ABOUT THE VENDOR
Witness Systems is a global provider of business-driven multimedia recording, performance analysis, and e-learning management software. The browser-based eQuality enterprise collaboration architecture is designed to enhance the quality of customer interactions across multiple communications media, such as telephone, e-mail, and the Web, as well as allow companies to capture, communicate, and collaborate on customer interactions throughout the enterprise.
ABOUT THE CUSTOMER
Saturn has sold more than 2.2 million vehicles since entering the market in 1990. The company's Customer Assistance Center at its manufacturing complex in Spring Hill, TN, is managed through a close partnership with EDS, a global information technology services company. The 120-person contact center receives nearly 1,200 calls per day. While Saturn provides direction as to how it wants its customers to be treated, EDS supplies the people, business systems, and technology.
ABOUT THE TECHNOLOGY
Witness Systems' eQuality suite is comprised of multimedia customer interaction recording, performance analysis, and e-learning management solutions. eQuality Balance is the flagship eQuality product that is a patented, synchronized business-driven voice and data recording application. It brings together voice conversations between CSRs and customers along with the screen activities, keystrokes, and
EDS-Saturn's quality assurance team had to use tape recorders to capture conversations between agents and customers, taking manual notes. They were looking for a multimedia recording solution that would capture voice conversations as well as the agents' corresponding desktop activities. SearchCRM spoke with account manager Steve Fort about the project.
SearchCRM: Why were you looking for a CRM solution like Witness Systems?
Fort: Initially when we started looking for monitoring systems, we did it because we found our supervisors were spending an unbelievable amount of time trying to catch calls. Second, the agents would always know when they were being recorded because someone would walk by their desk and say, "Supervisor Bob is recording calls today, so we'd better straighten up." So we started looking for an automated solution.
SearchCRM: What were you looking for in a solution?
Fort: A couple of things. We wanted to be able to schedule when calls were recorded. We wanted to have randomness in calls. We wanted the ability to capture data. We wanted a simple solution--simple to administer, and simple for the agents to use. We looked at price, too, but those were the main things.
SearchCRM: How did you choose Witness Systems?
Fort: We looked at eight to ten vendors. We did a matrix of the features we were looking for, and initially we went out to see what companies were out there that were in that space, marked down what their key features were, and asked three or four vendors on site. Once they gave their dog-and-pony show, we went to a final round with two to three vendors.
The people we worked with at Witness were very good. They seemed to be very responsive. They also had a one-server solution, which means I had one server for data and voice. So when I implemented data capture, I wouldn't have to purchase another server or additional hardware. It also had the same server for playback--so theirs was one server for everything.
SearchCRM: How did the implementation go?
Fort: Very well. We had planned a three-day implementation, but we were actually up and running by the end of day one. Of course, there was tweaking over the next couple of days. And with every implementation you're always going back and re-looking at what you need to do and how you can be better--but it was by far the easiest systems implementation I've done.
SearchCRM: Were there any challenges?
Fort: Not so much on the Witness side but on the Aspect side [the call system]. Aspect was having trouble passing signals back and forth with the Witness system.
SearchCRM: Did you experience any internal resistance?
Fort: We needed to tell people it was to help them, not a Big Brother thing. People were concerned that we were going to be listening to their personal calls, like when they called their doctor. It was probably a week or two before they got over it and realized that the system is there to help them.
SearchCRM: Can you give me an example of how you use the system?
Fort: The calls for probably 99 percent of our agents are randomly monitored. We record the call from the beginning of the call from the first action from Aspect. So as soon as Aspect sees an action, Witness gets it and starts recording the call. We record it until two minutes after the call hangs up. The reason we do that is so we can see what they're documenting after the call. At that point, the calls that are recorded and archived are saved off to hard disk. Our supervisors go and review two calls at random per person per week. We do a scoring sheet on how the call was handled, how the customer was handled, whether there was anything we should have done differently. Our goal is to be 95 percent or above on quality.
SearchCRM: What's been the biggest advantage of the system so far?
Fort: You can see the agents develop a little bit better than they used to because they're getting that immediate feedback. You can hear your own voice, which is a big thing for a lot of people. They might not understand that they sound monotone or they're aggressive, or whatever it might be. Since that development of the agents, our attrition rate for a call center is very low.
SearchCRM: Have you seen ROI?
Fort: Hard dollars, no. But what I can tell you is that I reduced the supervisor call monitoring time by about 50 percent. And it wasn't like, "Hey, I'm going to save five heads," it was, "Hey, I can reallocate these resources to do more efficient things."
SearchCRM: Do you have any future plans for the solution?
Fort: Maybe next year we'll start doing some type of transaction monitoring for our e-mail. Right now we're doing it as a manual process very similar to how we did calls. I have two supervisors that spend a lot of time doing quality polling of e-mails and reading them instead of having the system do it.
SearchCRM: What advice would you give to companies thinking of starting a similar project?
Fort: I would say do it. You're going to gain in the long run. You might not see hard ROI, but you'll see ROI through the soft costs. Better trained agents means better handled customers.
Linda Formichelli's writing has appeared in Woman's Day, Wired, Writer's Digest, Family Circle, Psychology Today. Contact her at email@example.com, or check out her Web site http://www.twowriters.net
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This was first published in July 2002