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Multimedia customer communications


WebDialogs, Inc. is a provider of enhanced voice and multimedia communication solutions that leverage the power of Internet and telephony networks to increase the productivity, effectiveness, and quality of online experiences. The company has developed a suite of customizable solutions that enables its customers to integrate live voice and Web collaboration applications into their Web site to facilitate online sales, customer service, technical support, and end-to-end e-commerce. WebDialogs sells its solutions and technology platform directly as well as through strategic channel partners such as Net2Phone, IRT, and Cerida (formerly TeleSales, Inc.). WebDialogs is based in Billerica, MA.


Black Box Corporation is a data communications equipment company - a worldwide provider of network services and related products to businesses of all sizes in 132 countries. Products range from simple cables and connectors to Cisco routers and switches. They also provide technical services. Their free hotline Technical Support is available 24 hours per day, seven days per week. Black Box serves customers on the phone, on-site, and online.


WebDialogs' WebInteract 3.0 service is used for live, real-time voice and Web collaboration connections with online customers. This latest version of WebDialogs' WebInteract service includes a number of new features, including WebDialogs' WebIntermeet collaboration functionality, which enables users to escalate any type of online contact to a collaboration session using a "Meet Me" approach.

SearchCRM spoke with Robert McClain, Communication Technician at Black Box Corporation, about the project.
SearchCRM:What were you looking for in a CRM solution?
McClain: Since Black Box offers over 17,000 products, customers on our Web site occasionally need help deciding on the correct product to buy. So we looked for an online way to allow customers to contact us directly. Our top three criteria were that the solution be easy and non-intrusive for the customer, extremely reliable, and flexible and easy to modify.

SearchCRM: What made you choose this CRM vendor?
McClain: The WebDialogs solution met all our criteria. The technology involved is based upon industry standards so it makes it possible for everyone to use it. WebDialogs' personal service to us is outstanding, and that also was a factor in our decision.

SearchCRM: What was the most challenging aspect of the technology evaluation?
McClain: The most challenging part of the evaluation was three-fold. The first part was ensuring that the telephony technology would be compatible with the unique way Black Box technicians receive calls. We implement a phone system where the technician doesn't need to actually take a phone off-hook, but receives a tone alerting him or her that a customer is about to come on-line. Then within seconds the technician is talking to a customer. The technology needed to be able to give the technician enough forewarning plus connect the customer within our standard 20 seconds.

The second part was trying to mimic the phone traffic that we expected to see if their telephony system could handle the load.

The third part was to ensure that the Web-based side of the technology would work through our firewall.

SearchCRM: How did you overcome these challenges?
McClain: By using a WebDialogs beta server and a test page on our Web site, and routing the calls through our phone system, we were able to simulate what we expected in traffic loads and saw exactly how their telephony system needed to be configured to work with ours. The Web technology worked well through our firewall with minimal modifications as expected.

SearchCRM: What was the most challenging aspect of the implementation?
McClain: Black Box has 24 x 7 technical support and we pride ourselves on not losing the call, so the most challenging part of the implementation was loading this on all 90 technicians' PC's with out taking them away from the phones.

SearchCRM: How does the WebDialogs solution help you retain customers?
McClain: Our feedback from customers has been that they really like this service and are amazed at how well it works. This keeps our customers happy and keeps them coming back.

SearchCRM: What advice would you give to other companies just beginning a CRM project?
McClain: There are a lot of vendors doing this type of service. You really have to grasp who your customers are and what they actually need; what features you require and what features you can do without; and how reliable the vendor's service is. Make sure you test the software in as close to the actual environment that you will be using it in as possible.

Linda Formichelli's writing has appeared this year in Woman's Day, Wired, Writer's Digest, Family Circle and Psychology Today. Contact her at

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