Latest Feature Articles
The Dawn of the Call Center Industry and a Brief Biography of the Industry Founder, Nadji Tehrani
It seems as if it was yesterday when I was sitting in my office and trying to figure out how I could possibly increase the effectiveness in the sales and marketing area. In 1979, TMC which was a fledgling start-up company, we only had four publications in the energy efficient non-polluting and material efficient technologies.
Five Call Center Technologies No One Foresaw 30 Years Ago
When I first joined Customer Interaction Solutions in 1998, the industry had advanced quite a bit. Computer-telephony integration was the cutting-edge technology, and TMC had launched a magazine by that name not long before. While CTI is still relevant (is there any element of call center business now that doesn't involve integration between telephony and computers?), the term has long since fallen by the wayside. Soon after I joined TMC came the launch of INTERNET TELEPHONY magazine, a bold move that seemed by some to be far ahead of its time. I recall a friend employed in the IT industry asking me, "They're going to base a whole magazine on that?"
CRM: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
As discussed in this issue's cover story, TMC got its start covering the call center space in June 1982 with the launch of Telemarketing magazine. And, after a couple of iterations of the publication, TMCin January of 2000 officially broadened its coverage and title to Call Center CRM Solutions.
The History and Advancement of the Contact Center and the Customer Experience
This year marks the 30-year anniversary of Customer Interaction Solutions magazine. Well, that's not altogether accurate. What 2012 actually marks is three decades of TMC, our parent company, covering the call center space.
Employing Creative Ways to Enhance Recruitment and Retention
In the call center industry - or any industry really - recruiting and retaining top talent is critical to success. People are the heart of our business, so attracting the right candidates can make all the difference. Holding on to top performers is equally important, enabling a company to avoid knowledge loss and attrition costs that can hinder growth.
IBM Expands Efforts in Big Data, Analytics
IBM has helped organizations manage data for many decades by providing them with relational databases. But in the last year or two there's been a data boom, and lot of the data cropping up as part of that doesn't fit neatly into relational databases. That makes it more difficult for organizations to locate and leverage data effectively and efficiently. To address these new realities and requirements, IBM has committed to spend $100 million to research technologies and services that will enable clients to manage and exploit data as it continues to grow in diversity, speed and volume; rolled out some related new products; and done several acquisitions.
Getting Your Goat: Interactive Intelligence Takes Interesting Approach to Grab Attention
In January, I did a feature on the Interactive Intelligence Goat Program being done in conjunction with the international charity Oxfam. The program is simple. Schedule a meeting with Interactive Intelligence to talk about your business communications and optimization needs and their solutions and they will donate a goat to a needy individual in an impoverished community through Oxfam. Plus, if you can convince your boss to attend the donation, it is upgraded to a cow.
Video Chat Meets Customer Service
To even further speed up the whole process, Ping An's video-based customer service uses a fingerprint verification platform to identify the client quickly and accurately. Provided by Genesys technology, the video-chat service travels over a SIP-based architecture. Romano Valussi of Alcatel-Lucent Shanghai Bell says "Providing high-quality customer experience is the key to winning customers. We are building a business-critical contact center solution that gives Ping An of China a strong competitive differentiation to provide superb customer care for its market-leading financial and insurance services."
Is it Time to Meet Your Customers on Social Media?
Studies of customer contact organizations I've been seeing lately show that only about half of the participants are actively involved in social media. Another 30 percent are waiting in the wings. And experts say that we've moved beyond the stage of early adoption for social media. What does this mean for your organization - especially if you've just been dipping your toe into social media?
What to Consider in Launching a Social Care Program
Social customer service is rapidly becoming the new, critical channel to drive satisfaction and loyalty. Some organizations are using this channel to listen to customers to improve marketing, products and support. Others are engaging with customers to address individual issues and reduce the volume of traffic to other support channels.
How Mobile is Impacting Customer Interactions, and How Companies Can Respond
As part of this month's cover story package about how mobility is changing customer interactions, CIS magazine provides this conversation with Dave King, executive vice president of Confirmit Mobile Solutions.
2012 - The Year the Contact Center Dies
Mobile phones are predicted by Gartner to overtake PCs as the most common web access devices worldwide. Wi-Fi is so widely available in major metropolitan areas that most tablet users don't even need a wireless data plan. Tablet sales grew 264 percent in 2011 over the previous year; and this year, Yankee Group is predicting the sale of almost 25 million tablets in the U.S. Mobile devices are showing up in a range of locations and instances - mobile and Internet-equipped automobiles, smart meters to provide near instantaneous readings of actual energy usage, Wi-Fi-equipped flights and more.
Leveraging Mobile Apps for Call Center Efficiency
Call centers and smartphone are colliding in a big way. And now many companies, such as airlines, that already have their own mobile phone apps and also have large call centers are starting to realize they can leverage those smartphone apps to ask pre-call questions for more efficient call center operations and customer responsiveness.
Innovation Solutions: Infocision
How Brand Ambassadors Can Strengthen Your Message and Build Customer Loyalty
While you can't completely control individual feelings, you can certainly influence them by properly communicating the qualities that make your brand unique. Consumers need to know who you are; what you do; and why they want your service. They need to have a clear sense of your identity and what makes you stand out. This knowledge gives customers confidence, motivates buying and helps cement loyalty.
Innovation Solutions: Knowlagent
Call Center Gurus Weigh in on Industry Topics in New Forum: Productivity Plus Blog
Knowlagent recently launched a new Productivity Plus blog where experts within the call center industry can collaborate and opine upon the customer experience, agent productivity and the call center culture … things that are top of mind for most customer service leaders.
Making Workforce Optimization Easy and Affordable
Monet Software has been a pioneering force in the area of workforce management for about a decade, providing call center customers with software that is at once sophisticated, uncomplicated and affordable. And, like the French impressionist painter after which the company is named, Monet Software continues to evolve and expand its portfolio, having recently introduced call recording, and quality management and metrics solutions.
Improving Agent Performance for the Multichannel Contact Center
Multichannel contact centers increase the complexity of an agent's job, but there are only so many hours in a day. Where can centers find time to prepare agents to handle these multichannel challenges?
CrowdControl Uses AI, Crowdsourcing to Analyze Big Data
A new company called CrowdControl is leveraging crowdsourcing and artificial intelligence to make sense of big data. Its solutions are used in everything from human sentiment analysis applications to keeping business listings up to date.
Building Better Business Relationships, One Call at a Time
LKQ Corp. recently has improved its call center infrastructure and enabled collaboration, driving customer satisfaction and aggressive business growth at the company, which is the largest nationwide provider of aftermarket and recycled collision replacement parts products.
NICE Talk about Actionable Intelligence
NICE was founded in 1986 in Israel to address the compliance recording needs of the financial services industry. Today, NICE has approximately 24,000 customers globally, about half of which are in the Americas. That includes such big names as AAA, American Airlines, AT&T, Nationwide,T-Mobile, and US Bank.
Uncovering Treasure: New Solutions Enable Businesses to Realize the Richness of Customer Data
Call centers, CRM systems, social networking and other sources often house a gold mine of customer data. Yet uncovering those riches and putting them to good use can be as difficult as finding El Dorado. However, a wide variety of solutions providers now offer tools and services that can help your organization discover its own Lost City of Gold.
TMC Reveals 2011 INTERNET TELEPHONY TEM Excellence Award Winners
Awards are presented to companies that provided case studies of TEM success experienced by one of their clients after implementing the nominated product/service. Awards were based on demonstrated improvements that the winner's product/service have made in client's businesses.
Shifting from Mass Marketing to One-to-One Marketing
In response to decades of marketing overload, consumers have adapted the way they absorb information. Today's consumer hears an operator on the phone or glances at a piece of mail and decides in an instant whether it has value. Messages not immediately identifiable to the individual are promptly cast off into a sea of irrelevant clutter.
The Intersection of Customer Effort and First Call Resolution
Though there are many ways to measure FCR, it is difficult to see the whole picture. Some centers use repeat call tracking technology, which tracks if a customer calls back about the same issue. But it doesn't tell you if the customer became so frustrated that they never called back and ultimately left you for a competitor.
Zeacom Answers the Call for Fidelity Communications
Fidelity Communications is a triple-play service provider with a solutions portfolio of services that transcends the traditional boundaries of high-speed broadband, cable and legacy telecommunications.In addition to facing fierce competition from service providers with nearly unlimited resources at their disposal, such as AT&T, the company must also adhere to government regulations that require its contact center agents to live answer calls from no less than 80 percent of its customers in 20 seconds or less.
Breaking Business Boundaries with Virtual Contact Center Efficiency
Customer retention and the need to create loyalty building initiatives are topics for every customer care organization. Plans for these initiatives frequently hit a brick wall when the need to reduce costs is considered equally important as such corporate directives. These seemingly divergent customer care requirements are really not mutually exclusive if a hosted (or often referred to as "virtual") contact center solution is considered.
Virtual Agents: Home-Based CSRs Deliver New Benefits to the Contact Center
Anybody talking to me about the benefits - both to employer and employee - of working at home is preaching to the converted. I have happily, and very productively, I think, done my jobs from living quarters for most of the past two decades. And because my employers have granted me the awesome benefit of telecommuting, I always try to go the extra mile for them.
It Pays to be Positive: The Cost Benefits of a Positive Call Center Culture
Customers expect a lot from agents. They want them to have a good attitude, be knowledgeable, and have the ability to resolve issues on the first attempt. Research shows that happy agents ultimately lead to happy customers.
Autonomy Helps Companies Realize the Value of Unstructured Data
Autonomy helps companies understand their vast and growing amounts of human-friendly or unstructured data such as text, e-mail, web pages, voice, or video. The company got its start offering technologies enabling enterprise search, helping knowledge workers locate unstructured information inside enterprise repositories like intranets, document management systems and even file shares.
Prioritize Off-Phone Work with a Call Center Agent To-Do List
Call center agents are the only people within an organization that function without an ongoing to-do list. Granted, agents need to complete specific tasks in order to close out a ticket or finish a case, but their primary responsibility is to field calls. Other activities - reading communications, training, project work - are scheduled and typically require additional headcount to ensure service levels are met.
Soffront Brings New Ease of Use, Flexibility to CRM
It does that by delivering a multi-faceted, easily customizable solution that can be used across an organization. The integrated CRM suite from Soffront spans and integrates the activities of sales, marketing, customer service and operations.
Strategic Solutions Series
Empower Your Contact Center and Your Customers Through Multi-Channel Communications
At Digital Voice Systems, we partner with innovative organizations to deliver a solution that handles all communication channels, empowers both the customer and the agent, and management tools that improve the performance of any business. The unified application platforms from Interactive Intelligence and RightNow Technologies provide a cost-effective and easily managed multichannel system for consistent and responsive customer service, along with end to end reporting and quality monitoring. Our proven solution provides real answers to the problems faced by today's leading contact centers.
Keeping Universal Agents Universal: Effective time management for the multi-channel environment
To further up the ante, customers today expect a single agent to be equipped to answer and resolve all of their questions and issues. When customers call with billing and technical support questions, they prefer that the same agent be skilled enough to handle both - without having to transfer them to another department or put them on hold.
Ask the Expert
The Social Alphabet: What You Need to Know About Social Media as the Ultimate Communication Channel
The possibility is mind-boggling. To a business, social networks can mean the potential access to millions of people who are constantly sharing and looking for information - or in more direct business terms, "far-reaching connections to consumers, customers and potential customers in the global marketplace, in virtually every demographic, in near real-time." Fundamentally, becoming social also gives businesses and their contact centers an opportunity to build their brands - as well as pipelines, customer relationships, and more favorable reputations for the products they sell and the services they provide. That makes social media the ultimate communication channel for most any business.
Every Minute Counts: Are you getting the most out of your Web-generated leads?
As more and more people adopt the Internet as a standard method of communication, organizations are seeing Web-generated leads double or even triple. That's good news. The problem arises when companies lack the capacity or strategy to effectively respond to increasing online lead intake.
Q&A On Analytics With CSI's Rich Marcia
CSI's new Virtual Observer 4.0 (VO 4) features speech and enhanced dashboard analytics, integrated scoring, screen capture, performance and trending reports, along with e-learning and VO Live for real-time agent monitoring and assistance. VO 4 is also available via web browsers with all the same robust QM features as in the client-server version.
Opening the Back Office/Contact Center Door
To gain insights into this issue, Customer Interaction Solutions contacted several leading experts and asked how the effect and degree back office performance has on contact center effectiveness and how can contact centers - and their organizations - respond. Here are the highlights of their answers:
Three Call Center Rules to Break, Bend and Ignore
Many of today's contact centers have finally shifted from a pure focus on cost reduction to one of increasing customer satisfaction. But despite customer satisfaction taking a front row seat, reducing operational costs is never too far removed from the big picture.
Dressing (The Contact Center) For Success
Locating and designing contact centers are very much like recruiting staff. Both have to be the best fit for the enterprise and the applicants as to what they can offer each other, who must appear as professionally as they perform. And if you look good and feel good you will act accordingly.
The Agentless Shift
Not too long ago when customers needed to contact companies, they usually picked up their phones or walked into the local offices. Today - and going forward - they go to the web for self-service including automated chat, e-mail, SMS, mobile apps and then if need be they call. And when they do dial, they are interacting through DTMF and increasingly, speech rec software.
8 Healthy Habits for Highly Effective Call Centers
Customers want their problems resolved efficiently and without the hassle of being transferred - or worse, having to call back. Executives expect call center managers to figure out a way to have agents improve their First Contact Resolution rate, but without losing any recent efficiency gains.
The Hosting Experience
Hosting, also called cloud-deployed software, is becoming a much-discussed and tested option to buying, installing and maintaining/upgrading contact center solutions on premises servers. The benefits include increased flexibility and scalability, low or no upfront costs, reduced upgrades and support costs and business continuity/disaster recovery.
SIP Print's On-Target Contact Center Applications
Most firms that are small-midsized businesses or SMBs have to be lean, flexible and very responsive to customers' needs to survive and grow. The smarter mid-sized enterprises, stung by the economic downturn, are adopting the SMB philosophy to increase profits.
Operations and Management
Tuning Up Workforce Management
If there ever is a time for contact centers to tune up their workforce management to ensure that the right agents with the right skills are available at the right time, that time is now. There is a growing focus on efficiently delivering higher quality service to retain customers and attract new ones. That is on top of generating more income from interactions directly via sales and collections and indirectly through service. More contacts are now going through nonvoice channels.
Call Center Technology
Recording The Developments
Call recordings are at the core of ensuring contact center performance, productivity, profitability and compliance through the vital information they collect and store from customer interactions. To help centers decide on recording solutions and strategies, Customer Interaction Solutions reached out to several industry experts and firms and asked them questions on:
Knowlagent's Matt McConnell on Contact Center Workforce Issues
The key to efficiently serving the customers is effective workforce management (WFM): connecting them with the right number of highly-skilled agents for the right contacts at the right times.
Ask the Experts
Optimizing Agent Performance in a Real-time World
The tools and processes to optimize agent performance are multifaceted - addressing the desktop to handle the contact, and performance tools to measure and monitor. The desktop includes knowledge management and scripting, as well as agent assistance tools. A performance tools suite includes quality monitoring, workforce management (WFM), customer feedback, and coaching tools. Another key ingredient is a strong feedback loop that uses those performance tools to drive actions that the individual and team can pursue for overall optimization.
CRM, BPO & TELESERVICES
Changing Needs, Changing Shores
Where to land contact centers and programs - onshore, nearshore or offshore - is becoming less of a strategic permanent commitment to any one place and more of a tactical decision, and for good reason. Each locale's labor costs and quality, infrastructure, currency, security and stability must be carefully weighed against the caveat that these factors can quickly be altered, as economic conditions and political events and disasters graphically (and tragically) illustrate.
Awards & Recognition
Customer Interaction Solutions Magazine's 12th Annual CRM Excellence Awards
For the 12th consecutive year the editors of Customer Interaction Solutions have dared firms to prove that their companies have what it takes to win the coveted CRM Excellence Award.
ac2: The Next Generation Workforce Management
If agents represent the contact center planet, then its core is workforce management (WFM)-forecasting, staffing and scheduling, strategic planning and performance optimization. The ability of WFM to predict and assign the right numbers of staff when they are needed and make adjustments based on deviations from plan assumptions and forecasts drives up customer-retaining service, sales and accounts collected and avoids expensive under-and-overstaffing.
Reducing Churn: The Fast Route to Profitability
Shrinking customer churn is arguably the key concern of today's businesses, and for good reason: it costs less to keep customers and to acquire new ones. Yet it is a lesson that too many firms, especially those in the wireless industry-which is a key business bellwether-required a painful economic downturn to learn.
Ask the Experts
Hosted Contact Center Solutions: Setting the Record Straight
Hosted contact center infrastructure solutions, also referred to as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) or Communications-as-a-Service (CaaS), are steadily gaining ground in enterprises of all sizes and in a variety of public and corporate verticals. Hosted solutions are reaching unprecedented levels of customer satisfaction because of the minimal cash outlay required, quick deployments, rapid and quantifiable return on investment, scalability and agility, ongoing investment protection, a reduced maintenance burden, and the opportunity to "try before you buy." Vendors also continue to expand functionality through product enhancements and improved deployment and integration models.
Call Center Survey Reveals Shrinkage Impact
Knowlagent recently conducted a survey to answer some important questions about contact center shrinkage. The intent was to determine how much time call center agents spend in shrinkage across different types of centers and to understand what activities contribute to this type of loss.
Serving the Social Customer
Customers have always been "social" for they-we as human beings-are social creatures, relying on each of us for vital information to help us survive and prosper. We have asked and have listened to our peers, and have passed the information we gleaned on to them. When we have items to offer, customers listen to us and then consult others and we do the same in turn when we are buyers.
AWARDS & RECOGNITION
Customer Interaction Solutions Magazine's 26th Annual Top 50 Outbound Teleservices Agency Ranking
Our "Top 50" rankings are based on extensive detail gleaned from an exhaustive application process, in which outbound teleservices vendors quantify their service delivery in terms of minutes usage in their various call center locations. Through more than a quarter century of consistency in processing and evaluating applications, the Top 50 ranking has become the benchmark for businesses seeking high-capacity teleservices agencies.
Cleaning Up Issues With Mobile CRM
Mobile CRM applications are not just for sales reps that are on the go. They are becoming vital tools to identify and resolve issues anytime, anywhere that results in increased customer satisfaction and business. Here is one such example:
Social CRM Insights
To help contact centers understand what social channel/social media and social CRM is about and what is happening with them, Customer Interaction Solutions magazine reached out to a range of thought leaders to get their insights. Here are the highlights:
Q&A With Presidio Networked Solutions on Industry Trends
This is the time of year when we look forward to anticipate to what we think may occur so that we can proactively and reactively respond successfully.
Every Minute Counts: Are You Getting the Most Out of Your Web-Generated Leads?
The passage of time poses a real problem in the sales world. A couple quick ticks of the clock can mean the difference between acquiring a new customer or losing it to a competitor. This time crunch is further amplified on the Web, where users expect even greater immediacy. While it may not be uncommon for organizations to wait days to respond to Web-generated leads, it is certainly detrimental to their ability to qualify and convert those leads.
OPERATIONS AND MANAGEMENT
Frost and Sullivan's Dawson on Buying WFM/WFO Solutions
The literal heart of the contact center is its people, namely the contact center agents as they enable the customer relationships and in doing so obtain the maximum value from these individuals and organizations.
CALL CENTER TECHNOLOGY
The Buying Decision for 2011: On-Premises or Hosted?
The next fiscal year begins soon for many organizations, and they are figuring out how, in today's challenging economic climate, to best provide customer-retaining/attracting quality service while decreasing costs and improving the bottom line via their contact centers.
InfoCision's Steve Brubaker on BPO
Brubaker has long been active in the BPO industry via the American Teleservices Association (ATA) and the Direct Marketing Association (DMA). He recently retired from the ATA board after serving for the better part of two decades to focus on InfoCision, which is on the cusp of major growth as a result of key trends and initiatives.
Outsourcing For Success
Outsourcing contact center tasks to the right partners - BPO (business process outsourcer) firms that excel in people, process and technology - can generate significant bottom-line results. For these outsourcing companies' success depends on how well they can make their clients' programs successful. Yet to make this happen require close coordination between the clients and the BPO providers, as this example illustrates:
ASK THE EXPERTS
Success with Remote Agents - Is Not so Remote
Two words and one very viable solution: remote agents. With IP technologies and the new breed of centralized all-in-one IP communications platforms, a company of any size and located anywhere can deploy remote agents with as little as a high-speed Internet connection, a computer, a phone, and a quiet environment in which an agent can work. As importantly, most all-in-one platforms also provide the real-time monitoring and reporting tools supervisors need to view remote agent activity, at all times.
CALL CENTER TECHNOLOGY
Dialing In Conferencing
Conferencing tools make home-based and mobile working and utilizing informal agents such as subject matter experts feasible by permitting such personnel to participate in this knowledge imparting from anywhere, aided by expanding broadband networks which enable high quality experiences.
CRM, BPO & TELESERVICES
Small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) have to work smarter, not harder than their peer-level and enterprise-scaled competition to survive and grow in today's and tomorrow's economy. For that reason they are seeking effective, versatile and affordable methods that can uncover new revenue opportunities while enhancing existing customer relationships and at the same time saving them time and money to be more profitably used elsewhere. And that means they are employing CRM solutions for selling to businesses (B2B) and increasingly to consumers (B2C).
AWARDS & RECOGNITION
TMC Labs Innovations Awards Part II
Two-thousand and ten marks the 11th anniversary for the prestigious TMC Labs Innovation Awards, where TMC Labs reviews dozens of applicants and chooses the most unique and innovative products and services.
OPERATIONS AND MANAGEMENT
Designing the Next-Gen Contact Center
The next-gen center will utilize software that can show them what their new environments will be like, which will give them an opportunity to suggest changes that can be then incorporated instantly to portray what it would look like instead.
Making Multimedia Work
This is now is changing thanks to a wide ray of factors including broadband to homes and mobile devices that are making chat, e-mail and SMS popular and the need to seamlessly integrate self-service with live agent interactions to deliver high quality customer-retaining experiences.
OPERATIONS AND MANAGEMENT
Staffing for the Next-Gen Contact Center
As the economy slowly climbs out of the downturn there is a next-generation contact center that is emerging. One whose agents must communicate intelligently, demonstrating skills both soft: i.e. empathy and hard: sales as well as service, with ever-more demanding customers via multiple channels: voice, chat, e-mail, fax, SMS and now social media. One where the environment is anywhere: inside traditional employer-provided facilities, in agents' homes and on the road.
CRM, BPO & TELESERVICES
Streaming the Data
Customers and organizations are now reaching out to each other across many different channels that must be carefully managed to provide a consistent and seamless experience. The data contained in these interactions provide invaluable service, problems, performance and product knowledge and insights.
CALL CENTER TECHNOLOGY
Meshing the Media, and Channels
The customer-contact center interaction dialogue is about to become more complex as it expands from supporting multiple channels - voice, e-mail, and chat - to enabling and engaging customers through multiple media: social and a little further down the road, video.
Interactive Intelligence's Social Channel Buzz
There is always a buzz around Interactive Intelligence: Since day one, the firm has and continues to come out with (and its customers have successfully deployed) imaginative, feature-rich, easily-enabled-and-supported needs-anticipating-and-meeting communications solutions used in or via the contact centers.
OPERATIONS AND MANAGEMENT
Performing Analytics for a Tough Crowd
Contact centers face a tough crowd: customers and executives who are watching their wallets as the economy struggles to expand. Performance analytics solutions can help win them over indirectly and directly, by providing invaluable and timely information to help cut expenses, increase agent effectiveness and output, retain customers, and attract others through referrals (especially via social media), and save sales and grow revenues.
CRM, BPO & TELESERVICES
Changing Needs, Changing Carriers
A decade or so ago, contact centers' carrier needs and purchases were fairly simple. They sought - and carriers focused on - delivering predominantly voice traffic, with a small amount of e-mail, at low volume rates from regional or nationwide carriers for single or networked multiple locations. The calls mostly terminated and originated at ACDs and predictive dialers housed on switches and boards at formal employer-owned facilities. Work-at-home for agents was in its very early days.
CALL CENTER TECHNOLOGY
Managing Through Disasters
Disasters of all kinds can strike at any time, any where. As contact centers become increasingly invaluable to their organizations, they need methods and solutions that can enable them to manage through these events. That includes avoiding, or if that is not possible, preparing for and staying in operation during them, or if the worst happens, orderly shut down and quick recovery.
VXI's Young (Literally) and Successful Contact Center
Where to locate contact centers is one of the most critical and costliest investments an organization can make. The selected community can make or break labor costs, including both wages and churn , and employee skills and quality will impact service and sales. With renovations and outfitting costs running into the millions of dollars and with leases running three to five or more years, this is a decision that has to be made very carefully.
Amdocs' 4-1-1 on Communications Service Providers
Amdocs provides business- and operational-support systems (BSS and OSS), including billing, customer care, and support, along with a comprehensive portfolio of consulting, systems integration and managed services for CSPs domestically and globally. It is well situated to see what is happening inside this vital and vibrant industry.
ASK THE EXPERTS
A Customer IP Communications System Roadmap
For most of the past decade, the trend for enterprises has been to migrate from traditional circuit-switched PBX phone systems to those based on Internet Protocol (IP) communications standards, which have been developed for the transmission of media communications and control signaling requirements over an IP network.
CRM, BPO & TELESERVICES
The Social CRM Revolution
Instead of customers serving the companies, the companies are now being forced to serve them. If these outfits fail to do so, and/or not meet customers' satisfaction they will be locked in the stocks or for the most serious offenders by dragged into the guillotines in the virtual public squares.
Salesforce.com's Chatter on Social CRM
Salesforce.com has become an iconic firm by taking underexploited methods, most significantly cloud computing, marrying them to existing solutions, in its case CRM applications and successfully developing them to meet present and future business needs. The firm is posed to repeat its success in the fast-growing social channel, expanding CRM into social CRM.
RightNow Takes U.S. Government to the Cloud
The Obama Administration has made it clear that it wants to "do more with less" i.e. maintaining and developing federal programs, such its economic stimulus package and health reform at lower total costs. Cloud computing is one such solution to government needs. This method greatly reduces capital and IT expenses over premise-based solutions while offering superior flexibility and scalability. That includes the ability to support teleworkers, which is also a White House priority and to enable business continuity during natural, and man-made-disasters; the recent attempted Times Square bombing is a stark reminder how real the threat of terrorism still is: nearly nine years after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
Operations and Management
This summer may be the opportune time for contact centers to take a renewed look at their recording strategies. If their organizations are switching over from PSTN/TDM to IP, which will require in most cases buying new recording tools, it makes sense to utilize this occasion to rethink how they want to use recordings.
Call Center Technology
Prescriptions for Support
Help or IT support desks are organizations' including contact centers' "IT emergency wards", providing quick, timely and accurate diagnoses, fixes, patch ups, prescriptions and referrals to keep them going and productive. Yet they are "cost centers"; they have no opportunities to drive in revenues unlike many customer-facing service and external tech support desks. They are therefore under pressure to keep expenses down.
CRM, BPO & Teleservices
Which Shore to Land On?
If contact center decision makers or their clients seem a little undecided as to where to land their new centers or programs they have good reason to be. The factors affecting site selection and outsourcing have become much more complex. Access to Spanish-speaking agents; union, public image and political considerations; and cultural affinity, agent performance and customer retention issues now reside with labor cost, compliance and telecommunications considerations.
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