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Teradata Exec Says Trend is Customer Centricity

August 07, 2008

Teradata (News - Alert) Corporation is a hardware and software vendor specializing in data warehousing and analytic applications. The company was formerly a division of NCR Corporation, the largest company in Dayton, Ohio. Teradata’s headquarters are in Miamisburg, Ohio. The spinoff from NCR occurred in October, 2007. I recently had the opportunity to interview David Schrader, director of marketing at the company.
 
RT: What is the biggest trend you are seeing in the contact center space?
DS: The need for contact centers to gather, use, and reuse customer information across all channels and all modes of operation: inbound/outbound, sales and service. The ongoing trend to customer centricity.
 
RT: What should contact center decision makers know before upgrading their systems?
DS: They should take a holistic view and spend more planning time with marketing, sales, and service on customer personas and unified customer dialogues, so they don’t inadvertently miss opportunities to delight customers. Should also work with IT to move towards a single, universal view of customers and customer insights, leverageable across all interaction points with customers.
 
RT: Where is the most call center growth taking place – U.S. or abroad? 
DS: No strong opinion – I’ve had discussions with customers in both places, and don’t see any difference. Treating customers better while controlling expenses are global goals.
 
RT: How is UC changing the contact center space? 
DS: It’s driving the need for more customer-centric vs. communications channel-centric thinking. Agile (News - Alert) communications strategies are important.
 
RT: Is web integration in contact centers finally happening?  
DS: Slowly and at various levels. Many companies are moving towards role-based portals to optimize information leverage at the screen. The next step beyond that is real-time callouts to ensure that customer insights and relevant operational status are on the screen. Others are bridging customer experiences across channels so CSRs can see and help customers hung up on websites, for example, helping to complete an order.
 
RT: How is Microsoft’s (News - Alert) entrance into the market changing it? 
DS: As usual, it endorses trends that others saw earlier and nudges the market at a faster rate, often at lower expense.
 
RT: What about web 2.0 – is it changing the contact center space? 
DS: Although some early-adopter customers are asking, most still need to work on the basics; most companies do not have a customer-centric approach yet. Gathering blog data, monitoring competition automatically, and watching social networks are all going to be important, but not for the next few years.
 
RT: What is one surprise we will see in the contact center space in the next year?
DS: More integration of real-time data feeds, so that the CSR (News - Alert) can be more up-to-date with what’s happening in the field or supply chain. The goal is to amaze customers with smart CSRs that know about problems before you call, and already have the remedy ready to convey to you based on your value and needs.
 
RT: Why should people come to hear you speak at Call Center 2.0 and what will you be discussing? 
DS: Teradata takes a customer-focused, channel-agnostic view, and a practical case study approach, so people who come to our talk will go away with three fresh ideas about what best-in-class companies are already doing.

Rich Tehrani is President and Group Editor-in-Chief of TMC. In addition, he is the Chairman of the world�s best-attended communications conference, INTERNET TELEPHONY Conference & EXPO (ITEXPO (News - Alert)). He is also the author of his own communications and technology blog.

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