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Using a recent infusion of $20 million in venture capital, PartMiner has created what it calls an Electronic Component Free Trade Zone.”

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Using a recent infusion of $20 million in venture capital, PartMiner has created what it calls an Electronic Component Free Trade Zone.”

Vendor/Reseller Consultants

Vendor consultancies are often, but not always, leashed to the vendor's products. If you have (or decided to install) a specific product, then that vendor's consulting service can assist you inorganizing your operations or decide which other products work well with yours. This way you get the most out of your investment.

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Lucent Technologies' (Murray Hill, NJ)NetCare professional services division assists you with selecting complementary network, voice/data and video systems. NetCare's professionals assess and audit performance; they also look at your workflow management and suggest how to obtain the best results. NetCare's expertise in the hot customer relation managementbusiness has been expanded, thanks to Lucent Technologies' purchase of CRM/predictive dialing vendor Mosaix.

If you're a customer of Primus' problem resolution software, you can tap intoZamba's (Pleasanton, CA) services. Zamba, a large customer care consulting firm, provides business process design, benchmarking against best practices and implementation for Primus' SolutionSeries products. Zamba also works independently for call center clients.

Teknekron InfoSwitch's customers now haveaccess to consulting services through its Teknekron Performance Partners program, provided by affiliated outside consultants. They help you with performance assessment, set productivity/quality benchmarks, implement process changes, enhance training and come up with ways to gain revenue from your center. So far, Teknekron has signed on Kowal and Associates and RDC.

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Some vendor consultancies have moved beyond their products. Interestingly,TCS Management Group (Brentwood, TN), best known for itsworkforce management software, started out as a telecom consulting firm. TCS' services now include call center needs and equipment acquisition analysis, covering ACD systems to trunking – a Call Center Health Check” of your existing center's staff and technology performance, disaster recovery and workforce planning. The firm also conducts consolidation studies to help you determine the right number, size and location of call centers.

There are also some vendor-owned consultancies that are free topick the suppliers that best work with you, and do not prefer or require you to be a customer.Advanced Customer Solutions (a division of Siemens; Boca Raton, FL) specializes in computer telephony, customer interaction software and voice/data network consulting, design, selection and integration. Although ACS has partnerships with many different suppliers, it does not recommend its partners' products if other out-of-partnership goods work better for you.

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Due to customer demand,EISProfessional Services (Herndon, VA) is helping growing numbers of non-EIS customers (as well its own clientele) with call center performance analysis, scripting and training. Through its popular predictive dialers, EIS' competencies are recognized by both inbound and outbound call centers.

Getting the most out of your call center's performance isResponse Design Corporation's (RDC; Ocean City, NJ) mission. The consultancy is noted for its call center benchmarking and metrics. RDC is also the benchmarking expert for the American Productivity and Quality Center, which sponsors theMalcolm Baldridge National Quality Award program.

RDC recently completed compiling its exclusive benchmarking survey,LeapFrog! . The survey compares over 300 different measures in 11 operational areas such as company overview, leadership, performance and management, training, customer satisfaction, standards, organization and technology. The firm also performs customer and employee satisfaction surveys.

With its benchmarking tools that quantify employee performance and track costs, RDC audits,assesses and devises plans to improve your center, be it sales, customer service or help desk. It also cuts turnover with motivating and training techniques. The consultancy looks at your hardware and software and advises which technologies work the best. It has expertise in areas such as computer telephony, IVR systems, dialers, ACDs, desktop automation and workforce management software. It also helps blend your inbound and outbound calling in a way that gets the most use out of your center.

RDC'sservices are also for start-ups; its proposals and recommendations can help you leapfrog” over your competition. It has helped companies set up their first formal call centers.

The firm also helps you decide whether in-house operations or outsourcing works best for your firm. If outsourcing is the route to go, then RDC solicits, selects and monitors the relationship.

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