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Rich Tehrani
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CRM

Gary and Mary West: Improving Healthcare Through Disruption

October 19, 2011

For years, Americans have prospered like people in no other country on earth because our class-free society allowed virtually anyone with a good idea to launch a company, hire, prosper and keep the majority of the fruits of their labor. A competitive entrepreneurial culture further fostered an environment where successful businesspeople went from being entrepreneurs to serial entrepreneurs.

Even more impressive, so many of these successful businesspeople seem to reach a point in their career where they don’t feel satisfied helping society through their inventions and hiring, they want to focus on problems with society and fix them directly.

Such is the case with Gary and Mary West – two legends in the call center space as founders of West Corp. As you may know,in 1982 TMC launched the first magazine in the world in the call center space and at the time we called it Telemarketing (now Customer Interaction Solutions).

New Interactive Intelligence Quick Spin Cloud Contact Center Trial Portal

October 17, 2011

Coming off the first six months of 2011, Interactive Intelligence enjoyed cloud-based revenue growth numbers of 58% while orders increased a whopping 146% during the same period. Moreover, the cloud accounted for 26% of the company’s total new order dollar volume in the first half of 2011. Company CMO Joe Staples said the following to me in a meeting in New York, “We are seeing a huge shift towards the cloud.” He continued, “It is talked about in every single deal we are in.”

As a refresher – the company started selling a hosted solution in 2005 but relaunched its cloud-based communications as a service or CaaS solution in 2009.

Benbria Evolves into Social CRM

September 22, 2011

Marketing has never been so complicated and social media has only taken something which was difficult and added levels of complexity. Recently at ITEXPO in Austin, Texas, TMC hosted its first CMO Summit and the consensus at the event was that complexity is out of control. How do I deal with the physical and virtual world while adequately communicating with customers the way they want to be contacted was a common theme.

At the expo I met with Andrea Baptiste President and CEO of Benbria, a company which got its start in the outbound notification space.

ITEXPO: 8x8 Buys Contactual

September 12, 2011

Breaking news from ITEXPO West 2011 in Austin, Texas.

Hosted communications, video and VoIP pioneer 8x8 has just purchased Contactual, formerly known as White Pajama. I have been visiting 8x8 for about 15 years and when you enter their HQ the first thing you notice is the patents hanging everywhere. They now have about 75 of them. After the tech bubble crash the company turned their leading-edge technology into a customer focused business which you could call a business Vonage.

Web Transparency Aids Outage Victims After Irene

August 30, 2011

Over the last decade, social CRM has given companies a voice on a 24x7 basis – if they so choose. Companies which once were impossible to extract information from will now gladly answer questions via Twitter for the world to search and see. Nowhere is two-way flow of information more important than in the post Hurricane-Irene outage where millions on the east coast have been affected.

With a heavy reliance on well water, northeast electricity outage victims suffer not only from dead-gadgetitis but they also can’t even take showers or flush their toilets.

Is Your CRM a Bigger Disaster than Hurricane Irene?

August 26, 2011

Want successful CRM? Its the empathy, stupid.

A recent experience reminded me of the importance of handling customers well, especially in times of need. Case in point, I was scheduled to go to the Salesforce Dreamforce event next week and I should mention seeing Marc Benioff speak is one of my favorite things to do. He is passionate and enthusiastic and always on the leading edge.

But it became abundantly clear to me this morning that I am not going to be able to leave this Monday morning from a New York airport to get to San Francisco for the event because of Hurricane Irene.



ITEXPO West 2011 Austin Highlights

August 23, 2011

Before all ITEXPO events I do a final proofread of the show directory and this one may be the biggest ever at 132 pages with tabs (just doing our part to support the economy). We will post a PDF version soon so you can see what’s in it but until then, here are some highlights that caught my eye:

Keynotes & Exhibits Tuesday, September 13th at 9:15 AM we have Ian Pennell from Cisco and at 4:30 PM-5:30 PM we have keynotes from Siemens and IBM followed by a Grand Opening Networking Reception sponsored by Interact from 5:30-7:30.

Wednesday, September 14th at 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM we have keynotes from Polycom and DHL followed by exhibits from 11:00 AM- 4:00 PM. Then at 4:00 PM there is a Cocktail reception sponsored by Rackspace Hosting and at 4:45 you could win a pair of mountain bikes from Mellow Johnny's Bike Shop - an Austin Institution ( I am told).

Latest Trends in Speech Technology, CRM, IVR, Collaboration and Cloud Computing

August 14, 2011

Speech analytics in greater demand

At the recent SpeechTek 2011 conference in New York I gained some great insight into the state of speech technology. For example, Jeff Schlueter of Nexidia told me his company’s speech analytics solutions have been in greater demand in this current economy as the desire to control costs has led to increased adoption of speech analytics. In addition, the company has released version 9.0 of its Enterprise Speech Intelligence product suite which cuts the TCO in half and allowing for customers to handle even larger amounts of data.

Nuance Takes Speech Technology Literally into the Clouds

August 10, 2011

I recently spent some time at the Speechtek 2011 event in New York and while there I had a chance to speak with a number of companies including Nuance Communications and in my conversation with company representatives Dena Skrbina and Andrea Mocherman I got to learn about how the speech technology company was able to help transform the business of US Airways by providing a state-of-the-art cloud-based communications solution.

In short, the company has provided the airline with technology which is integrated with customer phones numbers allowing the caller to be immediately presented with information pertaining their flight. On calls, customers are greeted by name and immediately told information about parking, gates, times and upgrades. Moreover, the new system further makes use of hold time by querying for needed information which is subsequently passed to agents.

Marketing Goes Almost Painfully Local

August 2, 2011

Pay attention, you might just overhear something

One of the most memorable business stories I hav e heard was when a consultant friend of mine flew to a large customer to quote on a substantial project. He was traveling with his business partner and happened upon a shuttle bus to the rental car company with his competitor and a partner. None of these consultants had ever met but my friend and his partner had the luck to keep quiet as he overheard the other two people on the shuttle bus finalizing their pitch and setting the price for the project.

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