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Sony Latin America Breaks Down Communication Barriers
Improving the company's touch points and data collection capabilities enhances marketing, sales, and service efforts.
For the rest of the March 2005 issue of CRM magazine please click here
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With five call centers and some 260 e-business Web sites spread throughout Latin America, Fernando Taralli, new-business development director for Sony Latin America (SOLA), faced quite a dilemma in transforming the company's customer relationships south of the equator. "We were providing CRM for the entire Latin American region, for both our Web sites that we sell through, and our call center operations. We provide a platform for all of our offices across the region, so it was quite an interesting challenge for us," Taralli says. SOLA made the investment in CRM to align with a much larger corporate strategy. The company began transforming its business to be more customer-centric, although Sony refers to the new initiative as CCM, customer communications management. It's a twofold idea to improve its products, services, and brand per- ception through a continual communications process with its customers, and gain customer feedback on products and services to provide more direction for the company. This initiative did not proceed without encountering some challenges. It would have been easier to implement such a project based on prior experiences, but Taralli was starting the initiative from scratch, and had a lot of work to do. SOLA call center agents could not retrieve info from its Web sites--data was stored separately, and not shared. Additionally, SOLA had stand-alone, country-specific CRM applications ranging across the area, so duplicate investments and processes were being repeated at the call centers without any one of them knowing about it. Finally, there was the language barrier, with many languages being spoken throughout the area. "Each country was doing something different--one country would be doing one thing, then another country would be doing something else. We needed to standardize [processes] across the board," Taralli says. Sony Latin America chose E.piphany and ATG's e-commerce platforms to align its customer touch points and standardize its data-processing. E.piphany is used for customer analytics, marketing, and contact centers, while ATG's solution handles SOLA's e-commerce.
The company has seen marked improvements in customer satisfaction and segmentation. A central team now monitors CRM key performance indicators and disseminates customer intelligence to other groups. Additionally, SOLA has gained invaluable customer insight by improving the company's touch points and databases to allow for the collection of data, either at the call center or Web sites, to enhance marketing, sales, and services. When combined with the improved analytics platforms, Sony Latin America has improved its ability to make sales based on customer segmentation. "We had to better manage our call tracker and our analytics in a Web-based fashion," Taralli says. "We find opportunities through our analytics platform to figure what would be the best time and the best offer for a customer for cross-sell and upsell [opportunities]." All customer touch points are now following an integrated mode so everybody has a 360-degree view of the customer, either through the Web, through a call, or at the stores. This integration has also marked an improvement in customer service for Sony Latin America. Now when a customer takes a product for repair, customer service agents and store employees have a total view of the customer. "I think the measure of success is [that] we're able to do it," Taralli says. "We have a regional standard process now, moving away from local disperse initiatives. The process is getting payback, and finally, our traffic and customer interaction are continuously growing." The Payoff As a result of using E.piphany and ATG, Sony Latin America has
  • united the organization around a customer-centric view;
  • seen a continual growth in customer traffic and interaction through its Web and call centers;
  • been able to use improved customer analytics to enhance customer marketing and selling.
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