• April 1, 2005
  • By David Myron, Editorial Director, CRM and Speech Technology magazines and SmartCustomerService.com

What Consumers So Desperately Need

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Honesty. Yep, I said it. Honesty. Reports from research firms like Yankelovich Partners already state that consumer trust is at an all-time low--and understandably so. Recent events making worldwide headlines, such as terrorist attacks, religious leaders molesting children, sports figures bulking up on steroids, and corporate America fudging financials, underscore the pervasiveness of deceit in our society. It's easy to see why the American public is putting up its guard more than ever, making customer relationship efforts even more challenging. In our ongoing effort to help organizations improve their relationships with customers, we've compiled our second annual CRM Service Awards issue (page 29). Our editors interviewed and polled some of the industry's most respected consultants and analysts to get their opinions and observations on leading CRM customer service and support technology and services vendors. We kept responses anonymous to ensure honest feedback, which enabled us to acknowledge the leaders not simply by revenue, but also through issues that matter to business leaders like depth of functionality, reputation for customer satisfaction, and company direction (including product line/solutions upgrades and launches, as well as mergers and acquisitions). We've made some changes to this year's CRM Service Awards issue in our efforts to reflect industry trends. Recognizing the interest in contact center outsourcing (be it onshore, nearshore, or offshore), this year's Service Leader Awards issue introduces a new category, called Outsourcing Services. With the new category come some vendors new to the awards, such as Convergys, EDS, and TeleTech. Also, in response to industry trends we combined the workforce management and workforce optimization categories from last year into one category, called Workforce Management and Optimization--because exceptional service does not stop with matching agent schedules to call volumes. It often requires matching a customer with the most appropriately trained agent. Our inaugural CRM Service Excellence award goes to one vendor that has a slew of contact center products that separately wouldn't make it onto our leaderboards, but as a whole offer a very compelling contact center solution. We also recognize some of the most impressive customer service and support initiatives from six different end-user companies with our Service Elite awards. These customer companies put their faith in their service vendor of choice, and have reaped impressive rewards in their service and support initiatives. Read this awards section to see real-world examples of how customer services technologies can be used to cut costs, increase revenue, improve productivity, and boost customer satisfaction. Congratulations to the 2005 Service Leaders, Service Excellence, and Service Elite award winners. May their efforts continue to build and maintain consumer trust and satisfaction. David Myron Editor-in-Chief dmyron@destinationCRM.com
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