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Frustrated Comments...

How often recently have you heard frustrated comments - ‘…business is great! We’d love to expand but we simply can’t find the right staff with the skills necessary to develop good customer relationships…’ or ‘… can’t expand any further - I’ve been capped by the Regulation of Undertakings Law’?

To ‘expand’ in times of full employment requires the adoption of innovative ways of improving the skills and efficiencies of existing employees It also requires the identification of additional sources of skilled labour available both on (and off) Island. One such source is highly trained and trusted members of staff that have given up their regular, full time job, albeit temporarily. Another, those who are unable to travel to the conventional workplace on a regular basis, because they may be caring for sick, elderly or disabled relatives, are disabled themselves or are single parents.

How to harness this available, untapped, resource? The answer is to consider adopting technology that allows access to cost effective means of maintaining a dialogue with customers - the Call Centre.

A ‘Call Centre’ isn't necessarily a huge operation employing hundreds of people answering thousands of telephone calls each day - it can comprise one person answering a single telephone. Call Centre technology is particularly appropriate for highly interactive customer relationships such as enquiry and help desks; telemarketing; financial services; retail or wholesale order entry; reservation systems, or customer service departments – all of which give rise to the latest trend in customer retention – Customer Relationship Management.

A telephone call is often the first point of contact for new customers, so prompt and professional responses to all incoming calls are essential. Whether the Call Centre is used for account maintenance, a customer service desk, or perhaps public information, there are two overriding demands - to improve the quality of customer service and to reduce costs associated with the operation of that service.

GemaTech, a privately owned UK based company has developed a Windows NT server-based switch which revolutionises the concept of the Call Centre, at a cost considerably less than conventional systems. Graham Chick, Managing Director of GemaTech explains, ‘ We have turned the concept of Call Centres on its head. Instead of requiring the skills base to commute to the conventional centralised building, we extend Call Centre functionality to wherever the skills base might be - the office, working from home, or even overflowing calls to employees in the UK or elsewhere. This results in locally based companies being free to expand operations utilising homeworkers here or in the UK, with the benefit of close control and ‘live’ monitoring of all call activity through GemaTech’s unique Management Information Screens.

For example, in 1997, a Travel Agency established a ‘Virtual Call Centre’ employing six agents all working from home. Now the same company, according to The Sunday Times the 4th fastest growing company in the UK in 1998, employs over 140 agents working from home with all activities being closely monitored by David Speakman, the owner and founder.

A further application for GemaTech's innovative technology is in providing probably the only credible Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity solution for a businesses telephone system (PABX) available today. Should your telephone system fail, or you are denied access to your building because of fire, flood, gas leak, traffic accident etc., by prior agreement your incoming ISDN lines can be diverted to GemaTech’s Business Continuity Manager (BCM) located at a remote location. The BCM re-routes incoming calls to alternative individual locations (using your DDI functionality) as dictated by your pre-determined Call Plan, i.e. diverted to your home, mobile, back-up office or ‘hot site’.

Your business relies on telephones for more than voice and faxes. All internet, e-mail, e-commerce, DDI functionality and Wide Area Network passes through your telephone system! Are you prepared for its failure?