A combination of CRM and knowledge managementsoftware puts answers at fingertips of 3M call centre reps.
Stories by John Edwards
Randy Watts likes to design Web pages, but he doesn't like to pay unnecessarily high prices for new development tools. Like a growing number of small businesses and consumers, Watts has started relying on shopbot technology to help him find killer deals on a wide array of products. But while current 'bots can offer a great service to small-volume buyers and individuals, similar tools for larger companies are just starting to appear. And if you're an online merchant, the very thought of such margin-slimming shopping assistants may cause you to groan.
A typical day in the life of a 3M Co. call center agent is a lot like spending a not-so-quiet evening with Regis Philbin. The questions keep coming, and the pressure steadily builds.
Crestone International had a problem. The Atlanta-based e-commerce consultancy couldn't find enough local designers, programmers and other IT professionals to meet its rapidly escalating workload. Experiencing triple-digit growth each year since its 1995 founding, the company needed to find a way to get extra productivity out of its current employees--or face the disagreeable prospect of turning away work. "It wasn't a matter of cutting expenses; it was a question of long-term viability," says Cal Yonker, Crestone's president.
For Pacific Sunwear of California, selling sportswear on the Internet sounded like a surefire idea, until company managers realized something: Most of their potential customers didn't have credit cards.