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November 2006

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Accent Reduction

November 28, 2006

IBM is offering technology to help Indian and other foreign agents improve their English skills, reduce their accents and avoid using phrases that may be unfamiliar to English speakers in the U.S. or other primarily English-speaking countries.

According to this article in the Louisville Courier-Journal, "The program evaluates grammar, pronunciation, comprehension and other spoken-language skills, and provides detailed scores for each category. It uses specially adapted speech-recognition software to score the pronunciation of passages and the stressing of syllables for words."

The full article may be accessed here: http://www.courier-journal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061127/BUSINESS/611270334/1003


Reverse Telemarketing

November 21, 2006

Here's an interesting article from Bob Sullivan's blog on MSNBC today about a practice loosely termed "reversed telemarketing." Indian telemarketers call stone-cold leads (years-old responses to spam) with the hopes of catching a few "live" ones. They then transfer any live leads to, in this case, mortgage brokers in the U.S., who pay per live, transferred lead.

Read the full blog entry at: http://redtape.msnbc.com/2006/11/spam_never_dies.html#posts


Paper Customer Service

November 17, 2006

Here's an interesting response I received to my November "Last Call" column, which can be read here: http://www.tmcnet.com/call-center/1106/cis-last-call-1106.htm.

#1 fan here.  You really got wound up on this Nov. issue's Last Call.  Whew.  I can't disagree with you. 

One Percent Porn

November 15, 2006

A U.S. government-commissioned study had claimed to have discovered that, based on search engine indexing, the Internet is comprised of one percent porn. As the conventional wisdom is that the Internet is 99 percent junk and one percent useful content (news sites, TMCnet, newspapers, retail Web sites, scholarly research, etc.) what's the other 98 percent of drivel? Teenagers' MySpace pages?

3,000 Miles From Your Burger

November 14, 2006

"Restaurants count on the drive-through business for about two-thirds of all sales. Every second counts in the race to deliver food faster. At the Wendy’s stores that use call centers, drive-through transactions are expected to be completed in under 90 seconds."

So how to keep the orders flowing and make sure you have a regular supply of well-spoken, minimally accented employees to take orders for Wendy's cheeseburgers? Outsource, of course. In this article from Mumbai's Financial Express, the Wendy's agent is across the country. In many other instances we've seen in the news lately, that agent can be located anywhere in the world.

Read the full article here: http://www.financialexpress.com/fe_full_story.php?content_id=146131


Phishing Is Phlourishing

November 9, 2006

MSNBC's Bob Sullivan reports today that phishing is starting to change from a profitable cottage industry into a big business. Perhaps the credit card companies should start putting easy-to-read inserts into consumers' bills explaining what phishing is and how not to fall prey to it?



Jet-lagged Mice

November 7, 2006

In a study that conjures up terrific mental images of mice strapped into small airplane seats (I'm sorry...is "small airplane seat" an oxymoron?), scientists have concluded that mice who live on irregular light/dark and sleep/wake schedules die younger than better rested and refreshed mice. The study concludes that the kind of sleep interruption brought on by jet lag may lead frequent flyers to die younger.

So be warned, mice of the world who are logging in seven-figure airmile accounts each year, you may not make it to see your great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandchildren graduate from college.



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