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Joseph Brown
The CEO of interaction software leader Edify puts customers first.
For the rest of the August 2001 issue of CRM magazine please click here
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Edify CEO Joseph Brown's business philosophy is anchored in lessons learned during his work in retail many years ago. "Customers come first," he explains. "No questions asked."

As head of a company that provides Customer Interaction Solutions (CIS) designed to facilitate superior customer service, Brown obviously practices what he preaches. Since joining Edify in 1998, one of his primary goals has been to improve customer satisfaction regardless of the expense. The company has seen results. In just one year, customer satisfaction levels rose from 83 percent to almost 92 percent, which certainly contributes to Edify's current impressive position as one of the fastest growing companies in the CRM industry.

The career path that led Brown to Edify began in his native Benoni, South Africa. In 1977, he accepted a position with Burroughs (which merged with Sperry Rand to form Unisys) in its London office, where he worked for several years, before transferring to the United states.

Brown wanted to become more involved in the financial end of business management because, he says, "you control the money, you control the business." To scratch that itch, in 1987 he founded his own company, Libra Solutions, which was located in Southern California and concentrated in OS/2 software.

After closing Libra down in 1990, Brown held various management positions at several technology companies, including Interactive Systems and Auspex Systems. Then came Edify, a company where Brown could put the lessons learned throughout his high-tech career to good use.

In addition to focusing on providing superior customer service, Brown is currently repositioning Edify in a rapidly evolving CRM market. He wants the company to be recognized as more than just an IVR vendor, but also as a vendor of broader, more sophisticated Customer Interaction Solutions.

Voice recognition is central to Edify's CIS offerings. Edify Enterprise, a full-function CRM system, features the Virtual Customer Service Representative (vCSR), a tool that interprets customer inquiries in natural language based on a standard sentence diagram. Customers can ask the vCSR questions, and get accurate responses, rather than relying solely on a customer service rep.

Though his work at Edify takes up much of his time, Brown still sees the importance of balance, especially between the demands of work and play. When he is not playing the piano, reading or collecting coins, he is out playing or coaching soccer. Once a professional soccer player and a field hockey coach, Brown hopes to coach soccer once again as soon as his current team has scored several more goals.

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