Providing your customers with fast, reliable and personalized service is becoming a hallmark of good business practices in today's information-rich, Internet-enabled world. Thanks to customer relationship management (CRM) software it's getting increasingly easy to have detailed info on all aspects of your customer relationships from favorite baseball team to payment history at your fingertips.
Tying that information with a dedicated call center, where agents interact with customers aided by screens full of pertinent data, has been largely big-business fare, but this level of sophistication is also moving into the small- and mid-size business market.
Giving that move a kick-start is the Echopass Telecenter for Salesforce.com. Introduced this week, the service is the result of products and technologies from three companies. Salesforce.com"Salesforce.com provides the CRM application and integration technology, Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories provides the call center software, which Echopass repackages as a Web-based subscription service designed to help companies improve the effectiveness and efficiency of their telemarketing, telesales and customer service operation.
Salesforce.com's sforce technology, a Web services application programming interface (API), provides integration between the call center and CRM application. (Web services allow applications from different sources to communicate without requiring custom program because all communication is based on industry standards.)
Because Echopoass Telecenter for Salesforce.com is a hosted service, you don't have to deal with capital expenses. "You would have had $100,000 in overhead costs plus the expense of either hiring an integrator or doing the integration yourself," Salesforce.com's chief strategy officer and senior vice president Cary Fulbright said. "Companies with as few as one or two dedicated customer-service agents can benefit from the service," Fulbright added.
Echopass offers customer-facing organizations the following features:
- Autodialing: With one click of the mouse, agents can automatically place an outbound call from within the Salesforce.com CRM application.
- Screen pops: Upon receiving an incoming call or placing outgoing call, screen-pops instantly provide agents with information on customer or prospect.
- Call scripts: Electronic call scripts automatically pop up to guide agents in outbound and inbound customer interactions.
- Rules-based contact routing: Incoming telephone, e-mail or Web-based communication are automatically routed to agents based on skills, geography or other business criteria.
- Scheduled callback: Agents can schedule call back or event tasks that are placed in the call queue and automatically delivered to the agent at the pre-defined time.
"We recognize that most businesses can't spend the time or money required to implement on-premise contact center and CRM solutions," Vincent Deschamps, CEO of Echopass, said in a statement. "Customers can achieve the benefits of the Telecenter solution in just eight weeks from order to implementation."
For existing Echopass and Salesforce.com customers, the cost is $45 per concurrent seat, per month. The monthly cost for a new user is $395 per seat, per month. An Echopass spokeswoman said it's important to note the difference between concurrent and user pricing. She added that one concurrent seat can be shared by any number of users. On average, she said, two agents share a seat.
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