| Contact Center/CRM Views and Analysis

September 2008

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IP-enabled iPhone: The Ultimate Contact Center Handset?

September 25, 2008

Imagine being able to take and make calls, receive e-mails, IMs, and SMS, and at the same time manage web-enabled applications like hosted CRM and workforce management in a convenient, go-anywhere, user-friendly wireless appliance.

Imagine no more being tangled up in cords, or fiddling with multiple (and expensive) gadgets.

Imagine having at last a truly usable phone for home workers, including contact center agents and supervisors.

The hard reality is that when you are working from home you do get interrupted, like for deliveries, plumbers, other contractors, family responsibilities: which beats productivity and cost-wise having to leave early/arrive late to handle when working in a traditional office.

Opportunity Knocks in Canada?

September 23, 2008

While at ITEXPO West in L-A last week I saw a headline in USA Today "Opportunity Knocks in Canada". The story discussed how the petro-rich province of Alberta is recruiting skilled Americans to work there.

The other side of the picture is that US-serving contact centers located there are closing, such as Convergys' shuttering of its Red Deer site because of the high Canadian dollar that is largely fueled by the resource sector that has made services less competitive.

At the same time despite the widespread investments in predominantly nearshore contact centers throughout Canada over the past 12 years, there has not been the rapid expansion in IT and the subsequent movement up the skills and technologies food chain on any signficant scale there like that which has occurred in Ireland and is now taking place in India.

Home working, customer care insights from ITEXPO West

September 17, 2008

While managing the SIP in the Contact Center Certification track at ITEXPO West yesterday I came across two excellent insights courtesy of the speakers and the attendees.

In a discussion following TDI CTO Mark Moore's session on enabling home-based agents arose the issue of how to manage bandwidth at home agents' premises, what with everyone else in the household tapping into wireless networks unbeknownst to the agents.

The concern is to make sure the demand on the pipe at home is not constricted to the point where agents cannot access applications they need. This can be an issue in many households, especially with teenagers...one that I will be looking into...and reporting back on.

Are You Prepared for the Next Disaster? Probably Not

September 12, 2008

In every journalist's career one comes across a piece of research that makes one's head shake followed by a jaw drop and scream either silently or out loud if no one is around: "Are these people [fill in the blank] ???!!!"

The paper "Business as Usual? A Benchmarking Study of Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity for Contact Centers ", published by DMG Consulting and sponsored by Empirix shockingly shows, if the survey sample is any indication, just how badly prepared contact centers to handle something as relatively minor as an ACD failure, let alone managing catastrophes like fires up to major events like hurricanes and yes terrorism.

The study, appropriately enough, arrived on my desk days before the seventh anniversary of 9-11 and in the middle of what is turning out to be the deadliest and most destructive hurricane season in three years, with Ike now at this writing threatening to destroy the Texas coast...

Here are the highlights, if you can call it that:

* Less than 37 percent of companies are confident that their operations can withstand a disaster or business disruption

* 60.2 percent of firms are not routinely testing their core contact center infrastructure.

Lessons From 9-11...No More 'Are You OK? E-mails'

September 11, 2008

Seven years ago at about this time I am writing this, around 4pm, I was at a police station in New Jersey, waiting for a friend of my wife's to pick me up to take me to their home...

I had just gotten off a free-ride all-stops NJ Transit train from Hoboken, fed by shuttle buses from the New York Waterway ferry terminal in Weehawken...upwind from the plumes of smoke arising from Ground Zero.

My goal was to walk across one of the bridges that linked New Jersey to Staten Island, where we lived, and get my car and drive out to see my wife at a hospital where she was with my sister-in-law, who had suffered a heart attack while we walked from our then-midtown Manhattan offices to the ferry. But the police said they weren't even letting pedestrians through...

Meanwhile we hadn't heard from our son, a paramedic.

In Memoriam..9/11

September 11, 2008

My prayers and hopes goes to all families of terror victims.

There's No Place Like Show...Like ITEXPO West

September 10, 2008

There is a wealth of ways to find out and learn more about new products and services. The Internet has proven to be an exceptionally versatile channel for this information, with online demos and the ability to interact with suppliers.

Yet when all is said and done there is still nothing like going to a conference/trade show floor and checking out the solutions and the exhibitors one-on-one, face-to-face, to get realtime information and answers to your specific needs via your multitude of senses.

For those reasons I strongly encourage you to attend ITEXPO WEST and make time to visit the show floor to visit the exhibitors to see what's new and what will be new in the way of solutions that could help your organization be the best it can be.

Come to Class at ITEXPO West!

September 8, 2008

One of the coolest aspects of ITEXPO WEST is TMC University. The reason: nothing beats testing and certification on hard topics to drive learning and retain information that you can use and impart to others when you return. TMC University, along with finding out about the latest in solutions, offers high ROI from attending ITEXPO WEST for both time and for travel budgets.

TMC University provides full day training courses that validate and test your knowledge of key subject areas such as Microsoft OCS, FMC/Mobility, SIP, SaaS, and SIP in the contact center.

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