Nintendo Picks Banter for E-Mail Response

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Nintendo of America Inc. yesterday picked Banter Inc. to provide it with an e-mail reply system for use in its online customer support service.

Details of the deal were not disclosed.

Nintendo, Redmond, WA, said it picked Banter after extensive research in an effort to improve customer service. The video-game system company is seeking to improve efficiency in its customer service department and to reduce e-mail response times.

The system, Banter Reply, analyzes incoming e-mail messages and determines an appropriate response. Rather than searching for keywords, as some e-mail management solutions do, Banter's system detects the intent of the e-mail message by looking at the patterns of words in the text and comparing them with previous messages that have been answered correctly.

It then suggests responses that online customer support agents can select from, and it displays those suggestions on the agents' screens.

Also, the Banter system is designed to learn continually from responses to certain questions. When agents select a correct response from the field of suggested answers, the system remembers the pattern of words that appeared in the question and offers the agents the same answer again when it sees that word pattern appear in another question.

San Francisco-based Banter's other clients include ABN AMRO America, VeriSign and Wells Fargo Bank.

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