Archive for Luty, 2011

Packard Bell, part of Acer Group, to fully support customers and end-users on Intel’s Sandy Bridge issues

By admin, 10 lutego, 2011, No Comment

Following the announcement by Intel of a design issue in the Sandy Bridge mainboard chipset, Packard Bell, part of Acer Group, confirms that it is working with Intel on this issue and is taking all necessary steps to minimize any inconvenience customers might experience.

Packard Bell has already stopped shipping the products impacted by this issue and has instituted a program to assist customers who purchased affected units. At the same time, Packard Bell is working in close collaboration with Intel to coordinate the next steps.

On January 31st, Intel announced the discovery of a design issue in one of the support chips to the 2nd generation Intel® Core™ processors, code named “Sandy Bridge.” The issue is hardware related and required a silicon fix. Intel advised that, in some cases, the Serial-ATA (SATA) ports within the affected chipset may degrade over time, potentially impacting the performance or functionality of SATA linked devices such as hard disk drives and DVD drives. The issue affects SATA 3 Gb/s ports, while not affecting the SATA 6 Gb/s ports.

The issue is related to connectivity, meaning that the machine may not identify the hard disk or DVD. Since the effect of thisissue will materialize over a rather long period of time, Intel has advisedthat users of affected PCs will not necessarily see an immediate effect and they can keep using their PC with confidence while permanent solution options are made available.

Packard Bell is proud to offer products that are free from defects of materials or workmanship and wishes to minimize any impact of this issue on its customers. In order to do so, Packard Bell is in the process of setting up a web site where customers will be able to find out whether their product could be affected by the problem. In the interim, customers can go to the Intel page which has specific instructions to determine if their PC is affected. This page is located at:

Customers who purchased one of the affected units may elect to allow Packard Bell to service the unit under the terms of the applicable limited warranty once fixed chipsets are available from Intel. Alternatively, affected customers may contact their retailer to take advantage of the applicable return policy and select a different Packard Bell model.

Unity Technologies to take centre stage at game developers conference (GDC)

By admin, 10 lutego, 2011, No Comment

Unity’s next-generation capabilities will be featured in Unity Technologies’ booth #1416. In the booth’s Partner Pavilion, Aquiris Game Studio, Artificial Technology, Electrotank Inc., Exit Games, Mixamo, Nickelodeon, Noesis Interactive, NVIDIA, Qualcomm Inc. and Unity Studios will demonstrate the mind-blowing innovations they created using Unity.

So that attendees can get a crash course on Unity, GDC is holding the first ever Unity Track on March 1, 2011. The sessions include:

  1. How to Make Money with Union and Technical Introduction to Unity
  2. Shader Authoring in Unity
  3. Making the Unity Editor Do What YOU Want
  4. Building a Better Asset Pipeline
  5. How Electronic Arts uses Unity
  6. Optimizing for Mobile and Programming Workflow

SA online shoppers in a frenzy over flash sale and group buying sites

By admin, 10 lutego, 2011, No Comment

It’s no secret that everyone loves a good bargain, no matter what their income group. Online bargains in the form of flash sales and group deals are becoming increasingly popular in South Africa, and with discounts of up to 70%, it’s no surprise that the trend is taking off. is one such a site. It sells its wines for up to 70% off the retail price and has attracted over 7000 shoppers who eagerly await its new wine emails.

“Last week, I bought two cases of 1992 Cabernet Sauvignon for R145 per bottle, which is 42% cheaper than the retail price of R250. The fact that I only have 72 hours to buy the wine makes the prospect of purchasing that deal all the more exciting,” says asset manager Andrew Sawyer.

Flash sale sites like sell wines for a limited period. In this case, 72 hours or until the wine is sold out.

“We actually sold out of the 1992 Cabernet Sauvignon in less than 24 hours,” says AJ Ray, owner of “I think the success of a flash sale site is firmly based on how well you can read your consumers and your ability to find exclusive deals that are somewhat scarce. It takes time, and a lot of tasting to find wines that are good enough and special enough to offer our shoppers.” tastes around 90 wines per month but only chooses 16 to offer its shoppers.

The business model seems to be working for the wine e-tailer, whose sales have doubled every month since it launched in the third quarter of 2010. Its highest discount was 69% and its average is 49% off retail prices. is not the only company that has excited the SA online consumer. Twangoo, a local group-selling website, was not even a year old when it was bought by global group-selling giant Groupon. This purchase came just months after Groupon declined a USD $6 billion buyout bid from Google.

Twangoo and other South African sites like it are successful because they sell anything from spa treatments to luxury lodges for around 50% off the retail price.

These sites visit hotels, restaurants, spas, and other retailers and offer them a deal of 50 customers or more. The catch is that the retailer has to discount the price by around 50% or more.

The retailer wins because these sites bring consumer volume and the consumer wins because they get a once-off, spectacular deal.

Unlike in-store sales, deep online discounts for a limited time do not hurt the integrity or reputation of a brand because they are sold for such a small period. This sales strategy works well, especially in an economic downturn.

For wineries, the primary appeal is to unload unsold wine quickly without impacting the market value for regular customers.

Flash sale and group deal sites work for well-known brands that want to introduce new clients to a brand, as well as lesser-known brands who need to introduce products and create a loyal following of customers.

What are flash sales?

Flash sales are exactly what their name suggests, sales in a flash. These sorts of sites sell a product at up to 70% off the retail price, but only for a very limited amount of hours or until a deal is sold out. These sites have become the darlings of retailers, because they introduce new people to a brand who will, hopefully visit a bricks and mortar retailer to buy the product at the regular price in the future.

What are group deals?

Customers find deals that they like on the sites, sign up, persuade others to do so, then get 50% or more discounts on restaurants, spas, hair dressers, gym, concerts and other products and services. The sites vary in their business models: Some require a certain number of takers for them to give the deal, while others reward shoppers based on how many others they lure. Businesses can get a short-term boost that can to lead to long-term customers.

Popular South African flash sale and group deal sites:

Category: Flash sales of wine

Discount: Up to 70%

Sells special South African wines at up to 70% off the retail price, but only for 72 hours or until the deal is sold out. Delivery in metropolitan areas of Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town is free with a purchase of 12 bottles or more.

How will you know about deals: Sign up to receive emails at

Category: Group deal

Discount: 50% and more and its sister site offer half price (sometimes more) deals on spa visits, hotels, restaurants, dance classes, magazine subscriptions and pretty much everything else!

How will you know about deals: Enter your email at or – the site will send you a daily email to alert you to deals.

Category: Group deal

Discount: 50% and more is similar to Twangoo and MyCityDeal, it also offers a wide variety of products and discounts on anything from concerts to meals.

How will you know about deals: Enter your email at, the site will send you a daily email to alert you to deals.

Category: Flash sale

Discount: varies

One Day Only is owned by Ronnie Apteker, founder of Internet Solutions (IS) and online retailer The site offers one product every 24 hours and sometimes extends the sale period over weekends.

How will you know about deals: Sign up to receive daily emails at

MTN Uganda and Fundamo shortlisted for 2011 Global Mobile Awards

By admin, 10 lutego, 2011, No Comment

MTN Uganda and Fundamo have been shortlisted for the ‘Mobile Money for the Unbanked Award’ in this year’s Global Mobile Awards for the hugely successful MTN MobileMoney service in Uganda.

The Global Mobile Awards, which will be held in Barcelona, Spain, on 15 February 2011, honour excellence and innovation in mobile communications worldwide.

The Best Mobile Money for the Unbanked Award aims to recognise innovative mobile money services that provide low income communities with the financial access they would otherwise be without.

MTN Uganda partnered with Fundamo, the largest specialist mobile financial services provider, who implemented stringent design principles required for secure banking systems, whilst also taking full advantage of the unique characteristics of the mobile phone and the mobile user experience.

Since its launch in 2009, MTN MobileMoney in Uganda has grown in leaps and bounds, providing banking services to hundreds of thousands of the unbanked in Uganda.

Subscribers using the MTN MobileMoney service in Uganda has grown to approximately 1, 5 subscribers, with average transactions to date through the service amounting to 1.7 trillion Uganda shillings (about USD753 million).

Over 2 500 MTN Mobile Money agents are spread across Uganda, and the system is now been utilized to pay for services such as pay television and water services.

“A nomination for the Global Mobile Awards is significant accomplishment and highlights the continuing success of MTN MobileMoney in Uganda,” said Richard Mwami, Head of Public Access & Mobile Money, MTN Uganda.

“We always carefully select our partners and Fundamo’s vast experience in delivering mobile financial services that scale to cope with accelerated uptake made them the obvious choice. Our work with Fundamo has been of the highest calibre and we look forward to continuing our work together for years to come.”

Says Hannes van Rensburg, CEO at Fundamo: “We are very excited that our work with MTN Uganda has made the shortlist for such a highly respected award. We have seen MTN MobileMoney in Uganda grow at an unprecedented rate, registering over one million users in its first year. We are extremely proud to have been part of its remarkable success and thrilled that it will now be recognised by the global mobile community.”

Rob Conway, CEO of the GSMA concluded: “Our congratulations go to all the nominees in this year’s Global Mobile Awards. To get down to just 115 nominees across 10 categories, from more than 470 high calibre entries, certainly presented our judges with a tough challenge this year. It is a great achievement to be shortlisted among such a high quality field of entrants and we eagerly anticipate the announcement of the winners on Tuesday 15th February 2011 at the Mobile World Congress and look forward to showcasing another great year of innovation for the mobile industry.”

Qualcomm appoints Jihad Srage President of Middle East and Africa operations

By admin, 10 lutego, 2011, No Comment

Qualcomm Incorporated has appointed Jihad Srage vice president and president of Qualcomm Middle East & Africa (MEA). For three years, Srage has successfully led the Company’s Middle East and North Africa business and in his expanded role will also oversee Qualcomm’s operations across the African continent. The change is designed to capture the synergies of Qualcomm’s market evolution, partners and opportunities by integrating its Middle East and Africa operations. James Munn, Qualcomm’s vice president of business development for Sub-Saharan Africa, will continue in his current role, reporting to Srage.

Srage joined Qualcomm in 2008 as vice president of business development for the Middle East and North Africa, overseeing the Company’s regional relationships with partners, including network operators, infrastructure equipment providers, mobile handset vendors and value-added service developers. In his expanded role, Srage will lead the execution of Qualcomm’s unified regional strategy and work with partners to expand the availability of 3G and next-generation mobile services and devices.

Gartner reveals mobile device sales for 2010

By admin, 10 lutego, 2011, No Comment

Worldwide mobile device sales to end users totalled 1.6 billion units in 2010, a 31.8 per cent increase from 2009 (see Table 1), according to Gartner, Inc. Smartphone sales to end users were up 72.1 per cent from 2009 and accounted for 19 per cent of total mobile communications device sales in 2010.

“Strong smartphone sales in the fourth quarter of 2010 pushed Apple and Research In Motion (RIM) up in our 2010 worldwide ranking of mobile device manufacturers to the No. 5 and No. 4 positions, respectively, displacing Sony Ericsson and Motorola,” said Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner. “Nokia and LG saw their market share erode in 2010 as they came under increasing pressure to refine their smartphone strategies.”

Overall, the mobile device market showed less seasonality than in previous years in mature markets such as Western Europe and North America. Worldwide mobile phone sales to end users reached 32.7 per cent growth in the fourth quarter of 2010 as mobile phone sales to end users totalled 452 million units.

Shortages continued to affect popular components, such as camera modules, touchscreen controllers, and active-matrix organic light-emitting diode (AMOLED) screens, in the fourth quarter of 2010. “This situation will not ease until at least the second half of 2011. Shortages will be a long-term consideration for mobile device vendors, because other fast-growing categories of connected consumer devices, such as media tablets, are competing for the same components,” said Ms Milanesi.

White-box sales exceeded 115 million units in the fourth quarter of 2010 and 360 million units in 2010 overall. Although white box sales helped boost mobile device sales to 1.6 billion units in 2010, it would be misleading to interpret this as market “growth” in the strictest sense. “What we see is an increase in addressable market for mobile device manufacturers as consumers shift their behaviour to buying new phones from legitimate channels over second-hand and black market devices,” said Ms Milanesi.

Table 1

Worldwide Mobile Device Sales to End Users in 2010 (Thousands of Units)

Company 2010


2010Market Share (%) 2009


2009 Market Share (%)
Nokia 461,318.2 28.9 440,881.6 36.4
Samsung 281,065.8 17.6 235,772.0 19.5
LG Electronics 114,154.6 7.1 121,972.1 10.1
Research In Motion 47,451.6 3.0 34,346.6 2.8
Apple 46,598.3 2.9 24,889.7 2.1
Sony Ericsson 41,819.2 2.6 54,956.6 4.5
Motorola 38,553.7 2.4 58,475.2 4.8
ZTE 28,768.7 1.8 16,026.1 1.3
HTC 24,688.4 1.5 10,811.9 0.9
Huawei 23,814.7 1.5 13,490.6 1.1
Others 488,569.3 30.6 199,617.2 16.5
Total 1,596,802.4 100.0 1,211,239.6 100.0

Source: Gartner (February 2011)

In 2010, Nokia’s annual mobile phone sales to end users reached 461.3 million units, a 7.5 per cent drop in market share from 2009. The year-on-year decline is not solely attributable to Nokia’s continuing deficiency in high-end devices but is, in part, the result of the growth of legitimate white-box sales. Nokia’s share of the smartphone market dropped 6.7 percentage points from 2009. Nokia’s future rests on the announcements it will make on 11 February and how well the company can execute on those plans in the limited time available.

RIM’s overall mobile phone sales to end users in 2010 reached a total of 47.5 million units, an increase of 38.2 per cent year-on-year (see Table 2). Performance in the fourth quarter of 2010 was particularly strong in Southeast Asia (Indonesia) and Europe (the UK and the Netherlands). These sales rested on aggressively priced prepaid offerings, as well as steady uptake of the BlackBerry Messenger service. Despite growing volume sales, RIM was unable to keep up with market growth and saw its market share decline from 19.5 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2009 to 13.7 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2010. At the end of 2010, RIM announced it will release its media tablet, the PlayBook. It remains to be seen if this move will help RIM strengthen its ecosystem.

Apple sold 46.6 million units in 2010, 87.2 per cent growth from 2009. This growth is largely due to expansion into new countries and the ending of exclusivity deals, which has made the iPhone available through 185 communication service providers (CSPs) around the world. The end of exclusivity deals also encouraged CSP competition on tariffs and data plans, making the total cost of iPhone ownership more in line with other high-end smartphones. For 2011, Apple’s main growth opportunity will come from adding Verizon Wireless to its list of CSPs in the US. Gartner analysts said Apple will maintain a stable average selling price, which favourably impacts margins at the expense of market share opportunity. However, Apple is not targeting the mass market, which is a fundamental difference in approach from Android.

The smartphone market remains concentrated in advanced markets, where buyers have more disposable income and where networks are fast enough to support smartphones’ full feature sets. “Western Europe and North America accounted for 52.3 per cent of global smartphone sales in the fourth quarter of 2010, with smartphones accounting for close to half of all handsets sold in these regions,” said Roberta Cozza, principal research analyst at Gartner. Intense competition affected shares at the top of the smartphone market in the fourth quarter of 2010, continuing trends that we have seen throughout 2010.

Table 2

Worldwide Smartphone Sales to End Users by Operating System in 2010 (Thousands of Units)

Company 2010


2010 Market Share (%) 2009


2009 Market Share (%)
Symbian 111,576.7 37.6 80,878.3 46.9
Android 67,224.5 22.7 6,798.4 3.9
Research In Motion 47,451.6 16.0 34,346.6 19.9
iOS 46,598.3 15.7 24,889.7 14.4
Microsoft 12,378.2 4.2 15,031.0 8.7
Other Oss 11417.4 3.8 10432.1 6.1
Total 296,646.6 100.0 172,376.1 100.0

Source: Gartner (February 2011)

In the smartphone operating system (OS) market, ”Android grew 888.8 per cent in 2010 and moved to the No. 2 position. Android sales in the fourth quarter of 2010 continued to be driven by broad availability of many high-end products from HTC (Desire range, Incredible and EVO), Samsung (Galaxy S) and Motorola (Droid X, Droid 2).

Symbian’s market share dropped further in the fourth quarter of 2010 to 32.6 per cent or 32.6 million units. This allowed Android to overtake Nokia’s Symbian unit sales during the fourth quarter of 2010. However, the Symbian OS is also used by Fujitsu and Sharp as well as in legacy products from Sony Ericsson and Samsung. “This aggregated volume kept Symbian slightly ahead of Android,” said Ms Cozza.

The wider availability of the iPhone 4 helped Apple to maintain its share of the smartphone market to 16.0 per cent in the fourth quarter 2010 and led the iPhone OS platform to reach the No. 4 position in 2010. “As a platform, iOS is in excellent shape,” said Ms Milanesi. With every iPad and iPod Touch sold, Apple increases the profile of iOS with potential iPhone buyers and strengthens its developer ecosystem.

“With the Mobile World Congress 2011 taking place next week, we can expect smartphones and tablets to be at centre stage of the show, and a number of new application announcements such as 3D technology, improved user interfaces around touch, faster networks on LTE technology, and new forms of payments, such as near field communication available on smartphones,” Ms Milanesi said.

Samsung Electronics and IBM announce patent cross-license agreement

By admin, 10 lutego, 2011, No Comment

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. Co and IBM have announced a patent cross-license agreement, under which the companies will license their respective patent portfolios to each other. Specific terms and conditions of the agreement were not disclosed.

Over the past several decades, IBM and Samsung have built strong patent portfolios covering a wide range of technologies including semiconductors, telecommunications, visual and mobile communications, software and technology-based services. This cross-licensing agreement enables the two companies to innovate and operate freely while using each other’s patented inventions to help keep pace with sophisticated technology and business demands.

The companies said the cooperation fostered by cross-licensing reinforces their ability to provide better products and services, while maintaining their competitiveness. “This licensing agreement will help both companies expedite innovation and achieve business growth by providing each company access to the other’s patents for basic technologies,” said Dr. Seungho Ahn, Executive Vice President and Head of the IP Center, Samsung Electronics. “We also hope the agreement will open new opportunities for wider collaboration between two of the leading innovators in the technology industry.”

“Patents and innovation are a critical component of IBM’s high-value business strategy,” said Ken King, vice president, Patents, Software & Services IP Licensing for IBM. “In addition to protecting the huge investment we make in R&D, patents also allow us to establish cross-licenses, which provide IBM and partners like Samsung with significant freedom of action, which is essential in the competitive global business environment.”

IBM and Samsung topped the list of the world’s most inventive companies in 2010 as the first and second recipients of U.S. patents, respectively. IBM has been the leading recipient of U.S. patents for 18 consecutive years.

Gartner comments on social CRM spending

By admin, 10 lutego, 2011, No Comment

The customer relations management (CRM) market will enter a three year shake up in 2011, as a number of key trends take hold, according to Gartner, Inc. Sales, marketing and customer service technologies, projects and implementations will all see rapid changes over the next few years.

“Over the next three years, social CRM will continue its exponential rise, software as a service (SaaS) will become routine, will reshuffle the market order, and consultants and system integrators will sell their own CRM software,” said Ed Thompson, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner.

In order to offer sales, marketing, service and other business line managers, as well as C-level executives’ guidance with their CRM investments, Gartner has detailed its predictions for CRM in 2011 and beyond.

By 2013, spending on social software to support sales, marketing and customer service processes will exceed $1 billion worldwide.

The $1 billion prediction for spending on social CRM compares with Gartner’s forecast of more than $12 billion for overall spending on CRM software in 2012, means that social CRM will encompass approximately 8 per cent of all CRM spending in 2012, up from approximate 4 per cent in 2010.

Gartner recommends that buyers of social CRM should take a three-step approach to enable them to develop a social CRM strategy over the next 12 months:

  1. Determine if there are any social CRM projects already under way; look in the marketing or customer service departments first.
  2. Calculate the likelihood that you will be forced to start something in 2011 — your industry and culture are the best indicators.
  3. Find case studies specific to your industry that can provide examples of what is possible, and share them with other decision makers in your organisation.

By 2015, one-third of spending on new CRM software will be SaaS.

In 2009, 24 per cent of the CRM software market was delivered by SaaS, and this rose to more than 26 per cent in 2010, up from virtually zero in 1999. By 2015, Gartner forecasts that 32 per cent of the CRM software market will be delivered by SaaS.

Gartner said that buyers of CRM applications should resist the temptation to bypass the IT organisation in the short term. Instead, involve IT in purchase decisions early on to avoid the most-frequently cited downstream issue of data integration, and to address potential concerns about inadequate security, scalability and privacy. IT organisations should focus on integration skills. The other limitations of SaaS remain, but are eroding over time, whereas integration skills remain problematic.

By 2015, all Tier 1 CRM ESPs will invest in their own bolt-on CRM application software.

In 2010, all Tier 1 CRM external service providers (ESPs) custom-built application functionality on projects; developed configurations or industry templates for major independent software vendors (ISVs); packaged CRM applications, such as SAP and Oracle’s Siebel; and productised work done on projects for use on later bids. However, less than half of the Tier 1 ESPs developed additive stand-alone CRM applications that coexist with ISV packaged applications. The majority of Tier 1 CRM ESPs are now investing in client-agnostic R&D that is not project-funded to build their own bolt-on or best-of-breed CRM application software to run on platforms such as and Microsoft’s xRM.

Gartner recommends that consultants and system integrators should carefully select areas of investment, start with their industry and process strengths, and avoid overinvesting in the short term. Buyers should watch for further declines in independent advice on the selection process from ESPs and take appropriate caution when evaluating ESP applications. Above all, they should avoid letting existing brand and reputation cloud their perceptions of the applications.

Kaspersky Lab logo appears on the new Ferrari F150

By admin, 10 lutego, 2011, No Comment

Kaspersky Lab, a developer of secure content and threat management solutions, participated in the Launch Ceremony of Ferrari’s latest F1 car that will display the Kaspersky Lab logo on its front throughout the 2011 Formula One racing season.

“We at Kaspersky Lab are true followers of the Formula 1 team and Ferrari spirit” said Eugene Kaspersky, CEO and Co-Founder of Kaspersky Lab. “The next round of our partnership with the Ferrari Formula One team has started and we are extremely excited about it. We are all eagerly awaiting the start of the racing season and look forward to seeing the car out there in front, with our brand logo on it!”

The launch ceremony of the car took place at Ferrari’s famous factory in Maranello, Italy. The event is held each year before the start of the racing season, with media coming from all over the world, Ferrari’s partners and followers were given an exclusive look at the new car before it appeared on February 1, for the first day of testing in Valencia.

Kaspersky Lab started its partnership with Ferrari in 2010, first with the AF Course racing team for the Le Mans Series Championship, and then expanding into the wider Formula One racing world. Beginning this year, followers of the Ferrari F1 team and the Le Mans series will see the Kaspersky Lab logo featuring on the team’s cars in both of these exciting endurance racing series.

Get ready for the multichannel contact centre

By admin, 10 lutego, 2011, No Comment

Interactive Intelligence‘s Dave Paulding, Regional Sales Director UK, Middle East & Africa, offers three strategic tips for decision makers negotiating the looming shift to multichannel contact centres.

The rapid adoption of digital lifestyles by African consumers means that companies are being forced to address the issue of multichannel customer service. Today’s digitally orientated consumers expect to be able to interact with companies on their terms, using their medium of choice – be it Twitter or email. They also want to be able to control their conversations and interactions with service providers, rather than being forced into a particular method of engagement. And, increasingly, consumers expect their issues to be addressed and resolved in so-called internet time. A bad experience on any of these fronts is likely to see the customer move to different companies the next time around.

While this new, communication concept might be expected to create major contact centre headaches, the reality is less concerning than one might expect. In fact, allowing customers to ‘self-serve’ through an expanded range of interaction channels can actually boost overall contact centre efficiency, if the process is approached correctly. Research from the Gartner Group shows that self service can reduce calls into a contact centre by 12-14%. When email is the second channel added, the reduction in call volumes goes up to around 16 -18%, and adding a chat interaction channel can reduce calls by up to 25%. In summary, the research indicates that SMS, social media, chat and email interactions are cheaper to handle and generally more efficient than phone calls in resolving low priority customer issues.

Interestingly, Gartner research also shows that 24% of US companies are currently integrating social media into their contact centre, with a further 32% of businesses negotiating the planning stage. That over 50% of US companies are already putting in place multichannel contact centre functionality confirms.

When the move to a multichannel contact centre is undertaken, decision makers should pay attention to three key strategic issues.

#1 Customer focus really counts

The first step is to create a detailed blueprint for multichannel success. Ideally the creation of this blueprint will involve significant input from customers, as well as from your key customer service agents and supervisors within the contact centre. The goal is to be 100% customer focused and to gain, via the, a full view of how the companies’ customers prefer to interact with it. Once the need for each new service channel has been thoroughly verified and explored, the companies can decide exactly how it is going to live up to that need.

#2 Be technology smart

There are a number of critical technology questions that need to be asked and answered if multichannel evolution is going to be successful. It’s essential, for example, that all channels are integrated into the contact centre’s desktop interface, that reporting mechanisms are multichannel capable and that all channels can be recorded and monitored in real time, to name just a few aspects. At the highest level, integration with the existing CRM system is an obvious and primary organisational concern.

A good approach to ensuring a smooth evolution is to take incremental steps, with a single channel implemented at a time, and with each new channel supported by extensive agent training. During this incremental phase channel availability to customers can be selectively restricted to ensure a manageable process. Ultimately, success will rely in great measure on the company’s ability to offer comprehensive training and support to its agents. With effective agent support in mind, it can also be a good idea to over-staff the contact centre for the first thirty days of a channel launch, which will create enough room to cope with the inevitable variables.

#3 Market, measure and monitor

Marketing new channels is very important – if they are going to be successful, your customers need to know about them and be encouraged to use them, which means highlighting the new channels via advertising and through simple devices such as email signatures.

It’s also crucial to track successes and failures on an ongoing basis and to strive to put in place a reporting feedback loop that supports the long term development of your system. Within this context, the most important aspect is to be sure set realistic metrics, and then to ensure they are meticulously tracked. Ongoing reporting and feedback within the organisation creates the right context for strong performance – it also creates the kind of high level strategic lens that is so important to identifying, and catering to, new interaction channels as they emerge.

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