Brendan Read : The Readerboard
Brendan Read
TMC
| Contact Center/CRM Views and Analysis

IBM, Mitel, Wearable Tech round out Latest ITEXPO News

Its been an amazing ITEXPO so far - wow. In case you missed some of the happenings from day 1, here are...

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3 Reasons UC Deployments Fail

Just getting ink on a Unified Communications deal is just the beginning. So many deployments go wrong or worse the company...

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Small Cells are Key to Attracting and Keeping SMB and Large Enterprise Customers

By: Peter Bernstein, TMCnet Senior Editor

To say that operators of macro-cellular physical networks are facing all type of challenges these days would be an understatement.  These range from spectrum scarcity issues, competitive pricing pressures, the need to build out LTE networks ASAP as platforms for new services and to meet the insatiable appetite of users for things like streamed and real-time video, getting ready for the Internet of Things (IoT) etc.  They also are busy figuring out how to keep users, particularly enterprise users on their smart devices always and all ways on their networks in an increasingly fickle world where alternatives abound, including for value-added traffic lost to Over-the-Top (OTT) providers.  

It is to keep enterprise customers on the mobile service provider networks for enhanced services that good in-building wireless solutions are seen as both a powerful business tool and a competitive advantage.  This is particularly true when it comes to retaining small-to-medium business customers (SMBs).

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Changing the SIM game

The iPad Air 2 with Wi-Fi + Cellular models comes with a SIM  that “gives you the flexibility to choose from...

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WebRTC and the Enterprise

I was reading an article titled, “How WebRTC can serve the Enterprise” but when I originally saw the headline I thought...

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Jeff Pulver, Andy Abramson, Craig Walker, Alon Cohen, Mike Tribolet, Andy Voss and Danny Windham at ITEXPO Next Week

Panel to celebrate 20 years of IP communications/VoIP and discuss its future. Next week at the 29th ITEXPO, I get the pleasure...

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Alcatel-Lucent CEO Michel Combes on Importance of Bringing Ultra-Broadband to Africa

By: Peter Bernstein, TMCnet Senior Editor

It may be almost cliché to say we live in a global economy, but many times when globalization is discussed the focus is on developed and emerging markets and not that often, if at all, on under-developed regions.  In fact, in the past few years until the recent drop in oil prices, much of the financial community’s and economic development interests has been focused on the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).  This leaves out not just most of South America, but the promising rest of Africa which contains a wealth of rare minerals and other natural resources waiting to be literally and figuratively mined.

However, for most of the African continent countries to move from under-developed status, along with toward political stability and having a educated citizenry, infrastructure needs to be in place which it currently is not. This means not just giving the populace access to clean water and energy, but in a digital world ubiquitous and affordable access to businesses and individuals to high-speed broadband communications is now not just a foundation but a pre-condition that is essential for moving ahead.  

In this regard it is enlightening, refreshing and significant that Alcatel-Lucent CEO Michel Combes recently wrote a corporate blog stressing the company’s interest in working with governments and commercial interests to help accelerate economic development across the continent.  This about not just about the Oscar winning movie of several years ago “Out of Africa”, but is also about around, into and across Africa. 

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Improving Capacity Through Virtual Call Centers

February 15, 2008

Call Center Jobs: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

February 14, 2008

Tight Retail Return Policies

February 13, 2008

Here's a customer service pet peeve that I've developed recently. If you have tried to return anything recently, you may have noticed that retailers have fairly seriously tightened up their return policies. I realize that the point is to catch "serial returners" who buy merchandise regularly knowing they are going to return it. But in my opinion, when the "net" starts to catch consumers with legitimate issues, it has been cast too wide.

According to the National Retail Federation, about 40 percent of retailers have tightened their policies.

My most recent aggravation?



The ATA Position On Do-Not-Call

February 7, 2008

You may have read that his week, Congress addressed two bills, H.R. 2601 and H. R. 3541, which will affect the future of the federal Do-No-Call Registry.  Currently, there are approximately 150 million people who have listed their phone numbers on the DNC Registry, and there has been a large political effort to ensure that consumer’s information will not be purged from this list.

Sneaky ISP Fees

February 6, 2008

2007 Outsourcing Market Trends

February 5, 2008

B-to-B Telemarketing

February 4, 2008

I often get questions about outbound telemarketing calls to places of business, and how companies can stop them. (Here's a piece from the Raleigh News & Observer on the topic.) The answer is, you probably can't, unless you ask each solicitor to list you on their internal do-not-call list. The Federal Do-Not-Call Registry is for personal, home phone numbers, not places of business.

Many companies hesitate to put their business numbers on any do-not-call lists, mindful of the fact that it could affect legitimate incoming business calls.

Outrageous (Call Center) Interactions

February 1, 2008

If you have been a call center agent for any length of time, there are probably some calls that you will never forget. Calls during which you started to wonder who was trying to upsell whom. Calls during which you felt more like a therapist than a customer service rep. Even calls that were so weird, you became convinced you were being filmed for a new "Candid Camera" reality show.

Interactive Intelligence wants to hear about them.

Agents And I.D. Theft

January 31, 2008

When the topic of customer data privacy comes up, there is a lot to talk about. Encryption, standards, firewalls, software, monitoring...and it's all great.

The problem is, most of it fails to address the most common origination of customer identity theft: the call center agent who walks out the door at the end of his shift with a list of social security and/or credit card numbers.

As you'll see in this story, a former TeleTech employee was recently convicted of using customer information to open accounts in others' names and changing the address to his own, allowing him to have merchandise sent to himself.

Many companies nowadays are trying to combat this kind of identity theft by allowing no paper whatsoever in the call center (notepads can be used to jot down customer information), and allowing agents no access to personal e-mail so they cannot cut and paste information into an e-mail and send it to themselves.

Some companies are even offering solutions for call centers who take credit card information over the phone: the agent is required to transfer the customer into an IVR, which takes the credit card information and processes it automatically. The agent never hears the credit card information.

One doesn't like to think one's employees could be thieves, but let's face it: there are thieves in every profession, and pretending that you have none in your organization is wishful thinking.

TES











Is Your Call Center Ready?

January 31, 2008

According to holiday numbers for 2006/2007 (not this previous holiday season) released by the National Retail Federation, brick and mortar holiday retail growth was just three percent. Online sales, however, grew 19 percent.

According to researchers the e-tailing group, which recently released its 10th Annual Mystery Shopping Study and measured over 200 metrics on 100 consumer e-commerce sites in the fourth quarter of 2007, there has been both an increased presence and better execution of features that either deliver a richer, more robust experience and technologies that enable faster, more efficient shopping.

As more and more people who have never lived before the Internet age become consumers with good disposable income, shoppers' expectations for sterling online shopping experience is going to rise. This means well-designed Web sites with Web 2.0 technologies are a MUST, as is multichannel customer service that makes shoppers think, "Wow."

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