Sage CRM In Bahrain, AutoSurvey, Fun College Facts, Astea Q2 Results

David Sims : First Coffee
David Sims
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Sage CRM In Bahrain, AutoSurvey, Fun College Facts, Astea Q2 Results

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning (second, but who's counting?), and the music is Mingus Ah Um by Charles Mingus:

Boy, you just find CRM everywhere, don't you? AutoSurvey, an e-mail and call center survey system that provides customer feedback in real time, has announced the launch of its latest version built entirely on Microsoft.NET technology.

Company officials say it enables the instant capture of customer feedback and resolution of any service issues before they escalate out of control.

"AutoSurvey really is a complete CRM system for the customer satisfaction end of things. The key is that as soon as there is a service issue the system alerts all parties that should be involved. By the time of our weekly meeting, not only do we no longer spend time compiling reports, but we further save time as employees have already been alerted about most issues."

The AutoSurvey system has a system of checks and balances built in which "helps us ensure that customer issues are priority," according to Stephen Neu, Director of Business Development at Reedman Toll Auto World, one of the largest volume dealerships in the U.S.

It's not simply cosmetic, either: According to recent industry studies, customer satisfaction with dealership service affects the bottom line for dealers. A CSI score gain of 10 points can add as much as $300 per customer annually.

Using Microsoft.NET as a platform, AutoSurvey's product is supposed to "monitor all aspects of dealership client satisfaction through its front end applications, back end service module, and issue management system," according to company officials. AutoSurvey is based on an Application Service Provider model, and integrates with over 45 Dealer Management Systems.

"The million dollar question for the dealer is; 'how much did I not make because of some dealership issue or customer upset that went unhandled,'" said Jason Tryfon, AutoSurvey President. "In many dealerships the dealer never sees vital information on customer service issues as it gets trapped at the service or sales level."

The ability to follow-up and resolve customer concerns is considered a strong selling point for the AutoSurvey product. With AutoSurvey, dealers can e-mail or call the customer back to let them know their feedback has been received, assign the issue to staff within the dealership, track staff and customer comments and measure the resolution cost when issues are closed.

The system "captures the small sparks of customer defection the minute they ignite," according to the more metaphorical company officials at AutoSurvey.

Stephen Neu says high manufacturer CSI scores and surveys can be difficult to obtain for high volume dealerships and "unless they find a better way to interact with customers," it can cost dearly: "While overall we have a greater number of satisfied customers, the low percentage we don't satisfy can hurt us many times more than the average size dealership, not just in customer defection but in manufacturer incentives and straight on financial rewards."

Riffa Views, which bills itself as "the first master-planned property development in Bahrain," is geared up to offer "competitive service quality" through the implementation of Sage Accpac's Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.

Company officials hope the Sage product will "streamline the company's sales and marketing operation through efficient processing of its customer and prospect information and requests."

Riffa Views is a project of Arcapita, a Bahrain based bank with real estate investments totaling $ 2.5 billion including Bahrain Bay, a waterfront development, and Victory Heights in Dubai Sports City.

It is "a major development project which will occupy an area of 23 million square feet with 900 luxury villas, an international school, commercial and recreational facilities," said Yasser Abdulla, Managing Director, Riffa Views. "Our vision is to bring new concepts in residential living and commercial investments to the region."

Always good to have a vision. In order to achieve aforesaid vision, "we need to focus on delivering the best service levels, and implement global best practice methodologies in our sales and marketing. This meant choosing a CRM product, first of all from an established global vendor, second with strong local support from an experienced partner, and of course with enough customizability and scalability to grow with our business," said Abdulla.

Through the Sage Accpac CRM system, all property account managers at Riffa Views have project information available to them on-screen. This includes information of the various phases of the development, area sizes, prices and design styles. In addition, "the history of communication with a prospect or customer is stored in the system for review, and financial transactions integrated to Sage Accpac ERP. It's seamless," he explains.

Using Sales Force Automation, Abdulla says, Riffa Views has built "greater efficiency" within its sales force by offering easy access to information. The company is also planning to use Sage Accpac CRM campaign management feature to run targeted marketing campaigns and measure return on marketing investment. In the future, Riffa Views plans to extend Sage Accpac CRM to online information of property availability for customers and within the company's different departments.

Astea International Inc., a vendor of service lifecycle management products, has released financial results for the second quarter of 2006.

For the second quarter ended June 30, 2006, Astea reported revenues of $4.5 million compared to revenues of $5.4 million for the same period in 2005. Net loss for the second quarter was $1.9 million or $(.54) per share, compared to a net profit of $431,000 or $.15 per share for the same period in 2005.

License revenues were $1.0 million compared to $2.1 million in 2005. Total service and maintenance revenue increased 7% to $3.5 million compared to $3.3 million for the same period in 2005. Zack Bergreen, CEO of Astea said the vendor is continuing to "invest heavily" in such projects as the integration of FieldCentrix, "our center of excellence for mobility."

"We have also deepened our relationship with Microsoft by forming a strategic alliance to provide integrated Service Lifecycle Management solutions with Microsoft Dynamics GP and Microsoft Dynamics AX," which will "provide an additional revenue-generating opportunity for Astea," Bergreen said.

The Astea Alliance suite "supports the complete service lifecycle, from lead generation and project quotation to service and billing through asset retirement," according to company officials. It integrates business processes for Contact Center, Field Service, Depot Repair, Logistics, Professional Services, and Sales & Marketing.

It's back-to-college time soon, here are some fun facts to ponder:

The average student bears credit card debt of $3,200, with one out of 10 students carrying a balance exceeding $7,800.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, college drinking contributes to an estimated 1,400 student deaths (mostly automobile related), 500,000 injuries, and 70,000 cases of sexual assault each year.

Education Week has reported that 54% of students admit to plagiarizing; 74% admit to "serious" cheating at least once during the past school year; and 47% believe their teachers sometimes choose to ignore cheating.

Caffeine can take up to 12 hours to fully dissipate from the body.

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