Internet customer service companies ServiceSoft Corporation and Balisoft Technologies Inc said Friday they plan to merge their businesses to create a new company, Servicesoft Technologies Inc, designed to take advantage of the growing market for customer service applications over the web. David Tarrant, president of the new company said combining the two firms’ products will enable Servicesoft to provide an end-to-end solution including live customer interaction software, email response and self-help applications. According to a Yankee Group forecast, the market for internet customer service is expected to grow from about $150m this year to $1bn by 2003. Under the merger, Balisoft Technologies will combine its email management system, E- MailContact, and its Live Contact voice interaction software with ServiceSoft’s Web Advisor product- an intelligent diagnostic application that enables users to query web sites and receive real-time answers to their questions. Web Advisor interacts with ServiceSoft’s Knowledge Builder software that allows an organization to create, deploy and maintain a knowledge base of advice for customers. All the products offer integration with the leading automated call distribution (ACD) and customer relationship management (CRM) applications, Tarrant said. At the moment, the products will still be sold as individual applications but the aim, says Tarrant, is to integrate them into one suite. Future products will be added to the suite over time, he added. Tarrant said that a combined suite of products will enable organizations to offer more sophisticated customer service options, with quantifiable cost savings over traditional customer support. In the new Servicesoft Technologies, Balisoft chairman and CEO Mark Skapinker, former president and co-founder of Delrina Corporation, becomes chairman and CEO. The company will continue to maintain offices in Needham, Massachusetts and Toronto, Ontario, with headquarters in Needham.