August 15, 2006, 12:00 AM

Aspect Software awarded patent for live chat technology

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has awarded Aspect Software Inc. a patent for technology that can determine when an Internet browsing customer should be provided live-agent assistance and can evaluate if an agent is available.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has awarded Aspect Software Inc. a patent for technology that can determine when an Internet browsing customer should be provided live-agent assistance and can evaluate if an agent is available, the company reports.

The technology can make the determination based on how much time a customer spends on a particular web page, errors in forms submitted by the customer, web pages repeatedly viewed by a customer or at areas where customers may be more likely to abandon the transaction.

When the technology determines a customer should be given automatic assistance, it reviews the probability of agent availability. If an agent is available, the customer is given a “help” option on the screen. The option is removed if the customer doesn’t respond within a certain period of time.

Current web-based help doesn’t always immediately link the consumer to an agent, so companies run the risk of an abandoned transaction and lost sales, Aspect says.

“We recently found in the 2005 Aspect Contact Center Satisfaction Index that consumers have expressed a strong desire that technology facilitate access to a human agent, whether reached from an automated menu or directly,” says Gary Barnett, chief technology officer and executive vice president of Aspect Technical Services and R&D.; “This innovation can help achieve this objective.”

Aspect has more than 540 global patents and more than 300 pending, the company says.

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