CRM project successes and failures serve as examples for those who have yet to implement CRM software. In this special report, read CRM case studies to discover best practices for call center initiatives, marketing programs and mobile CRM projects. Learn how some of the best call centers across many different industries are finding success with improved technology and processes. Discover marketing case studies to read about some organizations that have had success with marketing and learn how marketing challenges vary across industries. Also read about organizations that are using mobile CRM to improve sales processes. In each of these stories you'll discover best practices to take back to your own organization.
Call center success stories
- Call center software implementation improves Hartford 3-1-1
Hartford, Conn.'s 3-1-1 call center was designed to be a central information source for the city's 120,000 residents. The center takes calls for the Department of Public Works, the department of Environmental Health, and overflow calls for the tax office and the town clerk. Hartford went live with Frontlink software, specifically designed for 3-1-1 call centers, from Belfast, U.K.-based Lagan, on July 17, 2006, following a three-month implementation.
Susan McMullen, director of constituent services in Hartford, called it a "smooth rollout" but stressed that the up-front legwork that was put in to get all departments on board with the initiative and develop a process for logging all calls was vital. Last year, hundreds of phone numbers made calling a city department in Hartford, Conn., a nightmare. Today, constituent calls are all routed to a 3-1-1 call center, thanks to call center software from Lagan.
- Workforce management provides winning formula for Bell Canada
Bell Canada revamped call center processes using a workforce management (WFM) tool. The company initially implemented IEX TotalView in 26 call centers in Ontario. A number of business drivers lay behind the WFM implementation. The company was hoping to improve customer satisfaction with more access and consistent service, make scheduling of agents and agent monitoring more efficient, and improve the overall resiliency of the call center by allowing calls to be redirected if one site was unavailable.
Over the years, many things in the company have changed, but Bell Canada still uses IEX TotalView in the call center, although it has upgraded a number of times. In 2003, the company expanded the tool to call centers in Quebec, where it had to consider new language requirements. Bell upgraded to the new bilingual version of IEX TotalView to support English and French speakers in both areas.
Through the years, the tool has allowed the contact center to adapt to changing business requirements and scope.
- Call center uses WFO to bring it together
Asurion is seeing the benefits of WFO, though the company hasn't yet deployed all the functionality available from Witness's Impact 360 product. It's not necessarily the technology that's making it work either, according to said Loren Dennis, director of workforce management for Asurion Corp.
"Workforce optimization is more around a process deployment than a technology deployment," he said. "The technology piece is extremely beneficial, but it's not completely required."
What WFO has done is bring together multiple departments within the organization's three call centers and roughly 18,000 associates. Asurion provides such services as roadside assistance and lost cell phone insurance. Dennis said that departments within the organization that typically didn't talk to one another now come up with common goals, policies and practices so individuals can work together.
- Virgin Mobile call center gets personal
A global company, Virgin Mobile operates two call centers in Canada, one in Toronto and one in New Brunswick. The larger Toronto site employs about 100 agents and about 20% of their calls are in French.
"I believe what Virgin customers look for is a personal experience," said Nancy Tichbon, director of customer care at Virgin Mobile's Canadian division. "They actually want a little bit of fun when they call us up. [So we started] delivering individual service."
She believes it's creating a rapport with the customer that matters. Virgin Mobile measures customer rapport on calls by looking for certain words that indicate rapport by the end of the call. They do not show agents individual statistics, but do measure average handle time (AHT) per agent for scheduling purposes.
- Contact center technology selection done right
Selecting a technology vendor can be a long, tedious and complicated process, but Washington Information Network 2-1-1 was determined to be thorough. A dozen vendors inquired, and ultimately five submitted bids to WIN 211's request for proposals (RFP). Initially, cost and finances were taken out of the equation, Page said, and the team focused instead on fit and functionality.
Indeed, the cost need not be the primary factor when evaluating contact center technology. Companies should also consider a vendor's experience in a particular industry or with a particular size of contact center and support offerings, according to Lori Bocklund, president of Strategic Contact Inc., a Beaverton, Ore.-based contact center consultancy.
- Regional airline takes off with hosted call center
Allegiant Air, an airline focused on leisure travel and charter flights, set about revamping its contact center, it turned to the emerging on-demand market. They eventually selected on-demand call management software from Transera Communications, a startup based in Cupertino, Calif. The move not only made Allegiant an early adopter of hosted contact center applications, but it became Transera's first publicly identified customer. Transera was founded a year and a half ago to compete with established hosted contact center vendors like Avaya, RightNow Technologies and Siebel Systems.
"There's risk with every decision in life," Harrison said of the decision to go with a startup provider. "We're entrepreneurial here. We're all about pushing the envelope."
Allegiant has been running the application since early November, launching it just in time for the holiday rush. With a 40-seat call center in Reno, Nev., and the need to ramp up capacity during seasonal spikes like the year-end holidays, the airline was drawn to a hosted option. The existing on-premise application didn't offer the flexibility the company needed.
Marketing case studies
- WWE wrestles with customer feedback marketing
The WWE uses customer feedback to better serve customers and partners. It includes its pay-per-view cable providers in the effort to learn customer preferences, so both can design events that pull the most viewers. In November, for example, customers were asked to select the new set of Divas (female wrestlers). Hundreds of thousands of people voted for the Cena championship match on Cyber Sunday, according to Zerden. But when it came to choosing Divas, 2.6 million customers accounted for 14.6 million votes.
"We use customer feedback to impact our story lines and for marketing," said Jonathan Zerden, WWE senior director, Internet technology. "It enables us to surround the customer with 360 degrees of marketing. We get to see how they interact with mobile platforms, how they interact with us, how they interact with their arena, and how they interact with their cable company."
Zerdan said the data generated from the content creation feeds customized marketing initiatives. Diva voters, and visitors to the Diva section of WWE.com, receive customized emails offering DVDs and merchandise designed specifically for Diva fans. Customers who vote for particular wrestlers are fed a consistent stream of information about their favorite wrestlers.
- Dell takes marketing mobile
Dell is one of the national advertisers participating in multi-school, permission-based text messaging promotions hosted by Mobile Campus. By opting in, students at 11 participating universities can choose from which participating merchants to receive messaging to their cell phones. The idea is that students won't be inundated with messages that don't pertain to their interests.
In its first mobile campaign, launched on November 27, Dell intended to drive students to a Web site that was part of a sweepstakes. But in this age of social media, Dell realized that this method wasn't as effective as reaching the students directly on their phones. "We realize that most of our [college student] audience live on their phones and spend an unbelievable amount of time texting their friends and family," Fowler said. "We wanted to pilot a program to see what kind of response we could get from them when you send a message directly to them instead of asking them to text you."
- Tutorials: Sony's new Internet marketing secret
Two years ago, Sony launched its first online tutorial, providing tips and information on digital photography, and it has since expanded to four. Entitled Sony 101, it provides four "campuses" for online visitors: personal computing, home entertainment, digital photography, and business solutions for the small business. Visitors to the site can enroll in any of the campuses, which typically feature four to five courses each month and include content on a specific topic with an expert in the field.
Sony partners with Powered Inc., an Austin, Texas-based online consumer education technology vendor that helps provide the content, plus a hosted software platform and marketing and data services. Sony contributes its own internal and marketing resources, and feedback from its customer service centers, to help create the courses.
Sony measures the success of the program based on the number of visits the campuses receive, registration, enrollment and conversion to sales and retention (how many times a user returns for a new course). Sony also surveys its customers after the courses to find out whether the content is appropriate and whether they'd recommend it to a friend.
The results of the four campuses have been encouraging. Sony has received a favorability rating of more than 90% from its customers, and those who take the course are not only more likely to buy an item they're learning about, they are more likely to buy a Sony product.
- Customer equity, not customer satisfaction the focus at Wachovia
Charlotte, N.C.-based Wachovia Corp. already scores at the top of the annual Customer Satisfaction Index compiled by the University of Michigan, but it is now embarking on a new initiative to define and promote customer equity.
"Consulting companies are saying you should be interested in customer lifetime value, and they'll give you an average value for those customers," said Dan Thorpe, senior vice president, and statistics and modeling director of Wachovia's Customer Analysis Research and Targeting (CART) Group. "We are calculating individual estimates for each of our households. We really think households drive customer value."
That's no small task. Wachovia has more than 13 million customers and breaking them down into households requires understanding the relationships within a household, which may include more than just checking accounts and mortgages for a husband and wife, but a brother or sister and a business as well.
- Oakland A's score with customer strategy
For the Oakland Athletics, the off-season was reserved as a time to work on the acquisition and retention of another group of important people who are also vital to the club's long-term success -- their fans.
"We're trying to get a stronger feel for why they're buying and see what trends we can identify," said Cameron Stewart, interactive marketing manager. NetSuite's flagship solution will help the A's identify such trends by integrating the club's sales efforts (season ticket sales, group ticket sales and sponsorship sales) into one system. "That's a large database, and it's difficult without a program to make sense of it."
As a result, the A's will be better enabled to market specific ticket packages to fans based on their sales history.
Mobile CRM case studies
Some organizations are finding success with mobile CRM.
- Mobile CRM has simplified life for The DirectTV Group Inc.'s sales team and 75 area sales managers considerably. Reps and managers can access up-to-date CRM information from a BlackBerry, they have increased by 30% the number of accounts that can be visited in a week by; saved 90 hours a week, thanks to the ability to update calls anytime; and shortened service request resolution from five days to three.
Where sales managers used to spend time preparing reports before they seeing dealers, now they can quickly access data right from a BlackBerry, including information like open service tickets, key performance metrics and something of particular interest to dealers: account activations.
- General Binding Corp. (GBC) is an example of one company benefiting from a complete mobile overhaul of their CRM application. The company, which manufactures document finishing equipment, deployed Vertical Solutions Inc.'s PowerHelp CRM Field Service to its 175 field service technicians to improve service delivery. Additionally, the technicians are using PowerHelp to capture customer information from service calls that GBC can then use in its product development. According to Tim Spencer, GBC's vice president, technical service and support, the company is also benefiting from "a more productive and efficient field organization that can handle calls more quickly."
GBC is extending that success by going beyond basic field service productivity increases and improving its customer insight by entwining its field service and product development processes.
- Miyachi Unitek Corp. -- a Monrovia, Calif.-based global supplier of equipment and systems for resistance welding, laser welding, laser marking, heat seal bonding and hermetic sealing -- used mobile email to boost productivity, then took the deployment one step further by rolling out mobile Salesforce.com to the sales team. The sales team now has instant mobile access to contacts, leads, opportunities, reports and quotes, according to Jim Malloy, a Miyachi Unitek vice president.
Using mobile CRM, sales opportunities move through the pipeline sooner, time with independent sales representatives is more productive, international travel is a breeze, and the response time has improved dramatically, Malloy said.
- Three years ago a manager at Lincoln Electric Holdings Inc., a Cleveland-based manufacturer of welding equipment, set about revamping sales operations with three key strategies: focusing on the end user, maximizing relationships with distributors (which account for 80% of Lincoln's business) and selling profitably. One of the big reasons for the mobile CRM implementation was to improve sales into big accounts, rather than focusing on several sales to smaller accounts.
Lincoln launched a mobile sales initiative based on SAP's CRM for Mobile Sales 4.0, Enterprise Portal 6.0, Business Warehouse 3.5, Human Resources 4.6 and a widespread tablet PC deployment. The company's existing customer database was based on a disconnected Lotus Notes system, with reps using their own contact management tools and repeatedly entering information into Microsoft Excel and Word documents for reporting. The biggest improvement from the mobile CRM system was an enhanced travel and expense reimbursement process.
This was first published in June 2008