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Rich Tehrani
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CRM

Oracle Buys Siebel

September 12, 2005

Oracle Buys Siebel

Months back I mentioned in my High Priority column in Customer Interaction Solutions magazine that there are web rumors of Oracle buying Siebel. Siebel is the perfect company for Oracle to acquire as it allows Ellison’s company to get large amounts of new maintenance revenue to help fuel the company’s need to constantly grow.

Today MarketWatch reported that indeed Oracle will purchase Siebel for $3.6 billion dollars.

This is not a good deal for the customer in my opinion as Siebel is the CRM leader and as such is focused exclusively on the customer relationship management market. A purchase by Oracle will no doubt dilute focus and attention from CRM, making it just another product line instead of a core strategy.

We can expect reduced innovation as there will be more of a focus on a cohesive software strategy as opposed to making and selling the world’s best CRM software.

Others will argue that in a world where integration becomes more and more important, Oracle will be able to leverage Siebel and have it talk seamlessly with other applications in the company’s portfolio. Yes, that is true but it removes the best of breed argument IT managers make when deciding what products to purchase.









Speaking In Seattle Next Week

September 10, 2005

Here are the details on the agenda for the conference I will be speaking at on Tuesday of next week in Seattle Washington. Hope to see you there.

Details (Interactive Intelligence in the morning and Vonexus in the afternoon)





"Best Practices for Migrating Your Contact Center to VoIP"

Brought to you by Interactive Intelligence®                                                 

8:00 – 8:30 am

Registration & Complimentary Interactive Breakfast                                                                               

8:30 – 8:40 am

Welcome and Introduction

Interactive Intelligence and Best Practices in an IP Contact Center 

Mark Piskadlo, Western Region Director, Sales, ININ

8:40 – 9:10 am

Keynote - Industry Direction  

Rich Tehrani, President of Technology Marketing Corporation (TMC®)

9:10 – 9:40 am

Change Management

Ivy Meadors, Founder and CEO of High Tech High Touch Solutions, Inc.

9:40 – 9:50 am

Break

9:50 – 10:30 am

Best Practices in the IP Contact Center    

Network/IT Planning; Clear Plan for Workforce Optimization and Customer Driven Applications  

Peggy Gritt, Senior Director, Global Market Solution, ININ

10:30 – 11:00 am

Customer Interaction Center® (CIC) Live Demo

Scott Ridgway, Technical Sales, ININ

11:00 – 11:15 am

Customer Success Story

John Andrews, Effective Teleservices

11:15  – 11:30 am

Hitting Home: Keys to Success, Questions and Answers

Mark Piskadlo, Western Region Director, Sales, ININ

11:30 am – 1:00 pm

Complimentary Lunch

“Microsoft-based VoIP:
Improving your Business Communications. Lowering your Communications Costs.”

Brought to you by Vonexus                                                              

1:00 – 1:10 pm

Welcome and Introduction

Vonexus and the Microsoft®-based IP PBX

Mark Piskadlo, Western Region Director, Sales, ININ

1:10 – 1:40 pm

Keynote - VoIP Insights and Market Direction  

Rich Tehrani, President of Technology Marketing Corporation (TMC®)

1:40 – 2:20 pm

Maximizing your ROI for deployment of an IP phone system  

Brit Vickner, Channel Development Manager, Vonexus

2:20 – 2:30 pm

Break

2:30 – 3:00 pm

A Live Look: The Integrated Microsoft®-based VoIP Phone System  

Enterprise Interaction Center® (EIC) Live Demo

Brit Vickner, Channel Development Manager, Vonexus

3:00 – 3:15 pm

Customer Success Story

Peter Grilley, ChemPoint

3:15 – 3:30 pm

Hitting Home: Keys to Success, Questions and Answers

Mark Piskadlo, Western Region Director, Sales, ININ

 

Rich Tehrani Live – Again

September 10, 2005

I am live once again – and –again, and…

If you want to hear me speak it seems like you don’t have to leave your home-city as I feel like I am everywhere these days. And by the way I love it. Writing is great but there is nothing like seeing the reaction of a live audience when you speak with them about a topic. The interaction, before, during and after a presentation in priceless.

Dells US Call Centers

September 9, 2005

Katrina Red Cross Concert

September 2, 2005

When disasters strike or there is a need for large amounts of money to be donated to charitable causes it is usually the teleservices outsourcing companies that come to the rescue. These sorts of companies have been called many things over the past two decades from telemarketing companies to now the more fashionable business process outsourcing or BPO companies.

Tonight, Friday, September 2, 2005 NBC will be hosting a Red Cross telethon and part of the coalition of businesses that will be supporting this effort is TeleTech a company that has earned the distinction of being a Customer Interaction Solutions TOP 50 winner repeatedly over the past 20 years.

TeleTech has offered employees an opportunity to volunteer to take calls during the telethon and has committed to match their time in a cash donation to the American Red Cross. The Red Cross anticipates that more than half a million calls from donors making pledges during the telethon. As a result, several hundred TeleTech employees will be needed to join other call center volunteers nationally to handle the volume.



Dell Dissatisfaction

September 1, 2005

Jeff Jarvis’ BuzzMachine blog seems to have become the place where Dell bashing can be done by a group of people who feel they have been treated poorly by the computer leader. Here is a single post from the blog and a search on a variety of Dell posts.

I wonder if this sort of public dissatisfaction with Dell is one of the reasons that MPC Computers is having so much success with their ad campaign that touts the fact that MPC agents are based in the US.

In addition to this blog entry about MPC Computers I wrote an extensive article with an interview of a top MPC executive in the September issue of Customer Interaction Solutions magazine. If you don’t get this publication, you can subscribe to this free magazine here.



AOL Settles With Spitzer

August 26, 2005

AOL Settles With Spitzer
I stumbled across this article today and am not sure if it is recent as I can’t seem to find a date on the page. Whether my eyesight is worse than I thought or it is just a mistake is unclear but the article is pretty interesting and it talks about how AOL got into trouble with Eliot Spitzer who recently announced a 1.25 million dollar settlement with the company.

At the heart of the problem is AOL’s policy of incentivizing their workers for retaining customers who call to cancel.

This system, in which reps could earn tens of thousands of dollars, “had the effect of employees not honoring cancellations, or otherwise making cancellation unduly difficult for consumers,” according to Spitzer’s office.

AOL has 60 days to eliminate its program of rewarding bonuses based on minimum “save rates.” The company did not specify how bonuses will be allotted without the save rate, and adds that the program is “a work in progress.”

In addition the company has identified the employees who did not cancel orders at customer requests and has put a better monitoring system in place to ensure they do a better job of respecting customer’s wishes.








Rates Technology and Alcatel

August 25, 2005

In my blog entry on Rates Technology Inc I mentioned Alcatel as in default. Specifically:

After it became impossible to get them covered, RTI recently filed suit for willful patent infringement against Centrepoint Technologies, Inc. for much less money than Mitel and Alcatel (they certainly are a smaller company).

Mitel Networks was sued for $945 Million; Alcatel was sued for $1.155 Billion; and their default is pending in USDC EDNY. Hello Direct, GN Netcom and GN had been sued by RTI for patent infringement, and they recently settled with RTI; the terms are being kept confidential

.

Since that time I have learned the court has vacated the default meaning it is now in the hands of California courts since Alcatel sued Rates Technology Inc. first in California.





Offshored to Death

August 21, 2005

Will offshoring be the death of American companies? Perhaps not but what if intelligent competitors playing on inherent patriotism of potential costumers were to use offshoring as a way to take customers away from those companies that are known to put their service and support departments in other countries such as India?

Dell is one of the more famous companies using offshoring and we have all heard stories that many Dell customers are unhappy with the level of service they are receiving from the Texas based PC giant.

This environment presents a perfect opportunity for companies like MPC Computers to start advertising campaigns targeted at people who are sick and tired of dealing with offshored help desks. A new ad from the company has the following headline:

100% U.S. Based Service and Support

If you go to the specific site touted in the ad you see the following text:

100% U.S.-based service and support

At MPC Computers, we keep our tech support close to home.





At a time when most other PC companies are outsourcing their service and support to other countries, we're keeping our staff right here in the U.S. Our support reps sit right next to our product engineers-not in a different hemisphere. So if you have a problem, your question is answered quickly and accurately with as much technical information as you need.

MPC Computers builds products for speed, reliability and performance, like our new TransPort® 2300 notebook, featuring Intel® Centrino™ mobile technology and Microsoft Windows XP Professional, and the latest security features.

At MPC, we're committed to delivering great service and support, and we're committed to designing great products.













New Call Center Blog

August 19, 2005

Steve Brubaker is one of the nicest people you will meet in the call center business and he knows his stuff, really well. This is why I was so excited to read his new blog where he talks about how important call centers are to the US economy and how important it is to provide good customer service.

With all the companies offshoring and thinking they have o have agents in third-world countries, he asks:

Why aren't companies "wowing" customers today in the USA?  What is the real cost of bringing on new customers only to have them flee to the competition because of poor customer service experiences?

Why do customers have to wait on hold for lengthy periods of time to reach call centers?  Could it be because the bean counters are determining the number of agents needed and "acceptable" hold times based on historical data showing when people tend to hang-up in queue?
 
Why are Agents being hired who do not speak understandable English?  Could it be because the "cost" of agents in third world countries is a fraction of wages here in the USA?

It is no secret that more customer service agents are being off shored by the day and invariably the quality of customer service keeps diminishing. Customers will ultimately tell corporate America that what they are doing is good or bad. Losing customers however is a painful way to find out you have made a mistake.











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