After purchasing Canadian software, an American CRM developer wants to help to customers fed up with repeating the same information ad nauseaum to call centre agents.

San Diego, Calif.-based eAssist Global Solutions Inc said this week it had purchased a set of customer interaction management

Internet products formerly owned by Divine Inc. The software solutions are aimed at customer service support in call centres and are a part of eAssist’s general strategy of expanding its presence on the Canadian market, said president and CEO Dan Plashkes.

The Canadian call centre industry is quite large, Plashkes said, adding that any company looking at establishing a strong presence in the space should pay close attention to this country. eAssist has already gotten a foothold on the Canadian market with Bell Canada Emergis and CIBC call centres using its solutions, but it wanted to grow its customer base. That’s why the firm looked to software originally developed by Delano Technology Corp., a Canadian developer purchased by Divine, he said.

The Delano-developed solutions include the eBis and jeBis software, which are designed to allow for the development of organization-specific customer service and marketing applications. Another Delano product, the Velocity Service offering is an email customer service and case management solution. A Web-based marketing automation solution, Velocity Marketing, is part of the deal as well as Divine’s NetAgent suite of channel-based customer interaction products.

Plashkes said the case for rolling out CRM solutions throughout the call centre are compelling and as familiar as a basic call to a telephone service provider.

“”What I think of is being deflected first off onto an 800 number and being connected to some voice response unit system. Putting in either my account number or phone number and being able to get some rudimentary assistance,”” he said. “”On the off-chance that I have a question, I’ll have to touch ‘0’ and continue my conversation (with an agent) and have to tell them my account number again. Right from that moment I’m ticked off. “”

He said that what the solution suite offers call centres is access to information when it’s needed, giving those calling in a sense of being known and valued as a customer. A happy customer should translate into higher sales revenues, Plashkes argued.

“”People like to buy more if they’re happy,”” he said.

Although the CRM space has generally been full of stories of failed implementations and broken promises, IDC Canada analyst Warren Shiau said the call centre is a different story. In fact, he says the call centre has generally been the one space where stories of CRM rollouts tend to be positive. He credits the ability to accurately measure the level of increased functionality for enterprise satisfaction.

“”If you have a good salesman he’s going to sell more than a bad salesman. It doesn’t matter if one of them has a really good CRM system or doesn’t. But in a call centre it’s a lower level of expertise and pretty much cookie cutter employment between the different tiers of support,”” Shiau said. “”If you give them something new and it actually helps you increase efficiency or allows you to reduce cost by allowing you to take out head-count in your call centre, that’s measurable.””

Plashkes said he’s not only after the call centre. The customer service and support CRM solutions that eAssist offers would do a world of good in retail outlets too, he said.


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