Quiq Builds User Communities Online

By Amy Helen Johnson, Computerworld |  Software

When eChips Inc., a content and commerce Web site for electrical engineers, started a public knowledge base about computer chips, it faced a problem. The company had plenty of outside experts volunteering to answer questions, but it had little infrastructure to support their efforts, says David Blaza, vice president of content operations at eChips in San Jose.

An engineer would send a question via e-mail, and one of the experts would answer it by posting the question and a response on a static Web page - a process that was downright user-unfriendly.

EChips now uses Quiq Connect, a hosted customer service application and knowledge base from San Mateo, Calif.-based start-up Quiq Inc. The move has brought organization and much-needed features such as a search function, Blaza says. The site is more usable, traffic is up, and Blaza has been able to attract advertising to the site.

Enabling input from external contributors makes Quiq Connect different from most other customer service applications, says Quiq President and CEO Greg Richardson. By delivering an infrastructure that provides access and management for experts both inside and outside the company, he explains, Quiq enables a company to turn its extended network of service specialists, business partners, distributors and customers into a collaborative help desk community that lowers support costs and increases the quality of the knowledge base.

Chris Martins, an analyst at Aberdeen Group Inc., a research firm in Boston, describes Quiq's value with the old adage that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. "There's a lot of talent and experience amongst your customers and partners that augments the enterprise knowledge," he says.

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