Volume 2, Number 3 - February 16, 2007  

Our Contact Info:

David Butler
Executive Director

National Association of Call Centers
100 South 22nd Avenue
Hattiesburg MS 39401
Tel: 601.447.8300

[email protected]
http://www.nationalcallcenters.org

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 by clicking "Forward this email" below.

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.

Quotes

"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.
 

Fun Facts

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).

 

Call Center Management on Fast-Forward: Succeeding in Today’s Dynamic Customer Contact Environment (November 2006).

 To advertise in In Queue or with the NACC, please contact the NACC at:
Tel: 601.447.8300

E-mail:
[email protected]

 

You're Fired!...and here is a Pay Raise

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 parties involved.

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.”


Verint, Witness, and You

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 management."

From the Business Side, Bloomberg stated near the end of their article

"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 manager’s bookshelves.

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
ß 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 site.


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