Play-By-Play Outsources Operations for New Catalog

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Play-By-Play Toys & Novelties, San Antonio, TX, a large wholesale supplier of stuffed and plush toys, has selected Corporate Express Call Center Services, Cresskill, NJ, to manage the call center operations for a test mailing of the company's new Billy & Sis catalog.

Play-By-Play focused on integration with fulfillment center operations and the presentation of the light-hearted, playful nature of the company's products in working with Corporate Express Call Center Services, said Bill Rooney executive vice president of the Billy & Sis Catalog.

The call center will handle inbound telemarketing and catalog requests, then forward orders to AB&C Group, a Forrester Center, WV-based fulfillment center. To integrate the call center operations with the fulfillment functions, Corporate Express Call Center Services is emulating the MAC II software that AB&C uses, Rooney said. The software links both the call center and fulfillment operations to Play-By-Play.

Corporate Express, which specializes in telemarketing for catalogers, operates call centers in Wilkes-Barre, PA, and Salisbury, MD. The two call centers' combined staff of 1,005 agents were specially trained for the catalog. The training session lasted approximately one week, during which agents became familiar with the MAC II software.

The agents also had two days to get familiar with the products sold in the catalog. Agents assigned to the account were encouraged to play with stuffed animals and the other toys so they were familiar with what they are selling.

"The training sessions focus on everything to make sure they know the company and its policies," said Mike Kadish, vice president of marketing and new business development for Corporate Express. "It is necessary to have an understanding of what drives sales."

Since the mailing is still in its test phase, Rooney would not comment on the number of sales calls generated from the catalog. However, Kadish said Corporate Express agents could expect to receive 75,000 to 80,000 calls in the period before the holiday season from this campaign alone.

The catalog was mailed to 350,000 people across the country. The leads for the mailing were obtained through purchased and rented lists. The next test mailing will go out on Feb. 22. The initial test mailing went out on Oct. 5.

In addition to its own line of plush and stuffed toys, Play-By-Play has licensing agreements with Warner Bros., The Walt Disney Company, and other corporations in the entertainment character business for children.

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