ABOUT THE VENDOR
Telephony@Work, Inc. is a developer of Internet-integrated enterprise Computer Telephony solutions for call centers and companies. Telephony@Work's software is scalable and enjoys real-world large-scale implementations by companies and blended call centers.
ABOUT THE CLIENT
MAI Response Management Group offers a mix of services including marketing communications, creative,production, media placement, and PR. MAI is also an outsourced contact and fulfillment center with more than 60 customer care representatives handling seven clients. This mix means that MAI can produce and create an ad, handle the responses to the ad, and fulfill any requests generated by the ad.
ABOUT THE TECHNOLOGY
CallCenter@nywhere is Telephony@Work's solution for virtual and traditional call center implementations. It offers all the pieces of the call center puzzle in one pre-integrated suite of applications. The platform gets its name from the fact that it can queue and route interactions from anywhere (phone, fax, and web); that it can be installed anywhere (through support for T-1, E-1, ISDN, and analog lines); and that it enables call centers to deploy and seamlessly blend agents and supervisors from anywhere (local, branch office, and remote locations).
SearchCRM spoke with Gary Jon Stanko, VP of Sales & Marketing for MAI Response Management Group, about the project.
SearchCRM: What kind of system did you have before implementing the Telephony@Work solution?
Stanko: We had a traditional ACD (Automated Call Distribution) switch.
SearchCRM: Why did you switch?
Stanko: We wanted to be more of a multimedia contact center. The ACD provider could also provide e-mail management, Web chat, and all of the features that CallCenter@nywhere offers--but at a considerably higher price. We felt that from an administrative and a cost standpoint that CallCenter@nywhere was our best bet.
SearchCRM: What concerns did you have about the project?
Stanko: The thing that concerned us was stability. Traditional ACD switches have been around for years and are really rock solid. But we've found CallCenter@nywhere to be really stable.
SearchCRM: What was the most challenging aspect of the implementation?
Stanko: Probably the learning curve and the installation process. It wasn't as easy as we thought it would be. Telephony@Work promotes their product as a "no programmers required" solution, and that's true to an extent--but we probably needed a little more talent from a technology standpoint than we had at our own facility.
It was very important that the telco carrier was a part of the installation. If they weren't, it would have been much more challenging than it was. But since we have a good relationship with our telco carrier, they were able to help us work through a lot of the start-up and installation issues.
SearchCRM: What sort of training did you have?
Stanko: We had a five-day training course with a representative from Telephony@Work. We've brought somebody back twice subsequently because we felt we needed more training and more knowledge on how the system works. And I would go so far as to say that we get daily training over the phone. But we see it subsiding every day; within the next two or three months we probably won't be communicating so much on a daily basis.
SearchCRM: If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?
Stanko: We would have more technical resources available and do more preplanning with our telco carrier and with our own group. We'd also identify what our needs are immediately out of the box. We treated it as if it would be a simple installation and we'd be off and running. We underestimated the sophistication of the application.
SearchCRM: How has the Telephony@Work system helped you improve customer relations?
Stanko: We're able to provide higher efficiency, which in turn means better customer care. Because CallCenter@nywhere is one application, it resides in one environment, and our agents are able to handle a number of multimedia contacts, whether it's a traditional ACD call, e-mail management, Web chat, callbacks, or Web callbacks.
We can provide a very consistent message because we can have one agent handling a lot of different types of interactions, which creates efficiency for us internally. I can train one agent to handle Web chat and then train that same agent to handle ACD calls. When I have one agent handling various types of responses, we're able to provide a very consistent, high quality message to the customer.
Linda Formichelli's writing has appeared this year in Woman's Day, Wired, Writer's Digest, Family Circle and Psychology Today. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
This was first published in May 2001