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7 posts from March 2009

Air Force F-22 Raptor Down and the F-35 Prospects

After $361 million and one highly capable test pilot down, Mohave had a really bad day. Edwards AFB lost a F-22 fighter jet yesterday, which is the second Edwards crash on this craft since 2004.

This is not great news given the economy and the state of uncertain funding. Accounting for roughly 95,000 jobs, this is worth a look. Of note, the Joint Strike Fighter Project definitely has a lower target production price at $83 million.

More information on the impact and financial stakes held by Lockheed Martin, United Technology's Pratt and Whitney and Boeing can be viewed on Market Watch.

Surviving a Long Economic Fall in Today's Contact Center (and Why I'm Not in Rodeo Clown Correspondence School)

A friend sent me a link for a tutorial on How to Survive a Long Fall a few years ago. I'm thinking more and more about that these days.

Let's face it: There are challenges that face today's contact center ace. Responsibilities, on-the-job stress and the unrelenting focus on cost centers are not what I'd classify as daily opportunities for personal growth. One must celebrate an economy is great for lemmings and the proverbial people that jump out of perfectly sound planes. But the non-lemming majority of call center pros have to get courageous. And make quick with it.

Between you and me, even the most cool hand Luke, posing as a contact center supervisor, IT or Telco manager has thought about their future. And the future of their Future's future. And some future after that if one is really neurotic, like me. Possibly you have even found yourself considering career choices. If you are in a call center, I have some suggestions for you, based on my almost extensive research.

I discovered that there's a natural temptation to fall-back on business innovations in the past. Like the Pogo Stick. One, of course, is tempted to go into Mobile Pogo Stick Training and Repair. But, alas, the market in most likely saturated with such leading entrepreneurs.

Sometimes more education is the answer. I also was looking into a correspondence school for rodeo clowns to recommend here but I hear they have pretty short careers.

So, I decided to look at a more radical notion: we can land, discard our crash helmets, save- and make- our companies money. It is time to take a serious look at the Voxida call recording and quality monitoring systems from Accurate Always. They're turnkey and most can get your center recording calls full time, on demand or per schedule, within 30 days from time of order. There are never hidden licensing fees or other surprise costs, so you can stay on schedule, on budget and focused on increasing profitability and decreasing costs.

Voxida is used to ensure call center quality, help contact centers train their agents and reduce turn-overs, which cost vital time and additional investment. Using a comprehensive suite of tools, call center supervisors and administrators can use Voxida to instantly get call center diagnostics and determine how resources can be better utilized.

With a full reporting suite, that's included with the Voxida base package, it's easy to determine average hold times, calls per agent/extension/channel per hour and whatever other statistics are the most meaningful for your contact center.

Play to Win, Don't Just Play to Not Lose. Having this call data, the ability to live monitor, run reports and retrieve calls at will is a huge competitive advantage when seeking new corporate customers. This impacts healthcare, financial and other contact center success right away. Let's face it, it's better to take these measures and play to win, rather than just whittling away costs and working on playing not to lose.

For more information about Voxida and how it can help you maximize your profit, while reducing costs, please contact us. I can help out directly or you can work with any of our sales engineers here, to best evaluate your options and proactively avoid this long fall. Call 1-800-828-9428 or 1-650-728-9428 to talk to us. You can also send us an email and we'll get to work.

Pi Day Celebrations

3/14 is soon to be upon us!

For all the engineers and other Pi reverent folks, please stock up on veggie dogs and get ready to be great!

See here how to calculate Pi by throwing frozen (vegan please) hot dogs.

The Importance of Listening

As you may have gathered, I have a few coworkers with eight toes. Yes, Accurate Always really is an equal opportunity employer.

I was out with one of these fellows, Flax the Man, standing outside in a tech park a short time ago. (For those who have not had the thrill of standing around a tech park, let me tell you it's just another theme park. No big mouse, but a lot of hip rides and uncomfortable get-ups.)

So, my little buddy is doing all the talking for once, stopping a sales rep going into the main entrance. Naturally, said rep happens to be an expert on large parrots and very willing to help. He immediately decides to get in my coworkers face and tell him to "ah-nun-see-ate!" He keeps it up, making a few more comments about bird Yiddish and "isn't this novel." Meanwhile, Flax keeps trying to get through to this guy.

After a short while, I grow tired of hearing "annunciate," in all its glorious iterations, parroted out of Mr. Rep. I figure better I'd introduce myself. But Flax's newest fan is already waxing poetic on how "we all fly a little bit" and I realize it's too late. Much too late.

Mr Flax politely waits, and as soon as a dramatic pause comes on, he says "You don't. You're being a big jerk."

Of course, that was heard five-by-five. We all retreated into our respective offices. With Flax shamelessly chuckling all the way back.

There's got to be a moral in this story somewhere....

But, it also got me thinking about how the answer is in there.

In all fairness to poor Mr Rep, there is so much information, already inherent in our communication, that we simply miss, gloss over or can't filter through it all. Once my delighted coworker was put back in this department, I had a talk with engineering. It was eye/ear opening.

I'm happy to report that Voxida, out-of-the-box, can recording all call metadata and audio, according to rules you set up. Agent interactions, center-wide analytics and a robust reporting engine are ready to roll. And they do. Most companies start to record calls and harvest this data from day one.

The victory? You can get smart, in-house, without needing to rely on outside consultants to tell you reach out to their customers, or find out what they really want/need and how these requests are being handled.

The data is out there and Voxida makes it easy to pull up your calls, as they are live or many years down the road, and harvest this information. Maybe we can all learn to listen yet....

Because I Have Issues

I think I have issues. Not like Jira caliber issues but not entirely unlike Woody Allen's.

Picture a night, make that tonight: It's time for a supply run (candy, soda, equal sweeter, more candy) at the local market here. We're looking at another long night at work and I want to make sure that we stay awake revel in it.

It's a nice night, a bit blowy, but the waves are slapping some sea lions silly and we're pretending we're pirates. Ok, only I'm pretending I'm a pirate. Just call me Salty Kate.

In fact, I'm in such a stellar mood that I turn over my keys to zee company car to Yousef, our CTO at Accurate Always. That's when the trouble starts.

I like, make that love, cars. Not very chick, but we're not talking hot rods, and I'm not that concerned if the paint matches my lip gloss. My pride and joy is my 1973 Mercedes Benz 220D "Troddle the Tractoria," who has roughly 3,800,573.5 (or something) miles on her. She's camera shy but you can meet her younger, bigger cousin here. I'm proud to report that Troddle is still dieseling along. A semi did take a bite out of her rear end- when no one was in her- last year but she's always got eternal moxie.

Dear Reader: if you know one hell of a body shop, please comment? She's also due for a dip and repaint. Yes, this all will cost way, way more than she's worth. In money, that is. But, there's always an opportunity cost in any investment/love affair. And, that cost can't be at the expense of taking her up to 90mph in a mere 13 minutes.

Alas, Troddle is a slacker post semi truck, so I've been open to driving a much, much faster Benz. I've been so selfless that I've volunteered to scope out new areas for, um, Accurate Always' expansion in this Mercedes 2008 CLK. My wanderings last took me to Shelter Cove on the Lost Coast of Northern California. This looks like a very promising location- of course- and one that I will have to investigate more to make a thorough report back to the company. There may even be- gasp!- Gantt charts, as Accurate Always also picks up gas and Red Vines.

Let me tell you, all they say about that road getting in to Shelter Cove is true. I'd avoid it at all times, especially if you are slow driver ahead of me. I'm trying to break mach* around the hairpin turns.

But, I'm no Yeager and this ain't no Bell X-1. Honestly, so far I'm just idling, kinda like the next guy:

(Ah! About our work! Actually, our little Voxida records test flight data for the F35 JSF Project. Pretty sweet, eh?)

But back to the wheel: Yousef is tearing up, doing 37 mph, on the way to the New Leaf market. I'm all nerves, and press on pedals that tragically our not on the passengers side, while I wedge myself between my nicely heated seat and unsolicited advice. It's pretty tense, and he senses it. He looking at me like I'm nuts- and get this- he takes his eyes off the road! Enough is enough. The advice cometh.  I mean, he wants  needs it.

I hear that I'm a pain in the ass to work with too. That's why I'm naming myself Employee of the Month. I mean, what's the hold-up here?

*Note: I've never been part of an accident and I'm an otherwise upstanding citizen who brushes and flosses religiously.

This just in: another way to recycle your legacy call recording system parts!

Yep, you too can get hip to the Tesla Turbine. Think big: turboing your car, getting solar and- swoon- sewage waste pumps can be yours!

Once you have altered the power state in your office, we're happy to introduce you to Voxida.


Build It and We Will Come

To all the Telco engineers we know and love:

Please Get Smart already! We're dying to record calls from something like this:

Build the Smart Phone and Be Adored at Accurate Always. You can also boast about your newly claimed Super Hero status. There's a luxurious club card and a chance to win a brand-new Mercedes CLK- unless it's claimed by a certain marketing weasel first (read: no way in hell are you getting the car.) But the card is so darned spiffy, that who's to complain?

The Smart Phone is a critical part of... Actually, forget that was said. Spies never give away there secret plans and desires. Plus, this may be part of our confidential and proprietary Master Plan for World Domination, um, I mean world peace. 

To be safe, and to insure full compliance, you may choose to eat your monitor and report that you have read this post in error. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.