Monday, April 1, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 120



UH's sales students to receive new call center

Cougar News Services

Students in the Bauer College of Business won't have to worry about running up their cell phone bills on calls for sponsorships with
the opening of the college's Customer Call Center. The Program for Excellence in Selling and the UH selling and sales 

management education program 

will call the center, located in the AIM Center for Investment Management, its home.

Students in the program make calls to senior-level executives in an effort to attract sponsors for recruiting booths at semi-annual
sales mixers and advertisements in Sellebrations Magazine, the program's publication.

With more than 600 students enrolled in 10 sections of five courses, the program is the largest of its kind in the United States. It
boasts a 98 percent graduation rate, with many graduates able to find employment at BMC Software, Northwestern Mutual Life, Eli
Lilly, AIM Management Group, Inc., Frito-Lay and Ikon Office Solutions.

Prior to the call center, sales students ran up their cell phone bills or hurried home from class in order to make their calls, said
Program for Excellence graduate and current Program Manager Kerry O'Neal.

"When I was in the program, I would rush out from class at 2:30 p.m., and I would make an average of 20 calls a day when selling,"
O'Neal said. "It was difficult because if someone wanted me to send them additional information over e-mail, I would have to dial up,
send the e-mail and then restart my calls. I would have to give out my cell phone number, because I wouldn't want to be interrupted
during my calls and in case I was online. And sometimes I would get calls on my cell phone while I was in traffic, so I would have to
pull over so that I could take notes during the call."

The UH Customer Call Center changes that entire process, O'Neal said. Now students can simultaneously make phone calls,
receive voice mails while they are on with another caller, e-mail, search the Internet and take notes through the SalesLogix2000
software all in the 36-station call center.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 7.5 million people in the country work in sales. UH is feeding the workforce
with graduates who are ready to work. 

"Typically, a corporation spends $30,000 a year to train a new individual in sales. Through the program and the call center, our
students already have one foot in the door as they are certified for outside and inside sales," said Eli Jones, director of the Program
for Excellence in Selling.

The Customer Call Center implements the latest in communication technology: voiceover IP, unified messaging and video
conferencing. During the next year, several other applications are planned such as video e-mail and the ability to record phone
conversations so students can be critiqued.

"The Program for Excellence in Selling supplies local businesses with students who have learned customer-centric selling behavior
and understand the importance of using technology to increase selling efficiency and improve customer satisfaction," said Chris
Busch, executive professor and technology manager.

"The Customer Call Center will help us teach our students how to conduct sales presentations by phone," Jones said. "It will
improve their cold calling 

and appointment-setting ability. Through these opportunities, the program continues to raise the bar by initiating innovative and
exciting student learning opportunities that enhance our students' revenue-producing, communication, sales and leadership skills.
Businesses are hungry for employees with this skill set, especially in today's 


The Program for Excellence in Selling provides sales force education and information on tools and procedures that enhance sales

When it began five years ago, 35 students were enrolled in its introductory class and 14 were registered in an advanced sales class.

Upon completion of a five-course sequence of sales and sales management courses, graduates are awarded certificates.

"The program's mission is to provide new graduates early job placement and performance excellence," said Donny Ward, area
sales vice president for Avaya, a voice communications systems supplier. 

"The program creates a generation of graduates who are trained to improve customer satisfaction, and increase revenues
immediately. Students gain valuable experience with the leading call center applications necessary to accomplish these goals."

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