• December 1, 2005
  • By Coreen Bailor, (former) Associate Editor, CRM Magazine

Self-Service Gets Graphic

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A connect-the-dots approach to a CRM initiative can quickly derail any hopes of a holistic view of the customer. In the case of ATI Technologies, its segmented process resulted in a need for a more unified way of managing its multichannel service and support operations. The designer and manufacturer of 3D graphics and digital-media silicon solutions relied on two home-built and two vendor-supplied tools to handle incoming calls, emails, and online registrations. One ATI-developed Web form helped customers register online, while the other Web form enabled customers to send emails to the company. Emails then went into a simple legacy CRM application. CSRs accessed that application, and manually entered emails into another legacy CRM suite system, which also handled phone calls. "[There was] a lot of application switching, and copying and pasting," says Ahmad Rahman, Internet development lead at ATI. "[It] just wasn't a streamlined process at all." To submit a ticket or email, according to Rahman, customers had to complete a Web form including their personal and product information and a description of the problem--for each issue. "The customer was having to do multiple data entry," Rahman says. To boot, customers did not have access to their support history, downsizing their ability to retrieve solutions and independently solve reoccurring problems. The Canadian company realized its need for a CRM solution, but with one of its tools no longer supported by the vendor, and without a proposed budget or plan for a CRM system in its upcoming 2004--2005 fiscal year, the company needed to be cost and time conscious. ATI selected on-demand support software provider Parature's Enterprise Edition, due in part to the system's configurability. After only seven weeks the entire project, which included 10 modules, went live in March 2005. With its refreshed support initiative ATI has streamlined much of its workflow management while bolstering automation and response rates. Customers submit an average of 27,000 support tickets via the Web and phone a month. That's less than 1 percent of the more than 6 million visitors to ATI's site monthly, which ATI attributes to Parature's customer facing support portal and knowledge base. Now that users have access to their histories they can revisit prior cases, relying less on support from agents. In fact, that miniature percentage has led to an impressive 99.6 percent self-service rate. When customers do submit Web tickets, however, average response time has dropped from two business days to within hours. Rahman estimates that incoming call volume has decreased by only 5 percent, but the significance is in the types of inquiries. "Now they're more in-depth, technical questions...because people are able to now resolve their own issues." ATI is looking to extend its self-service success by launching Parature's eChat and eForum modules, as well as fully implementing an online marketing life cycle. The latter will provide the company with an entire scope of the customer, and allow ATI to craft targeted marketing initiatives based on customer criteria. The Payoff By implementing Parature's support solution, ATI:
  • has a 99.6 percent self-service rate;
  • has an average of 27,000 support Web and phone tickets a month--less than 1 percent of its unique visitors to the site monthly;
  • has decreased Web-ticket average response time from two business days to hours;
  • provides customers with access to their support history; and will have an online marketing life cycle.
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