RealTime IT News

Excite@Home Seeks Expert Assistance

Live help provider Expertcity.com got the call from Excite@Home Tuesday to serve up technical support for users at its Excite.com portal.

The two online firms deepened their long-term alliance, which requires that Expertcity.com's community of independent crackerjacks provide Web-based support for Excite@Home's narrowband portal services.

Lenny Alugas, Excite@Home vice president of customer care, said the partnership would grow its user base and take care of increased consumer demands.

"We are very eager to take advantage of Expertcity.com's community of independent experts to support our expanding user base," Alugas said. "We look forward to our relationship with Expertcity.com to address user demands."

Expertcity.com provides live Web-based person-to-person technical support through its proprietary DesktopStreaming technology.

John Greathouse, Expertcity.com chief financial officer, said the Excite@Home alliance further demonstrates the industry's support for its online community of worldwide experts.

"DesktopStreaming allows Expertcity.com to deliver immediate, live support using desktop sharing to Excite.com," Greathouse said. "Our collaborative support technology will help enhance the Excite.com experience."

Sun Microsystems Inc., Cox Communications Inc., and CompUSA Inc., among others have partnered with privately held Expertcity.com to tap into its resourceful Web-based customer support services.

Omid Rahat, Expertcity.com vice president of corporate planning, said the company has been working with Excite@Home since last year to develop the online service.

"We have a strong working relationship with Excite," Rahat said. "But there are three parts, to our expert support service."

"We license our technology to firms that have their own support people as an application service provider facilitating Web-based solutions, we offer monthly subscriptions to individual users at Expertcity.com for $20 a month, and we provide third party support services for companies like Excite@Home."

Expertcity.com's DesktopStreaming has screen-sharing capabilities that can download in seconds to an Excite.com user's screen. The Web interface allows Expertcity.com's adroit technical staff to interact with the user in real time over the telephone or a chat function that shares a mutual mouse and keyboard.

Once the interface is downloaded, an Excite.com user can see exactly what an Expertcity.com technician is doing to resolve the user's difficulties directly onscreen. Expert's can also see the desktop of the user with a problem. From there, the customer and expert collaborate to resolve the problem and screen sharing is disconnected when the session disconnects.

Expertcity.com's Rahat said that it guarantees every solution its experts provide.

"We're highly vendor agnostic," Rahat said. "It doesn't matter what type of computer or software someone is using, we don't get paid until we have solved a problem."

Expertcity.com changes the balance of customer support from being call-center focused, handing off a support inquiry to the first available person, to delivering managed support services from experts whose sole purpose is to take care of a problem the first time.