Major Catalog Retailers Choose NetByTel for Phone-to-Web Ordering

Internet Retailer

BOCA RATON, Fla.--Aug. 20, 2001--

MicroWarehouse, Specialty Catalog Corp., Tafford Manufacturing and Harbor Freight Tools are Among First Catalog Retailers to Use Advanced Speech Recognition-based Technology That Links Phone Self-service to

E-commerce Systems

NetByTel, the first company to extend self-service voice commerce technology to Web systems, will be helping several major catalog retailers implement talk-to-the-Web self-service ordering systems over the next few weeks. Using NetByTel`s Voice Commerce Platform(TM), the customers of companies such as MicroWarehouse, Specialty Catalog Corp., Tafford Manufacturing and Harbor Freight Tools, will either be able to get information, conduct customer service transactions or order products from catalogs anytime by phone by speaking to each company`s Web e-commerce systems.

NetByTel`s Voice Commerce Platform applications give callers instant access to online transactions by talking to the Web over the phone. The software uses speech recognition to process conversational speech and interact with clients` Web-based IT systems. In contrast to cumbersome touch-tone interactive voice response systems, callers interact with NetByTel`s voice commerce modules simply by speaking into the phone as if they were speaking to a live call center representative or typing and clicking on a Web site.

Known for its extensive print catalog and online presence featuring thousands of products, MicroWarehouse will be the first in the electronics industry to incorporate NetByTel`s self-service voice commerce solutions designed to enhance its telephone channel sales. NetByTel will help MicroWarehouse provide faster, more convenient customer self-service with a range of fee-per-transaction voice commerce applications hosted through NetByTel`s network operations center. All self-service transactions by phone will link to MicroWarehouse`s existing investment in its web e-commerce system.

"NetByTel`s voice commerce applications give us a direct channel link for e-commerce and customer self-service at anytime, from any phone," according to Susan Fazelpoor, Senior Vice President of Customer Care at MicroWarehouse. "That means we can exploit the full potential of voice self-service for handling information and order status requests, and enable our live agents to devote more time to complex customer interactions. "

Specialty Catalog Corporation, a leader in Web and catalog marketing of women`s wigs and hairpieces, selected NetByTel voice commerce solutions to help manage surges in call volumes from special promotions that can strain existing call center resources, according to Bob Brennan, Director of Information Technology at the company.

"We need voice commerce self-service solutions from NetByTel to help our customers order products and literature more quickly and efficiently," he said. "We don`t want them on hold waiting for a live agent, when they can easily order for themselves over the phone with an automated attendant that is friendly, polite and pleasant to deal with."

Tafford Manufacturing designs and manufactures uniforms, so every customer can be assured of superior quality, originality in design and budget-conscious prices. Their operations are designed to serve the individual and also the large healthcare organizations. "Personal service is a hallmark from which we do not stray, and we are constantly reevaluating our performance and procedures to make the purchasing experience pleasant and efficient for every type of customer," said Joseph DeColli, General Manager. "NetByTel is a natural extension of that service."

With more than a million customer calls every year, Harbor Freight Tools, headquartered in Camarillo, California, is looking for NetByTel Voice Commerce to help reduce call center costs and increase margins by handling routine orders through customer self-service. Linking voice commerce to its e-commerce systems saves Harbor Freight money and simplifies management through an efficient and cost-effective multiple-channel customer contact center.

"Although we have a very strong Web presence, as a catalog company the telephone is still one of our main contact channels, and now it can be one of the most cost effective," said David Martel Vice President of Marketing at Harbor Freight Tools. "We wanted to be sure our customers have a friendly and efficient self-service option anytime they want it, from any phone."

Besides the catalog retailers mentioned here, NetByTel currently has more than 20 customers including, Office Depot, Boston Proper, Charles Keath and Mark Fore and Strike.

"All of these catalog retailers are direct commerce leaders known for providing outstanding customer service and superior products. Because they rely on the telephone for so much of their business, voice commerce is a logical way to improve their customer self-service and reduce their call abandonment rates," said Paul Robinson, NetByTel co-founder and President. "NetByTel gives catalog retailers a better way to deploy a self-service voice commerce channel to leverage their existing e-commerce investment and eliminate the expense of managing and maintaining complex internal voice software systems. It`s the voice of the future."

About MicroWarehouse

MicroWarehouse, Inc., headquartered in Norwalk, CT, is a global, multi-billion dollar specialty catalog and online retailer and direct marketer of brand name personal computers, computer software, accessories, peripheral and networking products to commercial, education, government, and consumer customers. The company offers brand name hardware and software from leading vendors such as Adobe, Apple, 3Com, Compaq, Hewlett Packard, IBM, Iomega, Microsoft, and Toshiba. For more information on MicroWarehouse, visit their web site at www.microwarehouse.com.

About Specialty Catalog Corp.

Specialty Catalog Corp. is a direct marketer targeting niche consumer product categories through a variety of catalogs and web sites. The Company is the leading U.S. retailer of women`s wigs and hairpieces through its Paula Young(R) catalog and web site, and also offers African-American women a broad selection of quality wigs, hairpieces, apparel and related products through its Especially Yours(R) catalog and web site. Through its subsidiary, Daxbourne International Limited, the Company is a leading retailer and wholesaler of women`s wigs and hairpieces in the United Kingdom. For more information visit SC Corp.`s website at www.scdirect.com. About Harbor Freight Tools Harbor Freight is the largest tool and equipment catalog retailer in North America with over five million satisfied customers taking advantage of a wide selection of more than 7,000 brand-name tools, and related items not found anywhere else. Brand name products featured include DeWalt, Chicago Electric, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Makita, Central Machinery, Porter Cable, Central Hydraulic, Stanley, Central Forge. For more information visit Harbor Freight`s web site at www.harborfreight.com. About Tafford Tafford Manufacturing was founded on the premise that medical uniforms could incorporate the style, comfort and individuality of sportswear and still function in a professional, fast-pace work environment. They have evolved from a small mail order house into the medical uniform industry`s leader in service, style and innovation. For more information visit Tafford`s web site at www.tafford.com.

About NetByTel

NetByTel(TM) makes the World Wide Web wider than ever with voice commerce solutions that connect online e-commerce systems and telephones using speech recognition as the interface. The NetByTel Voice Commerce Platform(TM) gives multi-channel organizations the ability to offer quality self-service to millions of customers and employees who use their voice to conduct Web-based transactions, such as product ordering and customer service inquires, freeing up personnel and lowering inbound customer call costs by as much as 87 percent. NetByTel`s plug-and-play Voice Commerce Modules take advantage of current e-commerce infrastructure, making implementation fast, easy and cost-effective. NetByTel`s solutions have won several awards including the 2001 Call Center and CRM Solutions Best Speech Product, PC Magazine`s 2001 Innovation in Infrastructure as well as Frost and Sullivan`s 2001 Business Development Strategy Award for Voice Commerce. NetByTel partners with world-class organizations such as SpeechWorks (Nasdaq: SPWX), Ecometry (Nasdaq: ECOM), Vicinity (Nasdaq: VCNT) and Intel. For more information about NetByTel, visit the company`s Web site at www.netbytel.com.


Beaupre & Co. Public Relations

Tim Munroe





Stephen D. Avalone




Interactive voice response, Mail order, MicroWarehouse, Online shopping, Retailing