• August 1, 2007
  • By David Myron, Editorial Director, CRM and Speech Technology magazines and SmartCustomerService.com

Automation Proves Its Value

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In an interesting turn of events, while companies are often quick to automate business processes to cut costs, customers are now requesting it--especially when it comes to bill payment. In fact, our cover story "Paper Cuts," by Carol Ellison, states that in households with Internet access, the volume of e-billing for the first time has exceeded paper billing. The story addresses why customers prefer automated bill-pay systems as well as the merits of pushing e-bills to customers via email or pulling customers to them through a company Web site. Automation is also proving its value in another part of the contact center. Call recording and speech analytics applications have made it possible for managers to automate much of the time-consuming quality-assurance process. No longer do contact center managers need to waste time listening to a handful of randomly selected live calls. Instead, they can record calls and mine them for the most valuable data. This enables managers to more easily evaluate agent performance, improve agent training, and more quickly identify and respond to frustrated customers. Because of the buzz surrounding these technologies, we've adapted the roundtable discussion, "The Voices of Reason
," from the April issue of Speech Technology magazine. The discussion, conducted by Stephanie Staton, features valuable expert insights on these emerging technologies. Recognizing that speech automation technology is playing a bigger part in CRM strategies, we are collocating our destinationCRM 2007 conference (August 21-22), with our SpeechTEK 2007 conference (August 20-23). At the destinationCRM 2007 conference, we'll present this year's CRM Market Awards, which include categories for Market Leader, Elite, Rising Star, and Influential Leader. The winners will also be highlighted in the September issue of CRM. If we could automate some things at CRM magazine, believe me, we would--like the entire process of packing, moving, and unpacking. Although moving is rarely pleasant, our new, roomier office is. If you'd like to contact us via regular mail, feel free to do so at our new address:
    237 West 35th Street, Suite 14A New York, NY 10001.
**** We have some exciting news to share. I am pleased to announce that after more than two years away, Joshua Weinberger returns to CRM magazine as managing editor. Joshua, who previously served as features editor here, is an award-winning writer with a wealth of publishing experience. Also joining the CRM team as our editorial assistant is Jessica Tsai, who recently received her B.A. from Wesleyan University. I am very excited to have these very bright editors join our already talented team and I look forward to working closely with both of them. And please excuse us while we toot our own horn. You may notice some new awards to the right of our editorial masthead. CRM magazine won nine publication awards this year for writing and design--four APEXs (Awards for Publication Excellence), three awards from the American Society of Business Publication Editors, and two Tabbie awards from Trade, Association and Business Publications International. This represents the highest single-year collection of editorial and design awards CRM magazine has won in its 10-year history. It is an honor to be recognized for editorial and design excellence with so many prestigious awards. I'm very proud of our hardworking and very talented staff and I look forward to creating more great issues together.
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