The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is The Faces' "Silicone Grown." Say what you will about the joke Rod Stewart's become, his disco, his atrocious pop fluff, his poor man's Frank Sinatra albums of standards, but every dog has his day and between 1969 and 1974 absolutely nobody did bluesy, boozy barroom rock'n'roll or heartfelt ballads guys aren't embarrassed to sing along with any better than Rod and his merry men in and out of the Faces -- Martin Quittenton, Ronnie Wood, Mickey Waller, Pete Sears, Ronnie Lane, Ian McLagan, et al. The loose, inspired, ragged glory of Every Picture Tells A Story, A Nod Is As Good As A Wink To A Blind Horse, Gasoline Alley, Never A Dull Moment, even Smiler had its indispensable moments... those shambolic concerts where you got either twice or half your money's worth...
Come to think of it, nobody's done it as well since then either. Just get Stewart's complete Mercury recordings and you're set for your all your beery, good-time rock'n'roll needs:
VoiceObjects, a phone application server vendor, has announced that it has made the application programming interface (API) for VoiceObjects Server available to the public. Company officials say this will enable third-party companies to create IDEs and other tools for use with VoiceObjects Server.
The company has also announced the immediate availability of VoiceObjects XDK, an XML development kit that helps tools vendors to create VoiceObjects-ready tools. SAP NetWeaver Visual Composer, will support VoiceObjects Server via the newly available interface.
The new SAP NetWeaver Visual Composer, you'll remember, supports mySAP Customer Relationship Management, mySAP ERP Human Capital Management and mySAP ERP environments. Other IDEs to support VoiceObjects Server are Angel.com's Site Builder, OpenMethods' openVXML Studio, and SpeechVillage's SpeechDraw.
The VoiceObjects XDK is included at no additional charge with VoiceObjects Server. Pricing for VoiceObjects Server begins at $500 per port.
VoiceObjects has also announced that Vox Tiger, a vendor of online phone application development services, has announced the launch of an on-demand phone application development environment, which allows developers to create phone applications that run on VoiceObjects Server.
Vox Tiger's on-demand provisioning frees developers from the cost and other burdens of purchasing, configuring and administering their own phone application servers and other technologies, company officials claim, allowing them to focus on phone application development.
Vox Tiger subscriptions begin at $65 per month. The service provides each subscriber with what company officials describe as "a complete development environment," including a choice of IDEs, including the web-based VoiceObjects Desktop, the Eclipse-based VoiceObjects Studio, and the SpeechDraw Vox Tiger Edition Windows application.
First Coffee's quite a fan of CRM for the automotive industry, so it's good to hear news like that today from Dealer.com, a Burlington, Vermont-based vendor of eMarketing products in the automotive industry. The vendor has announced its success in launching the revitalized CheckeredFlag.com -- in less than three weeks.
Using its SmartSite technology, Dealer.com built Checkered Flag's most complex site to date, with products for Checkered Flag's need for superior inventory management and tools with which to provide customer service.
Checkered Flag Motor Car Corporation, a family owned and operated dealership group serving Hampton Roads, Virginia, sells a lot of foreign cars down there -- over 1,000 cars per month at its five dealerships. Checkered Flag approached Dealer.com after internal surveys showed that more than 80 percent of its customers use the Internet as a search tool prior to purchasing a vehicle.
Which to First Coffee would be a red flag -- sorry, guys -- for lots of other car dealerships to get serious about CRM, but mysteriously, it seems most don't want to bother. Anyway, Checkered Flag saw the need to update its existing website -- a system that had become increasingly difficult to manage, particularly in capturing current inventory and overcoming design and functionality limitations imposed by rigid website templates.
Checkered Flag's Dealer.com-built website came online mid-September with the functionality Checkered Flag was seeking, and the speed and success of the design and build process.
"Our goal was to build a best-of-breed product that incorporates all the features customers need -- accurate and current inventory, accurate prices, research tools, financial calculators, quick response mechanisms to inquiries and more," said Alex Snyder, Checkered Flag's director of e-Commerce. "We were immediately convinced that Dealer.com would meet our needs."
The most critical aspect of the new site is inventory management. Dealer.com used its proprietary CarFinder technology to enable customers to custom "build" or enter specifications for new or used vehicles. Customers can enter any number of specifications -- brand, price, features, best warranties, monthly payments, and more. The system then scans current inventory across Checkered Flag's dealerships and displays every vehicle in inventory that matches the search or may suit the customer's needs.
As vehicles are added to inventory, CarFinder automatically sends e-mail to the customer with information and photos about any new matches.
With Dealer.com's support, Checkered Flag plans to integrate the body shop, service and parts, finance and outside vendors into CheckeredFlag.com. Future integration with the dealership's CRM and sales force management systems will further enhance sales and customer retention efforts.
As would happen with most any car dealership of any size, were they to get serious about CRM. Ah, the mysteries of the universe.
Etalk Corporation, a division of Autonomy Corporation plc and vendor of contact center recording and analytics products, has announced that they have received "the highest overall customer satisfaction rating" in a recent independent customer satisfaction survey of eight vendors in the call recording market.
The survey, conducted by DMG Consulting LLC and published in the recently released 2006 - 2007 Quality Management/Liability Recording Product and Market Report, consisted of both written and telephone interviews of vendor customers to rank their satisfaction level in categories that consisted of Product, Implementation, Service/Maintenance, Training, and Professional Services.
Besides receiving the top ranking in the overall category, etalk achieved high ratings among all the other categories.
"Etalk received the highest score for overall vendor satisfaction," said Donna Fluss, principal analyst at DMG Consulting LLC. "Customer satisfaction is an important indicator of a company's ability to deliver high-value products and services that meet their clients' needs."
The British vendor's contact center products provide voice-enabled real-time agent assistance and customer trend analysis based upon recorded calls. The Qfiniti Enterprise suite offers speech analytics technology that allows companies to automatically organize, categorize, and access their customer conversations, delivering relevant and accessible customer intelligence.
Their products include advanced speech analytics, compliance and quality monitoring recording, agent training and service assistance, customer satisfaction surveys, and performance management, all delivered in a single interface.
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