How to Succeed at eCRM
Companies increasingly recognize the need to have customers reach them by whatever channel the customers want. e-Business Customer Service, a new book by Jon Anton, Ph.D., aims to help executives do this effectively. Anton offers advice on planning, managing, and operating a multimedia contact center that integrates phone and Web-based customer service, and illustrates his recommendations with case studies. The book, cosponsored by eGain Communications Corp., also includes Anton's research findings on multichannel customer service. For instance, 50 percent of U.S contact centers offer an email or Web touch point for customers, and the average cost for Web-based customer service is $7.80 per live chat, versus $1.17 per Web site self-service contact.
Lab Tests for Marketing Initiatives
Digitas LLC recently unveiled its Multi-Channel Marketing Automation Lab (MCMAL), combining scalable marketing automation technologies with Digitas's strength in helping its customers improve marketing productivity. Funded by Intel and based in San Francisco, MCMAL lets companies test marketing automation solutions before implementing the supporting platform. Key to MCMAL is Digitas's newly released Multi-Channel Marketing Automation Solution, including both Intel and SAS platforms and systems to build and refine segmented lists of customers who have specific traits or purchase behaviors, and create marketing campaigns based on that information. As consumers react to phone, Web, in-store, and direct mail offerings, retailers can reprioritize which customers to target, make adjustments, and eliminate segments that have low response rates. That process streamlines resources, cuts time-to-market, and limits marketing investments to those customers most likely to return profit.
Write on Target
SMART Video Player, a new feature to the SMART Board interactive whiteboard by SMART Technologies Inc., allows users to annotate over moving or still video. Presenters can interact with multimedia--from DVD, VCR, document cameras, and computer sources--without purchasing additional software or hardware, reducing both the number of programs needed to train a staff and the amount of equipment needed for presentations. The Windows-compatible product shows video in the player's window or in full-screen mode, letting users clear or save annotations through an automatic screen-capture process.
Lap of Luxury
While in the airport waiting for your delayed flight to board you decide to finish that report stored on your laptop. You have a coffee in your right hand, your luggage between your feet, and you are sandwiched between two fellow travelers. You could balance your laptop on your knees, but in the crowded and busy waiting area that might not be your best option. Enter the Table Tote from PC Tables LLC. This 13- by 11-inch table folds down to 1-inch thick, and provides an adjustable workspace of up to 36-inches high and 18-inches wide. Weighing in at less than 3 pounds, the Table Tote is lighter than many laptops and very portable via briefcase, carry-on bag, or within a laptop bag itself, and provides much-needed workspace for commuters and road warriors.
Like Your Mom, But Not as Intrusive
How much money and time have you wasted on projects that fail before they even get out of the product-development stage? Think of Sopheon as a worrying parent who does not want to see that happen. Sopheon recently introduced a subscription-based service to help companies iron out product wrinkles before development to increase success rates. Comprising research and analysis by experts who specialize in 30,000 areas of science and technology and a customizable online research portal for decision support and internal collaboration, Sopheon walks you through product development to offer help as you need it. The package includes a brainstorming session with experts in your industry, market assessments, patent probability analysis, and environment and safety factoring.
Get More Than Cash From Your ATM
Teradata, a division of NCR Corp., recently launched Touchpoint Server (TPS), a new delivery mechanism within its CRM application suite. TPS is designed to serve as the central technology link between marketing communications and customer interaction channels, or touch points like call centers, Web sites, and ATMs, in near--real time. Working on event-based campaign injection, TPS determines a customer event's significance and injects it into a promotional or service campaign. TPS also has the ability to process responses in near--real time, and to take appropriate steps based on that response, allowing for the customer actions on one channel to be quickly known on another.
Shed Some Pounds for Summer
Coming in at 9.9 pounds, BoxLight's new CP-775i projector will not weigh road warriors down. The compact projector includes a lamp-saving option that automatically goes into economy mode, lowering the amount of light and power used when less is needed. By using the HDTV-compatible CP-775i, presentations can benefit from the sharpest television signals and images available. And multiple audio, video, and computer inputs allow for an extensive selection of media, all presented at 1024 x 768 XGA resolution, which is sharp enough for a boardroom or conference hall. Access zoom and picture-in-picture via the remote. The customizable start-up screen lets users project a company logo, slogan, or contact information.
Skip IT. Point and Click Your Own Online Presentations
Cata Technologies, a new application service provider, recently released its presentation system aimed at businesspeople like sales and marketing executives who may or may not be technically skilled, but need to deliver comprehensive presentations. For a monthly fee and one-time setup costs, Cata provides interactive meetings that are fully secured by Cata's parent company, Carmichael Security. Users can access the server via the Internet and upload presentations, then invite participants to sign in using a password and Web link. The online sessions allow for instant messaging, PowerPoint presentation sharing, and poll taking for as many as 50 people per virtual room. Cata runs with Microsoft Windows 95 and above, and Internet Explorer 4.0 or higher.
New Software Interactive Intelligence Inc. recently launched its interactive voice response (IVR) product Vocalité. The multichannel, software-based IVR product runs under the Microsoft Windows 2000 operating system and works with conventional PBXs, Cisco's AVVID platform, and SIP-based VoIP systems. Vocalité provides investment protection and a migration path with Interactive Intelligence's unified communications platform, enabling organizations to add applications like e-mail response management and wireless access by purchasing new software licenses. www.inin.com
Telerx recently launched Integrated Total Lifetime Commitments, its customer life-cycle management solution created specifically for communications companies. The product line includes applications designed to support customers in areas including analytics, customer retention, and strategic acquisition. Clients access their data through a single, integrated online database for mining and reporting. www.telerx.com
Group 1 Software, a CRM solutions provider for such verticals as government, insurance, and publishing, recently released its DataSight system. The data quality solution provides enterprisewide correction, validation, and enhancement of customer, prospect, and supplier data, then consolidates that data for an accurate single-customer view. DataSight's technology can be applied to name and address as well as non--name and address data, provides extraction and acquisition, standardization, householding, and user-defined consolidation. A centralized repository for business rules provides data quality and integration consistency across the enterprise. www.g1.com In an economy where some may say CRM is a luxury, newly launched Seurat Co. sets out to remind them that it is a necessity. The market resource management company recently made available Seurat Suite, a set of comprehensive, Internet-based services designed to measurably increase customer yield and improve the effectiveness of customer interactions throughout an enterprise. Seurat Suite, the company's flagship offering, is provided through an outsource model. The suite includes such technologies as managed analytics, customer profile management, campaign testing and management, e-channel management, contact center optimization, and creative asset management needed to measure and prove CRM's worth. Service fees are tied directly to customer results. www.seurat.com
Fast-Talk Communications Inc. recently unveiled Fast-Talk Telephony, an audio search engine designed to let organizations better manage and mine audio information. Because it is based on phonemes, the smallest unit of speech, Fast-Talk Telephony identifies words or phrases according to what they sound like--regardless of spelling, speaker, and without transcription. The new product can search for key words, phrases, and proper names within 20 hours of recorded conversation or voice message, from the best to the worst recording quality, in one second with 98 percent accuracy. It is a sharp tool for call centers that mine archives for references to competitive products or audit calls for script compliance, as it can cut man-hours and save dollars. www.fast-talk.com
Upgrades MapInfo Corp. recently released MapInfo TargetPro 4.0, the latest version of its geographically focused analytical CRM tool. New features include data integration and import, Web publishing and distribution of reports, and multiuser functionality. TargetPro 4.0 functionality is now built directly into MapInfo Professional, the company's flagship desktop mapping solution, and can be integrated across the entire MapInfo product line. www.mapinfo.com Software provider E.piphany Inc. recently released the E.piphany E.6 suite of CRM applications aimed at global enterprises. Working on the Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) platform, E.6 offers upgrades to E.piphany Marketing, including accelerated performance for the delivery of personalized marketing offers; E.piphany Sales, including account briefing pages for consolidated information; E.piphany Service, including flexible roles-based user interface options; and E.piphany Insight, for better aggregation of customer data and enhanced analysis abilities. More globally minded improvements include full support for multilanguage data and user interfaces, support for the Unicode standard, and full support for the euro currency. www.epiphany.com
NewChannel Inc. recently launched the newest version of its sales and lead acquisition solution, NewChannel 4.0. New features include a multiengagement interface, e-mail marketing campaign integration, and advanced management tools.
Most prominent, however, is the Invitation Engine, which analyzes the behavior of Web visitors, selects those who are behaving like serious prospects, and automatically sends online sales consultation invitations on behalf of reps. www.newchannel.com Enterprise marketing solutions provider MarketFirst Software Inc. has released MarketFirst Release 4, which debuts two key applications: MarketFirst Solutions Suite and MarketFirst Campaign Portal. MarketFirst Solutions Suite consists of a direct marketing manager, an event manager, a lead manager, a prospecting assistant, and a partner relationship manager. The upgrade also allows for real-time analysis and personalization, enterprise workflow automation and collaboration, multichannel delivery, multilingual support, and a real-time interactive view of prospects and customers, all supported by a standards-based Internet architecture using Java, J2EE, and XML. The Campaign Portal allows the corporate marketing staff to manage and control the content, workflow automation, and rules, and to develop and deploy campaigns that reflect corporate best practices and that create a consistent brand image. Such "occasional" users as regional marketing staff, channel partners, and ad agencies partners can then use a Web-based wizard interface to deliver campaigns locally, manage lists, and measure and report on campaigns. www.marketfirst.com
Point Information Systems, recently acquired by enterprise solutions provider S1 Corp., upgraded its multichannel enterprise CRM solution, E-point. E-point 6 streamlines processes with its Marketing Center, Sales Center, and Support Center, and aims to reduce costs and increase productivity by offering an 360-degree view of customer behavior. Additional new features include a Relationship Manager facility, Research Center facility, and a Customer Dialog Suite, which contains tools for identifying best practices and surveying customer satisfaction issues. www.pointinfo.com
Unica Corp. recently released Version 4 of its enterprise marketing and management technology, Affinium. New features include the Affinium Plan module, which provides real-time visibility into marketing operations through a customizable dashboard, and enhancements to Affinium eMessage, the company's cross-channel system for communication with customers. New eMessage functions include a point-and-click HTML editor to create HTML documents, and tools to execute personalized e-mail campaigns. www.unicacorp.com To address the increasing volume of customer and enterprise communications, Apropos Technology recently unveiled its next-generation interaction management software. The modular, scalable, J2EE-based platform enables businesses to develop and deploy core interaction management capabilities throughout the enterprise. Through real-time management and reporting companies can gain a greater understanding of customers, employees, and partners, because communications within the contact center can extend into every business department. www.apropos.com
MicroStrategy Inc. recently made available the newest version of its business intelligence platform. The Web-based MicroStrategy 7i integrates three new features. Intelligent Cubes is a user-created, interactive, multidimensional OLAP analysis and relational OLAP technology. Windows on the Web is a new interface for report-building and design, and for data analysis through a secure zero-footprint Web client. And Information Collaboration is a tool designed to simplify information by helping to create and share business-intelligence insight. www.microstrategy.com The latest versions of Contact Center and CRM Suites by Talisma Corp. features a unified agent desktop with a redesigned, .NET-architected Web interface for Microsoft's ASP.NET platform using XML. They also provide load balancing and failover support for Talisma Chat; advanced multilingual capabilities with auto-detect/auto-route based on language; and a contact center dashboard delivering instant access to company-wide data via a Web browser. The solutions provide automatic data capture (eliminating cut-and-paste) and self-documents data, collecting and storing it automatically for use in future projects. www.talisma.com