| Contact Center/CRM Views and Analysis

April 2008

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Credit Card Practices Hearing Today

April 30, 2008

Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT), who is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, plans to introduce legislation todasy to improve credit card billing, marketing, and disclosure practices (and, presumably, put a curb on predatory practices of the credit card industry). Dodd's Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act (the C.A.R.D. Act) is, according to the Senator, aimed at "stopping abusive credit card practices that drag consumers into staggering amounts of debt, and too often harm, rather than help, the ability of American families to move up the economic ladder."

Dodd plans to speak with reporters about the legislation at a press conference today, where he will be joined by Senate colleagues and consumer advocates.


Performance Management Stats

April 29, 2008

Performance management works, is the message of a report commissioned by performance management provider Enkata. The study, conducted by Precision Marketing Group, found that organizations leveraging performance management solutions are able to markedly improve customer satisfaction, service delivery and agent retention.

Highlights from the survey:

* Organizations using performance management systems to pinpoint coaching topics and automate coaching best practices are able to expect 65 percent more coaching time from their supervisors than organizations without a PM system.
* More than 70 percent of the respondents plan to focus on initiatives to better measure and impact customer satisfaction.
* Large organizations are moving more to sales-service operations. Of companies managing more than 1,000 agents in their operations, 80 percent expect agents to sell as well as provide service.

For more information, visit www.enkata.com/2008survey.


IP Fairy Dust

April 24, 2008

Here's something you don't think about very often.

When connecting to the public telephone network in the U.S., many VoIP and wireless telephone companies are essentially "riding for free," since they are not transmitting sufficient identification information to allow the traditional carriers to charge them. Apparently, this is particularly hard on rural telephone companies, which make up to 29 percent of their revenue from inter-carrier compensation (carrying traffic for another company).

One such rural provider disdains the process. Ramond Henagan, General Manager of Missouri's Rock Port Telephone, stated that some VoIP providers have refused to pay access fees by saying the FCC has "given them permission to use the networks for free because they're IP," Henagan said.

Investment Alternatives

April 23, 2008

I received this e-mail just today. It made me laugh, because it's utterly true:

If you had purchased $1,000.00 of Delta Air Lines stock a few years ago, you would have $49.00 left.

With Enron, you would have had $16.50 left of your original $1,000.00.

With WorldCom, you would have had less than $5.00 left.

But, if you had purchased $1,000.00 worth of beer one year ago, drank all of the beer, then turned in the cans for the aluminum recycling REFUND, you would have had $214.00.

Based on the above, the best current investment advice is to drink heavily and recycle.
It's called the 401-Keg.


A NICE Summit

April 21, 2008

NICE Systems today announced its "menu" of breakout sessions for its NICE User Group Summit, which will take place July 28, 29 and 30th at the El Conquistador resort in Puerto Rico.

The breakout sessions will be:

Solutions for the Top AND Bottom Line.
Innovations in Infrastructure, Architecture and Applications.
Hands on.
Business strategy round tables.

For more information, visit http://www.nice.com/summit/worldwide2008/agenda.php


Microsoft Dynamics Unleashed

April 17, 2008

Sams Publishing is announcing the publication of a new title called "Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Unleashed" that is being positioned as a start-to-finish guide for planning, customizing, deploying, integrating and managing Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

According to the publisher, the book presents clear examples, proven best practices, and pitfalls to avoid in using every significant Microsoft Dynamics CRM capability.


500 Call Center Jobs In Arkansas

April 15, 2008

Outsourced contact center services provider will soon be opening a 500-seat call center in Jonesboro, Arkansas, reported the Arkansas Democrat Gazette. The company has signed a lease to open a 55,000-square-foot facility on the site of a former grocery store. The new center, like other StarTek facilities, will be handling inbound customer calls mostly for clients in the telephone, cable and satellite industries.


Hosted Speech in the Call Center

April 14, 2008

Speech automation solutions used to be something only very large and technically sophisticated companies could afford, mostly due to the significant up-front capital expenditures required to purchase, deploy, maintain and troubleshoot the required (and very complex) infrastructure. Today, however, hosted speech solutions are allowing contact centers of all size to deploy and enjoy the many benefits of speech automation with less implementation time and investment .

Tomorrow (Tuesday, April 15th), I'll be moderating a Webinar at 2:00 pm EST entitled, "Deploying Speech Automation Using A Hosted Solution" that will discuss how a hosted solution puts speech within the reach of even modest-size contact centers.

Join myself and presenters from VoltDelta and Envox for this important Webinar. To register, click here.


Black Holes On The Internet

April 11, 2008

Well, I've heard of black holes in dryers...these are the phenomena behind the mystery of "two socks go in, one sock comes out." I've heard of luggage black holes...when the airline check-in clerk drops your bag on the conveyor belt and you see it whisked away only to fail to re-emerge at your destination. But apparently, there are black holes on the Internet: pathways that mysteriously fall away and allow your data to fall...somewhere. In with billions of missing socks, perhaps?

Read the MSNBC article entitled, "Scientists discover black holes on the Internet".


Italian Call Center Doldrums

April 10, 2008

It seems that a new Italian film that is receiving rave reviews, "Tutta La Vita Davanti" (All Your Life Ahead of You) has a thing or two to say about life (or a job, anyway) in the call center. And it's not complimentary.

The protagonist is a young woman cannot find a suitable job upon graduation from university, so she turns to a call center job. The job itself, apparently, acts as a motif for hopelessness: a dead-end job for a dead-end life.


The plot, and the young woman's predicament, is intended to underscore the difficulties of modern life and employment for young people in Italy.

A review and a commentary of the film can be found here in the International Herald Tribune.


The ATA's Washington Summit

April 8, 2008

Hot topics to be covered at this year's American Teleservices Association (ATA) Washington, D.C. Summit will include:
Unveiling of ATA's SRO Online Assessment Tool The States on Consumer Protection ATA and DMA - In Cooperation for Our Future Road to the White House: The 2008 Election The How-To's on Building a Powerful PAC The ATA is M.A.D. (Making a Difference) The important summit will take place April 27th to 30th at Hyatt Regency Crystal City. For more information, visit www.ataconnect.org/washington


Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online

April 2, 2008

Microsoft recently announced, somewhat informally, that it is changing the name of its software-as-a-service CRM solution from Dynamics CRM Live to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online. The move, which is affecting the name only, is an attempt to avoid confusion between the SaaS CRM solution and Microsoft's other "Live" named solutions.

"Whereas the Live brand is focused on consumers and small businesses, the Online brand is fully aligned with our existing Dynamics CRM strategy of delivering outstanding solutions for small businesses, midsized companies and large enterprises," wrote Brad Wilson, general manager of Microsoft Dynamics CRM.


Eliminating CRM Pain

April 1, 2008

Hopefully, you're not one of those companies that discovered the problems of early CRM implementations through experience (if you are, my apologies). CRM is a highly complex business strategy/principle/philosophy/religion, depending on how you look at it, that needs to be approached with respect.

Tomorrow, I'm moderating a Webinar called "CRM Integration Best Practices, Taking The Pain Out Of The Call Center," along with AMC Technology's VP of Marketing Paul Nussbaum. The Webinar starts at 2:00 pm EST time and will cover all the topics you need to know about properly integrating CRM into your organization.

Visit http://www.tmcnet.com/webinar/amc-technology/ to register. I look forward to seeing you there.

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