| Contact Center/CRM Views and Analysis

February 2006

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Credit Freezing

February 28, 2006

I'm trying to put a "freeze" on my credit, as I'm allowed to do in Connecticut as of January 1st, thanks to a bill signed by Governor Jodi Rell. "Trying" is the operative word. Not only is there NO INFORMATION WHATSOEVER on the Web sites of the three main credit agencies regarding how to effect the freeze, these companies are very busy actively discouraging people from doing so. Of course they don't want you to freeze your credit...they want you to buy their credit monitoring services. Am I the only one who thinks that putting the three credit agencies in charge of this is like expecting the cat to guard the tuna for someone else without eating it?

Quit Sabotaging Your Customers

February 27, 2006

In the February issue of Customer Interaction Solutions magazine, I wrote about a study conducted by Allurent that indicated that 82 percent of online shoppers, after a bad e-commerce experience, say they will never return to that company's Web site again. There is evidence aplenty that poor e-commerce and e-support experiences also significantly damage a company's store-based retail sales. The excuses are running out for companies with bad Web sites and a spotty record on remote support.

On Wednesday, Citrix GoToAssist is sponsoring an informative Webinar called "Empowering Your People With The Remote Support Competitive Edge." If you offer support via your company's Web site, you cannot afford to miss this Webinar. Your competitors will be listening.



Calling All Outbound Solutions

February 24, 2006

Do you offer a solution that falls under the umbrella of outbound technology? If so, get listed in Customer Interaction Solutions magazine's April issue "Outbound Technology Roundup".

To find out how to submit information, click here: http://news.tmcnet.com/news/2006/02/06/1346988.htm


Press Zero Anytime

February 21, 2006

You may have noticed, via its humorous commercials involving a little Woody Allen-like guy attempting to get through to his credit card company and setting his kitchen on fire, that Citibank's CitiCard credit card division is offering a powerful new incentive to switch credit card companies: When you call the company, you can press "0" at any time during the IVR spiel and be connected to a live operator.

So what's a great differentiating point among credit cards? It really tells you what kind of world we live in when a company offers "being able to talk to a human whenever you want" as a superior selling point, and the rest of us fully agree. Many of us would be happy to pay a few extra points in interest rates if it guarantees us frustration-free calls to our credit card companies.

Remote Support Webinar

February 16, 2006

If you've not lately seen how good remote support has gotten, and the truly mind-boggling things you can accomplish it, it's time to catch up. Citrix Online will be sponsoring a Webinar on March 1st at 2:00 pm EST (hosted by yours truly) to show you that when your IT people tell you (with a straight face) they have to travel to Southern California to change the settings on your West Coast Sales Rep's computer, they're actually putting you on.

Get more info and sign up here: http://www.tmcnet.com/Webinar/citrix/empowering-your-people.htm

"See" you there.


Ancient History: CTI, Dialers

February 15, 2006

I'm looking through old issues of Telemarketing magazine, which some of you may know is the old name of Customer Interaction Solutions magazine, to discover information about an old program we used to run. I'm having an excellent blast from the past...even though the issues I'm looking through are only from 1993 and 1994, which doesn't seem very long ago, technology-wise it might as well be the Stone Age.

One article boasts about the cutting-edge benefits of CTI (computer-telephony integration), which actually allowed you to see customer records simultaneously with the phone call! (Seems very low-tech now, doesn't it?) Also, another article crows about the virtues of auto-dialing, which at the time was so helpful in replacing "existing technology." What was the "existing technology"?

Call Center Sitcom

February 13, 2006

In a move that will create its very own sitcom program like "The Office" of both UK and U.S. fame, Indian television will soon feature a program called "The Call Centre," produced by Indian television network NDTV.

The program, to be filmed in both English and Hindi, will feature the adventures of a group of mismatched Indian call centre workers, and the comedy will revolve around the bizarre, occasionally abusuve and sometimes downright stupid phone calls Indian call center workers take from Anglophone countries: Britain, the U.S. and Australia.

Let's hope we'll either be able to see it, either via the Internet or future Netflix rentals...



Bye, Jeeves

February 10, 2006

It seems that 10 years after he began "serving" the online community, Ask Jeeves' iconic butler (that would be Jeeves) is being retired from the Ask.com Web site.


It seems he annoys IAC/InterActive (Ask's parent company) CEO Barry Diller.

Having once worked as an editor for a Simon & Schuster company sacrified on the block by Barry Diller, I can, without ambiguity, state that Barry Diller, in fact, annoys me.

Bye, Jeeves.


West Buys Raindance

February 7, 2006

Hard on the heels of the announcement that it has acquired 911 call routing company Intrado, West Corp. today announced another acquisition: that of Web conferencing provider Raindance.

The acquisition will make Raindance a part of West' Conferencing Services segment and Raindance's services would be integrated into the InterCall suite of products. The acquisition is expected to close by the end of the second quarter and will be funded with cash on hand, West's existing bank credit facility and additional debt.

For more detailed financial information regarding the transaction, visit http://investor.shareholder.com/west/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=186720


Inbound Regulation

February 7, 2006

We told you it was coming:

A proposed Oklahoma law that, if passed, will require any business doing inbound work with consumers in Oklahoma to make a live operator available if the customer zeroes out by pressing "O" or saying "operator". If the consumer cannot immediately zero out to an operator, that company is liable to fines.

The title of the bill is OK H.B. 2783, and we'll keep you updated as to its progress.


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