The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is an old favorite around the sprawling First Coffee campus here on the rolling hills, Dave Brubeck's Time Out:
VIPdesk, a vendor of virtual contact center products, has announced that folks, don't look now, but the 2006 holiday season is coming up. Why, it's practically August. And don't tell me you don't have all your Christmas shopping done, you lazy scofflaw.
What's your strategy for serving your retail customers during the upcoming peak holiday season? The National Retail Federation is predicting a nearly 5 percent increase in sales for 2006 over 2005, which was also a record year.
Well, if you're interested, VIPdesk has undertaken several measures to improve technological capabilities, all with your Christmas ease and pleasure in mind.
"VIPdesk has been preparing for the 2006 holiday season since the 2005 season ended on a high note," said Mary Naylor, CEO and founder of VIPdesk and a person who not only has her Christmas shopping done, she has her shopping for Christmas 2007 done. And no, she doesn't just click Amazon gift certificates for everyone like you do.
To prepare for the holiday season, VIPdesk increased its technological capabilities to meet retailer needs for the 2006 peak holiday season. Specifically, the company added capacity to handle 300% more call volume than last year. VIPdesk has also streamlined its screening and certification processes, putting their customer service representatives through security screening, skills assessment and a certification process.
Higher retention than traditional models and an unlimited home-based national labor pool are what VIPdesk considers to be "among the many competitive advantages" of its VIPdesk Connect virtual contact center product. Other benefits the company promises are scalability, operational expertise, skills-based routing, improved performance and lower overhead and administrative costs.
Basically VIPdesk sells contact center products and services, and "concierge programs" for companies in the travel, auto, financial services and retail industries.
First Coffee's Travel Tip For The Day: Don't ever, ever, ever agree to take a cat on a plane for someone else. Ever. Are we clear on that?
One of First Coffee's friends was flying from Istanbul to Canada, and agreed to take a cat back a friend in Canada had promised was all clear with the airlines, and his sister would pick it up. Heck, he already had a dog, what trouble could a cat be, right?
When I took him to the airport the agent told him that one of the code-share airlines for his flight had not approved the cat for the trip. Forty-five minutes calling Air Canada at four in the morning. Okay, cat's approved. Baggage man said the cat wasn't in a proper travel cage. Half an hour promising him the cloth L.L. Bean carrier was "proper" and that an airline-approved carrier would be purchased in Frankfurt.
No water in the cage for the cat. Promises to buy appropriate water dispenser in Frankfurt. Hold it -- none for the dog either. We'll get two. All set, right? Ha, ha, ha:
At one point in the trip, the frickin' cat took time to stop yowling and pushed on the sides of the crappy muslin and balsa wood cage and escaped. Fortunately someone quickly picked it up and returned it to me (waking me in the process).
When I landed in Frankfurt I began looking for a place to buy a pet carrier... I ended up looking for hours and finally in the bowels of the airport I found a dungeon-like room where an angry Turk was selling luggage and pet carriers like they were Filipino sex slaves. Anyhow, I missed my flight to Toronto and ended up being 8+ hours late to Canada so Guy's sister wasn't there.
I feared having to keep the hellish feline. In desperation I checked e-mail and found her phone number and called her. Two hours later she picked up the cat and I was left with the dog only.
So, 32 hours later I landed in Edmonton (as if I hadn't suffered enough).
CDC Software, a wholly owned subsidiary of CDC Corporation and vendor of CRM and other enterprise software applications, has announced that Eric Musser has been promoted to president of CDC Software, effective immediately.
Previously, Mr. Musser held positions as chief technology officer of Ross Systems and president of IMI, and most recently as executive vice president of strategy for CDC Software.
Peter Yip, chief executive officer of CDC Software said the promotion is "another important step as we continue to prepare CDC Software to operate and grow successfully as a stand-alone company."
First Coffee wonders if it had anything to do with the recent high-profile failure of CDC's hostile takeover of Onyx, which was rejected as quickly and decisively as a John Hinckley love letter to Jodie Foster.
Centric CRM, which develops open source Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, has announced today that it has completed its port of Centric CRM to IBM DB2 data server software.
What this means is that effective immediately, Centric CRM provides fully optimized support for the entire portfolio of DB2 data server software, including DB2 Express-C and DB2 for z/OS. It's "becoming the first open source application vendor to earn IBM's 'Ready for IBM DB2 Data Server Software' designation," according to Centric officials.
Billed by company officials as an enterprise-class open source application, Centric CRM's strategy is to run on any computing stack, from a pure open source Java-based stack, to the most sophisticated enterprise server stack available from large enterprise vendors such as IBM.
In keeping with the open source spirit, Centric CRM will begin distributing IBM's DB2 Express-C data server with its core CRM offering, giving customers the option to install DB2 as their CRM database.
"Given IBM's release of a freely redistributable version of it, supporting DB2 was an obvious move for us," said Tom Manos, Chief Technology Officer for Centric CRM. "DB2 Express-C, like every other version of DB2, provides absolutely top-of-the-line database performance."
Boris Bialek, Program Director, IBM DB2 Business Partner Enablement. "IBM, like Centric CRM, is committed to the open source community."
Contact center vendor Aspect Software, Inc. has announced that Aspect eWorkforce Management, released June 30, now has "a redesigned user interface for easier navigation" and has improved their support for outbound and blended contact center environments.
And hey, it's available in those Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Korean and Japanese packages you were waiting for.
The enhanced outbound support now in Aspect eWorkforce Management 7.0 includes an improved algorithm to do a better job ensuring that the right number of agents are scheduled to handle the predicted outbound and blended workload to help maximize the number of contacts made and revenue generated.
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