First Coffee for 13 April 2006

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

First Coffee for 13 April 2006

By David Sims


The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is a nice Charlie Parker CD:


BCE Elix, a Bell Canada company focused exclusively on contact centers, has announced that during April and May it will be hosting a four-city roadshow geared towards contact center professionals.


Traveling to Québec, Toronto, Ottawa, and Montréal, the roadshow will be presented in each city as a one-day conference, or information day, focused on issues and trends in the contact center industry.


The conference will include presentations, interactive sessions, workshops, customer case studies, and information booths, all offering information about contact center operations. Experts from BCE Elix and its partners will be on hand to share information, answer questions, and provide tips gleaned from their experiences in the industry.


Special presentations will also be made in Québec City by Mme Francine Martel-Vaillancourt, PDG Services Québec; in Ottawa and Toronto by Mr. Bob Snyder, Associate Director, Telecommunications Services, IT Directorate, Elections Canada; and in Montréal by a representative from Revenu Québec.


Organized by Bell Canada and BCE Elix, Rendez-Vous CC 2006 is billed by event organizers as a place to understand how IP telephony can increase efficiency in the contact center, discover how to develop effective self-service strategies, see how to manage a multiskilled workforce and learn how quality monitoring can be an effective tool in the contact center

The show will be in Québec City on April 20, Toronto on May 9, Ottawa on May 11 and Montréal on May 18.

The sessions and workshops will be offered in French in Montréal and Québec, and in English in Toronto and Ottawa.


A new report by market analyst Datamonitor, indicates Mexico will remain an offshore contact center location of choice for US investors.


The report, Mexico: A Solution for the US Hispanic Market?, says Mexico’s future in the offshore outsourcing of customer care services is secure, not just due to a growing Hispanic population in the US but also the rise of household incomes among Spanish-speakers.


This is driving levels of demands from US-based firms who wish to service their Hispanic American clients.  However, the report also alludes to the growth of other players in Latin America that will be a competitive threat to Mexico for US Spanish-speaking work in the future. 


According to the report Argentina and Chile among others are aggressively targeting the North American market, as are smaller countries including Costa Rica, Dominican Republic and Panama.


From an estimated 33,500 today, Datamonitor expects call center agent positions in Mexico, both offshore and domestically outsourced, to rise to nearly 80,000 by 2010, equating to 18 percent compounded annual growth through this period. Principal growth drivers include an ever-growing domestic market, as well as demand from the United States for multi-lingual, commercially sophisticated agents.


Datamonitor outsourcing and offshoring analyst Peter Ryan says “Mexico is one of the most mature offshore locations in the contact center outsourcing world, yet is still posting high levels of annual growth. This has largely to do with the high levels of demand coming from US-based firms that wish to service their Hispanic-American customers.”


In addition, Ryan says, Mexico’s move to market liberalization has increased that country’s consumer class, “thereby necessitating more agents to serve domestic demand.”


When addressing the US Hispanic market, Ryan points out that Mexico is advantageous to American investors given recent population trends, indicating a huge increase in the Hispanic population in the US has not been ignored by American companies: “Nor has the rise in household incomes among these Spanish-speakers.”


Ryan also says that not only does the huge pool of Spanish-speaking talent benefit US companies looking for these language skills to accommodate US Latino customers, but “the location cannot be beat from the perspective of distance.” While locations in South America can be up to 15 hours travel time, accessing major centers in Mexico can be done in less than half the time.


Then there’s the low-cost factor: In both labor and commercial property, Mexico comes in significantly less expensive than overheads in the US, or even Canada.  Investors continue to realize that if they can source customer care with all these positive attributes from a location in close proximity, they will do so with enthusiasm, Ryan thinks.


Happy birthday to the man who invented the game Scrabble, Alfred M. Butts, born in Poughkeepsie, New York in 1899. He trademarked the game in 1949, and sales were slow until the 1950s when the president of Macy's played the game on vacation and got hooked. He ordered more for his store, and the rest, they say, is history.


Butts arrived at the number of each letter used in the game by counting how many times each letter appeared on the front page of The New York Times, and using that ratio for his letter tiles.


Oracle has appointed Paul Appleby, a former Siebel Systems' executive, to the newly-created role of vice president of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) for Asia Pacific.


In a statement on April 13, Oracle said the appointment follows the completion of the acquisition of Siebel Systems earlier this year and became effective from April 1.


Centerbase Corporation, vendor of the Centerbase 2006 Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, has announced the launch of a web-based CRM product which includes hosting.


According to company officials, the product allows businesses to have their CRM systems “up and running in the shortest possible time while retaining ownership of their system.” In addition, the product can be transferred to a company’s servers with the purchase of a license.

Discussing the initiative, Founder and CEO of Centerbase John Forbes suggested, "When we initially developed Centerbase, we were responding to the need for a complete and affordable CRM product… at the same time, we were contacted by businesses that wanted the features available with Centerbase but with the ease and support that was available in a hosted product.” The hosted version of the product has no initial setup fee and users do not require a contract.


Those who complain about Starbucks driving local coffee shops out of business are a) wrong, local coffee shops always experience an upsurge in business when Starbucks opens nearby, and b) bemoaning the loss of those whose quality can’t match Starbucks.


Yet Starbucks can’t dent the market in New Zealand. Along with having the generally most beautiful landscape of any country First Coffee’s seen, it has uniformly the finest coffee and milk drinks – flat whites, long blacks, et al – in the world.


A recent article by Russell Brown points out that New Zealand roasters and entrepreneurs are so good that they routinely beat Starbucks where it counts: “There are 162 Starbucks stores within a five-mile radius of the top of London’s Regent Street; about the same at many points in Manhattan. In Auckland? A few, largely in shopping malls.”


Which just goes to show that it’s always about quality: If your coffee’s no better than Starbucks’, whose is always good but never great, okay, you deserve to go out of business. If Starbucks isn’t as good as yours, though, there’s no need for Starbucks.


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