Jeeves Upgrades Self-Service Search

Ask Jeeves has upgraded its JeevesOne offering as the market for search tools that help customers find information on corporate Web sites picks up steam.

Version 3.0 features the ability to search multiple back-end systems at once and deliver real-time results through an easy-to-use console. The original version of the product was introduced in Sept. 2001.

Several large customers, including auto giant Ford, semiconductor equipment specialist KLA-Tencor and drug maker Roche, have already moved to the new product, the Emeryville, Calif., company said.

“(Jeeves enterprise search) has helped Ford create an excellent customer experience online, answering more than 11,000 questions a day,” said Joyce Mueller, a Ford e-marketing executive.

In addition to satisying its searchers, Mueller said analysis software that works with JeevesOne gives Ford insight into what customers are looking for. This information can be used to make changes in the site’s design or to develop new promotions.

What’s more, all the search software is designed to work with existing enterprise systems, including content management, commerce, customer relationship management and enterprise resource planning systems.

Pricing for the new version of JeevesOne starts at $50,000, an Ask Jeeves spokeswoman said. Adding domain knowledge and analytics brings the costs to $100,000. And for the software to be tightly integrated with other enterprise systems is $150,000.

Jeeves is among several companies targeting the self-service enterprise search space. Last week, inQuira, a San Bruno, Calif., firm unveiled a new version of its product. In addition iPhrase Technologies, a Cambridge, Mass., firm landed office supply giant Staples as a customer.

Large companies, especially in financial services, retail and telecom service provider sectors, are turning to the software. Most cite savings from “deflecting” costly inquiries to call center customer service representatives as the greatest benefit.

Many of the contracts allow the self-service firm to have their name on the customers’ search box to improve name recognition.

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