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

ProtoCall's Contact Center, KnoahSoft's Call Center, Google's Social Face App, Spiceworks

April 12, 2011

According to officials of ProtoCall One, 27 percent of contact centers surveyed recently said their contact center is using Net Promoter Score (NPS) to measure agent performance.

But on a more depressing note, the same study also found that 30 percent of the contact centers surveyed do not have a reliable method of measuring customer satisfaction. That’s right -- one in three contact centers don’t bother to measure their customer satisfaction.

The poll of senior contact center decision makers by ProtoCall One, a contact center consultancy and systems integrator, shows that contact centers are slowly -- oh so slowly, as in glacially -- moving away from operational-based metrics to customer-centric metrics, but still don’t give a whole lot of priority to customer satisfaction data.

Eaton's Power Management, Personal not Viral Messages, Call Recording Issues, OrecX and HIPAA

April 8, 2011

At the ITEXPO 2011 East recently held in Miami, TMC’s Erik Linask had the opportunity on day four to interview Eaton’s John Schwing.

Some of the issue facing the IT industry right now, as far as Eaton, in the power management products and services sector is concerned, are budget strains when implementing capital-intensive projects. “We are in a business where we provide power quality products, a capital buy,” he said, adding that from their perspective, they’re seeing a real push to high-value implementations.

Which probably isn’t so different from most other times –many of which Eaton has seen, the company was founded in 1911, happy centennial this year, guys – but as he says, getting the most for the money and driving energy efficiency are prime concerns now, as is lowering cost of ownership and complying with energy efficiency programs being pushed through organizations.

Idiro and Predictive Analytics, Customer Flow Management, Meeting Customers Online, Hosted Software in the UK

April 5, 2011

At the recent ITEXPO East 2011 in Miami, TMC’s Patrick Barnard had the opportunity to interview Aidan Connolly, Idiro Technologies’ CEO.

The company works in predictive analytics, specifically social network analysis. According to Connolly, the company analyzes the behavior of online communities, identifying “patterns of communication” between people, and how this affects the adoption of products and services.

It’s a hot area now, and Connolly said they particularly focus on telecoms, since there are rich social networks there, and “it’s a monetizable customer base as well.”

It’s one of the primary ways that organizations can get to tap into a large pool of customer data. There’s a lot of value in terms of discovering what customers’ patterns are, and what their likes and dislikes are, which of course is the coin of the realm.

Read more here.


From Qmatic, the company that introduced Customer Flow Management to the market, and GMT Corporation, which sells enterprise workforce management and performance optimization, has arisen a partnership intended to provide “a holistic view of service delivery and efficiency in face-to-face service environments.”

More specifically, officials of both firms say, this partnership is intended to improve the customer experience in bank branches, hospitals, retail outlets and government departments that provide face-to-face service.

If they can improve the face-to-face service at the DMV they deserve every product of the year award there is.

Qmatic officials explicity eschew what they call the “rear-view-mirror approach.” As they explain it, historically, “improving branch service effectiveness was largely a rear-view mirror exercise, analyzing prior events in an attempt to improve future service delivery.”

Read more here.

Mark Gibbs -- whose business card says “consultant, author, journalist, columnist, blogger” -- has a good question for you:

“Let's say you've built a Web application that streamlines your business processes and you'd really like people to use it rather than go through your customer service reps. The problem is that if your customers are used to calling your company and your telephony front end offers something like ‘please go to www.mysite.com or press 3 to speak to a representative’ you know they'll just press ‘3’ and carry on as usual.”

Using Polls Correctly, Knowledge Management 100, CRM Software, Transera and NICE

April 1, 2011

Polls, when done correctly and honestly, can be a useful fact-finding tool.
“While sociologists and economists like to point out the influence of biases in polls, there’s no question of their usefulness.”

That’s from Floodlight, which says yeah, polls “in their most basic form are the sample polls. Because they’re about facts and not opinions, these kinds of polls are pretty basic.”

Partner Appreciation, Call Management Advancements, ERP Fading Into Sunset?

March 27, 2011

In case you were wondering what that is in your rear-view mirror, industry observer Chris Chiappinelli has the answer: “The mirage of a single-instance enterprise resource planning (ERP) system for global corporations is fading into the digital sunset.”

Chiappinelli cites a new report from Constellation Research, which finds that the general trend in manufacturing and other industries is to consolidate disparate ERP software systems, as is “often the result of acquisitions or departmental siloing, into one mega ERP deployment to run the entire business.”

The goal of such mega ERP deployments is “to facilitate streamlined business processes and holistically manage business data at a lower cost of ownership,” Chiappinelli added. However, over the last decade, researchers say, “organizations have discovered the failure of the single-instance strategy.” What many businesses are looking at now is a two-tier ERP model, which “enables organizations to keep existing ERP systems at the corporate level, while empowering divisions or business units to innovate with a second ERP system.”

Hi-Def Call Recording, Network Call Recording, Salesforce.com Results, Social CRM

March 25, 2011

MiaRec, a global vendor of Call Recording and Workforce Optimization products, has announced the release of high definition call recording.

A call recording and monitoring product, MiaRec supports the G.722 wideband codec, which “assures better compatibility with Polycom’s high definition IP phones, Cisco, Avaya, Grandstream and other IP phones, which support wideband codecs,” company officials say.

Now as company officials say, of course there are a lot of benefits of VoIP telephony, noting “the most obvious one is cost. But does low cost always mean low quality?” It’s a good question.

Continuous Customer Dialogue, Consistent Customer Experience, UK Contact Center Guide, Brick-and-Mortar Call Center Transitions

March 22, 2011

A recent white paper from Infor with the promising title “Continuous Customer Dialogues: Strategies for growth and loyalty in multi-channel customer-oriented organizations” deals with just that -- “the challenges of implementing a customer-centric strategy.”

As the paper’s authors ask, “Do you have the right insight into the customer ,and do you have the ability to respond to the needs and interests of the customer based on that insight?” Only the unusually blithe would simply say “Yes yes, we have that all under control, no problems” and skip along. For most, it’s certainly worth looking at.

Infor breaks it down into two categories:

Call Center Furniture, The Cloud and Customer Satisfaction, CRM's Amdocs and Social Networks, Contact Center Basics

March 18, 2011

You probably don’t think much about designing or updating your call center. You should. A recent good white paper from Interior Concepts, excerpted below, offers many practical suggestions of what needs to be considered during such an effort.

Call centers need more than cubes.

Call Centers' Five9, 20-Year CRM, SMBs as Customers, Telemarketing and VoIP

March 15, 2011

Recently on-demand call center vendor Five9 posted a helpful presentation introducing people to the company. Based in Pleasanton, California, the company claims over a thousand clients and “tens of thousands” of agents handling calls.

Company officials emphasize the simplicity of their pricing model -- “as easy as 1-2-3,” they say: A monthly license fee, a long-distance fee based on usage, and a one-time implementation fee, “for our expert team to get you up and running as fast as you require, even if you need it by tomorrow.”

They offer products to run sales, support and marketing operations, including predictive dialing, CRM integrations, reporting, agent scripting, voice recording, quality monitoring, IVR, speech recognition, voice message broadcasting, workflow management and others.

Monet's Workforce Management, Customers Love Cell Phones, FoIP and Your Customers, Intermedia Call Center

March 11, 2011

A recent study from Monet Software compares the cloud-based and the on premise software model, illustrating “how the different models would impact the cost, implementation, usage and success of the Workforce Management solution in your organization.”

Set up and implementation. Cloud: Fast set up, vendor creates new account. Users access the solution through a web browser.

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