VOIP and IVR Enterprise Blog Solution

    February 23, 2005

Voxeo Corporation provides standards based, hosted and customer premise IVR solutions.

They’ve been in the VOIP / IVR game since ’99 and pride themselves on being the best in the business. Voxeo’s customers have come to expect a level of service and support no other IVR firms can reproduce.

I’ve sat in Voxeo’s offices from time to time and have been amazed at the conversations the Voxeo support personnel have had with their customers. Their support department is staffed by a group of experienced and talented developers. The normal [high profit / low expenses] mentality that pervades corporate America doesn’t drive Voxeons [voxeo employees] or it’s management. They are focused on the bottom line, and would be foolish not to do so, but the bottom line doesn’t drive every decision… unmatched service and support is their driving force. They intentionally hire the best and allow their customers access to the best and this distinguishes them from all of their competitors.

On a related note, today they announced the launch of a new suite of products that set them even farther apart from their competition. They’ve taking blogging technology, improved upon it, and integrated it into their customer / employee facing systems in yet another revolutionary way.

Here’s some info from their press release.

Voxeo Corporation announced today the launch of its ExpressCRM Customer Relationship Management platform. The new platform supports interaction via web, email, blogs, instant messaging, and automated, spoken commands via traditional telephones and Voice over IP (VOIP) devices.

“Voxeo ExpressCRM was born from our customers’ desire for a simple CRM solution with support for modern forms of customer and vendor communication,” said Stephen Lewis, Vice President of Support at Voxeo. “Few existing platforms supported our requirements. Those that did often added these capabilities as an afterthought.”

Voxeo’s ExpressCRM platform is based on the BizBLOG engine. Created and field-tested by Voxeo over the last two years, BizBLOG is a scalable, secure, Blog content engine [leveraging Java J2EE, SQL data replication, RSS syndication, and an XML-based extension API]. The ExpressCRM solution uses BizBLOG to support:

– Account Journals: facilitate general communication between Voxeo and its customers. The Account Journal can store meeting notes, service history, customer orders, bills, and more. Each Account Journal can be viewed and sorted by recent entries, date range, or search query.

– Account Tickets and Tasks: can be opened by Voxeo and its customers to create support requests, detail outstanding tasks, and announce updates or events. Account Tickets and Tasks can be assigned to individuals, groups, or roles within a customer/vendor relationship.

– Global Tickets and Tasks: can be opened by Voxeo to share global updates, service outages, and support issues across multiple customer accounts.

– Knowledge Bases: can store valuable support information contributed by Voxeo’s Extreme Support and Engineering team members

– Forums: enable shared, public information between all Voxeo employees and customers.

– Annotation Boxes: can be embedded on any existing web page, including those in Voxeo’s documentation and support sites. Annotation boxes let customers actively suggest fixes, improvements, and new content for such sites.

The ExpressCRM platform features an integrated contact manager in which individual, role, and group contacts can be configured. Each contact can have multiple telephone, email, AOL/ICQ/Yahoo/MSN/Jabber IM, pager, and fax addresses. Customers can establish notification rules for each address. Contact rules are then used to automatically place phone calls; send emails, instant messages, or faxes; and page contacts when any account journal or ticket is opened or updated. Those contacts can respond via web, IM or spoken commands to instruct ExpressCRM to add additional blog comments and communicate with other account users and groups.

“Voxeos ExpressCRM solution enables efficient, flexible customer support and communication between Voxeo and companies like J3,” said John Higgins, President and CEO of J3Communications. “With ExpressCRM, Voxeo has again demonstrated its commitment to providing the best customer service and support available.”

Voxeo’s CEO, Jonathan Taylor, is a personal friend of mine whom I’ve grown to respect over the past few years. So when he told me about these new features they’d implemented into their internal and external systems I told him I had to blog about it. If you like finding the diamond in the technology rough then JT’s someone you’ll want to follow. He’s an established entrepreneur and visionary but more important he’s a proven leader and all of the Voxeons respect and trust him. The secret, in my opinion, is that he respects his employees as much as the respect him. This mutual respect has created a cohesiveness I’ve never witnessed in any other company before.

If you’re a developer and you’re interested in experimenting with IVR or VOIP but can’t afford the infrastructure necessary to get up and running then you’re in luck. Voxeo is extremely friendly with developers and offers free access to their IVR API through their evolution program. Whether you’re a web developer or a telephony develoer, you can sign up for free.

Jason Dowdell is a technology entrepreneur and operates the Marketing Shift blog.