August 19, 2008

The Virtual Support Center: Delivering Support Anytime, Anywhere
Wednesday, August 27, 11:00am PT

Implementing a virtual support center offers considerable financial savings to organizations, as technicians can deliver support anytime, anywhere. End-user satisfaction and productivity improve due to prompt attention to issues. Employee satisfaction improves due to greater schedule and location flexibility. A win-win for any company.

This webinar will provide you with the research, data and trends driving the adoption of the remote agent working under the structure of the Virtual Support Center. Participants in this webinar will learn the benefits of implementing a virtual support center in their organization, including:

  • How to effectively implement a virtual support center
  • Increase both customer and employee satisfaction levels
  • Offer employees a greater work/life balance

Register Today!


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Ruling Bolsters Open-Source Software

A federal appeals court has overturned a lower court's decision in a copyright case that could strengthen the legal foundation of certain software such as Linux and online services such as Wikipedia. The court ruled that conditions of an agreement called the Artistic License were enforceable under copyright law, supporting a basic tenet behind open-source software and other creations that the general public is allowed to freely modify and distribute. Some legal experts said the ruling could help support the legal underpinnings of other open-source projects. An adverse ruling would have been a blow to the open-source movement.
Source: WSJ

intellichat Launches Customizable Control Panel for its e-Commerce Artificial Intelligence Sales Chat Solution
intellichat, a provider of Artificial Intelligence virtual-chat technology, announced the launch of their new control panel, developed to provide users with unprecedented advanced campaign design tools to help maximize online sales and conversion rates. intellichat also offers several other unique features not offered by any other A.I. solution provider. These include Custom chat windows -- branded to the client; Custom browser alert messages -- branded to the client; Ability to split test a range of discounts using intellichat to find best performers; Built in affiliate system and control panel for all users; Daily weekly or monthly email stat reports. intellichat's A.I. sales agent is able to interact with a virtually unlimited number of customers at once.

New Enterprise Performance Management Solutions Enable Customers to Link Strategy to Execution
Business Objects, an SAP company, announced the latest versions of its solutions for enterprise performance management (EPM), which will provide customers with improved control and agility, enabling them to enhance performance across both finance and operations. Responding to customer demand, Business Objects also introduced a spend analytics solution, a new EPM solution that will enable companies to extend performance management beyond finance to business operations. These new versions and additions to the Business Objects EPM portfolio will deliver, to both SAP and non-SAP customers, benefits such as expanded ability to leverage enterprise data, lowered total cost of ownership and increased scalability.

Services Industry Summit
Palazzo Hotel, Las Vegas, NV: October 6-8, 2008

Hosted by Service Strategies, this industry event is your perfect opportunity to share best practices and learn how world-class companies are improving their professional service and customer support and organizations. Don't miss this unique content focused industry event. Industry luminaries will share their insights through informative presentations packed with information and ideas you can put to use right away. The event will also include pre-conference workshops and an executive discussion forum.

For more information, contact Service Strategies by phone at 858.674.4864 or 800.552.3058 - Toll Free in North America, email or click here for event details, pricing and registration information.

Issue Resolution Drives Loyalty, Retention, Satisfaction, according to CFI Group's Contact Center Satisfaction Index
The ability of Customer Service Representatives to resolve customer issues is the most critical driver of customer satisfaction, loyalty, and word of mouth recommendations, according to CFI Group's second annual Contact Center Satisfaction
Index (CCSI). Overall satisfaction with call centers improves, as the CCSI gains three percent to a score of 72 on the Index's 100-point scale.

Though customer satisfaction with contact centers is up, the study finds that one in five customers end their contact center experience with unresolved problems. These customers are half as satisfied (CCSI score of 40 vs. 80) and twice as likely to defect. Customers clearly punish poor performance, but they reward good customer service. Customers whose issues are resolved on the first call are 49 percent more likely to continue doing business with the company than customers whose issues are not resolved.

The CCSI study shows that more customers are using the call center as the resource of last resort. In today's multichannel environment, Customer Service Representatives are more likely to get a higher proportion of “harder” questions that customers cannot find answers to on a website or elsewhere. Customers who tried other methods before calling the contact center have a satisfaction score of 64, which is 15 percent lower than customers who called the contact center directly (75).

Offshore contact centers are doing a better job this year solving issues, but their satisfaction scores still lag behind onshore contact centers by a wide margin (CCSI score 59 vs. 75). One of the main challenges for offshore contact centers is effective communication. The study finds that issues are 25 percent less likely to be resolved when Customer Service Representatives are difficult to understand.

Satisfaction with the contact center is an important indicator of loyalty and recommendations.CCSI data show that 94 percent of satisfied customers will do business with the same company again, and 91 percent will recommend. Percentages for dissatisfied customers are significantly lower. Only 62 percent said they will continue to be a customer, and only 39 percent will recommend.

The second annual CCSI measures customer satisfaction across several industries, but not all industries perform equally. The CCSI uses the methodology of the University of Michigan's American Customer Satisfaction index (ACSI) to calculate industry scores on ACSI's 100-point scale.

The CCSI industry scores are as follows:

  • Banking (71)
  • Cable and Satellite TV (66)
  • Cell Phone Service (72)
  • Government (70)
  • Hotels (78)
  • Insurance (75)
  • Multi-Channel Retail (76)
  • Personal Computers (69)


The Economy and Business Conditions Having More Impact on Small and Midsize Businesses Worldwide Than Excitement About New Technology

A new report from IDC finds more concern about the economy among SMBs worldwide than interest in the most potentially innovative new technology. Current economic growth and business conditions are by far the greatest concern for small and midsize businesses, particularly in North America, Latin America, and Western Europe, the new study indicates.

For this new study, IDC's regional SMB analysts assessed the current level of interest or concern in five different areas. This "temperature taking" focused on: (1) future economic growth and business conditions, (2) "green" technology, (3) software-as-a-service (SaaS), (4) virtualization, and (5) use of the Internet as a key business resource.

While there are differences across regions, SMBs in general are currently cold (or showing little interest/concern) when it comes to new and emerging technologies but are considerably warmer (or showing a great deal of interest/concern) when the discussion turns to economic issues.

Additional key findings of this study include the following:

  • There are a myriad of factors that could raise, or in some cases lower, the future level of interest/concern among small and midsize business owners when it comes to the economy as well as new technologies. In general, smaller companies across regions are more tactical and near-term in their concerns, but this view is increasingly shared by mid-sized firms as times grow more challenging.
  • Among the four key technologies examined by IDC analysts, use of the Internet as a key business resource was considered having the greatest upside potential in terms of future interest among SMBs.
  • Virtualization and "green" technology are not yet registering with SMB owners except in more advanced medium-sized businesses across regions. Software-as-a-service (SaaS), in contrast, has a somewhat higher level of current visibility, although interest is still at an early stage. IDC expects temperature increases in virtualization and SaaS the next 12-24 months as vendor promotions gain traction. Going "green" will be a much tougher sell, especially in underdeveloped areas, and IDC analysts do not expect temperature readings to change much in the future.


Organizations Should Not Prevent Participation in Social Applications for Fear of Bad Behavior

Organizations should not shun Web participation for a fear of bad behavior, but instead they should anticipate it as part of the social experience and formulate a multilevel approach to policies for effective governance, according to Gartner Inc.

Creating policies for social application participation is not a one-size-fits-all proposition, and policies will vary based on the goals of the particular social application and on the characteristics of the participating community. When it comes to formulating governance strategies for social sites, it is important not to focus too tightly on controls and restrictions and thereby to lose sight of the fundamental goals of building a thriving, self-sustaining community.

Organizations should create a general policy statement for expected online behavior, which should reflect established corporate policies on appropriate and ethical behavior, underscoring that company policy extends to online social interactions. Employees should be aware that if their profiles on public social networking sites identify them as employees of a company, then their postings can have an impact on the company's reputation.

Organizations concerned about general public misbehavior, such as copyright infringement and inappropriate brand use, should compile a second set of relevant policies but be careful not to restrict freedom of speech and personal freedoms; such restriction could risk alienating established and potential customers.


Beyond Workforce Management
Today, contact centers need to focus workforce management practices and technologies toward empowering the contact center staff to make the largest possible contribution to achieving the center's most important goals. This means changing the way contact centers manage their workforce. To provide a seamless, personalized, consistent experience on every call, email, or chat, contact center management has to change its entire perspective about how they measure success, shifting the emphasis from workforce management to workforce productivity – the active management of processes, technology, and people to achieve growth.
Full Article...

Calling It Quits

Keeping employees motivated is important in any environment, whether it be in a roundtable discussion with executives, among battle-weary troops, or on the court with an underperforming basketball team. If you can't get your employees or coworkers excited about working for you or with you, many of those uninspired workers are going to leave to find happiness (and a paycheck) elsewhere. Nowhere is this more evident than in the contact center industry, where there has been an absolute exodus of agents in the past decade. However, there are ways to stem the tide.
Full Article...

The Power of IP and the Internet: Achieving Contact Center Synergies Inside and Out

When establishing new customer service strategies, global organizations need to take several things into consideration. As we continue to converge the business world with the Internet, there are growing opportunities on both the business side and the consumer side. On the business side, IP is a driving force behind the "agent anywhere" approach to customer service. This saves companies the additional cost of leasing a larger facility and allows agents greater schedule flexibility and life/work balance. Additionally, companies have access to a previously untapped labor pool. They aren't limited to hiring professionals in their specific geographic area, opening the door to a variety of expert resources across a particular region or country.
Full Article...

6 Labor Law Points Tech Workers Need to Know

The class-action lawsuit that current and former Apple employees have filed against the iPhone-maker raises questions about what kinds of workers are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Here's what you need to know about this often confusing law and your rights to overtime pay.
Full Article...

The Seven Deadly Customer Survey Sins

Deadly survey sin number three: The Field of Dreams fallacy. Some companies think, "If you build it, they will come." Instead, target the proper audience with a clear and concise invitation to participate in the survey. Make sure you offer incentives. Don't assume that everyone wants to respond to your survey out of sheer kindness.
Full Article...

White Paper: The Top Ten Mistakes Customer Support Teams Make and How to Avoid Them
At Parature, we care very passionately about customer support. We know that as customer support professionals, you have a very difficult job to do. Whenever we interview people in customer support about their challenges, we get the same set of answers again and again. So, we ask you

Does your support team feel:

-- Overworked and understaffed?
-- Overburdened with repetitive questions?
-- Unappreciated by their customers?
-- Unable to manage and report on all of their activities?
-- Hurt by team turnover; valuable knowledge leaves when a team member leaves?

Download the White Paper now!

2008 Service & Support Metrics Survey Results has announced the release of a free white paper outlining the results of the 2008 Service & Support Metrics Survey. This annual survey explores the state of enterprise service and support -- current industry trends, future plans, technology adoption, workforce issues, benchmarking strategies, metrics and other areas.
Get your free copy of the survey results today!

White Paper: Improving Customer Service Using Web-based Support Tools

In the realm of service and support, the Web has made its mark. Since a business's Web site is the first place many customers go today when they're in need of service, it's imperative that what they find there -- the search tools, the breadth and depth of content, easy escalation paths, the tools that aid in speedy resolution -- meets their needs. Each visit presents the business with the opportunity to impress and influence existing and potential customers.

Find out more! This informative white paper from examines the latest trends and technologies in using Web-based support tools to improve customer service.
Click Here to Download...

Visit the Blog
The Blog is another way stay on top of the service and support industry. Our blog, updated at least once a week, is dedicated to covering the latest topics related to service and support, call center management, customer experience management, web-based support, help desks, workforce optimization and more.
Check it out today

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