Ace Operator 1.5.0 review

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Ace Operator offers a simple and inexpensive way to connect online customers with live operators who can answer questions about produ

License: LGPL (GNU Lesser General Public License)
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Developer: QUIK Computing
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Ace Operator offers a simple and inexpensive way to connect online customers with live operators who can answer questions about products and provide sales support, technical support and training.

Ace Operator project is a customer contact solution for online businesses. Online businesses can provide online customers access to live company representatives via instant messaging. Online customers can access the services by simply clicking on a button from a web page.

Operators can also monitor the company web site for online users. The operators can follow the browsing pattern of an online user and initiate a conversation ("How can I help you today?").

Ace Operator enables an online business to provide pre-sales and customer support to online users at a fraction of the cost compared to traditional customer contact solutions like call centers.

Not only is it a low cost solution, it is better than traditional call center solutions in many respects. First, operators can exchange information with customers using multi-media content that includes text messages, web pages containing information, a white board for online collaboration, sound clips, video clips, etc. In call centers, you can only converse.

Ace Operator also enables operators to push custom-defined forms to a customer and receive the completed information. Ace Operator also supports "canned messaging" - it allows commonly asked questions to be saved to a database in multi-media format. The operator can send the pages to the customer at the click of a button (without having to type in the messages).

Ace Operator works like a conventional telephone-based call center solution, but instead of using the phone system and voice for communication, Ace Operator uses the Internet and instant messaging.

Ace Operator supports all the standard features found in a call center solution including call queuing, call screening and skills-based routing, call transfer between operators, and multi-party conferencing.

Unlike call centers, the operators can serve online customers from anywhere as long as they have access to the Internet. This enables operators to work remotely - from home, for example. Ace Operator does not require customers or operators to download any special software - it runs on any Java-enabled web browser.

Here are some key features of "Ace Operator":
Transfer: Operators can transfer a session amongst themselves. The transcript of the call thus far can be handed over to the transfer-to party, allowing him/her to see the interaction that has already taken place. An example of when transfer would be useful is if a sales call starts to get too technical - the sales operator can transfer the call to an operator in a support or engineering group.
Conference: Operators can conference in other operators and/or customers to a messaging session. Any number of operators and/or customers can be conferenced in, and everyone can see whatever any one user sends out (text, images, web pages, white board/drawing modification etc.).
Internal messaging: Operators can exchange instant messages among themselves while handling customer sessions. This feature can be used for private consultation purposes.
View status: An operator can view the status of other operators in his/her group(s) - the operator can see other group members who are logged in and how many active calls each one is currently engaged in.
Push media: Operators can push HTML pages, images, videos and other media to the far end. This causes each connected user's web browser to display the items specified by the operator.
Push custom forms: Operators can push custom-built forms for the far end to fill out and return. The service provider can predefine forms with custom fields for collecting information from users. The form response returned is displayed to the operator in plain-text 'field: value' format. In addition to viewing the form response, the operator has the option to send the form response by e-mail to himself/herself, to the user who sent the form response, and/or to anyone else, such as an e-mail address monitored by an application that can retrieve the e-mail and process the information within - store the information in a database, etc. The form response can be e-mailed in text or XML format.
Whiteboard: This feature allows an operator to open (push) a white board and draw free-hand (using the mouse/tablet), lines, rectangles, ovals, and type in text. It comes with an eraser. The operator can also put a background image on the white board - this could be a scanned-in form or any other image needed for the discussion topic. An UNDO has been provided. The connected party(s) can see the drawing in real-time and can also participate in the drawing using the functions described above. In future releases, we will enhance the whiteboard to make it even more usable by adding multiple colors, fonts, selection of objects, etc. Note that this feature is optional and it can be disabled any time.
Text board: This feature allows an operator to open (push) a text board similar to the white board described above. The text board is used for exchanging multi-line text messages. Typically, a text board is used to select text from an editor or another application, paste it to the text board and send it to the other parties for viewing and editing. Note that this feature is optional and it can be disabled any time.
Canned responses: The system supports "canned" responses enabling operators to send prepared text messages without having to type in the messages every time, as well as pre-specified images, sounds, web pages, and forms. An operator can send any of these instantly at the click of a button.
Multi-color chat display: Operators and customers see all messages prefixed with the sender's name color-coded, for ease of distinguishing messages received vs. messages sent.
Multi-language support: The user interface screens for both operators and customers support English, French, German, and Spanish. This applies to all menu items and any dialog/informational/error screen pop-ups. All users (operator and customer) can see the language indication for the far end. Note, the actual text typed in by a user is not modified by the system. In a future release, we may consider automatic translation of typed in text if a feasible and reasonable solution is found. Other aspects of the system (installation, system administration, system logs, documentation) currently support English only.
E-mail capability: From the operator control screen, an operator can compose and send an e-mail to him/herself or anyone else, at any time. Also, at the end of a call or upon call transfer, the operator may have the option to e-mail the transcript to him/herself, and/or the far end, and/or anyone else depending on system configuration. In addition, the operator can e-mail the information sent by a user in response to a custom XML form as described above in 'Push custom forms'.
Auto-answer: An operator can set this option to automatically answer incoming calls.
Do not disturb: An operator can set this option to automatically reject incoming calls.
Transfer on unavailability: This feature allows an administrator to specify a user name (or an operator group or other feature such as the Message Service feature) to which a chat session will be transferred if a no-answer or busy condition is encountered when the call is routed to an operator or to a group. The operator "do not disturb" setting constitutes a busy condition. By specifying an operator group here, this feature can be used to reroute a customer call to another member of the group if the call doesn't complete when routed to an operator. This feature can also be used to prompt a customer to leave a message (see 'Offline messaging') if there are no operators in the group available to take calls, or if the group is so busy that the members are already handling the maximum number of allowed simultaneous sessions, and the maximum configured number of waiting callers are already queued up waiting for an operator. This feature also applies if a called user is not logged into the system.
Offline messaging / Message Service feature: This feature allows a caller to leave a message for an unavailable operator or group in the system. It is enabled by specifying the Message Service feature as the 'transfer on unavailability' destination for operators and/or group owners in the system. The Message Service feature prompts the caller to leave a message, then uses standard e-mail infrastructure to deliver the message to the unavailable user's e-mail address as provisioned in the system.
View status - An operator can view the status of other operators in his/her group(s). An operator can see who is logged in and how many active calls each logged-in operator is currently engaged in.
Pro-active Monitoring: This feature allows operators to monitor visitors to the web site. When an online user enters a web site that is being monitored, an operator who is logged in gets notified. The operator also gets notified every time the online user visits a new web page. The operator can initiate a chat session with the user ("welcome to our web site. How can I help you today?"). This feature is useful for small to medium web sites that want to monitor for visitors and engage the user in a conversation. It can be used in a pre-sales environment to increase customer satisfaction and to engage the customer.

Server or desktop computer with Intel Pentium processor.
Computer running Red Hat Linux 7.3 or higher, Fedora Core 1 or higher orMicrosoft Windows NT, XP or 2000.
500 MHz or higher processor speed.
256 MB RAM or higher.
30 MB of disk space.
Network Interface Card (NIC), broadband modem and router to connect to the internet. Please consult your ISP for configuration details. QUIK Computing recommends a separate NIC for your intranet connection if you have an intranet in addition to your internet connection.
Sun Microsystem's Java 2 Runtime Environment (JRE) version 1.4 or Java 2 Software Development Kit (SDK) version 1.4. If you do not already have one of these installed on your system, visit, read the licensing information, download the Java 2 Runtime Environment (JRE) version 1.4 or later, and follow the instructions for installing it on your system.
MySQL server version 4.0 (or later production release) from MySQL AB. If you do not have it, visit, read the licensing information, download it, and follow the installation instructions written in the MySQL documentation. Also take a look at the section on pre-requisite software in the Ace Operator System User Manual for details on MySQL installation requirements and notes.
A Java-enabled browser.
For complete functionality, a sound card is recommended in the computers used by operators.

What's New in This Release:
Support for Italian language has been added for the Ace Operator chat screens.

Ace Operator 1.5.0 keywords