By David Sims
The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is a great rendition of "Don & Dewey" from It's A Beautiful Day's Creed Of Love live album. Pretty muscular guitar and bluesy harp for a late '60s/ early '70s
Back from a long research weekend in Florence, great city if you enjoy running into a lot of American expat English teachers, the only recommendation I'd make to anyone going there is if you're looking for a great home-style trattoria for dinner, run literally by Mom and Pop, where all the focus is on the reasonably-priced food and wine and not chintzy décor, try Trattoria La Burrasca on the Via Panicale near the Mercato Centrale.
I've never had better tortellini anywhere at any price, and my friend, who's lived in
Okay, so what's been going on since I've been out of action…
The Altitude uCI 7.5 is the latest release of the contact center software with fifteen years of service. The latest release enables contact centers to" embrace change, profit from virtualization, increase productivity and grow proactive customer service practices," according to company officials.
According to a recent study published by tech researchers Gartner, multisite organizations in industry verticals such as the financial services sector are "consolidating their use of contact center technologies -- focusing on improving service delivery, while optimizing the costs associated with customer interaction."
This has evidently driven a focus on "more effective use of established technology through improved desktop applications delivery, better initial call screening, more use of scripted customer interactions, self-service automation and multichannel contact management," according to their "Magic Quadrant for Contact Center Infrastructure, EMEA, 2006" report written by Terry Wright, Steve Blood, Bern Elliot last March.
The uCI 7.5 release has native IP supports for distributed operations -- including home-based and remote agents -- and streamlining IT investments and optimizing human resources, company officials say, adding that the tool gives managers the tools to "centrally design and implement flexible service-delivery models that profit from increased agent productivity."
Company officials break down the suite's benefits in a couple areas:
Virtualized operations. The Altitude IP Contact Center provides businesses with a SIP-based multi-channel contact center, allowing centralized management and configuration as well as intelligent routing, monitoring and reporting capabilities for several contact center deployment options, such as "on-demand" contact center, home or remote agents and multiple sites centrally managed or on customer premises.
Reinvented customer service. The Altitude uCI 7.5 suite has what company officials call "proactive customer care," which lets contact centers use outbound calling to proactively contact affected customers/groups "when service disruptions are anticipated," or "pursue customer satisfaction follow-up after service fulfillment."
Sage Software has announced a marketing partnership with Real Estate Promoter, a vendor of search engine marketing technology and lead capturing services, to offer real estate professionals the ACT! by Sage Premium for Real Estate contact and customer management product with Real Estate Promoter's online lead conversion services.
The products, now being offered together as a discounted bundle by Real Estate Promoter, are described by Sage officials as able to "enable higher volume online lead capturing and efficient sales opportunity management for real estate agents and brokers."
"Whether in fast or slow markets, real estate agents need easy access to customer information as well as support to efficiently find leads and turn them into sales," said Joe Bergera, ACT! senior vice president and general manager.
Real Estate Promoter's search engine marketing and lead capturing services are designed to generate Web site placement and qualified traffic via the top 20 search portals including Yahoo, Google and MSN, where evidently one finds "highly-targeted, early-market home buyer and seller leads for agents."
Real Estate Promoter also offers Hybrid Website services that allow agents to promote themselves in their local marketplace and market their services online.
Visitor-to-lead conversion rates on the Real Estate Promoter Hybrid Websites range from 12 to 18 percent, according to the company's own estimates.
Real Estate Promoter is offering tiered discounts on the purchase of ACT! Premium for Real Estate when purchased with one of its Real Estate Promoter traffic building services or Hybrid Website systems.
Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A. Inc. has announced the release of the bizhub vCare Device Relationship Management system.
To relate well to your devices.
Bizhub vCare is a new software system developed by Konica Minolta Business Technologies based in
Consisting of a bizhub vCare Server and bizhub vCare-enabled MFPs, the system allows for the interchange of data between the bizhub vCare enabled MFPs and the bizhub vCare Server via the Internet.
Features of bizhub vCare include automated meter readings, service alerts, supply warnings, parts life alerts and MFP firmware reporting.
Because bizhub vCare collects all MFP counter and status information, company officials say, "the system improves first-service-call effectiveness; delivers proactive service; and facilitates intelligent supply management."
Arise Incorporated, a vendor in the home-based virtual call center industry, has launched from what was formerly known as Willow CSN, Incorporated.
Company officials say Arise will" continue to offer virtual business services for well-known brands in the consumer goods, retail, travel, and financial services industries."
Arise provides home-based businesses with "the freedom to answer calls, e-mail and provide interactive chat services," officials say, specifically "home-based businesses known as Virtual Services Corporations."
In the last year, Arise has worked with Fortune 100 companies such as Home Depot, Walgreens, and TIME Customer Service, along with 13 other new client relationships.
Arise offers certification courses needed to become an Arise Certified Professional in customer services, sales, and technical support. Virtual Services Corporations employ Arise Certified Professionals, who can choose how often they work and for which companies.
As Willow CSN, Arise worked in the home-based call center industry in 1997. Over the last 12 months, company officials say, Arise "experienced immense growth and today serves four of the Fortune 20 corporations, 15 Fortune 500 companies and a roster of 40 total clients."
The company was founded as Willow CSN (before Neil Young joined the firm) in 1997 and is based in
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