By David Sims
The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is “The Woman Downstairs” by The Handsome Family, which someone recommended I listen to but which I’m not sure is a keeper. I mean, I’ve already got Tom Waits and Jim White:
The PSI Call Center has changed its name to PSI Contact Center to reflect “the expansion of new technologies for customer relationships and contacts,” according to company officials.
The new name, PSI Contact Center, “better reflects that more and more of the programs PSI has been doing are based upon managing the total customer contact process in a ‘multi-level access’ communication environment,” company officials said.
In addition to managing inbound/outbound call programs, like a good, self-respecting call center, the “contact center” manages e-mail communications from customers and prospects. PSI is also working on integrating the web and the call center to provide 2-way video interaction with customers and prospects, instant expert assistance, concierge services, and chats.
Larry Evans, President, says that as of March 1, the company had 130 call stations in service: “This expansion reflects the growing need of our clients to track all aspects of the customer relationships. Also, our expansion into help/desk and technical support services in all communication/contact modes warranted creating a new identity.”
PSI offers immediate responses to customers as they browse a website. Its projects range from technical support/help desk services, test drive coordination promotion and scheduling to customer relationship management, research and marketing sales support.
PSI Contact Center has clients such as General Motors, Ford, Wayne-Dalton, Ogilvy & Mather, University of Michigan, Right Management, IBM, Hewlett Packard, ePrize, LASON, Alcoa, Dow Corning, DuPont, and Blue Cross Blue Shield.
Okay, here’s the kind of “scientific studies” we don’t need more of, it’s simply a scurrilous attack on the greatest liquid on earth, brought to you by the kind of people who also told you that saccharine could cause cancer and that sawdust marketed as oat bran was good for you, they’re still laughing over that one:
Somebody who calls himself a “scientist” is running around claiming that heart attacks might be a risk for coffee drinkers with a common genetic trait that makes caffeine linger in their bodies, according to the Associated Press.
So-called “research,” no doubt funded by the International Tea Lobby, on more than 4,000 people in Costa Rica claims to have found that “about half had the trait and were considered ‘slow caffeine metabolizers.’ The other half had the opposite trait, which caused their bodies to rapidly break down or metabolize caffeine, and coffee-drinking in this group appeared to reduce heart attack risks.”
Hey if you can’t handle the joe leave it alone, jack, show us your back and lay off the black, know what I mean, go drink some Ovaltine. Just because you can’t handle it doesn’t mean you’ve got yourself a license to diss it.
“Among slow-metabolizers, those who drank two or more cups of coffee daily were at least 36 percent more likely to have a nonfatal heart attack than those who drank little or no coffee,” the AP says, slowly falling under the sway. “Even higher risks were found for younger slow metabolizers – those under 50. They were up to four times more likely to have a heart attack than slow metabolizers in their age group who drank little or no coffee.”
The findings, though preliminary, might explain why there have been such mixed results in previous studies investigating caffeine’s effects on the cardiovascular system, suggests University of Toronto researcher Ahmed El-Sohemy, a study co-author and closet tea fanatic.
Excuse me while I go pour another cup of Sumatran Extra Dark Roast here.
Verizon Business, a vendor of advanced global communications and information technology products, has announced that it has added Internet protocol capability to its Verizon Web Center service, in a move to increase the ability of the center to “communicate with customers using both traditional and IP telephony,” company officials say.
Available this month, IP Web Center, a hosted contact center product, will allow companies to start up or expand their customer communications operations.
“Verizon Business is marrying its IP and contact center services expertise to deliver one of the industry’s first end-to-end IP contact center products,” said Nancy Gofus, vice president of product management, Verizon Business, who pointed out the “capabilities and cost savings afforded by IP Telephony.”
Verizon Web Center and Verizon Voice-over IP now share the same network infrastructure and customer premises equipment, so Verizon Business can activate IP telephony services, including IP Web Center, Hosted IP Centrex, IP Integrated Access, IP Flexible T-1 and IP Trunking, at a given company location.
IP Web Center is being marketed primarily to mid-sized businesses who want to expand the functionality of their existing contact centers, as well as those that want to build new contact centers.
Since IP Web Center is a hosted product that simply requires a phone and a broadband connection, large companies can also use the service for agents to make and receive calls virtually anywhere in the United States, reducing the need to expand hard-wired contact center facilities.
According to Robin Goad, senior analyst at leading research firm Datamonitor, companies are increasingly moving to the IP contact center, taking advantage of an IP network environment to become more flexible and realize infrastructure cost savings. And since IP encourages a virtually distributed call center, that makes it ideal for using remote workers to provide 24 x 7 global customer support.
Customer service agents can now personalize their voice mail greetings, and can obtain more information about a customer’s history and can supervise call transfers to speed customer support.
Customers themselves can now use IP technology, giving geographically dispersed agents a “local presence” from anywhere.
Verizon Business’ newly expanded pricing options let customers pay as they go for IP-enabled Web Center services, as businesses only pay a monthly per agent price, plus call transport fees and associated IP phone equipment costs. Naturally this is a great setup for companies that need to increase agent levels during busy holiday times and then reduce them when normal call levels resume.
Pegasus Solutions, Inc. announced today that RAVE, its exclusive Rate and Availability Engine, will be offered to hotels to help manage the alarmingly high volume of shopping queries generated daily from travel agents, travel distributors and travel Web sites.
RAVE, which was developed by Pegasus to enable its own CRSs to cope with the increasing number of shopping inquiries, is being marketed as a system to help hotels deal with the ever-increasing number of queries that are “threatening to overwhelm hotel CRSs,” according to Pegasus officials.
“CRSs are being inundated with rate and availability inquiries as consumers and travel agents shop for just the right room at just the right price,” Bob Boles, Pegasus chief operating officer, noted. “With Next Generation Seamless technology giving travel agents direct access to hotel CRSs and online travel sites making it easy for consumers to comparison shop, reservation systems that were designed for a look-to-book ratio of four queries to one booking are now faced with ratios in the thousands-to-one range. And the ratio is increasing.”
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