Monday, September 12, 2005

"Virtual" Customer Service

Came across this intriguing virtual customer service company in the latest issue of Business 2.0 magazine:

Company Name: Apptera

Based In: SAN BRUNO, CA

Concept: They eliminate phone-tree hell for thousands of midsize and small businesses. If you've bought Amtrak tickets over the phone, then you know "Julie," the virtual customer-service rep who didn't put you on hold, understood everything you said, and helped you book your tickets faster than you could have done it online. Unfortunately, Julie is a rarity in phone-based customer service, because the speech-recognition and transaction software that makes her so responsive costs more than most small companies can afford. Now comes Apptera, with the first off-the-shelf application that makes it possible to install a "Julie" at a fraction of the cost.

The article claims the system is less than $ 200k. Amtraks' "Julie" system reportedly cost more than a million dollars to implement.

I couldn't find any customer references on their site to try them out with.

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