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In This Issue
You're Fired...and here is a Pay Raise
Verint, Witness, and You
What I am Reading
Share the Knowledge
Send this newsletter to colleagues
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Read the newest issue of Contact
Professional Magazine, Jan/Feb 2007, and in particular the
article by Richard Snow of Ventana Research staring on page 32. it
is great stuff.
"People whose lives are not
balanced by a healthy love of money suffer from an appalling
obsession with personal integrity."
-A character in the book The
Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield.
According to The Financial Express
on February 11, 2007, who in turn is reporting data from
Callcenters.net, (who heard it from Kevin Bacon that...no just
kidding) China's call center industry is set to grow 22 percent this
year to 158,000 workers, about half the total size of the Indian
call center market. This trend may lead to a race to the bottom in
terms of wages.
Picture of the Week
This is an image of the
Administration Building (aka "The Dome") on the campus of the
University of Southern Mississippi. Workers are adding copper
sheets, recoating the original copper dome of the building. What is
interesting is that most buildings with copper roofs, like that of
most copper statues, are green due to non polishing. I thought it
was interesting to see the copper in its original untarnished nature
for a few fleeting days before nature turns it that icky color of
green (verdigris or Copper(II) acetate).
Management on Fast-Forward: Succeeding in Today’s Dynamic Customer
Contact Environment (November 2006).
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You're Fired!...and here is a Pay
The Hartlepool Mail
in the UK reported on 27 January 2007 that a call center
worker was laid off from his job at a cell phone company
on 31 December 2006. In the mail a few weeks later, he
received a notice from the same company telling him that
he would be receiving a pay raise of over £600 based on
his pay review in December. Oops!
The funniest part of this story was the quotes from the
Worker “Having been made redundant on December
31st,…this was the latest kick in the teeth.”
Company “We apologise sincerely to Mr. Halliwell
for any distress that this may have caused him…the
letter he received was the result of an administrative
error on our part, for which we are sorry.”
The latest news on
mergers and acquisitions to impact the call center
industry appeared yesterday. Verint is planning to
purchase Witness Systems for 950 Million (USD). Two
interesting sides of this merger appear in the press.
From Technology side from Computer Business Online near
the end the article
"The combined companies will be able to cover a lot of
application ground with a portfolio that includes
quality monitoring, IP recording, multimedia interaction
capture, speech and data analytics, performance
management, contact center and workforce management,
eLearning, and eCoaching, and customer feedback
From the Business Side, Bloomberg stated near the end of
"Verint's stock was delisted from the NASDAQ January 31
because its investigation delayed financial reports, and
Witness's chief executive office resigned December 7.
Comverse, whose former CEO Jacob "Kobi" Alexander fled
to Namibia last year after he was charged with illegally
backdating stock options, owns 57% of Verint."
What does this all add up to for you and me? Two things.
One, that there will be more one-stop shops for many
technological needs for call center operations. Two,
that a sales person from Verint/Witness will be
contacting us soon to sell their combined product in
order to help pay for this expensive acquisition.
What I am Reading
Unlike previous book
reviews within In Queue, this book focuses on the
Call Center industry. Hey, what an idea.
This is a review of Call Center Management on
Fast-Forward: Succeeding in Today’s Dynamic Customer
Contact Environment (November 2006). The book is an
updated and expanded edition of the book by the same
title published in 1999. This time the book is solo
authored by Brad Cleveland dropping the co-authorship by
Julia Mayben. The new edition is over 400 pages with 17
chapters with the previous edition only 280 pages.
The book is an improvement over the previous edition for
several reasons. One, the content is updated to include
some recent technological and process changes. Two, the
author mentions how much progress has been made in the
call center industry since the last book was published,
yet highlights how many of the same unresolved issues
remain persistent. The book walks the reader through the
model of a systematic planning and management process in
a call center as an interlocking circle with nine nodes
along the circle. Different chapters are dedicated to
each of the nine nodes along the model.
The greatest strength about this book is the systemic
way that the author breaks down each component part of
the daily management activity of a call center and
indicates the best management tools and processes
available to tackle these issues. This is why the
new edition of this book, like the previous edition,
will remain a top best seller for call center managers
in the coming years and should be on all call center
There are areas of the book where I had slight problems.
One, much research is alluded to throughout the book to
justify the managerial choices articulated. The research
that underscores these decisions is not known to the
reader and even the references (“Notes”) seem a bit
scant. Considering the maturity level of the industry to
date, a solid reference book of replicable research is
need for the industry. Additionally, one of the larger
issues call center managers face is legitimacy within an
organization. Their ability to communicate to a vice
president or higher is paramount. However, communication
should not be in call center speak, but in business
(MBA) speak. This ability to communicate upward within
an organization was mentioned under the idea of adding
value to an organization, but the key issue of business
communication in monetary talk was not highlighted. That
said, to be fair to the author, the book neither
suggests that it is a scholarly work and requires
background research to justify the model within nor does
it explicitly say that the purpose is to help call
center mangers communicate with executives more
effectively, but both would be nice additions.
Brad Cleveland ends the book with the perception of many
of how far the call center industry has come in the past
decade and then muses “I think we are just getting
started. I believe we are going to see more development
in the next five to 10 years than we’ve seen in the last
three decades.” We could not agree more Brad.
Normally after a book review, I place an image link
on the left over there
for you to examine or buy the book from Amazon.com.
The kind folks as ICMI, who publish the book reviewed
above, have offered readers of In Queue a less
expensive price for the book than Amazon.com for a short
period of time. So in return for their kind offer to our
readers, I have linked the image of the book to their
To view past issues of In Queue, please
If you would like to contribute to
In Queue, please view instructions in Volume 1, Issue 4 from the past
issues link above.
Copyright © 2007 National Association of Call Centers