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1. WO2001075628 - SYSTEME ET PROCEDE DESTINES A DES SERVICES DE REFERENCES ET DE COMMUNICATION

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Claims
What is claimed is:
1. A system for integrated business communication services provided over a network comprising:
a plurality of remote terminal systems connected to the network and including a user interface device;
a referral system connected to the network, said referral system
accessed by a user of one of the remote terminal systems for identifying and communicating with at least one of a plurality of service providers;
a messaging gateway system connected to the network for delivering a message in at least one of a plurality of available output mediums across the network; and
a message handling system connected to the network for storing, organizing, and directing communications for a user.

2. The system of claim 1, further comprising a service oversight system for providing unified access by a plurality of users to said referral system, said messaging gateway system, and said message handling system.

3. The system of claim 2, wherein said service oversight system includes a user account for each of a plurality of users, the user account containing user information for use by said referral system, said messaging gateway system, and said message handling system.

4. The system of claim 2, wherein said service oversight system includes direct access to a selected group of predefined service transactions, the selected group of predefined service transactions enabled by said referral system, said messaging gateway system, and said message handling system.

5. The system of claim 4, wherein said selected group of services are customized to user preferences.

6. The system of claim 2, wherein said service oversight system includes means for defining and accessing user customized additional services.

7. The system of claim 1 , further comprising an information resource system connected to the network for providing user selected information for access by the user.

8. The system of claim 1, further comprising a remote service system, said remote service system including at least one of said plurality of remote terminal systems and located in a publicly accessible remote location.

9. A system for facilitating commercial interactions between a user and a service provider comprising:
a plurality of service provider listings, each of said plurality of service provider listings including:
a service description;
a geographic area in which the service is available; and
a contact protocol for initiating negotiations for a service
transaction;
a user service profile defined by the user for identifying service
provider listings from said plurality of service provider listings compatible with the needs of the user;
a communication system for communicating at least a portion of the user service profile to at least one service provider from the identified service provider listings, said communication system using said contact protocol for the identified service provider;

a communication tracking system for verifying successful
communication of the portion of the user service profile to the identified
service provider;
a transaction reporting system for recording the outcome of a
subsequent transaction between the user and the identified service provider.

10. The system of claim 9, further comprising a messaging gateway system for converting a medium of a message transmitted between the user and the identified service provider to another medium specified by a recipient of the transmitted message.

11. The system of claim 9, further comprising a message handling system for storing a message between the user and the selected service provider for later retrieval by the user or the selected service provider.

12. The system of claim 9, further comprising an information resource system for selectively providing information to the user.

13. The system of claim 9, further comprising a remotely located terminal device and a user interface for receiving user input.

14. The system of claim 9, further comprising a remote service location system including a terminal device located at a publicly accessible remote location.

15. A system for storing, organizing, and directing communications in a plurality of communication mediums, comprising:
a plurality of user specific communication repositories for storing electronic messages and physical messages;
a plurality of user specific protocols for organizing or directing
electronic messages and physical messages;

a plurality of user specific tracking protocols for tracking electronic messages and physical messages; and
means for accessing stored electronic messages and physical messages.

16. The system of claim 15, further comprising a user specific message history database.

17. The system of claim 15, further comprising at least one user specific distribution list.

18. The system of claim 15, further comprising a messaging gateway system for converting the medium of a message from the user for delivery across a network.

19. The system of claim 15, further comprising a referral system for identifying and communicating with a service provider in order to initiate communications regarding a service desired by the user.

20. The system of claim 15, further comprising an information resource system for selectively providing information to the user.

21. The system of claim 15, further comprising a remotely located terminal device and a user interface for receiving user input.

22. The system of claim 15, further comprising a remote service location system including a terminal device located at a publicly accessible remote location.

23. A system for providing integrated business and communication services at a publicly accessible remote location comprising:
at least one terminal connected to a network including a messaging gateway system and a message handling system, said at least one terminal including: a communication interface;
a user account maintenance interface; and
an event tracking interface; and,
at least one repository for physical messages.

24. The system of claim 23, wherein said at least one terminal further includes a referral interface connected to a referral system for allowing a user to identify and initiate communications with a service provider.

25. The system of claim 23, wherein said at least one terminal further includes an information interface connected to an information resource system within the network for selectively providing a user with information.

26. The system of claim 23, further comprising a local output device for producing a physical message from an electronic message.

27. The system of claim 23, further comprising a local communication system not connected to the network.

28. The system of claim 23, further comprising a business support system for providing business related services at the publicly accessible remote location.

29. A method of providing integrated business and communication services comprising:
identifying a user having a user account;
' offering a referral service for identifying and communicating with a plurality of service providers based on a service profile defined by the user;
offering a communication service for facilitating communication
between the user and another party;
offering integrated user account maintenance and service customization for the referral service and the communication service;

accepting a selection by the user of the referral service, the
communication service, or the account maintenance and service
customization;
defining a transaction protocol for a service transaction based on the user selection;
executing the service transaction according to the transaction protocol.

30. The method of claim 29, further comprising the step of automating a portion of user input necessary for the transaction protocol of the service transaction based on user preferences in the user account.

31. The method of claim 29, wherein the communication service includes a message repository and further comprising the step of reporting a transaction outcome for the service transaction as a message for retrieval through the communication service.

32. A method of facilitating commercial interactions between a user and a service provider comprising the steps of:
accepting a plurality of service provider listings, the listings including a provider service description and service provider contact protocol;
accepting a user service description from the user describing a needed service;
communicating at least a portion of the user service description to at least one service provider having a service provider listing with a compatible provider service description; and
communicating service transaction terms from the at least one service provider to the user.

33. The method of claim 32, further comprising the step of monitoring a service transaction outcome and collecting a referral fee based on that outcome.

34. The method of claim 32, further comprising providing a communication service for facilitating communications between the user and the at least one service provider.

35. The method of claim 32, further comprising the step of providing an information service for selectively providing information to the user based on user preferences.