CRM in Action: IM Means Business

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The Challenge: Improve first-call resolution The Solution: Most telephone service customers know the frustration of being placed on hold, or, worse, being asked to call back. Basic Phone's instant messaging (IM) capabilities--it now loyally subscribes to San Diego--based WiredRed Software's e/pop 3.0 system--helps the prepaid local dial tone provider's 50 customer service reps to greatly reduce customer frustration and reduce the need for call-backs by resolving issues on the first call. Based in Orange, TX, Basic Phone serves customers in 10 southern and southwestern states who pay for local phone service up front. E/pop provides secure instant messaging with a user-friendly interface and a feature that enables Basic Phone's users to broadcast messages to different groups of employees. "It looks very similar to typical e-mail applications and is easy to use," says Chad Kibodeaux, sales and marketing director for Basic Phone. Customer service reps frequently use the IM feature to relay questions to the order processing and accounts receivable departments while fielding an average of 2,500 customer calls each day. Basic Phone aims to provide service within 24 hours of an initial request; the IM capability enables call center reps to quickly report to customers when service will be activated and what, if any, issues (such as payment) need to be addressed first. E/pop's grouping feature enables Basic Phone's service staff to quickly get help for their customers. For example, locate a Spanish-speaking representative when a Spanish-speaking customer calls. Service reps can also IM a group of team leaders when they need assistance in resolving a tough issue.
The Payoff: Although he has not made the connection through hard numbers, Kibodeaux emphasizes that the IM capability significantly increases productivity. More issues are resolved on the first call, and human resources and other professional issues are conveniently addressed without service representatives having to put their primary responsibility on hold.
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