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October 2008 | Volume 27 / Number 5
From the TMCnet Blogs

From the TMCnet Blogs


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.

www. election-2008.tmcnet.com

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 have achieved.

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 1993.

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/


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 sense.

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/ on-rads-radar/


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.

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 of trees.

The green benefits do not stop there. Avoiding printing unwanted coupons saves the emissions losses incurred in producing, shipping, and recycling these ducats.

Visit Green Team's blog at http://blog.tmcnet.com/green-blog/


CRM Study Names Ciboodle
In his "First Coffee" blog, TMCnet’s David Sims writes:

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:

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.

Visit David’s blog at http://blog.tmcnet.com/ telecom-crm/

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