Harte-Hanks Announces Alliance With Acuity WebCenter Solution

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In a bid to expand its Internet services for users, Harte-Hanks Response Management, New York, a provider of teleservices and Web-based marketing services, will sign a customer alliance agreement with Acuity Corporation, an Austin,TX-based provider of real-time Web-based communication solutions, which delivers new Internet-based services for customer support and e-commerce.

The move will enable the company's clients including IBM, 3COM and Merrill Lynch to more efficiently service customers. Using the Acuity WebCenter, a comprehensive, scaleable and cost-effective software application for Internet-based enterprise relationship management (ERM), Harte Hanks clients will have multiple new communication options for Web-based sales and support services.

"WebCenter represents a new era in comprehensive, multi-channel, Internet call center applications," said Gary Skidmore, president, Harte-Hanks Response Management.

The system will give customers easy self-help options, i.e. product questions, order status or trouble ticket progress allowing valuable support agents to focus on more complicated inquiries, premium customers and sales opportunities.

If customers are unable to locate the sales or support information required, they can send an e-mail inquiry or enter into live help mode. WebCenter's interface unit gives the agent and customer multiple options for live interaction including text-based conferencing, synchronized browser screens, phone callback and voice and video conferencing.

Following the live help session, customer and session data can be automatically stored in a third-party customer management system, posted in the organization's knowledge base for future self-service sessions and when requested, e-mailed directly to the customer. The system also offers extensive reporting and logging capabilities for both live and historical performance monitoring and analysis.

Harte-Hanks Web-based services involve the capture and delivery of sales and marketing information over the Web, including Web-based forms for the automated processing of inquiries and orders, e-mail response services, real-time database access for immediate delivery of sales and marketing reports and queries, Web-based sales lead delivery, feedback and forecasting tools, reseller referral, real-time notification of hot leads via the Internet, and Web-based project management tools. During the first quarter of 1998 it relied on the Internet for over 1.2 million customer transactions.

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