Election Technology News
One of the most fascinating advances in political systems worldwide is the advent of technology like blogs and
other web 2.0 initiatives such as social networking and video. But even the old technologies like SMS are coming
into play as candidates look for any and every advantage to distance themselves from one another.
As you can imagine, with so much technology swirling around, making candidates more productive and efficient,
we at TMC became mesmerized by it all. It got so interesting to us in fact we decided to categorize all of the stories
we ran having to do with election technology. After a while we realized we had developed an entire website focusing
exclusively on election technology and how it transforms politics. I hope you enjoy it.
It is worth mentioning that call centers are a vital part of the election process and now that the government
has more or less outlawed telemarketing for everyone but themselves, call centers continue to be a vibrant part of the election
process. We will of course continue to chart the progress of this segment of the market as well — as you may recall, TMC (News - Alert) has been
covering the call center space since 1982 — before the term call center was even coined.
Visit Rich’s blog at http://blog.tmcnet.com/blog/rich-tehrani/
Labor Day Message: Treat Your Workers Well
and Be Rewarded
In his Readerboard blog, Customer Interaction Solutions’ Brendan
B (News - Alert). Read writes:
When heading off for the Labor Day weekend, think of the people who make
it possible: those who work for you like your contact center agents and supervisors
for whom Labor Day is a workday where they deliver the customer
service that we all depend on.
And when thinking of your staff, examine ways in which you can treat
them better, so that they can become more productive and loyal that in
turn leads to higher revenues, lower costs, and greater customer satisfaction.
You may even be recognized by your peers for the results that you
InfoCision has proven that looking after
your staff pays off. As reported in a story on
TMCnet, the teleservices firm was recognized
as a finalist in the Employer Achievement
category of the Health Care Heroes
Award, presented by Crain’s Cleveland Business.
InfoCision won the congrats for having
implemented a company-wide, proactive
health and wellness program that emphasizes
individualized employee care and convenience
yet at the fraction of the cost.
Not surprisingly, InfoCision has been and continues
to be one of the highest quality contact
center firms there is. It is the only company to win a Marketing Via Phone
(MVP) Quality Award every year since the inception of the honor back in
InfoCision gets a big cheer from this corner for proving in contact centers, as
well as in organizations in general, that doing the right thing by your staff is
the best thing all around.
Visit Brendan’s blog at http://blog.tmcnet.com/call-center-crm/
How Safe is the Cloud?
In his "On Rad’s Radar?" blog, Peter Radizeski
of RAD-INFO, Inc. writes:
Network World (News - Alert) has a story about how an online
storage site, Linkup, formerly known as MediaMax,
shut down this week after 45 percent
of the data was lost. Who’s fault is it? Well, the
article tries to figure that out.
As we have seen, outages are everywhere - Amazon,
Google (News - Alert), etc. Five Nines is difficult especially
now. My thoughts are that there are more hackers
worldwide with broadband. More compromised
machines. Less security precautions. Buggy,
bloated software that goes unpatched. Less common
All these free services have a cost to deliver. If
they don’t have a revenue model that is working
(like Google or Amazon), then how can
they afford to provide secure services to you
for free? As we have seen, even GOOG and
AMAZ who not only can afford it, hire top
notch talent to manage it have issues that cannot
be avoided. Power outages. Broken parts.
Redundant failures. As any data center tech
can tell you, these things happen.
A CLEC client called today with a DS3
card outage on his class 5 switch - and the
redundant switch-over wouldn’t work. What
can you do?
Plan for the worst. Test. Communicate with your
customers in the case of an event.
Visit Peter’s blog at http://blog.tmcnet.com/
Outrageous Interactions Contest
In his VoIP Authority blog, Internet Telephony’s Greg Galitzine writes:
Saw this news item about Interactive Intelligence (News - Alert)’s "Outrageous Interactions"
contest. It’s a very entertaining concept that offers a fun look inside contact
centers by allowing agents to share their most memorable customer interactions.
Tim Passios (News - Alert), Interactive Intelligence’s Director of Solutions Marketing,
offered this example of a unique and memorable agent experience:
"I’m a manager for a help desk. One day my agent received a call from a customer
who had some concerns with her phone. However, he was unable to provide a
resolution. So, the agent confirmed the caller’s contact details and redirected the
issue to me. Not knowing the specific issue she was having with her phone, I
called the customer back. I have a feeling I should have waited.
When she answered the phone, she was completely bouncing off the walls. I was
having some trouble calming her down. I hadn’t even given her the reason I was
calling or my name, but that didn’t matter since she already had several names
picked out for me. After about five minutes of listening to her tirade, I was
about to lose it. I raised my voice telling her to calm down or I would have to
hang up. All of the sudden, she said "who is this?
There was a good minute of silence on her end as I explained that I was the representative
calling back about her phone issue. It was so quiet in fact that I had to
ask, "Are you still there?" She sheepishly replied "Yes." She proceeded to apologize
profusely for her behavior and explained that she had been having the worst day.
Her dog was sick, she stubbed her toe, she had locked her keys in the car, and to
top things off when she tried to call the locksmith her telephone started acting
up. I kind of wanted to laugh, but thought better of it. Seems all she really needed
was an outlet and I provided that by just listening.
Soon she was calm and I was able to assist her with her telephone issue. In no
time flat, I had the problem resolved and she was another satisfied customer sent
on her way... or so I thought.
A few weeks later an agent transfers a call to me. It was her! Unbeknownst to me,
she had saved my number on her caller ID. She called to thank me for my patience
and kindness during our call a few weeks back. Of course, I responded with "That’s
my job and I’m always happy to help." Then she asked me out for coffee!
Well, one crazy phone call, a few cups of coffee, and three years later she’s my wife."
Visit Greg’s blog at http://blog.tmcnet.com/blog/greg-galitzine/
SoundBite’s Sensible ‘Coupons On Demand’
In The Green Blog, TMC’s Green Team writes:
SoundBite Communications (News - Alert) has a ‘greensmart’ solution that saves
trees, which convert CO2 to oxygen among other life-providing
benefits, which is reminding consumers or businesses of coupons
or other rewards they are entitled to by receiving the coupon or reminder
through e-mail, text messages or an automated phone call.
Visit Green Team's blog at http://blog.tmcnet.com/green-blog/
By simply showing the text message, the reward could be
activated at their next purchase. If someone doesn’t want the promotional
offer, they simply delete it. It doesn’t get any easier than
that, and all while reducing the consumption of paper.
Those savings are significant. SoundBite says one tree can make
almost 17 reams of paper, with a major portion of it ending up as
direct mail, including coupons, or bills. The billing industry discovered
that by switching to online billing, a household can save
6.6 pounds of paper a year. If 20 percent of households switched
to electronic bills and payments, almost 2 million trees would
be saved each year, along with a reduction of over 100 million
pounds of paper.
In 2006 alone, direct mail volume grew by 1.4 billion pieces, to a
total of more than 213 billion pieces of direct mail a year (USPS (News - Alert)
2006 Annual Report). With one tree creating 8,333 sheets of paper,
converting direct mail coupons to mobile coupons can save thousands
The green benefits do not stop there. Avoiding printing unwanted
coupons saves the emissions losses incurred in producing,
shipping, and recycling these ducats.
CRM Study Names Ciboodle
In his "First Coffee" blog, TMCnet’s David
The news as of the second cup of coffee this
morning, and the music is X’s More Fun In The
New World. You kind of knew it was the end for
this band when the most fun performances on
this 1984 album, their best, were covers:
Visit David’s blog at http://blog.tmcnet.com/
CRM’s Sword ciboodle has been named as a
"strong performer" by independent analyst firm,
Forrester (News - Alert) Research. Sword ciboodle was among
the companies invited by Forrester to participate
in its August 29 report, "The Forrester
Wave: Enterprise CRM Suites, Q3 2008."
Sword ciboodle "has pushed into the CRM
market with focus on the intersection of business
process modeling, customer service, and
customer interaction management."
As enterprises "begin to understand the importance
of truly integrating end-to-end customer-facing
processes from front office to back office," the report
says, "they are turning to products with native
BPM capabilities that can support highly unique
-- and flexible -- process flows."
The Forrester report called ciboodle "a good fit
for buyers who are looking for a vendor that can
bring business process acumen," giving ciboodle
the highest score in the report for time-to-value.
Targeted primarily to large companies in sectors
such as banking, insurance, utilities, telecommunications
and retail, ciboodle is a BPM-based
CRM product that enables all service channels
natively from a single platform.