Last year Chordiant Software Inc. of Palo Alto, Calif., set a one-year goal for its new customer service software: six customers.

The company says it achieved that with time to spare.

Chordiant branched out last May into off-the-shelf, call-center software tailored to particular industries-banking and financial services, telecommunications, and integrated travel. At the same time, it changed its name from J. Frank Consulting.

Its flagship product, CCS (Customer Communications Solution), lets customers complete any transaction with just one call. The contact can be by telephone, fax, e-mail, the World Wide Web, or stand-alone kiosks. The software gathers information in real time and lets a service provider see a customer's entire relationship using the account number.

One of the biggest East Coast banks is in preproduction with CCS, Chordiant said. In February the telecommunications company MCI announced it was using Chordiant customer interaction tools in call centers.

Toronto-based Canadian Tire Acceptance Ltd., the financial services division of one of the largest retailers in Canada, is a customer for which Chordiant's CCS supports 800 customer service representatives in 12 centers.

Thomas Cook, the U.K. currency bureau, is set to become the first European customer of the call-center application, which will be installed by MCI Systemhouse and Chordiant late this year.

Other customers are Carlson Wagonlit, a travel company, and PageNet, a communications and paging services company.

Electronic Data Systems Corp., KPMG Peat Marwick, and MCI Systemhouse are system integration partners of Chordiant.

Chordiant executives said the software can transform a traditional call center into an enterprisewide business center.

The average project costs $10 million and takes a year to 18 months to install, said David A. Radoff, Chordiant's director of communications. "Our quickest sales are from those customers trying to build a customer call center," he said.

Collin Bruce, Chordiant's director of marketing, said "The Web is a fully integrated part of what we do." Chordiant can give its users "a holistic view of the relationship, including consumers' buying habits, their value, etc., and do something with it."

According to Dataquest, customer information system market revenues were about $290 million in 1997. System integration services accounted for an additional $2 billion, and another $3.2 billion was spent on infrastructure.

Forrester Research predicted that the market for CIS software is growing at a 47% compound annual rate. By 2000, CIS software revenues are expected to exceed $3.5 billion.

The MCI-Chordiant alliance sells to Fortune 1000 companies, including banking and financial service providers. They estimated that their first- year revenues from customer interaction solutions would be $100 million to $200 million.

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