Focus on integrated call centre solution

Tele-Solutions/Direct-SolutionsConference and Trade ShowMarch 7-9Metro Toronto Convention CentreMore than 1,200 delegates are expected to convene March 7-9 in Toronto for Tele-Solutions/ Direct-Solutions, a conference and trade show that promises to provide marketers with the latest information on integrating their telemarketing, direct...

Tele-Solutions/Direct-Solutions

Conference and Trade Show

March 7-9

Metro Toronto Convention Centre

More than 1,200 delegates are expected to convene March 7-9 in Toronto for Tele-Solutions/ Direct-Solutions, a conference and trade show that promises to provide marketers with the latest information on integrating their telemarketing, direct marketing and database activities.

Theme

The theme of this year’s conference, which is entitled ‘The Integrated Call Centre Solution,’ was determined last year with the assistance of an industry focus group, says Janice Waugh, marketing manager at Tele-Solutions, a Scarborough, Ont.-based company that organizes this event and a host of similar trade shows/conferences across Canada each year.

Waugh says focus group participants, all of whom were either past delegates, conference sponsors or industry suppliers, were asked at a half-day meeting to identify issues of concern to them.

She says integration was identified by almost everyone present.

As a result, Waugh and her partner, Tele-Solutions President Ron MacKenzie, have asked conference speakers to address their topics in the context of integration.

As well, they have added a two-day ‘integrated marketing executive symposium’ that will run concurrent to the main conference.

Featuring Tracy Emerick, New Hampshire-based consultant to 3M, Digital Equipment, DuPont and Apple Computer, among others, and billed as a ‘recognized authority on integrated marketing’, the symposium promises delegates the big picture on integrating a company’s call centre with its database marketing, customer service, inside and outside sales, direct mail and general advertising activities.

Waugh says the symposium is also intended to satisfy the needs of more senior executives, many of whom had attended Tele-Solutions/Direct-Solutions since its inception six years ago and were anxious to go beyond operations-level issues.

She says the main conference, which is tailored largely to call centre managers is organized under three themes or ‘tracks’ that examine the call centre discipline from several angles.

She says delegates can focus on customer service, sales or direct marketing issues throughout the conference or jump from one track to the next, depending on their interest and experience.

Seminar topics

Among the 23 seminars scheduled are such topics as: call centre set-up and evolution; the back end of call centre management; computer/telephony integration; marketing through the electronic superhighway; using your database to develop the right offer; and telemarketing/direct mail integration – the back end.

All delegates are invited to attend a session March 9, in which Kim Cooper, vice-president of customer services at WordPerfect, will argue that in a market saturated with outstanding products, buying decisions are no longer based on the latest feature or lowest price, but, increasingly, on the quality of customer support.

Cooper speaks from experience.

According to the conference brochure, the Orem, Utah-based software manufacturer handles nearly 25,000 customer support calls daily at its call centres in Orem, Sterling, Colo. and Southfield, Mich.

The conference’s keynote address will be delivered by Mark Skapinker, president of Toronto-based Delrina, a marketer of fax software.

Skapinker will talk about the convergence of the computer and telecommunications industry, and offer his thoughts on how to profit from it.

For those new to the call centre concept, conference planners have organized a one-day primer, to be held March 7, the day before the main event.

Jim Domanski, president of Ottawa-based Teleconcepts Consulting and author of Direct Line to Profits: The Canadian Guide to Telemarketing, will lead the seminar, entitled ‘Smart Marketing: A One-Day Introduction to Targetted Marketing Methods’.

Case studies

The seminar, which will feature several case studies, including that of Molson Breweries, can be likened to a prerequisite for employees who are just getting into target marketing from general sales, says Waugh, and allows speakers at the main conference to skip the basics.

Rounding out the conference is the Tele-Solutions trade show, featuring a full range of call centre products and services.

The 60 or so exhibitors confirmed at press time fall into a dozen categories and market everything from telecommunications equipment to long-distance services, database or contact management software, call centre furnishings, interactive voice response systems, telemarketing services, staff training products and services, prospect lists, fulfilment services and market research.

Everything they need

Waugh says the idea behind the show is much the same now as when she and MacKenzie first mounted Tele-Solutions/Direct-Solutions – to provide the call centre manager everything he or she needs to get the job done.

‘It’s not a telecommunications show, it’s not a computer show, it’s not a direct marketing show, it’s all of those things,’ she says.

Sponsors

Tele-Solutions/Direct-Solutions is sponsored by Phone Power, a call centre consulting service operated by Stentor, an organization which represents major Canadian telephone companies in b.c., Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, p