July 2008 | Volume 27 / Number 2
OUR 27TH ANNIVERSARY
By Nadji Tehrani
This month we celebrate the 27th anniversary of the launch of this publication, which started with the June/July issue of 1982. In a pioneering act, this publication began with a title, Telemarketing® magazine in 1982 with the tagline, "The magazine of electronic marketing and communications."
As I have frequently indicated in these editorials, the industry was practically non-existent back in those days and in fact, we literally ran out of material to write about after the first issue of the publication. I am reminded that our editor came to me and asked, "are you sure that this is an industry? I can't find anything to write about." I replied, "I am not sure if it exists, but we are going to make it an industry." I was fully convinced that my vision of some day conducting marketing electronically was the only way to go.
At that time, as it is customary for all visionaries, my idea was ridiculed by few short-sighted naysayers who said, in effect, "you are wrong, direct mail will always be there and that's about it." Today, we know better. Everything we do is done electronically and the world has finally realized that my vision was right on 27 years ago. In fact, I am of the opinion that the true visionaries always suffer because what they see in the future is not apparent to 98% of the population and therefore, the visionary may be called crazy.
The Industry Continues to Grow
Along the way, our industry has continued to grow after very difficult beginnings. We stayed with it, we guided the industry with the type of technology we needed and entrepreneurs replied in kind and together we laid the foundation for what is now practically a trillion dollar global industry, which now hires about 15 million people around the globe.
If you think that number is too high, just think of it this way, as I have stated frequently in these editorials: "Every company is a call center." If you appreciate the global scope of the above comment, then you might say, "that number is too conservative!"
Technology Kept Us Young
Even though the industry is now 27 years old, the technology visionaries have kept us young by constantly inventing new technology and methodology, hardware and software, which has enabled us to go far beyond the plain old outbound and inbound of the 1980's. To the extent that every company's objective is to increase productivity and provide outstanding customer service and customer care, the user groups were open to adoption of the new technology and therefore, we continued to grow as an industry.
Believe it or not, we feel that even after 27 years the industry is doing exceptionally well. We are not aware of any significant company failures, in fact, on the contrary, we understand that the industry is alive and well. Not only are enterprise call centers running successfully both domestically and sometimes globally, but also the teleservices companies, which are a major part of the contact center industry, are also doing exceptionally well. I am aware of some extremely well-managed teleservices companies that continue to grow at a rate of better than 20% per year, which is incredibly the same growth rate we had for the industry two decades ago! When questioned where the current growth rate comes from, the common answers seem to be 1.) organic growth based on continued customer satisfaction and 2.) the return of many call centers from overseas, which failed to produce quality service and thus a migration of call centers back to the United States where they belong. Having said all of that, we continue to be optimistic about the future of the industry and as I have stated in many of my editorials, with all due respect for online competition, the telephone is here to stay. In fact, I am of the opinion of if you take the phone out of any company, it's only a matter of time before that company goes under. The bottom line is nothing replaces the personal one-on-one communication when it comes to major deals.
Announcing a New Era for Customer Interaction Solutions® Magazine
In spite of the fact that many if not all of our direct competitors in this field have folded and no longer exist in printed form, we at Customer Interaction Solutions® Magazine (CIS) continue to evolve our product. In fact, while others are closing up shop, we continue to add to and enhance our editorial staff in an effort to bring our readers, advertisers and sponsors the finest editorial content possible. Let's face it, as our competitors contract or disappear completely, this is a time when we could easily become complacent and stop trying to improve. Instead, I am pleased to announce that we have added Brendan Read to the editorial staff of Customer Interaction Solutions® magazine in the capacity of Senior Contributing Editor. We have also added Joe Fleischer and Keith Dawson, who will be regular contributors to CIS. Those who are familiar with our industry are fully aware that these gentlemen have an excellent and well publicized record of success in our industry. I invite you to read Brendan's column in this issue and look for Joe and Keith's columns starting in the August 2008 issue.
In addition to this reinforcement of our editorial staff, CIS readers can now access nearly 3 million pages of relevant content on TMC's Web site: TMCnet.com. No other publication or Web site in the world can even come close to offering such breadth of content. Obviously, another reason that CIS has been and continues to be so successful is that not only have we pioneered the industry but we continuously strive to improve the quality of our content and global reach.
Please Join Us at Call Center 2.0
Call Center 2.0, the world's leading technology convention for contact centers will take place at the Los Angeles Convention Center, September 16-18, 2008. Call Center 2.0 is sponsored by Customer Interaction Solutions® magazine and I would like to invite all of you to join me to learn about cutting-edge technologies that will be presented on the exhibit floor followed by supporting conferences at the convention. CIS
As always, I look forward to your comments. You may e-mail them to me at mailto:[email protected].