Countersoft is the UK-based development shop behind the Gemini project management software tool. The company has this month entered the community support arena with Atlas. Traditionally dominated by web forum-based offerings, Atlas aims to challenge the way the industry delivers self-service customer support online.
"Until now, forum style content coupled with home-grown knowledge bases, wikis, and FAQs have been the way for companies to provide community based support — but this format has suffered with no consistent way of tagging or finding content, so we know there are problems with this mish-mash approach", said Harvey Kandola, CEO, and founder of Countersoft.
"The driver behind Atlas was to solve the sub-standard end user experience we all see today — the person who wants support from you is forced to jump around from forums, to FAQ lists, to PDF documentation, and so on. We experienced this problem ourselves and could not find a solution off-the-shelf and so we built Atlas. With Atlas we place Q&A style discussions alongside FAQs, documentation, and videos. Now you have the means to tag all this great subject matter content in a way where end users can find answers quickly", added Kandola.
Countersoft contends that the real USP here is that users are no longer restricted to replying to questions with just textual answers. Because all content is in one place, with Atlas you can reply to a question with a FAQ, document, or video.
This is what the company calls "Relevant Replies" and it could, if successful, eliminate the repetitive nature of support and also lower associated costs. Countersoft has a patent-pending on the "Relevant Replies" approach introduced by Atlas, which also includes an Issue Tracker module to enable users to reply to questions with known issues.
Atlas also includes support for the Metablog API allowing authoring of FAQ and documentation right from the desktop with blogger applications such as Windows Live Writer.
Other key features include sign-on with Facebook, Google, Yahoo!, or other Open ID providers, the ability to bookmark content for later review, and build-your-own documentation by selecting content of interest to generate a single PDF for download.
Countersoft's products and services are used by start-ups, SMEs, Fortune 2000 companies, government, educational bodies, not-for-profits, and charities around the globe. In line with its mission to enable collective capability, the company supports open source projects by donating product licenses to help them flourish.