ITEXPO West 2011 Preview

Some of the hottest issues facing contact centers include handling the rapidly-becoming-vital social channel, managing and working with cloud/hosted-based applications and with home-based agents. It is a new world out there, with customers who can influence others and raise issues and opportunities worldwide at the speed of light, with applications running, updated and supported on servers offsite and with hiring and managing team members who are out of sight but definitely not out of mind.s...

Feature Articles

Call Center Technology

Watching (and Preventing) the Hidden Crimes
The criminal and security threats that are the most worrisome are not the ones carried out with guns and explosives to get at bank vaults or cash drawers but hidden, over IT networks, to access databases containing customer information and to disrupt communications. There have been, as examples, high profile data breaches at well-known companies such as Citibank, direct marketer Epsilon (which has a large client list of household names) and Sony.


Leasing the Contact Center Vehicle
If contact center managers are the centers' professional drivers, then their vehicles are the IVR/speech recognition, dialing and outbound solutions, for these are the technologies that move the centers forward. And just as organizations have shifted from owning to leasing vehicles, as they have with the buildings that house contact centers, more are doing likewise with these key solutions through leasing them, specifically cloud hosting.

Operations and Management

The Analytics Analysis
Customer Interaction Solutions magazine recently interviewed experts from a wide array of leading firms in the analytics space to get their insights and analysis of contact center issues and needs and how analytics solutions can assist centers in meeting them. They report for example that operational efficiencies, sales and cross-multichannel engagement needs are driving analytics demand. The comprehensive in-depth interviews appear online at (insert URL).

Awards and Recgonition

2011 Speech Technology Excellence Awards
Speech technology is evolving as a tool for ensuring smooth, efficient, and effective communication between customer and vendor. As customers are finding new and increasingly more convenient channels – with convenience determined by each individual – customer service organizations are faced with adapting to these new customer behaviors. That means diversifying technology to accommodate the growing use of mobile devices and integration of multimodal communications into their customer facing technologies. But perhaps more than anything, customers demand quick, simple resolution to interactions, which means vendors must ensure – in both inbound and outbound channels – they have the latest, most functional and user-friendly speech interfaces as part of their technology deployments.


Publisher’s Outlook

Marketing Goes Almost Painfully Local
One of the most memorable business stories I have heard was when a consultant friend of mine flew to a large customer to quote on a substantial project. He was traveling with his business partner and happened upon a shuttle bus to the rental car company with his competitor and a partner. None of these consultants had ever met, but my friend and his partner had the luck to keep quiet as he overheard the other two people on the shuttle bus finalizing their pitch and setting the price for the project. My friend priced his proposal under the competition and got the project. Now, that's the sort of thing you want to overhear.


The Power of Mobile Apps as a Customer Feedback Tool
Never has the nature of interactions between customers and vendors been so easy, yet so complicated, thanks to the rise of social media. I've written previously about the need for companies to monitor social networks, like Facebook, Twitter, and now Google+, and how they can mine those social media interactions to improve their businesses.

Ask the Experts

Q&A on CIC 4.0
VInteractive Intelligence's ( new Customer Interaction Center (CIC) version 4.0 is the latest release in the firm's long line of innovative contact center solutions. CIC 4.0 will give contact centers and enterprises significantly increased scalability, reliability and speech analytics capabilities, among other features.


The (Social) Customer Isn't Always Right
There appears to be a tendency with social media as a new and highly visible channel to overstock the value of the sentiments expressed in posts and tweets, that these truly represent the collective voice of customer and that the comments and complaints are factual, well-founded and sincere. And that those who made them must be supplicated to keep them as customers, lest they tell hundreds of others never to do business with one's company ever again.