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December 1999

Dear Nadji Tehrani,
I read your October Publisher's Outlook ("E-Commerce's Explosive Growth Offers Call Centers New Opportunities") with great interest. I manage a small call center for the Robbins Auto Parts stores in New Hampshire and have been trying to position the call center to be more receptive to e-commerce.

The more I use the Web for purchases myself, the more I see the need for personal interaction during a Web inquiry. Text chat and all of the other methods of responding "right now" to a question from a customer are going to be very important. I agree with your conclusion that the Web is not our enemy, it is a great resource.

I enjoy your magazine and I find it to be very educational.

Peter H. Rogers
Call Center Manager
Robbins Auto Parts

Dear Nadji Tehrani:
When I first saw the IBM TV ads that made fun of the Web site developer who knew how to put flames on a page, but didn’t know how to set up basic order processing and inventory — I was a little bit offended. It seemed arrogant. Now, I see the same as you — thousands (millions?) of Web sites that were obviously designed by people who are completely clueless about how to attract and keep customers. Then, the ghastly color and graphics and endless boring text full of grammatical errors leads me to believe that the stereotypical Web developer is an antisocial high-school dropout.

As an outsourcer tentatively moving from high-quality call center support in the corporate arena to e-commerce support, it is appalling how much effort is put into developing the Web sites of prospective clients with no conception of the need for customer care or even customer-friendly Web sites.

Paul Tiffany
Help Team Inc.

Dear Nadji Tehrani:
I recently read your excellent magazine for the first time. One of the articles by a VocalTec person (August 1999, “Do You Need A Multimedia Call Center?” by Hugh Goldstein of VocalTec Communications) described a futuristic call center management system. It seemed that such a product is yet to exist. I have recently been shown a product called Imagine (see IMAGINEUSA.COM) that seems to fit his description.

 I would be grateful to receive your opinion on this product and whether there are any other real competitive products.

Thanks in advance,
Yankel Koncepolski
NKA Communications Pty Ltd

The editor replied:

Dear Mr. Koncepolski:
While not familiar with the Imagine product, there are several companies that come to mind that make similar products. Chris Donner, associate editor of another of TMC’s publications, CTI´┐Ż magazine, compiled a roundup last year. Other companies that weren’t mentioned in that roundup that provide multichannel call center solutions include Altitude Software, CosmoCom, [email protected], Vocalcom and VocalTec. We also compiled a list of features to look for in a next-generation call center and recent articles we have published about them. For this information, go to www.tmcnet.com/cis/nextgen.htm.

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