications, including traditional voice technologies (PSTN), VoIP, e-mail and Web collaboration. Voice traffic travels over the same IP network as data and other communications such as e-mail and Web-based communications, versus over a separate circuit-switched network. One network for voice and data centralizes administration, and the browser-based desktop applications empower the representatives to respond to contacts via all channels—voice, e-mail, Web chat, assisted browsing and more—on a single desktop with an easy-to-use interface. "Aspect equals convergence," said Gary Barnett, Aspect's chief technology officer. "A lot of companies are talking about convergence, but Aspect is proving the benefits of convergency by bringing it to the contact center in a way that lets businesses reduce costs and improve customer service. We've extended the capabilities of the Aspect IP Contact Suite to include voice self-service, and we're proud to be the first in the industry with VXML capability. Unlike stand-alone IVR vendors, Aspect offers proven, reliable self-service that is fully integrated into a part of an overall solution."
Aspect Communications and Kana Sign Agreement
SAN JOSE and MENLO PARK, CA - Aspect Communications Corporation (Nasdaq: ASPT), the provider of business communications solutions that help companies improve customer satisfaction, reduce operating costs, gather market intelligence and increase revenue, announced the signing of an agreement that strengthens its alliance with KANA (Nasdaq: KANA), the provider of external-facing enterprise customer relationship management (eCRM) solutions. Aspect and KANA will target the healthcare insurance industry to help providers become more customer-focused while driving down the costs of operating multi-channel contact centers. Healthcare plan providers are under increasing pressure to improve service in a cost-effective manner. Solutions that improve live- and self-service over multiple communications channels are becoming popular in the industry. This newly expanded relationship addresses this need and encompasses joint selling of the companies' combined solution to leading healthcare insurance providers. Patients and members of today's healthcare insurance plans increasingly demand online access that complements more traditional forms of communication. "KANA and Aspect are providing healthcare organizations with a competitive advantage through a solution that provides multi-channel, member-driven interactions that will enable plan providers to differentiate themselves and dramatically reduce costs in the contact center," said Bud Michael, executive vice president of products and marketing at KANA. "By leveraging the strengths of our complementary products, healthcare insurance providers can increase the productivity of their customer sales and service representatives and interact with customers more proficiently. And the improved service delivery can help prevent customers from switching healthcare insurance providers, which is critical to success in today's highly competitive market." The integrated Aspect and KANA solution gives companies the ability to respond to a growing number of electronic inquiries with the same level of high-quality service that callers receive. Following implementation of the technology in their contact centers, companies can expect their customers to be able to do business with them when, where and how they want, whether that means Web contact, Web collaboration, e-mail or phone with an end result of more mutually beneficial member/insurance provider relationships. The KANA iCARE suite is a comprehensive enterprise software suite made up of modular eCRM solutions, including a scalable contact center solution, an in- and out-bound e-mail management system, a robust knowledge base for self- and assisted-service and sophisticated marketing and analytics. KANA's modular approach enables companies to address specific customer service issues with a particular eCRM solution, without the need to deploy an entire suite. Additionally, KANA's Web architecture ensures the ability to integrate with additional eCRM solutions as needed. The Aspect Enterprise Contact Server unifies all business functions necessary to provide rapid, thorough customer support and forms a business communications foundation that integrates all existing systems and accesses whatever is necessary from each system to handle each customer transaction. Whether a customer contacts a company by phone, Web or e-mail, the Aspect Enterprise Contact Server can identify that customer, gather all relevant data and identify the best customer service representative or other appropriate party needed from anywhere in the enterprise to handle the transaction in the most efficient way possible. "Aspect has a history of helping healthcare plan providers operate efficient and sophisticated contact centers. As Internet access becomes more prevalent, e-mail and the Web are becoming popular communication channels for people contacting their healthcare insurance plan providers to check benefits eligibility, investigate the status of insurance claims or request clarification of their bills. The ability to accommodate any channel of communication is becoming more of a competitive differentiator for these providers," said Guy Morgante, Aspect's senior vice president of customer services. Morgante added, "Aspect's solution lets companies respond to high volumes of communications regarding various issues via different channels with cost-effective, resource-optimizing automation. Our solutions are scalable and integrate with a wide variety of solutions used in contact centers. By partnering with leading providers such as KANA, we ensure that customers can choose the solutions that suit their needs without worrying about integration and scalability."
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