Irregular Reporting of Societal IssuesSM

"Get your news weakly"SM 21 November 2005

Scottish Quidditch Hooligans Arrested

Over the weekend, authorities in Manchester, England were forced to arrest 120 rowdy Scottish Quidditch Hooligans. Those arrested were all young men, reportedly throwing beer bottles and hexing muggles.

Google HomeSM Announced

In a move to strengthen their already considerable consumer brand, Google has announced the beta release of a new product branded Google HomeSM. "Google HomeSM leverages our core competencies in search to create a more convenient and comfortable home environment", said Google co-founder Sergey Brin. Instructions for Google HomeSM offer users the opportunity to use their new Google HomeSM just like they use Google MailSM. "Why put anything away? Simply search with Google HomeSM!", reads the user´s guide, later suggesting that one need, "never lose your keys again", because Google HomeSM will be able to use radical new technology to search your home and provide locations in order by date or relevance. According to official press releases, the underlying search technology is essentially the same as the basic Google search, relying in part on external references for ratings of importance. When searching for the TV remote, for instance, Google HomeSM would place preference on areas frequented by TV watchers, including the couch and any chairs near the TV. Microsoft did not officially acknowledge the new release by its most potent rival, but sources close to Redmond are in Seattle. Other releases rumored to be in the works at Google include GaggleSM, a tool which enables adults to search for meaningful content in the conversations of grouped teenagers, and Google Sub-TextSM, a revolutionary, real-time search tool for human speech that allows users to search for hidden meanings.


This Weak In Business: Firms Adopt Radical New Customer Service Strategy

Noting the increasing cost of business, US firms continue to seek creative ways to reduce operating expenditures, leaving funds for their core competencies. As part of this analysis, a growing number of firms have determined that Customer Service represents a cost center in the corporate ecosystem. Naturally, identification of Customer Service costs has led to a round of out-sourcing. "While [out-sourcing] saved us money, it just wasn’t enough, so, naturally, that led to off-shoring, and from there the next step was obvious", said Kevin Lay, Vice President of Customer Service at Merck Pharmaceuticals, speaking of the latest development in staffing models: zero-sourcing. "This is really an exciting time in American business", says Gartner Analyst Shad Yermouth, "companies are finally taking a hard look at what costs them money without any quantifiable return".

Consumer advocates alarmed by the implications of the new trend toward zero-sourcing attempted to express concerns, but repeated voicemails went unanswered, emails seemed to go to an electronic black hole, and the corporate office on the letterhead turns out to be a P.O. box in Omaha, Nebraska. "While I understand their concern in a general sense, not having read their emails and letters or actually having spoken to them, what these people do not realize is how much more efficient our Customer Service department is under zero-sourcing", said Mr. Lay. Mr. Lay went on to explain, "with ZS, we can handle almost triple the call volume for a fraction of the cost under the prior paradigm and our close-rate for trouble tickets has risen to 100%. No company can touch that level of efficiency with any other model". Merck Pharmaceuticals customer Ira Table summed it up best when she said, "I have not really noticed any difference in the service since they went to zero-sourcing".

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© 2005 Lea Ann Mawler & Stuart Mawler