| Contact Center/CRM Views and Analysis

July 2005

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Squirrel Training: So You Think Your Job Is Hard?

July 29, 2005

Are you a programmer with "coder's block"? An IT sales person tired of hearing, "We're going open source from now on"? A technology writer lamenting a slow news day with nothing to blog about?

Luxury.

Political Protest Through Breakfast Choices

July 29, 2005

Today on the AP Wire: "Canada, Denmark Clash in Google Ads."

"Canada and Denmark have taken their diplomatic tussle over a lump of Arctic rocks to the Internet with competing Google ads claiming sovereignty over Hans Island. Some Canadians have called for a boycott of Danish pastries the way Americans disdained french fries when Paris declined to join the coalition forces in Iraq."

In the same manner that the U.S.

FrontRange Releases IPCC 5.0

July 28, 2005

We recently met with FrontRange in our offices here at TMC and were given an excellent preview of some of the products that can be expected out of FrontRange in the near future. We heard about version 5.0 of the company's IP Contact Center (IPCC) product, which was formally announced today.

Version 5.0 was created with improved integration into existing business applications in mind, and offers optional access to FrontRange's quality management (call recording) module. Version 5.0 was designed for very fast implementation/installation, and for easy interoperability with FrontRange's other popular solutions, desktop integration between ITSM, GoldMine and HEAT

Exclusive Interview With Concerto CEO Jim Foy

July 28, 2005

In the August issue of Customer Interaction Solutions magazine, look for an exclusive, in-depth interview with Conerto CEO Jim Foy about the recent Concerto/Aspect mega-merger. Written by CIS Executive Editor Glenn Kalinoski, the article covers the blending of the two companies' technologies, what will be available from the merged company in the future, how the two corporate cultures will combine and what the new company management structure might look like.

TES

Real-Time Space Shuttle Tracking

July 27, 2005

In case you want to know, at any given moment, where the space shuttle is in relation to you (or in relation to Peru, Cleveland or your Auntie Millicent), you can view it in real-time on the NASA Web site, here: http://science.nasa.gov/realtime/jtrack/Spacecraft.html

TES

Envision Announces Strong Growth; Frost & Sullivan Award

July 27, 2005

Seattle-based Envision Telephony has reason to celebrate today: the company has just announced very strong positive results for the second quarter, with a 44 percent revenue increase over the second quarter of last year. (Workforce optimization...it's the hot spot.) The company should also be proud to have won Frost & Sullivan’s 2005 Global Excellence in Technology of the Year Award. The company was also recognized by Washington CEO magazine as one of Washington’s Best Places to Work for. Congrats to Envision.

Accenture Study: Well, Duh

July 26, 2005

This just in: Poor Customer Service is Top Reason Customers Switch Service Providers. In other news, the sun rose in the east this morning. I'll issue a full report about it later in my blog: you can download it for $1,995.

I wish the analyst community wouldn't keep shocking us like this.

Regarding Analog Cell Phones

July 26, 2005

This article today posted on TMCnet is interesting: http://www.tmcnet.com/usubmit/-digital-cell-phones-analog-federal-communications-commission-fcc-/2005/jul/1166816.htm because it mirrors and experience that I've had fairly recently.

Two years ago, I bought an all-digital phone, replacing my old phone, which had analog capabilties.

My parents live part-time in the mountains of South Central Vermont, up a dirt road, past a charming old inn, take a left at the little white church. (Sounds like all directions in Vermont.) With my former cell phone, I had few problems getting a signal.

Contactual Available In Japan

July 26, 2005

There is news this morning that San Mateo-based Contactual (formerly White Pajama) has found a distributor in Japan, Vitstage, to distribute the Contactual solution to the Japanese market. You'll recall that Contactual was one of the first hosted-delivery contact center solutions available to the market. (Vitstage plans to co-market and co-brand the Contactual solution with its own product, inspirX.) This makes Contactual's second international licensing agreement.

Teleservices Agencies: Get Listed In October CIS

July 25, 2005

Calling all teleservices organizations: don't forget to take a few minutes to submit your listing for the "Who's Who In Teleservices" listing, which will be published in the October issue of Customer Interaction Solutions magazine.

Visit this link now and submit your information: http://www.tmcnet.com/call-center/whoswho.aspx

TES

Neteller Awarded Contact Center Employer Of Choice Gold Award

July 25, 2005

It's been a long time since anyone referred to call centers as "boiler rooms," but this was, in fact, a very apt description of them in the early 1980s. Call center work was a job one took when the alternative was starving. "Technology" meant push-button phones rather than rotary dials, and when a call center worker was asked at parties what he or she did for a living, the better response was, "I break legs for loan sharks." It sounded more desirable.

Things are, obviously, much different nowadays.

AT&T CallVantage Covers Its Assets

July 25, 2005

Got this e-mail (below) from AT&T CallVantage this morning, according to FCC rules. Some high-profile incidents involving Vonage service necessitated this...one well-publicized incident that resulted in a child's death because the mother had to stop CPR to run to a neighbor's house to dial 911...

TES

It is important to understand that there are some critical differences between your 911 service with AT&T CallVantage and the 911 service that accompanies traditional wireline phone service.

Packet8 VideoPhones On Stargate SG-1 And Stargate Atlantis

July 21, 2005

How cool is this?

Packet8 has announced that the Sci-Fi Channel's "Stargate SG-1" and "Stargate Atlantis" will be implementing new characters in their new seasons...Packet8 IP VideoPhones.

I'll tell my guy friends this exciting news, but I'm sure they already knew about it...they've all been particularly eager to watch this new season in which "Farscape" alumna Claudia Black joins the cast, wearing tight leather outfits. It must be because of those video phones they're so eager to watch...

ChoicePoint Reports Flat Earnings

July 20, 2005

ChoicePoint Inc., whose large database of consumer information was accessed by thieves posing as legitimate customers, reported today that its Q2 earnings were going to remain essentially flat compared to a year ago despite a 15 percent increase in operational revenue. 

Full article at:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/07/20/AR2005072000395.html

So I wonder...before everyone who maintains a database of customer information is reporting losses despite increased sales, what do we do about it??

TES

James "Mr. Scott" Doohan Dies

July 20, 2005

OK, without resorting to exploiting the stereotype suggested by the rather high instances of cross-over between IT people and "Star Trek" fans, I think I can safely go ahead and say that technology personnel worldwide have had a sad loss today.

After all...who now is going to get us more power to the warp drive next time we need it?

http://www.cnn.com/2005/SHOWBIZ/TV/07/20/obit.doohan.ap/index.html

Unocal Rejects Chinese Offer

July 20, 2005

Turns out, the Unocal board made a decision to accept Chevron's $17 billion bid rather than a higher offer by China's third-largest oil company. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8462749/ 

Could it be that a large U.S. company is finally putting wisdom over profit?

Get out...soon we'll have departing CEOs saying, "No, I can't take that 32 million just to go away. No one's worth that kind of money, particularly not someone like me, who actually left the company poorer than when I started."

I think there's more chance of Big Foot showing up in Times Square, sipping a frappacino.

TES

MCI Eases Global Call Routing

July 20, 2005

When doesn't international outsourcing work for call centers? When transfer of the call to a foreign agent becomes obvious to the customer. The only companies that can turn a model of an internationally distributed call center organization into reality are those companies with the resources to provide seamless transfers between locations.

Today, MCI announced a new solution called Global ECR (Enhanced Call Routing) designed to make it easier for companies to accept, forward and route customer calls to different locations throughout the world, without losing the seamless feel of the call.

Empirix And Genesys Offer Testing Solutions For Genesys Voice Platform

July 18, 2005

There is probably not a technology in the call center that could potentially cause more problems and red faces if it's improperly implemented than speech/voice technology. It's frustrating being misrouted by an IVR, but not quite so obvious. After all..."maybe I pushed the wrong button? Perhaps I didn't listen to the choices carefully?" Testing, testing and more testing is vital before deployment of any self-service system; with speech it becomes more critical.

Cisco Board: Over 70s Need Not Apply

July 15, 2005

The magic number is 70 for the board of directors at Cisco Systems, Inc.

The Internet networking giant announced Friday that its board of directors decided that beyond the age of 70, no person would be eligible to be nominated or re-nominated for election to the board.

And what does this mean for the chairman of the board, 71-year-old John P. Morgridge?

The policy goes into effect for nominations at next year’s annual shareholders meeting that is expected to occur in November 2006.

Layoffs At HP Expected

July 15, 2005

Next week should bring plenty of pain at HP.

Layoffs well above the 10,000 mark are expected at Hewlett-Packard Co. as part of a restructuring that could come as early as Monday or Tuesday. In fact, reports place the layoff total between 15,000 and 25,000, with a published estimate placing the annual savings at $1.5 billion.

In what was described as a “good first step” by the head of HP’s printing operation, the Palo Alto, Calif., company provided a voluntary severance package offering in May that drew approximately 2,000 workers from the firm’s imaging and printing sector.

By Glenn J. Kalinoski, Executive Editor

Customer Interaction Solutions

Siebel CustomerWorld 2005 Announced

July 14, 2005

Siebel today announced its plans to debut its new customer/user industry conference, called Siebel CustomerWorld. The conference will be held at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center from October 16th to 19th. The plan is to expand the success of the company's existing Siebel  User Week conferences and turn them into a more broadly targeted and accessible event.

Though no keynoters have been yet announced, it's expected that the event will feature high-profile speakers and "expert practitioners". The conference will be dual in its focus: it will aim for both IT and business people, and offer two tracks to serve the needs of both communities.

More info and registration details can be found at www.siebelcustomerworld.com.

TES

David Sims' "India Versus China" Thoughts

July 14, 2005

In an article written this morning for TMCnet by David Sims, he notes he'd lay his money on India, not China, to be the Next Great Thing. He write, "The three main reasons, of course, are that India is a) a widely Anglophone democracy operating under the rule of law, b) serious about protecting property and intellectual rights, and c) highly entrepreneurial. China is none of those nor ever will be, and you can’t name a significant long-term world economic power in the last hundred years who’s not at least two out of those three."

All I can say is "Right on, David."

Calling All Space Geeks: Webcast Of The Shuttle Launch

July 13, 2005

If you're a space geek like me, you may be hoping to watch the 3:51 pm EST launch of the shuttle Discovery/STS-114. (I've still never seen one in person...it's a tricky prospect to plan to travel to Florida to witness one, as launches so often get delayed and rescheduled.)

NASA is currently running their "NASA TV" live feed, covering pre-countdown happenings. You can find the link to it here: http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html and choose to run it in either Windows Media or RealPlayer.

Just try not to get in trouble with your IT department, hogging all that bandwidth, as I'm sure I'm going to get into with mine (sorry, guys).

TES

How To Sell 50,000 Units Per Hour

July 13, 2005

Can you imagine inventing something that, when it debuts to the marketplace at nearly $30 per unit, can move off the shelves of a single store chain at a rate of 50,000 per hour?

Welcome back to Hogwarts, kids.

Barnes & Noble CEO Steve Riggio has stated that the bookstore chain expects to sell just that many in the first days (weeks?) of this weekend's release of "Harry Potter And The Half Blood Prince."

The only books that sell anywhere near as well as J.K.

Bernie Goes To The Hoosegow: Bye, Bernie!

July 12, 2005

In case you have a scrap of sympathy left over after you finish regretting having to relocate those slugs from your garden last weekend, spare a moment for poor Bernie Ebbers, former CEO and Chief Robber Baron of WorldCom. According to the New York Times today, a federal judge refused his request for a new trial, opening the path for Bernie to go hop, hop, hopping off to jail.

Bye, Bernie!

All those people whose livelihoods you stole are right behind you...waiting to push you into your cell. Is there room for Dennis Kozlowski next door?

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/business/AP-WorldCom-Ebbers.html?hp&ex=1121227200&en=c3bd3e114eb5f652&ei=5094&partner=homepage

We Want Your Opinion: Who Is The "Best-in-Class"?

July 12, 2005

TMC is currently embarking on an exciting new venture: We're collecting the user community's opinions on the software and systems call center/contact centers use in their everyday operations. We want your honest opinions. (Yes, you can be mean if you're so inclined).

Our Best In Class Survey, which is currently underway, will pay you $10 if you fork over your detailed opinion about any of the systems you use every day: CRM, workforce management, on-demand products, call recording, ACDs, headsets, IVRs, speech systems, list management, PBX/IP-PBX, dialers, teleservices, sales force automation, knowledge management.

Hispanic Teleservices Corp's Kit Cooper Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year

July 12, 2005

Congratulations goes out this morning to the co-founder of Hispanic Teleservices Corp., Kit Cooper, for being named as one of this year's Ernst & Young Entrepreneurs of the Year. Hispanic Teleservices Corp. is a rising company within Customer Interaction Solution's Top 50 Teleservices Ranking.

The Texas-based company operates call centers in Monterrey, Mexico and targets the rapidly growing U.S. Hispanic market.

Congratulations to Kit.

Vodafone Pulls It Together With Jacada Fusion

July 12, 2005

Jacada announced this morning a new user: British wireless company Vodafone. The company adopted Jacada's Fusion product.

I like this product. If you haven't seen it in action, this is what it does: It takes the multitude of screens that call center agents need to keep open at all times: CRM, e-mail, SFA, Web chats, WFM, call recording, etc., and merges them into one screen.

Forrester Finds Demand For Mobile Applications Outpacing Expectations

July 11, 2005

Talk about "po-tay-to" "po-tah-toe". I liked this news that a survey indicates that "businesses are adopting mobile applications faster than they'd planned."

Mightn't it also be that companies waaaay underestimated the growth and adoption rates of mobile applications?

In any case, it explains why every company and his brother's company has been offering its products on mobile platforms lately.

Call Centers' Hunger For Actionable Data Drives Profits For Inova's Real-Time Reporting Solutions

July 11, 2005

There are certain technologies many of us in the industry are guilty sometimes of considering less capable of innovation than other areas of the industry: display technologies and headsets are two industries that sometimes fall prey to these very undeserved prejudices.

Turns out, while many people were considering display technologies commodities -- a sort of necessary purchase but not one to get excited about -- the companies that produce these products and their associated real-time data applications are quietly doing very well.

Why? The contact center industry has become data hungry.

Shocking Evidence That Outsourcing Actually Works

July 11, 2005

It continually amazes me, after all this time, that the results of a successful outsourcing venture are still viewed as surprising. In the release below, we see some concrete results reported by Indiana-based HMO M-Plan regarding post-implementation results with its outsourced partner, Beryl.

This reminds me of a television commercial that aired a few years ago (I do not remember for which computer hardware/services company) in which a company's upper management gathers for its usual nightmarish weekly IT troubleshooting meeting. Turns out, the company turned all its IT functions over to said (forgotten) hardware/services company.

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