Courier-Post from Camden, New Jersey on January 5, 2000 · Page 20
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Courier-Post from Camden, New Jersey · Page 20

Camden, New Jersey
Issue Date:
Wednesday, January 5, 2000
Page 20
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Wednesday, January ". -Jinx I C 0 U R IKK-V 0 S T American stocks 8 Market summary 9 Mutual funds 7 " NASDAQ stocks 8 New York stocks 9 BO Market report Dow Jones Industrials Chrysler's record-setting year1 tempered by slow December sales i By JUSTIN HYDE Associated Press HIGH . 11350.06 LOW 10977.30 CLOSE 10997.93 CHANGE 3.17 Indexes NYSE -20.65 at 618.87 AMEX -19.09 at 849.65 NASDAQ -229.46 at 3901.69 S&P500 -55.80 at 1399.42 w$m A quick take on local and national business news Local attorney to be honored for service Therese M. Keeley, president of the Camden County Bar Foundation and past president of the Camden County Bar Association, has been selected as this year's recipient of the Hoa Peter J. Devine Jr. Award, to be presented Jan. 25 at the Harbour League Club in Camden. The award is presented each year for "continuing distinguished service to the bar." Keeley is a partner with New Jersey's largest law firm, McCarter & English, in its Cherry Hill office, where she has handled toxic toil claims in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania courts. In 1984, she founded the Bar Foundation's Public Benefits Committee, of which she was chairwoman for 13 years, coordinating and participating in charitable and education programs primarily benefiting Camden residents. Penn professor named to FCC post PHILADELPHIA A University of Pennsylvania professor and Internet pioneer was named the chief technologist at the Federal Communications Commission starting in mid-January, the agency said. David J. Farber, 65, helped develop the first electronic switch while at Bell Labs and helped write a variety of programming languages, including SNOBOL. He worked on some of the first computer networks, including CSNET, a network that linked computer-science departments at about 500 colleges and universities. Farber said he will drop his teaching responsibilities while working at the FCC. The FCC regulates the telephone, broadcasting and cable industries. , Medford publisher acquires similar firm Information Today Inc. (TIT) has acquired Knowledge Asset Media (KAM), including KMWorld magazine, the Web site and related assets from Bill Communications in New York. ITI , is the Medford-based publisher of Information Today, a newspaper for users and producers of electronic information services, as well as other periodicals, books, directories, and online products for information users and professionals. KAM's properties address the emerging information technology and business practices sector known as knowledge management, the objective of which is to help companies better manage organizational knowledge to improve business performance, innovation and bottom-line results. Based in Camden, Maine, KAM publishes the 90,00Ocircu-lation KMWorld magazine, which serves business and information systems executives. CHRISTINA MITCHELL Business Editor 486-2479 Send story ideas or Daily Briefing items to Mitchell at Courier-Post, Box 5300, Cherry Hill 08034 or fax them to 663-2831. DETROIT The Chrysler division of DaimlerChrysler AG and some foreign automakers ended a record-breaking 1999 on a wan note, reporting sluggish U.S. light vehicle sales for December. Chrysler said Tuesday that sales of cars and light trucks were up less than 1 percent in December, with a 3 percent boost in car sales overcoming a slight decline in truck sales. The company ended the year with sales up 5 percent, with most of the increase coming from strong sales of Jeep sport utility vehicles and Dodge trucks. One dark spot: Chrysler's minivans ended the year with sales off 4 percent for the year and down 8 percent in December. The current models, due to be replaced this year, have suffered in competition with the Honda Odyssey and Ford , Windstar. Some other automakers also reported slower December sales. Tovota Motor Co. said its sales were down 12 percent, while sales for the year ended up 8 percent. The Toyota Camry will likely take the crown of best-selling car in America again, with sales of 320,156 vehicles. Saab AB said its sales for the month were off 17.5 percent. But both posted strong gains for the year, part of an industrywide increase expected to push total light vehicle sales well past the record of 16 million vehicles set in 1986. "No one could have pre dicted such a monster year, nor anticipated the sustained strength of consumer confidence," said Jim Press, executive vice president for Toyota's U.S. sales arm. "Every indicator points to a leveling-off in 2000. But of course, that's what we all said last year." Art Spinella, an industry sales analyst with CNW Marketing Research in Bandon, Ore., said automakers' monthly sales would suffer in comparison to a strong month last year, and that mild Mount Laurel firm advises clients on consumer retention Keeping customers satisfied By EILEEN SMITH Courier-Post Staff MOUNT LAUREL It's a pitch as old as selling: It's cheaper to keep an existing customer than it is to land a new one. So how does a business keep the customer happy? Long a hit-and-miss process, retaining clients is becoming somewhat of a science, say Suzanne Baldino Jones and Mark Heisler, whose business it is to teach companies how. Jones and Heisler are partners in Competitive Business Strategy Group. They are consultants, as well as evangelists for establishing a continuum of customer care. "We specialize," Heisler says. "We only do sales and retention." David Scheuring hired Jones and Heisler to write scripts for his investment firm's customer service representatives. "We see client retention as a proactive effort," says Scheuring, managing director of RTE Asset Management in Jenkintown, Pa. "If you wait until the customer decides to redeem his shares, it's too late." The responses the customer service representatives received revealed that clients were most dissatisfied when they felt they weren't adequately informed. So RTE established a regular e-mail newsletter that includes tips on how to access financial information. "As a result, we have very few customers leaving us unexpectedly," Scheuring says. Jones, whose background is in customer service management, and Heisler, a one-time sales rep, worked together at Lincoln Investment Planning in Voorhees. They started their own Dutch software firm's CEO quits Associated Press AMSTERDAM, Netherlands Dutch software maker Baan NV stunned investors Tuesday by announcing the resignation of CEO Mary Coleman after seven months in office. Baan also announced a restructuring that will include eliminating 4 percent of its work force about 188 of its 4,700 jobs and closing 14 offices as it shifts its focus to creating business-to-business products for use on the Internet Baan had been expected to return to profitability this year, following a string of quarterly losses beginning in late 1998. Baan shares on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange fell to $10.30 from Monday's close of $15.08. In mid-1998, Baan stock traded at $49 a share. The company, with dual headquarters in the Netherlands and in Herndon, Va., specializes in computer software. A company statement said Coleman was leaving "to pursue other technology-related opportunities nearer her home in Silicon Valley." " ' y -'-'. -A V ' - ; - : ' 3 "' - : - r 1 ' ,r. v. , ! , ''I '- I . ; : J I Y i AL SCHELLCourier-Post Suzanne Baldino Jones and Mark Heisler are partners in Competitive Business Strategy Group, which counsels clients on customer service Issues. They founded the company in 1994 after working together at a Voorhees firm. Competitive Business Strategy Group Address: 300 Atrium Way, Mount Laurel Business: Customer retention consultants Employees: 2 . ' Web site: business in 1994, pooling out on their own, they their personal savings. Lin- didn't have a single cus- coln is now among their tomer. roster of clients, but when Still, the partners were Jones and Heisler struck convinced they had devel- Phone plans may be confusing oped a business model that could help companies retain 95 percent of their clients. The plan was to create a throwback to the times when salespeople took care of their best customers except in this model, there would be a continuum of service throughout the organization. "When I was in sales, we'd get the customer and our job would be over," Heisler says. "Then, the salesman was king. But we believe the customer service representatives deserve equal rewards and respect." That might include paying commission to customer service workers who help to keep clients, as well as the salespeople who bring them on board. Jones and Heisler did a survey of area businesses that showed most customers leave companies because of poor service (49 percent) or lack of attention (20 percent). "They felt ignored," Jones says. "We teach companies how to give their customers high-touch service." Still, an important part of the CBSG philosophy is identifying which customers are the most profitable and which the business might be better off without. "Not all customers are created equal," Heisler says. They note that 15 percent of clients leave a company because they find a better price somewhere else. But Jones and Heisler suggest businesses think long and hard about cutting profits to edge out the competition. "To keep a customer solely by lowering the price is not what we preach," Jones says. "They'll only come back-later and want an even lower price." weather had influenced sales. "The weather has been fairly decent, and you tend to see cars sell better than they normally would," he said "Last year, the weather was lousy, and you saw more trucks." Several foreign automakers reported continued strong sales in December, though. Honda Motor Co. said its sales were up 6 percent for the month and 6.5 percent for the year; both increases were driven by the popularity of the Odyssey. By BRUCE MEYERSON Associated Press NEW YORK Now that local and longdistance phone companies are stalling to offer both types of service, consumers may find their shopping skills put to the test by an array of packages. Most "people have never had any choice in local phone service, which was monopolized by AT&T for decades and more recently by the regional Baby Bells. Likewise, it's been more than 15 years since most people could buy local and long distance from one company, and back then they had no choice except AT&T. Now, real competition for local service is starting in New York and will spread to other parts of the country in the coming months and years. , Since last February, MCI Worldcom, AT&T and Sprint have all introduced local calling service in New York, preparing for what will finally become a reality today, when Bell Atlantic becomes the first Baby Bell to sell long-distance service in the same market where it provides local service. Bell Atlantic, the local phone company for most of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, gained clearance for New York last week as the Federal Communications Commission declared that the company had finally met its obligation to open the state's local calling market to competition. SBC Communications, which serves the Southwest and Midwest expects FCC approval to provide long distance service in Texas this year and BellSouth expects it in Georgia. Bell Atlantic hopes for FCC approval for New Jersey, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania by year's end. The sudden spurt of competition is expected to bring prices down. But with four major companies and numerous calling plans to choose from, what's a consumer to do? They may be well-versed in the art of picking through a variety of long-distance plans, but many of the new plans combine local and long distance. "There will be confusion," said Samuel Simon, chairman of the Washington-based Tele communications Research and Action Center. "The simple advice is to sit down, catalog what you're using, and see what it's costing." That means weeding through recent phone bills that may compare with the new offerings like apples to oranges. Bell Atlantic, for example, is offering a local-long distance package for $19.99 per month, plus 10 cents per minute for long-distance calls and a small charge for each local call that varies with the time of day. The monthly fee includes up to eight additional features. By contrast, AT&T is charging $24.90 for virtually unlimited local service 75 hours and long-distance calls for 7 cents a minute. Sprint is charging $35 per month for unlimited local calls and long-distance rates of either 7 cents per minute all the time or 5 cents per minute from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. and 10 cents a minute other times. MCI still treats local and long distance as separate calling plans, but offers a $5 monthly discount to customers who take both services. Nissan Motor Co. saw its sales increase 7.5 percent for the month and 9 percent for the vear, thanks to its Xterra ! SUV. European automakers also , j rang in 2000 with a bang. Mercedes-Benz officially took the j " title of best-selling luxury;,; brand, selling 189,011 vehicles in 1999, an 11 percent in-, crease. .-, i Volkswagen said its sales were up 43 percent for 1999. ( , Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp. will report their sales totals today. Subaru says 1999 sales were best in 11 years Courier-Post wire service CHERRY HILL Subaru of America Inc. on Tuesday announced year-end sales figures for 1999 that were the best in 11 years. Subaru recorded a sales total of 156,806 units for year-end 1999, an increase of more than 6 percent, compared with year-end 1998 sales of 147,833 units. December posted total sales of 13,044 units, an 11 percent decrease from 1998 December sales of 14,638 units. The Legacy model line led sales with 8,263 units posted, with Outback accounting for 5,988 units. Forester posted 3,503 units for the month. Over the past six years, Subaru of America Inc. has nearly tripled its revenues and seen its sales increase by nearly 50 percent thanks to its popular line of car-based sport utility vehicles. The company is among the fastest-growing brands in the automobile industry and was recently named "Most Improved Car Company in the World" by the Lon don-based Financial Times' ; Automotive World Magazine. "Subaru is to be congratu- i lated for an excellent repositioning, over the past year '-especially. Its product lineup ' has become exciting and dis-i tinctive and those models have generated a set of very loyal customers," said An-,, drew Hunter, head of strate- gy for the Automotive, ln-Pi dustrial, Transportation group within Andersen Consulting and one of the award1' judges. Subaru beat out sev-"'' eral other auto companies including Porsche, Jaguar '-' and Skoda, all of which were ; " finalists for the award. ' Subaru of America Inc. is ' a wholly owned subsidiary' of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. ' of Japan. Headquartered on Route 70, the company markets and distributes Subaru ' vehicles, parts and accesso-'1' ries through a network of nearly 600 franchised deal-1 ers across the United States. ' All Legacy and Outback models sold in the United States are produced at the company's American manu-' facturing plant, Subaru-Isu-' zu Automotive Inc. near La-; fayette, Ind. All technology news radio station to debut By DAVID KOENIG Associated Press DALLAS A radio network and a technology company are betting that the public's growing fascination with the Internet will support a new radio format: all tech, all day. AMFM Inc. of Dallas and CNET Inc., a San Francisco-based technology news and information company, said Tuesday they will offer listeners a mix of news, reviews and interviews. Called CNET radio, the new format will debut this month on'KNEW-AM 910 in San Francisco and might be tried in other markets later this year, company officials said. Analysts said the format might be a huge success in San Francisco, but they were divided on its broader appeal. "In a high-tech market like San Francisco, there certainly is demand for this," said Christopher Ensley, an analyst with Lazard Freres & Co. "I don't think that's going to be true in every market around the country. It's probably a niche format." "It's an experiment," acknowledged James de Castro, chief executive of AMFM's Internet operation. "Compelling radio works anywhere. Is this going to be compelling enough to put on AM radio in Dallas? I don't know yet." CNET will produce programs that will air from 5:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. PST. The remaining hours will be filled with advertiser-provided programs, replays and music or a feed from CNN, de Castro said. The station will serve up a mix of breaking news about technology, reviews of new products and interviews withf major industry figures. Programs will also be broadcast on CNET's Internet radio service and promoted on' CNET's Web sites and,! AMFM's six other Bay Area ' stations. ! AMFM and CNET will , share the station's advertis-" ing revenue. '! Tim Wallace, an analyst "; with Banc of America Securi-1 1 ties, said the deal represents new media's recognition of' the marketing power of an , old staple, radio. He predict-' ed it will drive up stock valuations for radio companies. Wallace said CNET standsK to benefit from AMFM's!1 strong local advertising-sales'"' forces, which most Internet companies lack. w "The radio companies1 have been exploring the idea"' of combining their forces with the' Internet. I think" we'll see more of this," Wal-1' lace said. xl Ensley said Internet com-' panies accounted for about 10' percent of radio advertising in the fourth quarter of 1999, and the experimental format in San Francisco will attract them. CNET produces news on computers, technology and the Internet for its own Webf , sites and for television. It also owns a 13 percent stake in'' NBC Internet Inc.. the online arm of the NBC televisioil network. It had 1998 sales of $56 million. AMFM, which is 27 peri cent owned by the Dallas inl vestment firm of Hicks? Muse, Tate & Furst Inc.r owns more than 440 radio sta-l tions in 100 cities and had J 1998 sales of about $1.2 bil-' ' lion.

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