• August 1, 2008
  • By Marshall Lager, founder and managing principal, Third Idea Consulting; contributor, CRM magazine

All Lines Are Not Busy

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Who�s to blame when contact center handling times slow to a crawl? Thissort of question gets asked a lot, and it sets off rounds offinger-pointing with an attendant lack of problem-solving. BritishTelecom (BT) was able to break this unproductive cycle with the help ofNew York-based business performance management vendor Knoa.

BT�s relationship with Knoa was driven primarily by thetelecommunications provider�s prior adoption of Siebel Systems productsfor CRM purposes, beginning in 2000. As BT grew to more than 15,000agents (and more than 30,000 total Siebel users) across 33 contactcenters, it started to take a different view of how to manage Siebel.�As adoption became more aggressive, we also needed to manage certainregulatory issues,� says Stuart Smith, BT�s director of CRMperformance. �We had to further segment some systems within BT.�

BT found itself using three separate Siebel applications -- One Viewfor its consumer efforts, One Siebel for large businesses, and OpenReach for partnerships with other telecoms. Multiply that by all itscontact center locations, and you have a recipe for chaos. �BT had ablind spot: What was the end-user experience when using Siebel?� saysLori Wizdo, vice president of marketing for Knoa. �There were concernsexpressed all along the line -- from agents to call center managers toline-of-business managers. Slowness and system crashes plagued the callcenters, with no way to substantiate the truth of what happened.�

The difficulty was compounded by the dynamic nature of BT�s offerings.�We customize and update our features every seven weeks, so we�re amoving target for understanding functions and processes,� Smith says.But rather than be intimidated by the scope of the project, Knoa wentat it with relish. �We were faced with an opportunity to engage with avery sophisticated IT organization, delivering a business-criticalplatform implemented entirely by Knoa,� Wizdo says.

�We had been looking to deploy a response-time monitoring tool, when weevaluated Knoa EPM, which monitors the complete user experience,� Smithsays. �Once we put Knoa out there, within a few weeks we started to seebenefits. Trends of failures and slowdowns became visible, and we wereable to deliver tech fixes or training as needed.�

The benefits BT realized are literally too many and varied to list inthis space -- but there are highlights, including improvement in contactcenter agent productivity. By comparing user behavior at onehigh-performing contact center to another, BT was able to identifyspecific end-user behaviors that improved productivity for hundreds ofadvisors by 25 percent, amounting to approximately $3 million. BT savedan estimated further $2 million by eliminating bottlenecks caused byobsolete desktops.

BT also successfully doubled -- and then tripled -- its number of agentswithout adding tech staff. By eliminating a number of maintenance callsand identifying which problems don�t need investigation, the ITdepartment is free to concentrate on real problems, and can resolvethem an average of 4 hours sooner than before. Handling time forcustomers has improved by a minimum of 45 percent, and as much as 120percent in some cases. You could say BT made the right call. 

By using Knoa to manage its deployments of Oracle�s Siebel, British Telecom:

  • improved agent productivity by more than $5 million;
  • eventually tripled its end-user population with no increase in its IT support team;
  • saves 80 hours a month by not investigating �non-problems�;
  • saves four hours per service incident;
  • avoids 30 site visits per year for maintenance; and
  • improved response time for key transactions by as much as 120 percent.

Every month, CRM magazine covers the customer relationship management industry and beyond. To subscribe, please visit http://www.destinationcrm.com/subscribe/.

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