Envoy CEO Wants to Extend CRM

Ben Levitan wants your CRM system to reach out and touch your customers.

The new chief executive of Envoy WorldWide, a provider of notification services, wants companies to extend their CRM capabilities in order to raise the level of their customer touch by using his company's services to notify customers via phone, fax, pager, phone or wireless devices.

Levitan, the former chief operating officer of Viant, one of the former high fliers of the Internet professional services arena, is now evangelizing the need for a higher level of customer touch. "[Management guru] Peter Drucker talks about automating inside the company, but the next 50 years it is going to be automating outside the company," Levitan says.

Levitan, who left Viant in April 2001, took over in September at Envoy, a four-year-old company started in 1998 that uses an XML API to send messages to various devices. Levitan says that his job right now is to establish demand for the company's services.

The company's flagship service is called EnvoyXpress, a scaleable notification platfrom with a browser -based interface. It delivers outbound communications. The company also has three other services that allow for customization and escalation of features that include transactions.

Where Levitan sees the fit for his company's services is in the call center area and other parts of the CRM continuum in sectors such as utilities, financial services, transportation, network infrastructures. Specifically, he says, the company's service is about increasing ROI and delivering a level of service that doesn't stop with input into a CRM system.

For instance, he says Symantec, the maker of network security products is using Envoy's services to notify security managers via an array of devices when there is a virus alert so IT managers can proactively take the necessary steps.

Levitan says it is up to the creativity of a company how they want to use the service as a way of not just providing a higher-level of service, but it is something that can generate a payback in customer retention and satisfaction.

He says the company has built a fully redundant network that is able to handle transactions. It handles six million messages a day via phone, fax and SMS.

While evangelizing the company's product and technology, Levitan says some larger enterprise application firms are interested in an OEM relationship with Envoy. Currently, the company has 67 customers that include Edify, CCBN and Kansas City Power & Light.

While implementation can take about a week, Levitan says the technology works well with legacy systems, and a build out of an infrastructure system is not needed. "'Even large companies don't want to build out the telco infrastructure," he says.

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