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Letters To The Editor
July 2000


Hi Tracey!

I really enjoyed your article on e-sales and service (May 2000, "The Recipe For E-Commerce Success"). A friend of mine put a Web site up for me: Two years -- zero sales. I attended an Internet marketing course and in a very short time, I realized everything we did was wrong (cute and entertaining, but wrong). I am looking for your opinion. Should I pay several thousand dollars ($4,000 yearly lease) to join their mall? There is no pressure to do so, but I have learned so much in a short period of time from them, I am leaning that way. I never heard of e-mail/usenet/www marketing tactics before I attended this 12-hour training course for $48 (not bad there).

The more I read, the more I learn. I will not tell you their name as I am looking for an honest opinion. My learning curve will be long (thus my sales will suffer). This is a second income for me and I have limited time. Should I go ahead and pay professionals to handle it for me?

Dwight Lloyd

Tracey Roth answers:

Dear Dwight:
I've seen and heard Web malls work out VERY well for many people. Just by virtue of the fact that you admit you have limited time, my guess is that a Web mall is a good fit for you. A Web site is like a dog...many people see only the benefits until they actually get one and realize the amount of work that goes along with it. If you've got old material on the site because you don't have time to update it, or you're not answering e-mail promptly, or there's a technical problem which doesn't come to your attention for several days, you could drive a lot of people away...and never underestimate the power of "Word of Mouth" among Netizens...

I would examine what your potential sales could be, given a properly run site (which you'll have if you sign with a reputable Web mall...but check them all out first, talk to others who use the service), and compare that against the $4,000-a-year hosting fees. Chances are, you'll only be locked into a one-year contract, and if it doesn't work at the end of the year, you can re-evaluate. Hope this helps, and good luck!

Tracey Roth, Managing Editor
C@LL CENTER CRM Solutions�

Dear Nadji:

Your commentary in the May 2000 issue of C@LL CENTER CRM Solutions� ("Defining CRM With Lessons From The Village Market") was a total 'portrait' of CRM. I feel your article precisely hits the mark on what CRM is and how it has evolved in today's marketplace.

It is true that in today's e-commerce environment we are dealing with new frontiers and technologies that have changed our reach, our timing and physical proximity with customers. Your comments bring this revolution into perspective and bring us back to basics in a complicated and constantly changing marketplace.

Your quote, "CRM is the optimization of every customer contact; it is weaving together all threads of information into a unified portrait of your customer," will be my battle cry for winning customers.

Hector Berrios, Project Manager
Convergys Corp. Employee Care

Dear Nadji:
Enjoyed your article in the May issue of C@LL CENTER CRM Solutions� However, it took to the last paragraph, the third to the last sentence on the last page to hear you make any mention of the people! CRM is wonderful, yes, but what about the people? Hardware and software are absolutely necessary, but let's not forget they are people-driven.

As it says in the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution, "We, the people." I say, 'we, the people' are what makes the difference.

Rosanne D'Ausilio, Ph.D.
President, Human Technologies

Nadji Tehrani answers:

Dear Ms. D'Ausilio:
Of course, you are correct. I urge you to see my editorial from September 1999, "CRM Cannot Exist Without ERM And VRM." In it, I discuss the vital importance of Employee Relationship Management, or ERM. Also, please see "People, Processes And Technology: Eight Tips For Web-Enabling Your Call Center" in this issue.

Nadji Tehrani
Chairman and CEO, TMC

Dear Rich:
I have read your article with regards to Rockwell's PC-based ACD and I have a couple of points I would like to raise. The market is awash with PBXs with ACD software and there are also companies like Lucent and Aspect that provide pure ACD. All the vendors you ever hear about are large corporations that cater to the larger end of the market, i.e., 200-agents plus, and turn out to be very expensive.

As you rightly say, the add-on ACD software that you get with PBXs is far, far short of the real thing, like pure ACD!

When I read articles, everyone always talks about the higher end. What about the smaller end of the market -- 10 agents up to 100? Why can't they have today's technology at affordable prices? The big boys like Aspect, Lucent and Rockwell are not interested in this market, so who is?

If I wanted a small, 15-agent, pure ACD PC-based switch, where would I go? Is there anything on the market at affordable costs?

The big boys look at this and view it as too small to deal with; however, in reality, this type of small call center can sometimes generate more calls than the larger end, for example, 1.8 million calls a year as it is a 24-hour, 365-day operation.

Your comments and views would be very much appreciated.

Melanie Serventi

Rich Tehrani answers:

Dear Ms. Serventi:
Rockwell's Transend is targeting the smaller call center market you detail. Interestingly, a company called PakNetX had a pure IP-based ACD solution that was 100% software...a great solution for smaller call centers. They were recently purchased by Aspect so, indeed, we may see the big ACD players start to go after smaller call centers in the future. At TMC, we always keep an eye open for great technology, so as new products are rolled out that our readers are interested in, we will be sure to write about them.

You may also want to look at the TMC� Labs  page on our Web site as they have reviewed many PC-PBXs and PC-ACDs in the past few years.

Rich Tehrani
President and Group Publisher, TMC

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