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July 1998

Our New Name…
Because Every Company Is A Call Center!

BY NADJI TEHRANI

As you have noticed from our cover, we have changed the name of this publication -- for a number of reasons. First, C@ll Center Solutions™ better expresses who we are, why we exist and what we do for the call center industry. Furthermore, as the company that pioneered, defined and laid the foundation of today's multibillion-dollar call center industry, it is equally our responsibility as the industry leader to change anything when a change is indeed necessary and justifiable.

Not in our wildest dreams back in 1982 when we started Telemarketing magazine, did we anticipate such phenomenal growth for an industry that was then in its infancy. It is gratifying to see that it has now become a vital part of every progressive corporation, and that the message we have been proclaiming for 17 years, that "Every company is a call center," is being recognized around the world. It has become evident that no company can exist without a powerful call center, which is driven by professional management and well-trained staff. An efficient call center operation can provide you with high-quality teleservices, telesales and customer support through innovative help desk applications or improve your sales or marketing campaigns through aggressive data mining techniques (examples of which are covered in a number of articles in this issue).

Corporate America and indeed businesses across the globe continue to recognize that call centers are the focal point of every company's growth and prosperity, not to mention business survival. The call center industry is the greatest weapon in every company's arsenal for success in superior sales, marketing, customer service, distribution, credit collection, one-to-one marketing, etc. Today, the opportunities in the call center industry continue to flourish for the above reasons and, as the industry leader, it is our paramount responsibility to remain on the cutting-edge in terms of technology, human resource development and the continuous evolution of the call center from a cost center to the most powerful profit-generating component of every successful business. Today, call center services encompasses customer service, customer care, customer retention and, above all, loyalty marketing. None of these is even conceivable without having a first-rate, highly professional call center.

A BRIEF HISTORY
The following depicts at a glance the contribution of our pioneering effort to establish what is now the heart and soul of every company in America.

Our Vision
When this publication was first launched in 1982 as Telemarketing magazine, our tagline read: "The Magazine of Electronic Marketing and Communications." At that time, I had a vision that some day the conventional marketing and business transactions would be revolutionized to become electronic marketing. That some day has come and electronic marketing is now commonplace in corporate America. The new term attributed to the modern way to conduct business is electronic commerce or e-commerce, which 17 years ago I called electronic marketing. I suppose you can describe our vision as being right on. It is our job as leaders of our industry to put our vision to work and bring it to fruition for the betterment of mankind. When you do electronic marketing, you no longer need to destroy trees and jeopardize the environment to make paper; you can now market your products and services far more effectively by simply touching a few keys on your computer and sending e-mail via the Internet at no danger to the environment and at little or no cost! That was our vision back then and it is happening today and we are very proud of this fact.

New Technologies For A New Revolution
Early call centers operated in a completely manual mode. Today's call centers are showcases of high-tech sophistication. For example, we have moved from manual dialing to auto dialers to preview and predictive dialers. We have graduated from 3"x5" index cards and telephone books to contact management software and sales and customer service automation. Our inbound calls are not only efficiently routed to available agents through ACD technology, they are routed to the agent with the best skills to handle each call. CTI technology is fostering customer satisfaction and retention as well as enterprisewide productivity. Internet telephony is pushing the call center revolution into even higher gear: free speech.

On the outsourced teleservices side of the industry, it has been only two years since Wall Street discovered our existence. They fell in love with industry growth. This, of course, led to major changes in the outsourced teleservices landscape, some positive, some negative. Looking to the future, teleservices outsourcing growth will continue if and only if we all address the following: continue quality improvement, avoid price erosion in outsourced teleservices, overcome manpower shortages, use cutting-edge technology, and inform law makers of the vital attributes and contributions of our industry to prevent further harmful legislation.

Into The Next Millennium
Mutimedia PCs, video kiosks, Internet commerce and more are coming to the vanguard as the tools that will help your business find and retain customers. These and other technologies as yet undreamt will blossom in the near future. As we are poised on the threshold of the 21st century, we at TMC™ are ready to bring you the most complete and unbiased information possible on related technologies so that you can keep your most important business assest, your call center, operating at its utmost efficiency.

As the fledging call center industry barely existed in 1982, we had to nurture it with hard work (otherwise, known as blood, sweat and tears), and beg for case studies from an industry that was practically nonexistent. The industry has grown to a point where the volume of information that we have covered over the last 17 years in this publication is staggering, particularly when you add to it the thousands of seminars presented through another pioneering effort by Technology Marketing Corporation, namely the industry's first trade show, which was launched in 1986 as TBT, then evolved into TCCS™, and is now the CTI™ Expo. The inaugural CTI™ Expo, held this past May in Baltimore, turned out to be a resounding success according to attendee and exhibitor opinion polls. Over 8,000 industry executives from call centers managers to vice presidents of sales and marketing to MIS directors to scientists to CEOs and more came to CTI™ Expo to learn the latest techniques from keynote speakers from Microsoft, Cisco Systems and MCI, as well as other industry leaders who chaired our seminar courses. They also streamed into the exhibit hall to see the latest products and services from providers of outsourced teleservices, computer-telephony integration, Internet telephony and network telephony, voice recognition, logging and monitoring, sales and service software, training, furniture and more - everything essential to ensure your business' survival in the next millennium. We were humbled that so many of the attendees and exhibitors provided us with glowing testimonials. Nevertheless, we are determined to make CTI™ Expo Fall '98 even better. The Fall Expo will feature keynote addresses by John Dvorak, syndicated columnist and author; Howard Bubb, president and CEO of Dialogic Corporation; Bob Schecter, president, CEO and chairman of Natural MicroSystems; Mary M. Dunlop, vice president and general manager of Symposium Call Centers at Nortel; and Kenneth E. Sichau, vice president, Business Network Services at AT&T. The conference will feature informative and must-attend tracks on Call Center Solutions; Human Resources and Management; Telesales and Teleservices; Internet Telephony; Application Development and Programming; CTI Technology; and Reseller, Integrator & Developer Opportunities.

At CTI™ Expo Spring '98, we featured two noncommercial learning centers that provided attendees with educational and noncommercial demonstrations from different vendors of PC-PBX and Internet telephony technology. These were so successful that at the Fall Expo, in addition to PC-PBX and Internet telephony learning centers, we are adding two more learning centers. The third learning center will be a Web-based callback learning center. This technology features call-me buttons on a Web site that customers can click on to connect directly to a live agent. The fourth learning center will be a remote access/teleworker learning center focusing on all technologies that seamlessly connect remote workers to their home office.

We've Grown To Accelerate Your Growth
To keep our readers up-to-date, over the past year and a half we have introduced CTI and Internet Telephony™ magazines, changed the name of Telemarketing & Call Center Solutions™ to C@ll Center Solutions™ to reflect its changing focus, and revamped the TCCS Conference & Exposition to become the CTI™ Expo. At CTI magazine, our mission is to provide our readers the information needed to participate intelligently in the propagation of computer-telephony integration (CTI). From design to deployment, from development to distribution, from evaluation to purchasing, our readers look to us for in-depth, comprehensive information about CTI. They want information that will enable them to take action - to stop thinking about CTI and to start doing it. For us, the challenge is to cover the broad spectrum of topics relevant to CTI, while treating everything we cover in significant technical depth. Here is a small selection of topics we cover: application development, Internet telephony, PC-based technologies (PCs as telecommunications platforms), remote access/ telecommuting, routing voice traffic over corporate data networks and extending call control from the premises to the public network.

Internet telephony is revolutionizing telecommunications through the convergence of voice, video, fax and data. This exciting new technology promises to drastically reduce long-distance costs and provide unprecedented opportunities for resellers, developers, service providers and end users alike. Internet Telephony™ is the first and only magazine that focuses on providing the information that will help you take advantage of this burgeoning new technology. Internet Telephony™ magazine provides readers with the information necessary to learn about and purchase the equipment, software and services you need to take advantage of Internet telephony.

At C@ll Center Solutions™, our focus will remain as it has always been, on keeping call center management informed with the latest products, services, sales and marketing techniques to help you run the most cost-effective and efficient call centers possible. All of these changes and enhancements are designed to help you (our valued readers) to learn how to use cutting-edge technologies to vastly upgrade your call centers.

Sincerely yours,
Nadji Tehrani
Executive Group Publisher
Editor-in-Chief
ntehrani@tmcnet.com

 
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