MATRAnet Converts Confusion to Cash

  • Written By: D. Geller
  • Published: April 17 2000


Event Summary

A surfer has a problem with a website. By the time an e-mail can be sent and responded to, the sale is long gone. For effective customer service, websites need to be able to help that potential buyer when interest is highest (and the possibilities of turning frustration into gratitude are most immediate).

MATRAnet had previously introduced live chat between the customer and the customer service agent in version 2.0 of its M>WebTouch product. With version 3.0, it also adds collaborative browsing, which gives the customer service agent the ability to directly control the user's screen. The agent can instruct the user and navigate through the website for the user, making sales much more likely and very likely creating a positive experience that will lead to repeat visits. M>WebTouch 3.0 also offers form-based and direct e-mail capabilities, as well as escalation and call forwarding, so that the customer can be placed in the hands of the agent(s) best able to provide assistance.

The company promotes the product as more than just a CRM tool. In the world of e-commerce, MATRAnet believes that the line between CRM and sales support is blurring. To take advantage of this fuzziness, MATRAnet has put features into the product that accomplish both functions. When a user contacts an agent, the agent immediately sees information about the user, including stored profile information and the user's clickstream history. This is useful for solving problems, but also lets the agent see whether there are products that the user tried to purchase but could not. The agent can also tailor the next screen that the customer sees to maximize the possibilities of a sale.

Market Impact

The marriage of CRM and e-commerce has created an extremely fragmented marketplace, with many vendors such as MATRAnet scurrying to find secure niches as the huge CRM predators like Vantive and Siebel adapt their powerful existing applications to the Web.

MATRAnet, which also has products for building storefronts, controlling Internet access by employees, traffic analysis, and security functions, is leveraging the resources of its parent company Aerospaciale MATRA to establish itself as a significant player in both CRM in particular and e-commerce in general. As a four-year-old company that has grown to 80 employees, it has developed a product suite that has something for everyone, and should be able to turn satisfied customers into repeat sales. At the rate at which the market moves it will need to establish itself firmly over the next twelve months with a strong marketing presence and some significant customer sales.

User Recommendations

At first glance MATRAnet's CRM product offers good functionality. Web-based customer service can be a very complex task, and we believe that small differences in capabilities on the agent side can lead to large differences in agent productivity.

We think that user interface, more than features, may be the factor that most determines success or failure for products like M>WebTouch 3.0. So we advise that when evaluating any product like this it is very important to arrange a trial run, even if only a simulation, with some of your actual customer service agents. Only they, perhaps taking the roles of customers and agents, will be able to tell if a product like this really helps them convert those befuddled surfers into satisfied buyers .


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