| Contact Center/CRM Views and Analysis

June 2005

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IBM Says: No Phreedom Phrom Phishing

June 30, 2005

Is it possible that there's a cyclical rhythm to phishing attacks? Reading the wrap-up of IBM's May Global Business Security Index, you'll notice that phishing peaked in January, then dropped back, and then peaked again in May. Is it a coincidence that these are two periods when most university students are on breaks from school? Just a thought.

The report also notes that in May, more than 30 percent of e-mails contained some form of a virus.

Today's Advertising "D'oh!" Moment

June 29, 2005

Driving on Route 1 at lunch today, I spotted the following sign in the window of a Southeast Asian grocery store near TMC's offices in Norwalk:

Most Items: 99 cents (and up)

It's weird how many stores have exactly that same sale going on. What a funny world.


Deloitte & Touche/P&AB Weight In With Data Privacy Survey

June 29, 2005

For the second time in a week, a report has been released that documents Americans' high level of concern regarding data privacy and fears of identity theft. Seventy-eight percent of the 2,322 adults surveyed believe that consumers have lost all control of who collects their data and how the information is used. Though this survey does not register opinions on the the lack of action by U.S. government agencies, it does¬ extrapolate that as many as 140 million U.S.

Aspect Releases Uniphi Suite 6.1; Integrates eGain E-mail

June 29, 2005

As a follow-up to yesterday's announcement by Aspect of its Uniphi Suite version 6.1, the latest release of¬ the company's¬ applications convergence platform for contact centers, Aspect today announced a cooperation between itself and Web customer service company eGain Communications. eGain Mail, a component of eGain Service version 7, has been validated to work with Uniphi Suite 6.1 and provide users with a way to bring comprehensive e-mail customer care into their Aspect-based customer care operations (which already entail ACD, CTI and IVR functionalities). The goal was to allow agents using Aspect Uniphi Suite to access eGain‚Äôs centralized knowledge base.

‚ÄúContact centers using eGain Mail with Aspect Uniphi Suite can provide a consistent quality of customer service across e-mail, voice, Web and other Aspect-supported communication channels, ‚ÄĚ said Brian Gentile, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Aspect.

The Birth Of Workforce Optimization

June 28, 2005

You may be hearing quite a bit about "workforce optimization" really. Considering the speed at which industry buzzwords fly over our heads nowadays, it may have slid by without your noticing. This one, unlike a lot of other terms, is a good one. It's a term that's likely to be around for a long time to come.

In-Stat Study Notes Telecom Focus On U.S. Ethnic Communities

June 27, 2005

It's no secret to anyone who works in the realm of marketing that the U.S.'s growing Hispanic community is now, and will continue to become, a hot commodity. Rising disposable income, increasing rates of broadband adoption and a preference to do¬ business in their own language have all added up to make¬ U.S. Hispanics one of the most targeted groups by the¬ marketing and advertising communities.

The increasing success of niche-market teleservices providers, such as Texas-based Hispanic Teleservices Corporation (www.htc.to), attests to this trend.

Call Centers: Please Stop Asking For My Phone Number

June 24, 2005

Have you noticed lately that every time you call a company: your insurance agent, your car loan company, your cable TV provider: the first thing they ask you for is your phone number?

I know why they do it -- it's a unique way to track customer records, and since most people won't give out their social security numbers to anyone who asks, and your phone number is more unique than, say, your shoe size,¬ birth date¬ or high school locker combination, it's a good substitute.

The problem is, that most of us have many phone numbers today. Each time a company asks for my phone number, I respond, "I don't know." It's not that I don't know my own phone number, but it's impossible for me to remember WHICH phone number the company might have on record.

Data Theft? What Data Theft?

June 23, 2005

Perhaps you've been keeping an eye on the rather regular incidences of credit card and other personal information going "missing" from some company or another's database...hackers, user errors, "lost" backup tapes...it's been all over the news in the last few weeks. It's like watching a leaky bucket lose water.

You've noticed it. I've noticed it.

Drowning In Reports? Leverage Customized Business Intelligence

June 22, 2005

It's no secret that nowadays, companies are drowing in data. Every piece of software an enterprise uses today has built-in analytics and reporting functionality. Most companies are up to their armpits and sinking fast in data. Obviously, it's not enough just to possess the information...you need to know how to make sense of it.

FrontRange To Throw Its Hat Into The Hosted CRM Ring

June 22, 2005

A lively early morning visit to TMC by FrontRange Solutions' VP of Products, Kevin Smith, yielded some interesting news on the company's future plans, both short-term and long-term.

What piqued my interest the most was their announcement of the company's intention to bring to market a hosted CRM solution next year. The as-yet-unnamed (or, if there is a name, it wasn't mentioned) ASP-delivered CRM solution will follow the launch of a new hosted IT solution.

Such a solution will be a hot system to watch, and give competitors (Salesforce.com, Siebel) a long run for every bit of their money.

Calling All Teleservices Agencies: Get Listed In The "Who's Who"

June 21, 2005

Each year, Customer Interaction Solutions magazine publishes its comprehensive list of¬ both U.S. domestic and foreign teleservices agencies. This list, which will be published in the October 2005 issue of Customer Interaction Solutions, is considered THE definitive source for shopping for outsourced customer services. (Please note: This listing is for companies that offer call/contact center services to other companies on an outsourced basis.) ¬  Please send an e-mail to¬ Editorial Director Tracey Schelmetic (tschelmetic@tmcnet.com) with the subject "Who's Who" and provide the following information: ¬  Company name Company contact person Postal address Phone number E-mail Web address Type of service: (see below) ¬  ¬ ¬ ¬  A: Inbound ¬ ¬ ¬  B: Outbound ¬ ¬ ¬  C: Multilingual services ¬ ¬ ¬  D: Interactive ¬ ¬ ¬  E: E-mail capabilities ¬ ¬ ¬  F: Other Web-based communications (text chat, co-browsing, videoconferencing, etc.)

267,000 Subscribers Can't Be Wrong

June 21, 2005

This morning brings the announcement of Salesforce.com Summer '05, the 18th inception of the San Francisco-based company's wildly successful hosted CRM system. Along with new features debuted with Summer '05 is the announcement that the company has created the world's first hosted operating system, Multiforce 1.0.

I agree in part with Marc Benioff's statement that Saleforce.com is, "the most robust, flexible and customizable on-demand applications that precisely conform to their business processes," but after having spent some time with SugarCRM (see blog from yesterday), I don't know if I'd call Salesforce.com "the most customizable."¬  Still...it's a product a great many people have had astronomical success with, and it certainly turned the enterprise business software industry on its ear.

Full release below.

The Wind From The Sun

June 21, 2005

Having been a science fiction fan most of my life, and in particular a fan of the great Arthur C. Clarke, I was extremely pleased to read this bit of news today about the launch of the very first solar sail-powered craft. In recent days, I've picked up and re-read my ancient copy of¬ "The Wind From The Sun," Clarke's 1971 collection of short stories. The book's titular story involves a race between solar sail crafts of different nations.

For someone like me, it's particularly¬ poignant to note that the experiment has been funded by sci-fi author Carl Sagan's widow, Ann Druyan.

SugarCRM: The First Open-Source CRM

June 20, 2005

I'm recently back from a tour of Northern California companies, and still have a lot of notes to assimilate. One of the biggest standout companies was SugarCRM. What an interesting story they have to tell. For those of you unfamiliar with the Cupertino, California-based¬ SugarCRM, the company offers the first completely open-source CRM product.

The Bizarre Nature Of Internet Newscasting

June 15, 2005

I'm out on the road this week, visiting vendors up and down the Northern California coast. But I have a great "Web news" story to relate. Of course, it's only great in retrospect. It wasn't great at the time.

Germans Host Mobile Phone Throwing Contest

June 9, 2005

Ever wanted to hurl your phone away from you in frustration? Unless you're Russell Crowe in a New York hotel lobby, chances are, you generally restrain yourself. But now's your chance to do it officially, with chances to win prizes. On June 25th, Germany will play host to an expected 160 contenders in¬ the mobile phone throwing championships.

Where Has The Money Gone? On Training, Of Course

June 9, 2005

In the June issue of Customer Interaction Solutions magazine, Wade Baker, CEO of Sivox Technology, wrote an article entitled, "Simulation Training: The Power of Continuous Performance Optimization." In it, he discusses the importance of not only training, but training properly. SIVOX, which offers a product that allows agents to interact with virtual customers via real-seeming but simulated customer situations, believes that simulation is the very best way to train agents well without compromising customer service.

Wade's article includes some interesting statistics about training.

How Exactly Is Outsourcing To China Going To Be Better Than Outsourcing To India?

June 7, 2005

According to yet another study, this time from DiamondCluster International, "buyers of outsourcing services in growing numbers are dissatisfied with offshore service providers." Why? Probably because their customers are dissatisfied with offshore outsourcing. Other studies have borne these facts.

But the most striking part of the study is this: "China rapidly emerging as next offshoring hot spot.

Data Brokers Doomed To Walk The Same Path As Outbound Telemarketing

June 2, 2005

Rampant abuses by a few attracting the attention of politicians and legislation? A slew of state laws to be followed, plus pending federal legislation? Strong lobbyists arguring for self-regulation? Public outrage?

London Underground To Be Mobile Friendly By 2008

June 1, 2005

It's a shame, really. There are few places left in the world where one can get a break from the seemingly endless chatter of addicted cell phone users. Subways used to be one of them.

The London Underground, the oldest subway system in the world, was a¬ shelter for millions of Londoners during the Blitz of World War II.

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