RealTime IT News

Siebel Joins LivePerson Ranks

E-business software giant Siebel Systems, Inc., is the latest company to take advantage of LivePerson, Inc., a live chat company offering real-time sales and customer support for Web sites.

Siebel said Weds (Jul 26th) it will embed the ASP's online service into its midmarket call centre application, part of the recently-launched Siebel eBusiness 2000 suite. Using Internet 'chat' technology, the LivePerson service lets online businesses communicate with Internet users in real-time.

"This effectively closes the loop between Web interactions with customers and other customer sales and support activities," said Dean Margolis, LivePerson's chief operating officer. "In essence, we are creating a virtual information supply chain whereby data obtained via LivePerson web-based chats can be fed to Siebel e-business applications."

Siebel's e-business software allows small- to medium-sized businesses to manage, synchronize and coordinate sales, marketing and customer support. LivePerson's integrated presence gives those businesses an added edge with its customers, who can talk live with the support staff, as opposed to sending an email and hoping to get an answer within a day.

That's a delay most customers won't tolerate with an Internet site. According to Forrester Research, two thirds of all online shopping carts are abandoned before checkout, while sites take an average of 28 hours to respond to customer inquiries.

The beauty of the arrangement, LivePerson officials said, is their business model as an application services provider.

Brian Gonzalez, LivePerson vice president of business development, said many large companies are at first hesitant to take advantage of their product, but not for long.

"Because of the nature of our business model as an ASP, people want to try out the program before committing themselves to it," Gonzalez said. "Later, information technology technicians like the low cost involved to maintain LivePerson. Its flexible architecture makes it popular to use."

Its flexible nature gives company web sites continuous support, even when the Web site is down. A temporary page can be set up linking it to a Live Person technician until the site is re-established.

Internet service providers have also been taking advantage of the ASP's solution.

Veronica Murdock, Earthlink, Inc., vice president of member services, said LivePerson has been a very positive new addition to the electronic support alternatives it offers to customers.

"We are able to service groups of customers who share common issues and allow for collaborative troubleshooting in an extremely cost-effective manner," Murdock said. "We're looking forward to leveraging emerging technologies to expand this service in the next year."