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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Will United + Continental = Fewer Contact Center Jobs?

May 7, 2010

When companies merge the impetus is to immediately cut costs to achieve the hoped-of financial benefits. And all too often that means consolidation and cutbacks in the back offices i.e. contact centers. So when United Airlines and Continental Airlines announced their merger earlier this week my radar went on to see if that is going to happen in this instance. The suspicion is yes, to some extent, but not as great as it would be if both firms were head-on competitors in major markets.

Can Outsourcers Bring Social Media Home?

April 21, 2010

Outsourcing firms, especially those in the contact center space have to be that one-half-step ahead of their clientele, which tends to be fairly conservative, but which expects their suppliers to be on top of trends. This is a tail-perched-on-the-picket-fence situation because outsourcing is a notoriously highly-competitive thin-margin business and outsourcers have little spare cash, which means technology investments must have strong and immediate ROIs, yet companies find the money for them to have the tools to meet clients' needs. And that sharp point is about to become even more uncomfortable with the rise of social media.

Don't Start Bulldozers Yet On Contact Center Expansion

April 12, 2010

"The survey confirms something we've known for years: the contact center industry is one of the most dynamic and fastest-growing sectors in the U.S. economy," said James K. Noble, President and CEO of Noble Systems. "The overwhelmingly positive response reflects the strong diversity and innovation in the field today. Contact centers are an integral part of customer relationship management in an increasingly global and virtual marketplace." This is great news. Yet is it time to finally fire up the bulldozers on that new center? The hard reality is that the U.S. is still in the economic doldrums, with high unemployment and underemployment and long-term indebtedness that has squished consumers' pocketbooks. Bottom line: less spending resulting in fewer calls to contact centers for orders and service.

Cracking Down On Dumb Telemarketing Tricks

March 31, 2010

If one thinks that the rise of e-mail and the ease of spam has drawn all the mutts, skels and bottom-feeding marketers and clients from telemarketing, think again. The trick du jour is spoofing phone numbers to make CallerID-savvy consumers and businesses think the callers are not telemarketers or are from other and reputable companies so that they will pick up the lines.

CorpComm/PR Not Contact Centers For Managing Social Media

March 18, 2010

One of the key issues that are emerging with the rise of social media as a customer interaction tool is who should track, analyze and respond to what is being said on these sites. A strong argument can be made is that it should be corporate communications/public relations either in-house or outside agencies rather than contact centers.

How To Get Buy-In For Telework? Offer It To Managers

March 11, 2010

If a firm hires the right people both employees and supervisors, set expectations, track performance, get ahold of staff when they are not meeting the standards to point them in the right direction and follow then what difference does it make where they are? A word or two has just as much meaning if written in a text or uttered in a call as it does when the accompanying breaths can be felt on your neck. And they can be delivered at much less cost compared with housing everyone in the same room.

Canadians Are The Real Story of the 2010 Olympics

March 1, 2010

You now have had a chance to see us as who we are, sometimes a little cocky as if expecting to get humbled, and we did, whether thinking we could actually stage with global warming and predictions of a warm winter events at Cypress...or more tragically creating the arguably dangerous sled track at Whistler on which a young Georgian athlete died; we were at that track a few days later for the women's luge finals (there was an impromptu memorial set up for him under the Olympic rings in Whistler Village)...or when we faced the Americans in the men's hockey preliminaries. Yet you also saw how we faced that adversity with perseverance and sometimes a little bit of luck. We just dug in our heels and worked at it.

More Reasons Why Traditional Contact Centers Are Doomed

February 23, 2010

I've been covering and working in this industry for over 14 years yet I've always thought the notion of contact centers, especially inbound first level ones kind of strange, as if they were a transitional means until the technologies and practices caught up with consumer and business demands for sales and service. This is beginning to happen, which will doom traditional contact centers. If I were in the business of making contact center decisions I'd not approve any money to expand existing sites, or buy outsourcing services located in on-premises locations. Instead I would put the money into automated voice and web solutions, home agents and presence.

Not Serving Obnoxious Customers

February 10, 2010

Companies like Tim Horton's, where employees interact with customers face-to-face make it clear to the clientele that these enterprises have the right to refuse service and as the Canadian coffee giant demonstrated will make this stick. Perhaps contact centers need a similar approach and language printed on bills and posted on web sites. Give the scum 'three strikes and you're out'. Perhaps institute a trigger of two objectionable calls for supervisors to make outbound inquiries to the dear persons to see "what's their problem?"

Hope For Haiti Telethon Results

January 26, 2010

The Hope for Haiti telethon was a success. The Los Angeles Times reported that more than 83 million people tuned in Friday night with an average audience of more than 24 million viewers, leading to at least $61 million in to help survivors of the Jan. 12 earthquake.
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