Lindows.com Outsourcing its Customer Service

by Michael Singer

RightNow's eService Center to compliment the rapid expansion of the Windows/Linux hybrid operating system.

As LindowsOS continues to gain converts from Microsoft Windows, its San Diego-based founders are taking steps to make sure that its new customers don't run away screaming at the first bug they encounter.

To do that, Lindows.com Monday announced it is outsourcing some of its customer service to RightNow Technologies, Inc. The Bozeman, Mont.-based company's online customer support platform, RightNow eService Center, includes 24/7 support with quick access to common questions and their accompanying answers on the company's Web site and/or via e-mail.

LindowsOS is a hybrid of the Windows and Linux operating systems capable of running applications for both platforms. Former MP3.COM CEO and founder Michael Robertson launched the company in October 2001. The firm has been at odds with Microsoft over the use of its own name.

The deal is the first time the company has stepped out of its own box to support customer questions. Lindows.com currently offers additional software through the Click-N-Run Warehouse, but answers questions through its own support.lindows.com site.

In addition to supporting their traditional customers and prospects, Lindows.com said it would also use RightNow eService Center to support their expanding customer base as a result of a newly announced partnership. The Lindows.com operating system, LindowsOS, is bundled with Microtel machines currently being sold through Walmart.com for less than $300.

"RightNow eService Center became an obvious choice for us," said Lindows.com customer satisfaction director Randy Linnell. "We found nothing else that could match the value and allow us to provide cost-effective, world-class service in our short timeframe. We were seeking eSupport that is highly-scalable, quick to implement, that would provide our customers immediate access to exactly the information they need."

The operating system is currently in beta mode but is available now for download and preview. The General Release due out later this year is expected to support a wider range of computer hardware and includes unique features such as a "Friendly-Install" alongside an existing Microsoft Windows operating system. The streamlined installation process requires no computer knowledge, and the ability to run a select set of "bridge" Windows-compatible programs.

Microsoft, though it retains a dominant hold on the consumer market, is finding its corporate base eroding before its eyes. A series of much-publicized security vulnerabilities, as well as IBM's migration to a Linux server solution, has moved the software giant to treat the open-source OS as its biggest rival.

"Companies like Lindows.com have an extraordinary opportunity to leverage the Internet as a customer service channel, significantly lowering the cost of doing business while fully meeting their customers' 24/7 support demands," said RightNow vice president of marketing and business development Sean Forbes.

  This article was originally published on Monday Jul 8th 2002
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