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CRM in Action
For the rest of the August 2002 issue of CRM magazine please click here
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Contact Centers The Challenge: Manage the growing number of inbound calls The Solution: As a leading supplier of PC-based inventory management and point-of-sales solutions for retailers, CAM Commerce needs to manage 12,000 customers, 14,000 qualified prospects, and 60,000 service calls per year. To do this more efficiently, the company recently replaced its traditional callback call center with a real-time contact center model. Now when customers call they are prompted to state the CAM Commerce product name. Then they are imme-diately connected to a technician who searches an integrated knowledge database, and who has 15 minutes to solve the customer's problem. If the problem cannot be solved in that time frame, an escalation alert is logged into the system and instantly sent to a specialist for in-depth investigation and rapid resolution. The company also deployed Pivotal Contact Center, by Pivotal Corp., to improve its marketing planning and budgeting process. Using Pivotal, marketers get an integrated workflow and collaboration capabilities for campaign approval and execution, along with financial modeling and tracking. In addition, CAM Commerce created an executive dashboard, which runs across computer screens like a stock ticker, and displays key company metrics. This allows executives to have vital information delivered to them in real time. The Payoff: Although service calls have increased by 20 percent over last year to 60,000 calls per year, the company was able to reduce its staff by 16 percent due to a significant increase in individual employee productivity.
  • The tracking of marketing campaigns has improved. The system has so far tracked 211 marketing projects.
  • CAM has generated more than 14,000 leads, up 40 percent from last year. Web Self-Service The Challenge: Improve customer service and reduce technical support costs The Solution: Ford Motor Co. signed an enterprisewide licensing agreement with NativeMinds Inc. to create an unlimited number of online virtual service agents to provide 24x7 customer service to Ford's employees, customers, and partners. Virtual representatives, or vReps, are automated online personalities that emulate human customer service agents by providing personalized answers to customer questions via two-way, natural-language dialog. VReps help Ford's customers and employees find information faster online than they can by phone or email. This helps reduce customer service and technical support costs by reducing the volume of calls into support centers. It also allows agents to provide faster, more immediate resolutions to inquiries. Using NativeMinds' NeuroServer, Ford launched its virtual representative, Kate, who answers customer questions on Ford's Web site. Internally Ford has been using a vRep called Ernie since early 2001 to provide round-the-clock internal technical support to 45,000 technicians at 5,000 Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury dealerships. Ernie was fashioned after a human engineer. "My job hasn't changed all that much," says Ernie Bell, the engineer at Ford's technical support operations for whom vRep Ernie was named. "I still deal with technicians on the phone. But the vRep has cut down on the volume of calls I [receive]."
    The Payoff: Increased customer service efficiency and reduced call center costs. Database Management The Challenge: Automate catalog and Web-site updates The Solution: WayToBe, a provider of specialty apparel and merchandise to corporate clients, offers merchandise through custom catalogs and Web sites. The catalogs were printed annually and the Web site was updated annually, says Alan McIntosh, chief executive of WayToBe. The company used Full Degree Inc.'s Product Information Management System to centralize its product information into a native XML repository that was integrated with the WayToBe inventory management system. The repository was also linked to the catalog publishing system and Web site. Inventory and pricing updates are now downloaded nightly into the central product information management repository, and new products with corresponding images and descriptions are now added to the system as they become available. By linking its order-entry system to the repository, price changes are now automatically updated on the WayToBe Web site. If inventory is not in stock, the customer is now immediately notified at the time of purchase. McIntosh says his company has not only experienced 30 percent time reduction in catalog and Web-site production, but also expects to recognize some increased revenue as the system allows them to put out specially targeted catalogs and Web sites. The Payoff: Created multiple new revenue generation opportunities and increased efficiencies.
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