CRM Service Awards: Service Elite

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Providing customers with easy access to your company via their preferred channels is key to improving customer service, as our Elite Service Award winners have proven.

Our first Elite winner, a video game developer, followed the direction of its customers and successfully transferred 80 percent of support inquiries to the Web. A major airline company upgraded its IVR and noticed a few soft and hard ROI benefits, such as the ability to tailor interactions based on a caller's phone number and the ability to predict the reason for customer calls. Our third Elite winner, a musical instrument and equipment retailer, added a social component to its customer service efforts, enabling the company to respond to tweets and log the interactions in customers' case records.

Delighting customers, via their preferred channels and personalized service, has made these three companies winners in the customer-service game.

Game Developer Answers the Social Call
Activision Gains Customer Insight and Flexibility with Salesforce.com

Second only to Nintendo in the worldwide video game publishing and interactive entertainment sectors, Activision Blizzard is ratcheting up the competition.

The $4.7 billion company, which has millions of gamers as customers, has built its gaming empire thanks to several popular products, such as Guitar Hero, Call of Duty, and, most recently, Diablo III and World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria. The video game developer creates entertainment for online, console, handheld, and mobile devices. Activision's many gamers stay connected to their games and each other through social networks and mobile applications, inspiring the company to update its service model.

Just one year ago, Activision Blizzard still managed its call center in what Melanie Marcell, the company's senior manager of Web strategy and support solutions, calls "a very traditional model." With very little Web site support, gamers were, essentially, forced to rely on telephone support. And, Marcell adds, "what that meant for the company was a very big bill at the end of the year." But beyond the general cost per call, the company also knew that forcing such digitally savvy consumers to wait in telephone queues could easily disenfranchise them.

Activision began to explore solutions that would give it the flexibility it needed to service its gamers in the channel of their choice. Last March, the company selected Salesforce.com Service Cloud and was able to roll out the product globally and across three of its contact centers within 90 days. But Activision didn't stop there. In the past, the company had been plagued with lack of connectivity between its multiple sites. For instance, if a customer accessed Activision through a marketing site and then clicked on "Support," he would have to go through the trouble of logging back in.

As a result, the company overhauled its Web site, enhanced its self-service experience online, and integrated the primary Activision gamer database with its Web site to have easy access to gamer profiles. "We wanted to know who [our customers] were the moment they clicked on Support," Marcell maintains. "We wanted to know the challenges they were facing and lead them down a path where they could find the answers they need, check on their cases, or chat with an agent."

Since deploying Service Cloud, Marcell says Activision's Web site traffic numbers have doubled. Of all of its support channels, the Web site now accounts for 80 percent of customer service traffic, whereas the telephone used to make up that share. After deploying Service Cloud, Activision handled more than 509,000 customer cases online in 2012, and saw its Web volume reach 2.6 million unique visitors with 13 million page views.

Activision integrated social media customer service platform Radian6 into its support mix, and is expanding the integration to tie social customer support issues back to Service Cloud to keep customer service cases in context. Marcell says that Service Cloud has been paramount to improving agent performance, and gamers are getting support in the language they speak. "Now that there are options, customers are going to the self-service channel," she says. "A lot of our gamers either prefer social or the Web."

Internally, Activision support agents began using Salesforce.com's enterprise collaboration tool Chatter as a way to team up on support issues. In the past, agents would rely only on static, knowledge-based articles in a database, but now, when customer support issues are identified, they are shared collaboratively and then "shared with development studios, which is fed into the product development cycle," Marcell remarks.

With Activision's customer support solutions more fine-tuned for its customer base, the company is eyeing ways to deepen its community footprint. Online platform Call of Duty Elite was launched with both free and paid subscription features. 

By implementing Salesforce.com Service Cloud, Radian6, and Chatter, Activision has:

  • Handled 509,000-plus customer cases;
  • Doubled its Web site traffic;
  • Grown Web support to 80 percent of its support channel distribution;
  • Seen Web volume reach 2.6 million unique visitors with 13 million page views; and
  • Increased collaboration among customer service agents, managers, and product development teams.

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