| Contact Center/CRM Views and Analysis

December 2008

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Cooperating Contact Centers To Cut Costs, Keep Staff Productive (and Employed)

December 30, 2008

Here is one way to cut costs, increase utilization, and in doing so keeping contact center teams employed in these tough times and that is to seek cooperation with other similar operations and either share capacity or go into together on a joint center (s). That will save scarce resources that can be better deployed elsewhere and enable cost-reducing economies of scale.

There are few reasons why for example charities, colleges and universities, healthcare organizations, legal and medical professionals, and businesses with strictly local market bases such gas, electric, and water utilities, retailers in buying groups can't get together this way. After all they are not competing with each other.

Is Nortel's Future In The Clouds?

December 22, 2008

Rich Tehrani's superb piece on the solid shape of Nortel's carrier business, coupled with recent stories on the troubled communications/enterprise products firm got me to thinking: does Nortel's future lie in the convergence of carrier networks and hosted solutions from Fortune 500-scaled CRM to workforce management i.e. the cloud?

Companies are very interested in the hosting model because they want to get away from buying licenses and bolting in hardware just as they no longer, with few exceptions, own their buildings: to save capital costs and give them greater flexibility.

Enterprise solutions, like buildings, are infrastructure.

Sometimes there is justice...

December 18, 2008

Kudos to the U.S. justice system, which has given lengthy jail times to three Canadians convicted in a multimillion dollar telemarketing scam. The Canadian Press reported that Lloyd Prudenza, the last of them has been sentenced to 15 years by a U.S. court, according to the Competition Bureau of Canada.

Nortel, if it stays, will stay and grow in enterprise, contact center space

December 17, 2008

Rest assured customers and would-be buyers of Nortel's contact center and UC solutions.

The famed Canada-based communications solutions supplier is not going to hang up on you. If Canadian media reports are any indication, Nortel will increase its focus and presence on the enterprise--including contact center--markets. Which is not a bad thing given Nortel's excellent reputation for product engineering and innovation.

With Web 2.0 Be Prepared For Brickbats As Well As (the Few) Bouquets

December 15, 2008

A recent Wall Street Journal article on Web 2.0 brought home a key point for firms wanting to present themselves to this evolving and morphing mélange of business and social networking sites, of blogs and wikis in their CRM strategies: be prepared for the bad as well as the good.

Web 2.0 strips away for many organizations the comfortable and secure façade of the illusion that their products and service is the best there is, relatively insulated from what customers in general think of them thanks to what has been at this point de facto one way marketing.

These online forums and sites provide a loud, globally read, if occasionally unfair public opinion led by the leaders in those peer groups that geometrically magnifies the power and presence of the actual number and types of customer feedback received. They supply what can be a push forward and sometimes a push back to enterprises and their offerings.

Dell: homeshore your contact centers and drop the U.S. handling fee

December 12, 2008

I own two Dells: the desktop Dimension 5150 that I am writing this on, and an Inspiron laptop that my wife uses. Both machines are OK, and that is a good thing...as I have not exactly been thrilled with the service that I've needed and received from its offshore agents.

So when I heard from a TV show producer about Dell planning to charge its American account holders $13 a month for onshore support or new customers $99/year, I switched to PR mode to quell the temptation to let out a snarky remark, along the lines of 'it's like paying someone for not hitting you'.

Instead I expressed my skepticism, alluding to the unsuccessful efforts to convince Americans to buy often higher-priced Made in the USA goods in the 1980s to save jobs, rally around the country...especially now with the economy being so tight.

Teleservices Expansion with 'TLC'

December 11, 2008

Amidst all the economic doom and gloom, including contact center closures it is very rewarding to see teleservices companies expand.

One of these, and one which truly deserves to grow, is Thomas L. Cardella & Associates (TLC&A). It has been for the past new months expanding existing and opening new contact centers in Cedar Rapids, Coralville, Keokuk, and Marshalltown, Iowa. It also has at-home agents.

TLC&A has been focusing on and as a result experiencing strong growth serving the direct marketing needs of Fortune 500 clients in the financial services, insurance, publication, specialty retail, technology, telecom, entertainment, utilities, and travel industries.

StarTek's Canada Closure: Can't See the People For The Cubes

December 10, 2008

Businesses that have office-type employment, including contact centers who complain that they can't find enough workers and who say they are forced to close shop are probably not seeing the "people for the box" i.e. limiting the size of their labor pool to those who are willing to commute in.

StarTek is, as the media reported closing its Regina, Saskatchewan contact center in March 2009, citing the province's booming economy and other contact centers soaking up the labor pool. That is of course after accepting $3 million in taxpayer goodies to locate there in 2003 including job training plus a five year property tax abatement...

mCommerce + eCommerce = Retail Success

December 8, 2008

Forget home and business computers. mCommerce is the killer app for eCommerce, and together it will enable retailers to be successful now and going forward provided it is fully integrated with the stores.

Thanks to at last the widening 3G and nascent 4G networks, and increasingly user-friendly smartphones that permit easier keying and surfing, prospects and consumers are researching and buying online, anytime, anywhere. They will want the convenience of finding a product on a website, like a must-have gift, then texting or calling the merchant and having it set aside for purchase at the nearest location, then guaranteeing it with a credit card.

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