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Managing Chaos in your Contact Center after the Holiday Rush? Hitachi Consulting CRM Guru Fixes Broken Relationships between Companies and Customers
[January 03, 2006]

Managing Chaos in your Contact Center after the Holiday Rush? Hitachi Consulting CRM Guru Fixes Broken Relationships between Companies and Customers

DALLAS --(Business Wire)-- Jan. 3, 2006 -- Consumer companies working with Natalie Petouhoff to improve their contact center performance during this busy holiday season probably wish she also had time to help staff the phone bank. But as a CRM change agent with Hitachi Consulting, the business and IT consulting company of Hitachi, Ltd. (NYSE:HIT), she's far too busy to don the headset for any client preparing for the onslaught of post-holiday questions, complaints and returns.

From toy manufacturers to software companies, Petouhoff understands that the critical juncture between a happy customer and one that's headed for the door, even virtually, is determined by which CRM philosophy they subscribe to:

-- What value do our customers bring to us?

-- Or, what value do we bring to our customers?

Within this mindset lies the crux of every customer dilemma and issue. And according to Petouhoff, herein lies the heart of every CRM quandary consumers will encounter during this purchasing season: "Does a company sincerely advocate for its customers, or not? If it does, then they will provide a fanatical customer experience each and every time a customer interacts with them, whether it's on the website, at the retail outlet or through the contact center."

As one of the industry's recognized thought leaders on how the customer experience is fast-becoming the most important competitive advantage, Petouhoff says the coming weeks represent a critical time for consumer companies, which will be hearing from their customers with a wide variety of complaints and information requests. "This is a critical time, and if you do right by your customers now, they'll be with you through 2006 and beyond."

Petouhoff is indeed the quintessential customer advocate, and her clients know it, if for no other reason that she exudes her passion for Customer Advocacy each and every time she's engaged on the subject. On a recent Hitachi Consulting webinar she told a group of Fortune 1000 execs how profitable companies are using people, process and technology to provide fanatical customer advocates (employees) with the resources to serve customers better and become more profitable.

"It begins with putting yourself on the dialing end of that telephone," Petouhoff said "and recalling the worst experience you've ever had at a time when you really needed help, and time was of the essence."

To spread her gospel, "Treat your customer as you would want to be treated," Petouhoff speaks at industry conferences, most recently at the Gartner CRM Summit, where she signed autographed copies of her most recent book, Integrating People, Process and Technology. In anticipation of her next book in 2006, Reinventing Your Multi-Channel Contact Center with Prentice-Hall, Petouhoff is working on a variety of other writing projects, including articles for 1to1, CRM Magazine and

Combined with her role serving Hitachi Consulting clients with their CRM needs, Petouhoff balances a busy schedule.

"Dr. Nat, as she is affectionately known, is at the forefront of the innovative thinking being done at Hitachi Consulting. We are helping our clients better understand their customers by creating a single view of customer data, using analytics to turn data into knowledge, and using that knowledge to develop a great customer experience. Using global best practices in sales, marketing, and customer care our clients are setting the pace for customer-centric organizations," said Brian Johnson, vice president of Customer Channel Solutions at Hitachi Consulting.

As a result of her efforts, the accolades for Natalie Petouhoff, Ph.D., come frequently. Last month she was named as one of The Next Generation of Leadership in Enterprise Software by The Enterprise Software Observer. The company she keeps in that compilation include CRM thought leaders from Oracle,, Accenture, SAP and other technology developers and implementers. Making the list of 25 CRM movers and shakers "is a great reward" Petouhoff acknowledges, but insists that the validation she seeks is earned on the front lines of her clients' contact center.

Before joining Hitachi Consulting Petouhoff was a thought leader at Benchmarkportal, where she co-authored books and whitepapers on CRM and contact centers with Dr. Jon Anton. At PricewaterhouseCoopers she was a Change Management and Contact Center and Software Implementation consultant. Petouhoff has more than 15 years of professional experience in the areas of technology, process innovation and people performance. She teaches Organizational Change Management, CRM, Project Management and Leadership courses through Pepperdine University's MBA program. She is a graduate of UCLA, with a Ph. D. degree in Material Science and Metallurgical Engineering and Master's degree in Engineering from the University of Michigan.

Hitachi Consulting has nearly 1,000 employees in 16 offices across the United States and is rapidly expanding through acquisitions and recruiting efforts.

About Hitachi Consulting

As Hitachi, Ltd.'s (NYSE: HIT) global consulting company, Hitachi Consulting is a recognized leader in delivering proven business and IT solutions to Global 2000 companies across many industries. We leverage decades of business process, vertical industry, and leading-edge technology experience to understand each company's unique business needs. From business strategy development through application deployment, our consultants are committed to helping clients quickly realize measurable business value and achieve sustainable ROI.

Hitachi Consulting's client base includes nearly 30 percent of the Fortune 100 as well as many leading mid-market companies. We offer a client-focused, collaborative approach and transfer knowledge throughout each engagement. For more information, call 1.877.664.0010 or visit

Hitachi Consulting -- Inspiring your next success!(R)

About Hitachi, Ltd.

Hitachi, Ltd. (NYSE:HIT), headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is a leading global electronics company, with approximately 347,000 employees worldwide. Fiscal 2004 (ended March 31, 2005) consolidated sales totaled 9,027.0 billion yen ($84.4 billion). The company offers a wide range of systems, products and services in market sectors including information systems, electronic devices, power and industrial systems, consumer products, materials and financial services. For more information on Hitachi, please visit the company's Web site at

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