ABOUT THE CLIENT
Founded in 1986 in Newport, Tennessee, Shop At Home sells specialty consumer products -- primarily collectibles -- through interactive electronic media, including broadcast, cable and satellite television and, increasingly, the Internet. Shop At Home is the second oldest television shopping network, and the company owns five television stations located in San Francisco, Boston, Cleveland, Raleigh, and Bridgeport. Shop At Home reaches over 61 million full and part-time households through its network of 400 affiliated television and cable systems, direct broadcast satellite systems including EchoStar, and its owned and operated stations.
ABOUT THE VENDOR
Aspect Communications Corporation is a provider of customer relationship portals -- contact servers for managing dynamic customer contact transactions across all wired and wireless communication channels. Aspect delivers a multichannel contact center.
ABOUT THE TECHNOLOGY
The Aspect Portal is the center of Aspect's technology and the contact server for the CRM strategy. This multichannel contact server enables the client to manage dynamic customer contact transactions across all wired and wireless communications channels. The Aspect Portal synchronizes all customer contact points, including live and self-service. It allows the client to dynamically manage all customer contacts. The Aspect Portal manages customer contacts from
SearchCRM spoke with Wayne Lambert, executive VP and CIO of Shop At Home, about their CRM project.
SearchCRM: How are you using the Aspect system?
Lambert: We use Aspect as our ACD (Automatic Call Distributor) and use some of the Aspect Portal tools to interface with our customer management system to yield a more complete CRM package.
SearchCRM: What were you looking for in a CRM solution?
Lambert: We were looking for scalability and total integration between all channels and back end systems. We were also looking for a consistent view of the customer, meaning that you know who your customer is at the time they dial the company or come through the Web. You can recognize the customer immediately and know all about the customer at the time of the call -- how many times they've ordered, what their total order values are, whether they've had problems in the past.
SearchCRM: What was the most challenging aspect of the technology evaluation?
Lambert: Finding a solution that met the business needs and could be implemented within the designated time requirements.
SearchCRM: What internal resistance did you encounter?
Lambert: We never really had any internal resistance with the Aspect system, because we've always implemented in such a way that the training is done before we move forward. Reporting is always a big issue, but there aren't as many reports with Aspect so it's never been a big problem.
SearchCRM: How was training handled?
Lambert: It was a combination of Aspect and in-house. Aspect trains the trainers and then we train the other users. It worked out really well. Years ago when we did our first implementation we did more extensive training, but in recent implementations it's been just update training more than anything else.
SearchCRM: How does the new Aspect system help you serve your customers better?
Lambert: With intelligent routing of the contact, we can take a look at the database and know who the customer is. If, for example, they can use the interactive IVR (Interactive Voice Response) unit to transact an order, then we can route the customer to the IVR. If they're not qualified to use it -- if they're not an existing customer -- then there's no reason to give them an opportunity to route to the IVR; it would just take up their time. We can do more intelligent routing to certain agents if we need to help the customer in any number of ways. Then there's the language option -- we offer Spanish and English, so we give the customer the opportunity to select their language on the front end.
SearchCRM: What advice would you give to other companies just beginning a CRM project?
Lambert: Do not underestimate the time required for full implementation. Many aspects of CRM cannot be phased. Do not become boxed in to an unrealistic implementation calendar.
Linda Formichelli's writing has appeared this year in Woman's Day, Wired, Writer's Digest, Family Circle and Psychology Today. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
This was first published in May 2001