Motive eases online customer service –

Motive Communications, a provider of software for online customer service, this week will announce a set of prepackaged, reusable software components that makes it easier to embed customer service features into complex, e-business applications.

Called Olympus, the new components come bundled with Motive's service offerings, direct from Motive or through consulting partners. Olympus lets corporations integrate frequently asked questions and instant messaging into e-business applications with user-based content that is generated on the fly.

The components offer out-of-the-box compatibility with leading e-business software platforms including SAP, Bowstreet, Vignette, Commerce One, VerticalNet Solutions and Siebel. The components are specified in XML and are focused on vertical markets, including financial services, communications, energy and e-marketplaces.

Wells Fargo rolled out a Motive-based online technical assistance application for 4,500 of its loan officers in August. The application lets loan officers solve simple technical problems, such as repairing and compacting a corrupt database, without having to call the help desk.

"One of the main reasons we chose Motive was because . . . it allows you to create a support platform and put the components on top of that platform," says Peder Malchow, director of IT customer support for Wells Fargo's home mortgage group. "We've started out small, just focusing on our internal technical support. But we could conceivably take Motive out to all our internal and external support."

Malchow says Wells Fargo will offer the Motive online technical assistance application to 10,000 additional home mortgage group employees by year-end. So far, the response from Wells Fargo employees has been positive.

"They really enjoy having more choices and not being at the mercy of our help desk managers," Malchow says. "They can just point, click and fix close to 80% of their problems."

Mike Maples, co-founder and vice president of e-business at Motive, says online customer service must be built into e-business applications, not provided separately via e-mail or telephone. "For complex e-business applications, Web-ified call centers are not working," Maples says."It doesn't matter if you've designed the best e-business application in the world if it doesn't have customer care wired in."

Specific components include registration assistance, transaction assistance, technical assistance and account assistance. The components were designed during integration projects with Motive's existing customers including Merrill Lynch, Adelphia and UPS.

Olympus is available free with an existing services contract.

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