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November 1999

Dear Rich Tehrani:
Thank you for your publication!

My name is Frank J. Pupillo. In the next three months my partner and I will be opening a call center in the city of Thorold, Ontario. Thorold is on the Welland Canal system, approximately 15 minutes from Niagara Falls and the U.S. border. My background is in the call center industry. Just recently, that experience brought me to Israel. Together, the founder of the Messianic Times, an international newspaper, and I developed and implemented policies and procedures for two call centers, in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Before this period I was employed with TeleSpectrum Worldwide, Inc.

Your publication gives entrepreneurs a great deal to contemplate before advancing forward. I believe the people involved in this venture will all benefit from a call center. Our location will be in Thorold for the simple reason that all surrounding cities have one or two centers. This will be a first for Thorold. We are currently working with city officials to equal our investment dollar for dollar. The center will eventually house 75 to 100 communicators, management staff and administrative offices.

My partner and I struggle with tapping into markets I have worked with previously, such as Qwest Communications, Cantel, AT&T, Consumers First, UPS and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.

The original direction for this center was to market our own products and services with a team of 10 communicators to start with. I still feel this would be a good place to start and, after reading your article about Lens Direct (High Priority! April 1999, “Customer Relationship Management In Action”), we can build a dynasty. What would be your opinion on this issue and what equipment would you recommend for a team of 10.

Thank you in advance.

Frank J. Pupillo, Founder
The LionHeart Group

Hi Frank,
Although you haven’t mentioned it directly, it seems the solution you implement should be extremely scalable so that you don’t have to scrap your equipment along with your anticipated growth path. The best thing you can do is come to CTI™ EXPO December 7-9 in Las Vegas to see all the leading call center vendors in action.

By the way, we will have two state-of-the-art, live, working call centers on the show floor to help you get a grasp of the latest call center and CRM (customer relationship management) technologies in action.

In the meantime, here is a sample of some of the companies I suggest you look into. Perhaps you can set up some appointments with the following companies:

CellIT, Mario Villena, (305) 639-2243. Leading-edge call center technology from a young and hungry company that I believe has a great future.

Microlog, David Burd, (301) 428-9100. Again, great technology and great products.

Easyphone, Kelly Bevan, (408) 965-1780. Same as above.

Vocalcom, David Magidas, 01-55-37-30-50. Same as above. This is a French company that is about to make a big splash in the U.S. at CTI™ EXPO in December. They are very large in Europe and are building a sales channel in the States.

Interactive Intelligence, Joe Adams, (317) 872-3000, ext. 122. Great technology, hot company, worth a serious look.

There are many, many more to choose from and there are too many factors to consider for me to just tell you to go out and purchase brand X. You need a solution that is right for your company and is flexible enough to encompass all your needs — today and tomorrow.

We have also put a page on our C@LL CENTER Solutions™ Web site that goes into detail about what to look for in next-generation call centers and has links to articles we have run in the past year covering various aspects of a next-generation call center. The URL is www.tmcnet.com/cis/nextgen.htm.

I hope this helps. GOOD LUCK!!!

Rich Tehrani

Dear Nadji Tehrani:
How do you write an article on VRM (Publisher’s Outlook, September 1999, “CRM Cannot Exist Without ERM And VRM”) and never clearly state what VRM is? It’s in your head, but not in the article.

Michael St. Angelo
The Standing Stone Group

Dear Mr. St. Angelo:
Sorry we did not spell out the acronym — VRM = Vendor Relationship Management, which means maintaining a first-class, mutually beneficial relationship with those companies you depend upon for such things as fulfillment, shipping, supplies, etc. In essence, what Mr. Tehrani was explaining is that every company relies on vendors to provide products or services that are necessary for the production of that company’s products and, if the relationship between a company and its vendors goes south, then the company’s reputation, quality and profitability will soon follow.

Erik Lounsbury, Editor

Technology Marketing Corporation

2 Trap Falls Road Suite 106, Shelton, CT 06484 USA
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