First Coffee for June 10, 2005

David Sims : First Coffee
David Sims
| CRM, ERP, Contact Center, Turkish Coffee and Astroichthiology:

First Coffee for June 10, 2005

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Stephen Stills’s 1972 album Manassas, one of the few Crosby, Stills or Nash projects as good as Neil Young’s work:

Okay, we’re off Supercomm ‘05 Chicago now, so what’s flown by in the meantime?

Got an e-mail from Ashlee Vance yesterday re First CoffeeSM’s assessment, based on his coverage of Chairman Martin’s appearance at Supercomm, that although his reporting lacked both humor and insight, “Vance is hep and linguistically frisky, he’ll do well on the Paris Hilton beat somewhere.”

Vance sent an e-mail titled “Paris Hilton beat,” asking “where do I sign up for that?” First CoffeeSM wrote back saying sorry, can’t help, been trying to get on it for years myself.

Nice to see Vance has more of a sense of humor than his writing would suggest. In all fairness he did do a good piece on the iPod DJ scene in a Chicago bar, “Bars hold iPod nights for iDrunk DJs,” more suited to his smug-Brit-among-the-wogs style.

One thing that slipped by was BenchmarkPortal’s latest eGain-sponsored study finding that SMB e-mail customer service still stinksworse than that of the large enterprises.

You’d think that the one thing small and medium-sized businesses would have going for them would be that they can focus on customer service more than the big boys. Wasn’t that supposed to be the big competitive advantage – “Hey look, you’re just a number to them, to us you’re a real person, we care?”

You’d be wrong. In what’s being billed as the first eService benchmark study “focused exclusively on small and medium-sized businesses,” BenchmarkPortal found that online customer service provided by SMBs is “even worse than the service level offered by large enterprises,” according to company officials.

This is the second study in the State-of-eService Benchmarking Series sponsored by eGain. The first study, released in August 2004, focused on 300 enterprises in the US and Canada with more than $250 million in annual sales.

The goal of the second study was to assess the state of eService in SMBs with annual revenues between $10 million and $250 million (drat, First CoffeeSM just misses the cut). Conducted in early 2005, the study evaluated 147 SMBs in the retail, travel and hospitality, financial services, e-business, and hi-tech manufacturing sectors.

Posing as customers, researchers made targeted e-mail inquiries that “demonstrated a clear intent to buy a high-value product or service,” according to the study report. Both the timeliness and the quality of the responses were measured.

Either many businesses are adept at weeding out bogus inquiries or they’re missing out on revenue opportunities due to wretched e-mail “customer service.”

A “shocking” 51% of the companies did not respond at all, versus 41% for enterprises. Of those who bothered to respond, 70% of the companies failed to respond within 24 hours, versus 61% for enterprises. Fully 79% of the companies responded with an inaccurate and/or incomplete answer.

Here, SMBs performed better than enterprises, where 83% of the companies responded with an inaccurate and/or incomplete answer.

Boy, if you consider enterprises to be doing a “better” job than SMBs here it’s by insignificant margins. This is like saying Tweedledum’s smarter than Tweedledee.

Among industry-specific findings, the e-business sector (not defined any clearer than this, sorry) performed the best in responsiveness, with 52% responding within 24 hours. Surprisingly, the financial services and retail companies were the least responsive, with 72% and 60% respectively not sending any response at all.

For quality of response the travel sector performed least abysmally, as only two-thirds of the companies provided inaccurate or incomplete answers. Financial services again performed the worst with 89% of the companies providing an inaccurate and/or incomplete answer, followed closely by . high-tech with 86%.

This morning Scribe Software Corporation is announcing expanded capabilities in its Scribe Insight integration platform specifically for Microsoft Business Solutions – Great Plains. What it actually does is pull customer data out of your other systems and applications and give it to your CRM system, for the much-sought after “single-view of the customer” for those using the CRM system to interact with customers. It’s an improvement over Scribe Migrate, as it adds automated, event-driven integrations to populate your CRM product – in this case, Great Plains – with information from other applications.

Nexidia, an audio search and speech analytics products vendor has announced the general availability of its flagship product – Nexidia Enterprise Speech Intelligence 5.0. It’s supposed to help generate and analyze intelligence contained in recorded spoken interactions. Officials claim it “makes recorded audio searchable at over 55 times real-time and returns search results from the database at over 30 million times real-time.”

Evidently the new features in Nexidia ESI 5.0 include enhanced analysis using metadata, additional reporting and trending capabilities – users can view search results in user-defined combinations using call data and metadata, and in the contact center recorded calls can be sorted and viewed at the agent, workgroup and supervisor levels; or by call attributes such as source, duration, contact center site, etc.

Beleaguered CRM vendor Siebel Systems announced a couple of deals, one to provide the first set of CRM applications to support BEA’s new AquaLogic product family, which is “designed to enable services built on heterogeneous platforms to be discovered, secured, managed and assembled by leveraging composition and management tools,” according to Siebel officials.

The apps are being billed as “designed to help companies build end-to-end business processes by assembling prepackaged components and combining them with their own custom components on a service-oriented architecture.” If not Shakespeare at least that’s somewhat clearer than the owners’-manual-in-a-Weed-Whacker style of the first quote.

Also yesterday Siebel announced that Madrid-based Relational Tools selected Siebel CRM OnDemand to help the company “focus on managing sales, marketing, and services execution while providing a 360-degree view of its customers.”

Alcoholics Anonymous began today in 1935 in Akron, Ohio from a meeting between Bill W., a New York stockbroker, and Dr. Bob S., an Akron surgeon. Both alcoholics, according to the A.A. history, they worked on the new notion that alcoholism was a disease and that fellowship was essential to sobriety. They started at Akron’s City Hospital, where one patient quickly recovered to full sobriety.

These three men were the first A.A. group. Early in 1939, the expanded fellowship published its basic textbook, Alcoholics Anonymous, financed by the members themselves. Written by Bill, it explained A.A.’s philosophy and methods, the core of which was the Twelve Steps of recovery.

Thanks to positive press the group grew rapidly. Dr. Bob devoted himself to the question of hospital care for alcoholics, and thousands flocked to Akron to receive hospital care at St. Thomas where Dr. Bob and Sister M. Ignatia cared for and brought A.A. some 5,000 sufferers. After Dr. Bob’s death in 1950, Sister Ignatia worked at Cleveland’s Charity Hospital, where 10,000 more found A.A. At his final appearance before the group Dr. Bob spoke of the need of keeping A.A. simple.

Bill Wilson died in 1974 from pneumonia. He believed so strongly in the Anonymous idea that he refused to appear on the cover of Time or accept an honorary degree from Yale University.

If read off-site hit for the fully-linked version. First CoffeeSM accepts no sponsored content placement and thinks lattes are overrated.

Featured Events