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CRM

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.











Comcast Customer Service

August 18, 2005

This is one of those stories that is tough to even set up. I was pretty amazed when I heard about it. Apparently according to the AP, LaChania Govan said she got bounced around by her cable company when she called to complain. She made dozens of calls and was even transferred to a person who spoke Spanish - a language she doesn't understand.

But when she got her August bill from Comcast she had no trouble understanding she'd made somebody mad.

Wal-Mart and the Internet

August 15, 2005

I was meaning to write today about how Wal-Mart has changed the lives of people in Norwalk Connecticut. They came to our town with a few stores around five years ago and the by product has been the eventual killing off of other companies. For example the local hardware store closed down this past year (perhaps we can blame Home Depot here -- open for about five years) and also the local nursery which was unfortunately enough across the street from one of the Wal-Mart stores and Home Depot.

Today, I noticed the local photography shop was also on the way out and the owner told me the $4,700/month rent coupled with the trend towards e-mailing photos and Wal-Mart’s inexpensive photo processing made it impossible to compete.

This is not an opinion piece as I can’t say anything bad about Wal-Mart or online photo companies like ofoto (yes Kodak renamed it but I like this name better). I just think it is worth reiterating that you need to keep an eye on your business as models change.

As I got back to the office I went to the room where SBC is installing our T3 fiber connection and marveled at how we are keeping up with the technology as the world goes online.





Siebel Doing Much Better

August 4, 2005

Here is an e-mail I received from Siebel’s Bruce Cleveland recently. Look for an interview with him in the August 2005 issues of Customer Interaction Solutions Magazine (subscribe to Customer Interaction Solutions) in my High Priority column. As you will read in the next few weeks in the magazine, I really think Bruce Cleveland is one of the best things that ever happened to Seibel Systems. He has the energy and vision they need at Seibel and is willing to talk to the press in an honest and straightforward fashion that is quite refreshing.

SugarCRM Vs. vTiger

July 23, 2005

I was reading David Sims First Coffee column where he discusses SugarCRM and vTiger an offshoot of SugarCRM with some modifications and additional support. The article reminded me of a recent discussion last week I had with Mark Spencer of Digium and Asterisk at VoIP Sizzles in Texas.



Spencer was telling me that he thinks that there is a plug-in or one is in the works that will link SugarCRM with Asterisk. To paraphrase Mark, "That is when this stuff gets really interesting." Mark went on to say that the solutions n the contact center market are so expensive, a reseller can make a good deal of money selling customer contact center solutions based on open-source.



This opportunity is not lost on the open-source CRM vendors and according to Sims, there is some controversy between SugarCRM and vTiger as the latter claims the former sees them as a competitive threat and even threatened legal action. I am not a lawyer but it does seem based on the limited knowledge I have of this case that what vTiger is doing is legal based on an adapted version of the Mozilla public license.



In the open source PBX space there are two strong choices, Asterisk and Pingtel.

Voice Vision International

July 13, 2005


A long time friend of TMC has
recently changed jobs and I thought it worth sharing. Also within the release
is a mention of Keith Kelly, a pioneer in VoIP and IP contact center
technology. He was years ahead of his time when he launched NetSpeak
Corporation in the 1995-1996 timeframe:

After 14 years with West TeleServices, Ray Golden has
resigned his position with West Teleservices in
order to join up with Voice Vision
International
as Senior Vice President New Business Development for their
Teleservices division. Ray had originally started in the telemarketing business
with the West's at their first telemarketing operation, WATS Marketing of
America, where he stayed for 8 years before joining the West's again at West
Teleservices.

















Voice Vision TeleServices was founded on the core principle of providing better
cost-effective telephony and Internet communication solutions that utilize
state-of-the-art technology to increase profitability and reduce overhead for
all our clients.





Agent Performance

July 7, 2005

Aspect and Concerto Merge

July 5, 2005

Here are the details of the Concerto and Aspect merger. This is huge news for the contact center space and Concerto has been on a tear lately with acquisitions. SER is a company that competed extensively with Concerto and was relying on Aspect to partner on the inbound side, making SER more well-rounded. This merger certainly has the potential to put a wrench in the plans of SER.

Since Concerto became a private company a while back and they are doing the acquiring – Aspect too will become private.

India Cyber Crime

July 5, 2005

India will soon be toughening laws dealing with confidential information. This is a response to the recent problem in one call center where data was stolen by an employee. This article states that there seems to be no greater threat in India than any other country. While this may be true, it will be smart for India to promote what happens to those that steal data.

Leaky Web Sites

June 30, 2005

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