Keeping Your Eye on the Presents

As the holiday season goes into high gear, two new solutions have been introduced to help shoppers find the right gift at the right store, as well as ensure that the gifts they ship reach their loved ones on time. Channel Intelligence has unveiled its Product Pinpointer to find gifts, while NetByTel has partnered with UPS for better customer visibility into gift tracking. Channel Intelligence has begun its first Product Pinpointer installation with CompUSA. Every day, the Product Pinpointer service receives data feeds from all CompUSA retail stores across the country, and customers can access that data when they shop online. When shoppers visit the Web site of a manufacturer with products at CompUSA, the shoppers can find out a product's price, the CompUSA store most convenient for them, and whether the product is in stock there, says Rob Wight, CEO of Channel Intelligence. "The Web is not about altering the way people choose to do business, but rather, facilitating the way they choose to do business," he says. "That way you end up with happier customers and stronger relationships with your business partners." U.S. consumers spent $136.7 billion offline after first researching goods online in 2003, according to a September 2003 report by Dieringer Research Group. That number is in addition to the $93.1 billion they spent directly online. "People like to do their research online, but they still enjoy visiting a store to buy products," Wight says. "Channel Intelligence is facilitating that process and making the buying experience convenient for CompUSA shoppers." As part of the partnership between NetByTel and UPS, NetByTel has integrated of UPS OnLine Tools into its suite of voice self-service applications. Walmart.com and Computers4Sure are among the first of NetByTel's retail clients to integrate the solution and offer their callers the ability to use self-service functions to ensure that their holiday shipments are on schedule. The integration also allows call centers to better handle the huge increase in calls during the holiday season, as NetByTel's solution can handle the repetitive shipment status calls without tying up a live agent's time, according to Ken Jackowitz, senior vice president and chief customer officer for NetByTel. "As businesses try to maximize every customer interaction, we are trying to provide a self-service offering that has as much, if not more, details about an order than a live representative can give," Jackowitz says. "And this allows the call center agent to spend more time on revenue generating calls." In addition to shipment status, NetByTel's voice self-service applications include lead capture, name and address change, literature request, and location finder. Jackowitz also notes that since the solution is packaged as a hosted offering, companies can be quickly up and running with the functionality for the holiday season.
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