Customer service is critical for the success of most companies. But it comes at a cost. For a leading provider of industrial-strength hardware, software and services this cost had become inordinately high due to a business decision to “give service” or support to customers regardless of entitlement. Cliintel was asked to assess the situation, create new processes to correct the problems in the software which had been developed for the European/Middle East and Asian (EMEA) markets, and then to oversee its deployment in the Americas.
The Client is a leading provider of industrial-strength hardware, software and services that power the internet with installations in more than 100 countries.
The Business Issue
The client had reached an impassable situation. During a period of quick expansion, both the database available to the call center representatives and the tools needed to verify customer entitlement for services contained significant inaccuracies. In an attempt to address these issues, the client created a policy of providing unnecessary service to assuage customers and attempt to maintain customer retention. The customers soon became accustomed to contacting the call center and simply demanding service which often resulted in a technician being dispatched to their location to resolve issues. This practice was barely maintaining customer satisfaction levels, but was creating unnecessary costs in excess of $4 million per quarter. The company needed a solution to the systemic problems of inaccurate customer information. In other words, the client needed a tool that would quickly and accurately determine the entitlement status for any given customer 24×7, 365 days a year as well as provide an action plan for correcting, uplifting or abandoning customers who were out of their warrantee or support period.
The client database mining algorithm had been developed in the EMEA markets for the purpose of handling such a problem. The challenge was to deploy this tool in the Americas, where the customer base was 25 times the size of the EMEA markets currently using the tool, with a deadline looming in 45 days. The project was completed under budget, within the 45 day schedule, with the client realizing a savings of $4 million in the 1st quarter, eliminating the unnecessary costs previously being incurred.
The solution was to gather stakeholders, agree upon a level of service and negotiate with the Sales and Service Delivery organizations on an acceptable response time for corrective action. Then they could proceed to development to rapidly enhance the EMEA product for the Americas and deploy it in 45 days. Due to the incredibly short deadline Cliintel employed a strategy to break down the processes into manageable units. A Rational Unified Process (RUP) model was used to complete the development of the enhanced software, followed by a Change Acceptance Process (CAP) developed with the stakeholders to ensure a smooth and efficient transition to deployment.
The Project Results
The project was completed under budget, within the 45 day schedule, with the client realizing a savings of $4 million in the 1st quarter, eliminating the unnecessary costs previously being incurred.
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