News Release Announces Smartertalk

A Leading Online Toy Company Employs Cisco Systems' State-Of-The-Art Web Collaboration and Email Technology to Provide Interactive Customer Service
Nov 30, 1999

Needham, Mass., Nov. 30, 1999 - (NASDAQ: SKDS), a leading online educational store, today announced SmarterTalk, a service offering unique real-time help features to provide a truly personalized online customer service experience. Just in time for the holiday season, these new features will allow to further personalize its shopping experience by addressing consumer desire for more human contact online.

SmarterTalk will provide shoppers at with live, real-time access to personal assistance through innovative Web-collaboration and email management software created by Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO). For example, when customers are ready to check out and have a question about how their toys and games will be shipped, they can speak with a Customer Support representative live by simply clicking on SmarterTalk. The customer's transaction is finished in moments instead of returning to the help screens to search for answers.

"SmarterKids has always had a strong customer service track record and we are committed to continuously providing the most responsive shopping experience available on the Internet," says Mark De Chambeau, vice president of operations of "Cisco's collaboration and email management software is one of the most sophisticated interactive technologies available, allowing us to further enhance our customer service offering and ultimately better serve our customers by providing a more personal touch."

"The immediate availability of Cisco's complete suite of leading e-commerce customer interaction software couldn't come at a better time with the busiest online shopping season to date now upon us," says Dan Keshian, vice president and general manager for the Customer Contact Business Unit in Cisco Systems, Inc.'s Applications Technology Group. "By enabling customers to interact through a wide range of communications channels, including email and the Internet, is pioneering advancements in Internet-based sales and customer support. We are delighted that has chosen Cisco technology to ensure that this holiday season will be a positive shopping experience for all their customers. "

According to a recent Jupiter Communications report only 37 percent of Web ventures currently combine three or more customer service channels on their Web sites. Web ventures should implement a multi-channel automated customer service strategy, beginning with those service channels most appropriate for their business models.


Beginning this week, SmarterKids will initiate a phased roll out of the following options for online customers to receive real-time, interactive customer service. These options are enabled by Cisco eMail Manager, Cisco Collaboration Server and Cisco Media Blender.

  • EMail Response Management -Allows shoppers to receive an even faster response to customer service and sales email inquiries through a superior response mechanism.
  • Chat-live-Allows two parties to use text-based chat to communicate real-time while simultaneously viewing the same Web page. This is a useful for shoppers using their only phone line for an Internet connection. This feature will be launched in early December.
  • Shop With Me-Brings a whole new dimension of fun to going online by bringing together customers from different cities, states and countries for a shared online shopping experience. Shop With Me will be implemented in the first quarter of 2000.
  • Call Back-Shoppers with a phone line or cell phone in addition to their Internet connection can request a call back from a personal shopper. The request automatically connects the personal shopper and the customer simultaneously by phone and Internet browser so the two can talk while viewing the same Web pages together. Target launch date for this service is the first quarter of 2000.

About, Inc., Inc., a leading educational store on the Web, is dedicated to helping parents instill a love of learning in their children. The site features award-winning content and a customized shopping experience that links selected toys, games, books, software, and hands-on activities to each child's profile. Through a sophisticated evaluation and recommendation process, the site offers thousands of educational products and services for children ages toddler through 14, including both well-known brands and hard-to-find quality offerings. was rated the #1 educational toy site according to Gomez Advisors and is headquartered in Needham, Mass.

Cisco Systems

Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO) is theworldwide leader in networking for the Internet.

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