• March 11, 2010
  • By Jessica Tsai, Assistant Editor, CRM magazine

The 2010 CRM Service Awards: The Service Elite -- Enterasys Networks

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Enterasys Networks, a provider of network solutions, is hardly a stranger to CRM, having implemented Salesforce.com for sales force automation back in 2003. As an early adopter, though, Enterasys had to customize that solution for its support side until January 2009, when the company implemented Salesforce.com’s Service Cloud 2.

Not anymore. Enterasys handled more than 53,000 support cases in 2009, a year-over-year increase of 16 percent, despite having to reduce staff levels by 10 percent. Just a single certified Salesforce.com administrator now handles 600 licensed users, significantly reducing the dedicated staff and team of contractors once needed to manage the on-premises product. Vala Afshar, the vice president of global technical services at Enterasys, says the company had been satisfying customers on its old system, but admits that even satisfied customers were buying from competitors. “We’re now transitioning,” Afshar says, “from customer satisfaction to customer loyalty.”  

Giving sales and service individuals the visibility and tools they need to resolve questions and problems comes in handy when you’re handling more than a thousand support cases every week. On top of that, Enterasys now saves about 10 minutes per case, which translates into savings of nearly $500,000 a year.

Each sales and service agent can log into the system and access a performance scorecard, which evaluates the agent on various key performance indicators—abandon rate, talk time, hold time—compared against the group average and the top performers. According to Afshar, the scorecard isn’t necessarily intended to move people up the ranks, but to help individuals understand where to improve and seek advice for improvement. In turn, he says, the staff delivers better service. By nurturing its employees, Enterasys boasts a 2 percent attrition rate, or just one or two employees each year—impressive considering the average rate in contact centers is 27 percent.

Enterasys also launched a case management system that allows a customer to not only enter questions and engage in consultative dialogues with an agent, but also view her contact history for the past 12 months. Moreover, she has access to any unresolved cases in her customer record. “My customers have the same amount of visibility into their contact with our organization as I do,” Afshar says. 

Promoting transparency for both employees and customers has reduced talk time by 19 percent, improved first-contact closure rates by 24 percent, and reduced overall case-resolution time—which is now at an average of 2.7 days after initial contact—by 71 percent. 

Talk time may be a common industry metric, but Afshar says it’s actually one of the least important at Enterasys. “Don’t emphasize efficiency at the expense of relationship-building,” he warns. “We’re using service and support to really educate the customer—not just triage an incident or give them consultative service on a single question but really leverage the product they have…. That really speaks to de-emphasizing things like talk time.” 

Customers appreciate the effort. After implementing Service Cloud 2, Enterasys added a question to its post-transaction survey asking customers whether they would recommend the company based solely on the quality of support—98 percent said yes by the end of 2009, an eight-percentage-point increase over the beginning of the year. On top of that, for the company’s worldwide, biannual survey, which evaluates broader issues such as product quality, service, and company performance, Enterasys received a 97 percent in customer satisfaction, and 96 percent of customers said they’d recommend the company to a friend or colleague. In 2006, the company was scoring in the high 80s. 

For a dwindling number of dissatisfied customers, Service Cloud 2 allows Enterasys to set up automatic triggers and escalation paths that ensure any concerns are addressed, even if it takes getting senior-level executives involved. “Anytime we promise something,” Afshar says, “we use our CRM tool to tell us how well we’re doing with respect to the commitment that we’ve made. That’s true in every aspect of our business.”  

Enterasys Networks, by the Numbers

  • More than 53,000 support cases are now handled annually, a 16 percent year-over-year increase, while staffing levels have been reduced by 10 percent;
  • The average case is handled approximately 10 minutes faster, which translates into annual savings of nearly $500,000;
  • First-contact closure rates have improved by 24 percent;
  • Talk time has been cut by 19 percent;
  • Case-resolution time is 71 percent lower, to an average of 2.7 days;
  • The employee-attrition rate has been reduced to less than 2 percent; 
  • Overall customer satisfaction is at 97 percent, and the company-referral rate is at 96 percent; and 
  • Approximately 98 percent of customers say they’d recommend the company based exclusively on service and support.

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