| Contact Center/CRM Views and Analysis

March 2005

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A Web Site To Diffuse Road Rage

March 31, 2005

When it comes to driving, I'll admit it...I cannot keep my cool. But I'm a defensive road rager, not an offensive road rager. I only get angry and vocal¬ when people do things to me...I'm not the sort of rampaging asshole who cuts you off, then flips YOU the finger (for, apparently, objecting to his or her behavior or maybe for just being there in the first place.)

Connecticut is a hot spot for aggressive drivers, along with its neighbors New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts (it can't be a secret that people from Connecticut refer to Massachusetts drivers as "Massholes," but we are truly a pot calling a kettle black.) We don't realize how bad things are here until we go on business trips to places like Nebraska or Iowa, where people are nice to each other on the road and actually observe road signs and rules.

Combatting Identity Theft

March 31, 2005

It was only a matter of time until we started seeing identity theft insurance. Nine million people were the victim of identity theft last year, making this a not uncommon problem. While I'm normally a bit cynical about supplemental insurances above and beyond the traditional home, life and car insurances, for some people, this might turn out to be a wise purchase. On average, policies run between $25 to $50 per year.

Happy 60th Birthday Eric Clapton

March 30, 2005

Why am I blogging this on TMCnet.com? Because I've noticed that not a single mainstream news organization, thus far, has made reference to the fact that today it's "Happy 60th Birthday" today for guitar legend Clapton.

On a similar note, fancy seeing one of the four Cream reunion shows? (Clapton is to reunite with former Cream band members Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker for four Albert Hall shows in London in May). You can find them on eBay, if you've got about 1,000 pounds sterling ($1,875) to spare and are quick on the outbidding process. (Flight to London not included.)

TES

Talisma Acquires Knowledgebase.net

March 30, 2005

An important acquisition in the contact center arena was announced this morning: the acquisition of knowledge management company Knowledgebase.net by CRM player Talisma. The acquisition seems to be in line with what appears to be a recent trend of companies pulling more than one contact center functionality under a single umbrella (the recent purchase of Blue Pumpkin, a workforce management company, by Witness Systems, a call recording and monitoring company, comes to mind).

Think that a few short years ago, the components of the multichannel CRM that Talisma alone provides were, in many cases, separate components from separate companies: e-mail management, Web collaboration, IM, database functionalities, analytics. This recent trend seems to suggest that the contact center industry may be headed for a field of fewer players with larger offerings. Hosted delivery will, we hope, allow these larger companies¬ to tailor their offerings to the small to medium-sized business market: the fastest growing consumers of CRM.

TES

Talisma Acquires KnowledgeBase.net

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Supreme Court Debates File Sharing

March 29, 2005

What a busy Supreme Court we have today! Cable broadband access in the morning, file sharing in the afternoon. The issue on the table this p.m. is regarding the long-standing lawsuits entertainment companies have been trying to bring up against file-sharing networks such as Grokster.

Comcast And Customer Disservice

March 29, 2005

Your innocent cable modem is the subject of a court battle. It's fate may be decided today. The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing arguments to determine whether cable Internet service is a "telecommunications service," which would mean cable broadband providers have to open up and allow competition in the same way the telephone companies have had to, or an "information service," the FCC's preferred definition, which means the Comcasts of the world are safe from competition.

Symon Sees Record Growth In India

March 23, 2005

Recent news that Dell is opening up new call centers in India (the company's third Indian facility,¬ which will be an ultimately 1,500 person call center, was opened¬ this week in the city of Mohali) is hardly the only India-related call center news as of late. It's no secret that growth remains explosive, so much so that companies are finding¬ a shortage of¬ trained, high quality staff in popular cities like Bangalore and Hyderabad, and are venturing further afield to smaller towns to recruit agents.

Symon Communications recently announced its own explosive growth in the Indian market. Demand for Symon's products, including contact management tools which the company customizes for the Indian market, remains bottomless.

CEO Of Top 50 Stalwart NOVO1 Honored

March 22, 2005

NOVO1, a long-time participant in Customer Interaction¬ Solutions' Top 50 Teleservices Agencies Ranking (NOVO1 ranked at #25 in the domestic inbound category and #15 in the outbound categories in this year's rankings), has announced that its CEO, George Dalton, was honored as the winner of the Small Business Times Bravo! Entrepreneur Lifetime Achievement Award. NOVO1 is based in Waukesha, Wisconsin and until recently was known as Call_Solutions. Customer Interaction Solutions extends sincere congratulations to Mr. Dalton.

Spamming The Spammers

March 22, 2005

If you're a "South Park" fan, you'll remember in the film version, the character Eric Cartman has a "V-chip" implanted in his brain in an attempt to clean up his language. Every time he utters a naughty word, he gets zapped, resulting in a (luckily, brief) period during which he can't utter his charming and rather anatomically impossible¬ colloquialisms.

While South Park fans everywhere were glad the ploy was a very temporary plot device, computer users will take heart that IBM is about to begin offering a service which will essentially return spam to spammers. Not to the fake e-mail addresses they use, but to their computers.

Companies That Don't Accept E-mail

March 21, 2005

What do they have to hide? Are they afraid their customers might make comments they'll have to take seriously? Are they afraid they'll have to answer legitimate questions? Are they happy to take your money, but unhappy to hear your opinion?

Ignoring The Potential Of The Mobile Internet

March 21, 2005

Every time I'm lost in an unfamiliar city (or a familiar one, for that matter...I have a terrible sense of direction), trying to confirm a movie time, pondering a restaurant, or reaching for a factoid that's come up in a trivia conversation, I'll always ask my friends, "Doesn't anyone have a Web browser on their phone?" It's become a bit of a joke.

The truth is, all our phones allow us the service if we choose it. My friends are a high-tech bunch, yet none¬ have chosen Internet access from their mobile devices. It seems that Web-browing on a screen roughly the size of a postage stamp appeals to no one, and for good reason.

StarTek Ousts CEO Meade

March 18, 2005

Denver-based teleservices provider StarTek abruptly announced late last month that it had parted ways with its most recent CEO, Bill Meade, who had headed up the company since June 2001. Meade's departure was the latest in a string of CEO turnovers.

StarTek, which provides 100 percent inbound services, has been in business since 1989, and in recent years, had posted good news in the form of new call ceners opened and positive growth numbers, has admitted to¬ "disappointing performance"¬ in this most recent quarter due to a drop in earnings.

Let's Drink To Bernie Ebbers In Prison

March 15, 2005

I don't often need an excuse to raise a beer, but the news of Bernie Ebbers, former CEO of WorldCom, being found guilty of all nine counts filed against him is worth drinking to.

CNN says, "A federal jury in New York, on its eighth day of deliberations, convicted Ebbers on all nine counts that he helped mastermind a $11 billion accounting fraud at WorldCom, now known as MCI.

Would-be Phishers Foiled By Grammar Inabilities

March 14, 2005

Like most of you, I get a daily parade of phishing e-mails. Many of them have become hysterical in tone: "You must gimme your debit card NOW or we gonna lock you out of yer akkount!" (I don't know what's making the losers who perpetuate these schemes so hysterical. Perhaps "business" isn't good and they'll soon have to get legitimate jobs?) Lately, I've taken to reading a few of them because they're so entertaining. Here's the language in one e-mail I received today, supposedly from "PayPal":

Things I Love About E-Shopping, Part 672

March 11, 2005

If you're a consumer (i.e., if you're human), you know that there's one kind of shopping we all dread the most. The kind of shopping experience that means within a minute of entering the store, you'll get run down by an over-eager sales person who won't take "go away" for an answer.

Furniture shopping.

Furniture sales people stake themselves out by the front doors of furniture stores, eagerly awaiting you the moment you get out of your car.

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