RightNow tries new UI approach to CRM app

Context-sensitive drop-down menus and topic monitoring are two key upgrades\

Adopting Microsoft's new UI approach, RightNow Technologies has updated its online-delivered RightNow CRM software. Targeted at companies that use customer service representatives, the February release also offers a topic-monitoring technology that looks as customers' free-form text and looks for common or repeated themes, as well as words that occur together often, such as a defect type and a product name.

The new UI approach adopts Microsoft's FluentUI technology, so the options in drop-down menus are based on the context of a customer call. "There's no grayed-out areas in the drop-down menu," said David Vap, vice president of product at RightNow. For example, if the consumer call is about returning a product, the rep clicks on RMA (return merchandize authorization) and the screen reconfigures itself to present only the relevant information for that business process.

Previous versions of RightNow offered various templates as starting points for a CSR screen. But the new release goes a step further by letting a business analyst or IT specialist customize screens sing business rules, rather than writing code, said Vap.