First Coffee for St. Valentine's Day, 2006

David Sims : First Coffee
David Sims
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First Coffee for St. Valentine's Day, 2006

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is a Tom Waits gem I’d overlooked for years, the album Alice:, an on-demand CRM vendor, is announcing that Dexterra, Inc., a vendor of mobile business software, has selected CRM and is using applications from’s AppExchange for its data management needs. officials say AppExchange “unites all of Dexterra’s on-demand applications, including CRM, Project Management, Time Tracking, Professional Services, Bug Tracking and Product Management,” with a single data model, single security model and a single user interface.

18,700 companies comprise’s customer base as of October 31, 2005.

Dublin-based report vendors Research & Markets have issued yet another report, this one on the global market for consumer VoIP services.

It counts total VoIP subscribers worldwide to date at 16 million, and projects the market will grow to over 55 million in 2009. “But despite an impressive 62 percent year-over-year subscriber growth rate in 2005, few consumers have ever heard of the term ‘VoIP’,” they write. “This indicates providers have to continue to educate the public, and that there is considerable room for market growth.”

They find “competition in broadband access services” as the “key driving force behind VoIP market development. In addition, multiple waves of new entrants, ranging from broadband ISPs and cable MSOs, to Google and eBay will play significant roles.”

The report, “Global VOIP Has Arrived; Just Not As Expected!” finds that 73 percent of all VoIP subscribers worldwide have migrated to VoIP without making a conscious buying decision to adopt the new technology. It also says in North America and Canada, cable operators are aggressively expanding their VoIP footprint, but are marketing VoIP as plain old telephone service.

In Asia, they find, South Korea will have the highest VoIP growth rate, followed by Hong Kong and Singapore. In Europe, broadband ISPs, such as Free Telecom (France) and FastWeb (Italy) are leading the way with triple-play service bundles.

There’s a reason this column is called First CoffeeSM, and in honor of the company which has contributed so much to the successful production of this column we’d like to note that Starbucks has entered into an agreement with the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation to provide $1.5 million to support a program aimed at helping students in need – and their teachers – in rural China.

Starbucks and China Soong Ching Ling Foundation have actually signed a formal agreement which establishes a program described as “to help improve access to education for disadvantaged youth and provide quality training for women teachers in rural areas.” China Soong Ching Ling Foundation anticipates reaching approximately 3,000 teachers and thousands of students by the year 2010.

Many teachers in rural schools have little or no formal training in how to teach. Three thousand female teachers from 1,000 primary and middle school in five Western provinces will be given training during summer and winter holidays to improve their teaching skills and provide them with updated techniques to help their students learn.

In addition, three hundred schools will be outfitted with books, computers, teaching tools and upgraded sports facilities.

This is the first effort funded under the auspices of the $5 million China Education Project, which Starbucks established in September 2005 with Give2Asia, a US nonprofit organization founded by The Asia Foundation to promote philanthropy in Asia, which will administer the Project grants.

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz noted that the company opened its first store in China in 1999 and now has 220 outlets in 18 cities. “No market to date potentially has the opportunities for us that China ultimately will,” Schultz said, according to the Associated Press. “We have significantly moved China up to the No. 1 priority in our company.”

Another happy beneficiary from the sort of customer relationship management practices writes in to share:

I have been going back and forth with them for the past month! Always the same 4 template e-mail responses from the infamous Claire. Finally I contacted Amazon, who seems to be aware of the trouble with this seller (yet not doing much about it). I had ordered a text book for a psychology course – have still not received it (nor have the other 3 people in the class who also ordered from Caiman and are getting the same runaround). Here is the current # for – (305) 262-4973. Address is: 6701 NW 7 ST Suite 125 Miami, FL 33126 and the Attorney General’s office of Florida is:

I finally talked to “Claire” on the phone (after about 9 calls) and got the runaround from her. Once I mentioned the Attorney General’s office she offered me a refund… the e-mail I just received for the refund stated the reason as “lost in the mail,” somehow I doubt it was ever shipped. I contacted the USPS and inquired about the shipping time I was quoted by, and was told that for this time of year there is next to no reason why it would take that long!

Bottom line, stay away from them! If it’s too late for you, use the above information to get some resolution, and I advise EVERYONE who experiences this with them to file a complaint with both Amazon and the Florida Attorney General’s office… maybe we can get something done.

This is CRM in real-life, folks, what we’ve seen with ever since First CoffeeSM started tracking the issue last year is what happens when a company relegates customer care to a low priority. They lose customers. Hopefully, anyway.

Well, I guess there’s a new wordoid we all have to endure: infotainment. Me, I’d say this applies to the nutty guff you get from the MainStream Media, as its total disconnect with reality, especially as it concerns anything actually happening in Iraq, is pretty hilarious, but evidently it refers to what you get through mobile technology. I think. As far as I can tell.

There’s a new report from Frost & Sullivan saying how “previously,” the lack of product differentiation plagued the European Telematics and infotainment industry. But now, in the glorious new dispensation, “the opening of the aftermarket has brought in products from the consumer electronics industry, thereby making differentiation more pronounced and has caused traditional suppliers to face intensifying competition.”

“Portable navigation systems have caused a major shake down in the European aftermarket with almost half of the total unit sales among all applications in the infotainment industry,” Frost & Sullivan Transportation Analyst Shyamsundar Anandhan says in the report titled “Analysis of the European Aftermarket for Telematics and Infotainment Systems - Market Size and Forecasts.” The popularity of hands-free telephony and media streaming, he says, “will cause wireless technologies such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to increasingly penetrate the market especially since Bluetooth and the iPod are worthy marketing tools for in-car entertainment systems.”

The European Telematics and Infotainment systems market earned revenues of EUR 7.93 billion in 2005 and is estimated to reach EUR 23.02 billion in 2011, Frost & Sullivan report. Of all the segments in the infotainment industry – integrated systems, navigation systems, rear-seat entertainment systems (probably different from the rear-seat entertainment we used to enjoy in high school if they’re making an industry of it) and in-vehicle Bluetooth interface systems – integrated systems are most likely to meet consumer demands.

Factors the report finds that could adversely impact the Telematics and Infotainment systems market include high prices, low levels of customer awareness and the burgeoning consumer electronics market.

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