Saturday, February 26, 2011

Thomas Cook Direct | Travel

Company: Thomas Cook Direct

Thomas Cook Direct has a mission to become a major travel service for holiday and flight bookings. To succeed in this goal, customer care must be second to none. The company is pursuing a reputation as a world-class contact center; it has four separate centers in the United Kingdom and employs more than 1000 CSRs, operates seven days a week, from 8 A.M. to midnight, and handles more than 80,000 calls each week.

The company needed a technology that could support and simplify the process of managing and optimizing a complex and busy workforce, but the solution also had to make financial sense and show quantifiable returns.

The company selected Blue Pumpkin's solution for several reasons. The key differentiators from other products were the capability to schedule staff according to skillsets and the easy-to-use graphical user interface. Contact center managers could now monitor all four centers from their desktop, enabling them to instantly compare resource levels and overlap and identify where staffing and skill levels could be improved for the next day.

The benefits provided by the vendor solution selected included
  • Enabling agents to manage their own schedules through a self-service, browser-based interface—Web-Enabled Self-Service (WESS)
  • Improved morale and satisfaction as a result of empowering agents with the freedom and flexibility to make their own decisions
  • Quick return on investment (ROI)
  • A 25% drop in call-abandon rates
  • Overall 49% productivity improvement and first-year ROI of 3000%
  • 37% increase in agent productivity
  • 40% improvement in service levels
  • 10% reduction in management workload for workforce management functions
  • 47% increase in customer satisfaction ratings
  • 40% improvement in schedule adherence

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Primavera Systems

Company: Primavera Systems

Founded in 1983, Primavera Systems, Inc. is the leading provider of enterprise and Web-based project management, control, and execution software. Headquartered in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania, Primavera has offices in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Concord (New Hampshire), London, and Hong Kong. Primavera's products include project management, planning, and scheduling; methodology management; risk analysis; resource planning; issue tracking; and team communication for integrated project execution. 
Primavera software is also designed to easily integrate with other systems in the enterprise, including leading enterprise resource planning (ERP) software for a total business solution. Primavera's customer base spans a broad range of industries, including information technology, financial services, telecommunications, chemical processing, energy, engineering, construction, utilities, aerospace, and defense.

Primavera was looking for a solution to support its customer service. It needed a robust solution for both of its contact centers in Concord, New Hampshire, and Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania, to manage roughly 5000 phone calls and 100 Web requests from customers on a monthly basis. The solution had to meet the following requirements:
  • Enable agents to derive value from every customer interaction
  • Empower agents to view and manage all communications within a fully integrated solution
  • Provide comprehensive reporting and monitoring to enable changes to be made instantly based on report findings
  • Instill a sense of confidence that all customers are receiving the attention and responses they deserve
  • Keep costs down
  • Integrate with an existing Onyx software customer database

Taking into consideration the requirements they were looking for in a contact center solution, Primavera chose Apropos Technology's Multi-Channel Interaction Management Suite to manage phone and Web customer interactions. The Apropos Intelligent Call Distribution (ICD) system gave Primavera more control over call routing, distributing customer calls to the most appropriate agent in a quicker and more efficient fashion. Primavera also gained improved real-time visibility and more in-depth historical reporting functionality to better manage both of the company's contact centers with the Apropos solution.

Primavera uses the Apropos solution to manage inbound customer interactions within the contact center and to integrate with its existing Onyx customer database through Touch-Tone inputs into the interactive voice response (IVR) unit, without changing any hardware or software configurations. The flexibility and customization of the solution allows Primavera to service its customers based on individual needs. It allows CSRs to provide a high degree of relationship-based service through the ability to view incoming and outgoing customer interaction requests based on the interactions's priority or Primavera's specific business rules. Using these business rules also allows calls to be routed to the most appropriate agent and interactions to be managed on a priority basis.

In addition to handling interaction workflow, Apropos provides Primavera's contact center with a single point of management for systemwide agent, supervisor, and server configurations. The Apropos solution also enables Primavera to seamlessly manage all voice and Web customer interactions. Primavera's on-line customers have the flexibility to conduct interactions over the Internet through e-mail or Web collaboration and access to personal "live" assistance through either an interactive Web chat or voice interaction to help complete sales or service transactions.

Primavera also takes advantage of customizable voice features available in the Apropos product. These features includes automatic call distribution, programmable interactive voice response, voice mail management, voice recording, abandoned-call management, call blending, and text-to-speech automation.
Primavera's agents can monitor both of the firm's contact centers, which service all of its North American customers. This monitoring capability allows interactions received by the system to be tracked, alarmed, and reported on, which ultimately gives contact center managers accurate data on the performance of the center, allowing them to react in real time to any changing business conditions while monitoring quality assurance.

Primavera uses the Apropos Interaction Vault™ (iValult™) application to keep a record of interactions and gain instant access to interaction histories through archived records of all customer interactions. Apropos' iVault is a browser-based application. Its search capabilities allow Primavera's contact center agents and supervisors to immediately view the entire history of any interaction based on date, time, or business data. From a single source, agents and supervisors can review all previous customer communications from a variety of sources.

The following benefits were achieved:
  • Reduced research time from three hours to less than 15 minutes a week
  • Improved real-time visibility and in-depth historical reporting functionality
  • Improved data quality, allowing management to compare agent-recorded interaction metrics and notes found in their CRM application to reality
  • Increased customer service with intelligent call distribution, providing more control over call routing and distributing customer calls to the most appropriate agent in a quicker and more efficient manner

Friday, February 18, 2011

Crystal Decisions | Technology

Company: Crystal Decisions

Crystal Decisions, of Vancouver, BC, a Seagate Company, is a leading software developer of solutions that enable organizations to analyze, manage, and protect the hidden value of critical corporate information. With over 20 offices worldwide, Crystal Decisions' Vancouver contact center provides technical support to customers all over the world.

Because Crystal Decisions supports everything from shrink-wrapped customer products that sell for less than $200 to multimillion-dollar corporate installations, the company needed to find a way to support customers across this broad spectrum consistently. A key requirement was to identify customers who had basic 60-day free support and high-end customers who were paying for premium customer service.

Supervisors were especially challenged. The closest thing the company had to real-time information was a periodic recycling of the message reader board. Crystal Decisions had 14 queues, so 14 message boards were downloaded to the network and flashed every minute. With contact center offices operating from Vancouver, Florida, Texas, Australia, and the United Kingdom, an enterprisewide interaction management solution became a critical requirement for a seamless information flow regardless of media type or physical location.

After careful evaluation of a half-dozen vendors, Crystal Decisions chose LGS Group and its Interaction Management Solutions (IMS) system to deliver the Apropos Multimedia Interaction Management Solution. The IMS solution emphasized "agent empowerment." The capability of Apropos to display all interactions and allow agents to select those calls that took priority, had been waiting longest, or fell into a specialty area helped them be prepared and proactive when answering a call. A caller preview function allowed agents to see caller information while calls are still in the queue. In addition, integration with the corporate customer relationship management (CRM) database provided a screen pop of the customer's data on the legacy system. Agents had immediate access to customers' detailed records, providing consistent and effective support to every customer.

When customers call, they are asked to enter their product registration number and/or call incident number. Calls are routed based on these numbers. If customers have a valid support contract or are entitled to 60-day free support, they are identified and, based on their support contract, placed in the appropriate queue. This important functions allows Crystal Decisions to recover lost revenue by segmenting clients into those who have 60-day free software support or those whose contract has expired.

The following benefits have been achieved with this vendor solution:
·         Customers can check telephone wait times on Crystal Decisions' technical support Website.
·         The scalability and flexibility of the system made it easy for the company to grow to its present 250 agents in over 100 different workgroups (skill-based and product-based) in five contact centers around the world.
·         Cradle-to-grave reporting capabilities and resource management tools enable supervisors to monitor CSR activities easily and conveniently, to move agents from one queue to another quickly, and to make agents with various skills available to more callers.
·         An alarm notification feature enables supervisors to control the contact.
·         Supervisors can switch agents from one queue to another immediately or place agents in multiple queues.
·         All interactions received by the system can be tracked and reported.
·         Supervisors can set up various alarms to notify them and/or agents of any unusual activities that could disrupt operations.
·         Managers are provided with accurate data on the total number and type of interactions received, how many have been serviced, by whom, for how long, and at which location.
·         Supervisors can monitor the center from their desktop—real-time information about activities are graphically displayed.
·         Supervisors can choose from a variety of canned reports on interaction, agent, and queue activity—real-time and historical.
·         Dozens of custom reports are created that merge Apropos data and other enterprisewide data in a format that specifically addresses senior management issues.
·         Allowing certain agents to specialize in "trouble" calls has cut the duration of these calls in half.
·         E-mail management capability has resulted in $1.20 per minute savings for interactions in the Asia Pacific region.
·         The ability to check telephone wait times on the Web has encouraged customers to purchase premium technical support where the wait times are always very low, thus adding greatly to company revenues.
·         A more complete database of customers is available, because every client needs to register the product before obtaining support.
·         IVR functionality, shorter wait times, choice of music or silence while on hold, and ability to check call wait times on the Web have all contributed to a significantly higher level of customer satisfaction.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Silicon Graphics, Inc. | Technology

Company: SGI (Silicon Graphics, Inc.)


SGI, also known as Silicon Graphics, Inc., is a technology solutions provider with a broad range of high-performance computing, advanced graphics, and consulting services that enable its technical and creative customers to maintain a competitive advantage in their core businesses.


To improve customer service while reducing costs, SGI decided to overhaul its contact center strategy. SGI created a virtual contact center by installing a new switch that connected its four facilities located throughout the country. Previously, the company developed schedules manually, relying on local critical needs assessment to develop a plan. However, a more efficient and accurate method for accommodating the complexities of a workforce physically located in four time zones was required.


Blue Pumpkin multiskilled workforce optimization software was selected to optimize workforce utilization and improve customer service.


The following benefits were achieved:
·         New volumes were handled with only an 8% increase in staffing.
·         The optimized staff plan resulted in a 37% increase in agent productivity.
·         Customer service levels were improved by 40%
·         Millions of dollars were saved in additional employee-related expenses.
·         Monitoring and managing schedule compliance was accomplished more efficiently, resulting in a 40% improvement in adherence.
·         Better matching of head count to the response-time commitment was achieved.
·         Customer satisfaction ratings improved by 47%.
·         Service revenues in the Americas grew as a result of customer satisfaction with contact centers and on-site field support.

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