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The Annual Conference for Help Desk Professionals

October 26-28
Del Coronado
San Diego

2005 Theme: "Radical Leadership Solutions"

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eSharings - April 2005

Current insights, objective advice, and resources for service and support professionals, given in the spirit of sharing information.

 

Table of Contents

-- Sharing
-- Featured Article
-- Explore Your Options
-- Resources
-- Viewpoint
-- Recommended Reading
--
Subscription Information


SHARING (top)

Have you heard of, or personally experienced, customer service so incredible you tell everyone about it?  Those of us in the service and support industry expect even higher service than most - we demand it!

I travel on a regular basis.  When there are flight delays I might arrive at a hotel in the very late hours of the night.  So late sometimes that getting any food is out of the question.  When you are in the middle of nowhere and there isn't anything open you can get pretty nasty on an empty stomach.

On one occasion, I arrived after midnight, and was in this situation.  The can of Campbell's soup in my suitcase wasn't going to be very helpful without a can opener and microwave.  The Marriott's desk clerk offered to open the can and heat it up.  But it didn't stop there.  He encouraged me to go up to my room and get settled in and would bring it to me.

In about 15 minutes, after I got to my room, the gentleman arrived at my door with a tray, covered with a small tablecloth, silver, a beautiful bowl, crackers on the side and a glass of cool water with lemon.  It will be hard to ever forget having my own can of Campbell's soup delivered on a tray by this kind, and thoughtful Marriott employee who went beyond any of my expectations.

Remember one of your most extraordinary customer service experiences.  Think how it made you feel.  Offer someone exemplary service today. 

Create a memory they won't forget.

Wishing you positive days and much success,

Ivy Meadors

P.S. If you have resources, favorite books, an article or personal story to share, please email me at mailto:Ivy@hthts.com.  We will share your story and resources with our readers in future issues and on our website. 


FEATURE ARTICLE (top)


Embarking on the Change to VoIP

The hottest wave in technology today is the move to VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol).  According to various industry analysts in 2003 there were only about 300,000 subscribers and they are predicting anywhere from 2-5 BILLION subscribers by the end of 2005.  It is written that 90% of telephone costs can be reduced by moving to a VoIP system.

Given the opportunity to be a speaker at Interactive Intelligence's (www.inin.com) Seminar Series in March, I was afforded the chance to get an even more in-depth look at this technology.  My speech was about embarking on the journey to VoIP, addressing key considerations for why and why not to move forward.  My slides are posted on our website at http://hthts.com/slides.htm

The other speakers, at this seminar, included Rich Tehrani, from TMC (Internet Telephony) and experts from Interactive Intelligence's team who shared a wealth of information and upcoming trends in this technology.

Many companies are being somewhat cautious in moving forward to a VoIP infrastructure. People are hesitant to let go of their analog phones.  Its an odd feeling to think that you could work from anywhere; in the physical help desk or contact center, from home or the car, and in any country in the world.  What's impressive about this is you can share one number with people and the system can find you no matter where you are.  It can ring multiple lines (home, cell, work) at the same time and wherever you are, you simply answer.  There are no long distance charges using this model either.

If you can get a connection to the Internet, you can use VoIP.

So why would you do this, you might ask?  One of the compelling reasons that get people looking at the option first is the cost savings.  For many companies, the elimination of any long distance charges can result in savings exceeding $20,000, $50,000, even $100,000s of dollars a year.

There are far more positive reasons to move to VoIP but there are some key considerations to be aware of before you jump on board.  None of them should prevent you from moving forward.  It is just important to be aware of these and make the appropriate considerations.

  • The FCC is trying to impose regulations. Of course the telephone companies are behind much of this.  They will be losing exorbitant amounts of money with the advent of VoIP so they are trying to get fees added similar to standard regulatory fees.

For information on VoIP Federal & State Regulatory Action Overview visit http://www.phoneplusmag.com/articles/491overview.pdf

  • Poor, choppy reception is a very real concern if you don't have a dedicated line so it preferable to be sure you have one in place.  The auditory volume of the calls tends to be reduced, so having a volume control on the receiving phone is important.

  • The other major concern is that if you dial 911 and you are out of the area, the caller id on your phone does not identify your "actual" location.  This is a very real concern but there are ways to address this situation.  Many VoIP vendors are quickly making modifications to their systems to ensure this won't be an issue.  They are calling it e911.

why hire high tech high touch solutions
  • We specialize in contact centers and help desks so we know contact centers and help desks in-depth from every single aspect.

  • Our consulting and system integration services solve the unique problems that plague customer contact centers and help desks worldwide.

  • We are among the most experienced and effective help desk and contact center consulting firms in the world.

  • Our service offerings are comprehensive and come from an enterprise viewpoint in managing your customer touch-points.

We will make any contact center or help desk world-class. 

we guarantee it!


Explore Your Options  (top)


Gain Optimal Value from Your Call Center

A means to gain optimal value from your call center is getting the people to have a change in mindset.  It's crucial to get them to think more along these lines.  A book that will offer some great ideas along these lines is "Sacred Cows Make the Best Burgers" by Robert Kriegel.  It's an excellent read. Buy it now.

  • Be core to the business, not overhead

  • Focus on solving business problems

  • Every activity should contribute to the bottom line

  • Eliminate unnecessary tasks

  • Have a critical viewpoint

Hiring factors are key to how much success can be gained from the frontline and helping them to have a change in mindset.  Companies often hire people who will work for the lowest wages, put in long hours, work undesirable shifts, and accept not getting extras like medical insurance, holiday pay and pensions.

Some of the best ways to address the results from these hiring factors is to implement a formal mentoring program, help people with their personal development and growth, understand clearly what motivates each individual, provide lots of opportunities for training, and frequent communication.

The following section of resources should help you to address some of these considerations.  Remember, "it's always all about the people."

Be sure to visit our booklist at http://www.hthts.com/booklist.htm for more resources.  Ivy's Slides include resources as well.  You will find them posted at http://www.hthts.com/slides.htm.


RESOURCES  (top)


The following resources apply to people factors.


VIEWPOINT (top)


"Is knowledge management truly a viable solution to use in a help desk or call center?  I say it is a resounding yes, but unfortunately most companies have not fully embraced building and maintaining this invaluable repository of information.  It seems sometimes executive and management teams don't see the value of providing the necessary staff to develop this invaluable resource."

"Allocating one primary and one backup person to be full time knowledge managers, is a small investment when you can realize a 20-25% increase in problem resolution and 10-15% reduction in call durations on the frontline.  Customer satisfaction and loyalty increases, retention goes up, and more accurate answers are provided to the customers."

"Prove the value of knowledge management  by simply building a Blog, one form of a knowledge base, for your own internal group.  If the data added to the Blog is useful, I guarantee you will see a benefit almost immediately.  Try it now - it's easy!  Show them how important building and maintaining a repository of knowledge is for the company."


RECOMMENDED READING (top)


A few good books to read on the topic of VoIP are listed here.  There are other suggested readings on our website at www.hthts.com/booklist.htm.

  • VoIP For Dummies (For Dummies (Computer/Tech)) by Timothy V. Kelly

  • Introduction to IP Telephony : Why and How Companies are Upgrading Private Telephone Systems to use VoIP Services [DOWNLOAD: PDF] by Lawrence Harte

  • Taking Charge of Your VoIP Project by John Q. Walker, Jeffrey T. Hicks

For a large list of VoIP books visit http://www.voip-news.com/9/books.html


Please visit our website for more resources and learn how we can build you a world-class service and support center.
 

Since our last newsletter we have added a lot more to our website.  You can now purchase books from Amazon.com right from our booklist.  You don't have to put it off now, just buy them while you're thinking about it!

I am very sorry for the little surprise, for those, who clicked on our weblink that was noted in the first paragraph in the last issue. I did not intend to send you to "mail-order brides". I accidentally left the "s" off our web address.

We did learn that lots of you actually tried to visit our site.  Thank you so much for that and for letting us know about your "experience". 

Once you arrived at our "real" website, many, many kind words about how much you enjoyed our site were shared with us.  We really appreciate your testimonials!!

Please visit us at www.hthts.com


SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION (top)


Some email services require you to have our email address in your contact list or 'White List' of emails you will accept.  Please put our email address: ivy@hthts.com, solutions@hthts.com, and the hthts.com domain on your accepted list.

Subscribe: Simply reply to this copy with subscribe in the subject line.

Unsubscribe: Reply with unsubscribe on the subject line.

We hope you enjoyed this edition of eSharings.  We welcome your ideas and contributions to our newsletter, published worldwide.  Please email us future topics you want to know more about, ask questions or share resources and ideas.

Feel free to reprint this newsletter in its entirety with our copyright information intact.  We love to see our information shared with others.

eSharings will contain links to sites on the Internet, which are owned and operated by third parties.  High Tech High Touch Solutions, Inc. is not responsible for the content of any such third-party site.

Contact us at solutions@hthts.com

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