Neuron Data announces the Virtual Sales Rep

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Advisor 2.5 for online smart CRM

Interactive web sites are transforming the face of the traditional high street - with more and more shoppers opting to do their shopping on line with mouse and credit card.

The trend has seen banks, insurance companies, travel agents and other customer-centred businesses racing to go on line and grab their share of the cyber-market.

But as the market develops, on-line services will have to become more interactive and business rules solutions more tailored - a process best described as personal interactive service.

Now software developers Neuron Data have come up with a new business rules solution geared towards delivering a responsive, personal service to the electronically connected customer.

Neuron's new  Advisor 2.5 package uses an easily adaptable, easy to understand CRM package to help the hard-pressed business manager set up the business rules for his company’s website.

The end result, say Neuron, will be to transform static or incomplete data to a fully interactive and personalised self-service point with its own "Virtual Sales Rep."

The "Virtual Sales Rep" can take a brief from customers regarding budget, preferences and needs and then offer advice on the most appropriate product or solution, while also offering alternatives or suggest additional products to the customer.

Customers at an on-line travel agent choosing a holiday in a country with a wealth of historical sites would be advised to use a hire car or even shown recommended cultural events or attractions, geared to their personal preferences.

Other information could include immigration guidelines, vaccinations and  visa requirements.

"The advice given by the "Virtual Sales Rep" should be as informative and quick as a human sales rep," commented Rolf Perschbacher, Neuron Data’s Vice President of Central Europe Rolf Perschbacher.

"Service industries will now be able to set their own rules into existing applications to create interactive e-commerce sites tailored specifically to individual target markets."

Advisor 2.5 replaces Neuron's earlier version of the programme, which could be managed and modified solely by professional programmers.

Now, using 2.5, online managers can create, change and delete rules, change a rule while the application is running and modify the rule base without any specialised technical knowledge.

The CRM systems program, once installed, has the unique ability to think, advise and make decisions. Service organisations can define their own business rules via a graphical editor.

Advisor 2.5 includes two features that make CRM business logic easier to understand and change: Rule Flow and Rule Templates.

Rule Flows are visual depictions of the steps involved in a business process. Using drag-and-drop boxes, you can easily specify, review and change the order of tasks in your application. The clear layout of Rule Flows in a chart format gives an overview of the entire series of business decisions.

Rule Templates provide-fill-in-the-blank editing for rules without having to remember complex syntax or coding conventions. The templates enable non-programmers to make quick changes to a wide range of variables such as colours, sizes an cross-selling suggestions.

Other features include faster response times (from 7 seconds to under a second); extended business language syntax; minimum hardware requirements.

**Projected size of UK online retail market 2003

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*Procedural steps needed to get to completion of the application, whether that be qualification of a customer, recommendation of a product over another or specialized promotions. Rules define the specific path the application takes depending on questions applicant asks and answers given.

**Fletcher Research

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