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Congratulations To The Winners -
June 2005 - For the sixth consecutive year, the editors of Customer Interaction Solutions dared readers to prove that their companies have what it takes to win the coveted CRM Excellence Award. Below is Part One of the winners — the companies that offer the best and the brightest customer relationship management products and services, all to the benefit of their clients. Winners were chosen on hard data: quantifiable results that convinced us, without a doubt, their clients were infinitely better off with these companies’ products and services than without.

Aplicor CRM
“The client, an Internet and network services provider, selected the Aplicor CRM solution. Leveraging Aplicor’s ‘Rapid Results’ implementation methodology, and leveraging the configurable nature of the product, the client’s sales and customer management processes were quickly modeled or enhanced in Aplicor. Within the first 30 days, sales staff and account managers were able to utilize the Aplicor system in a production environment. By the end of the second month, the implementation was complete and the client was fully utilizing account and contact management, lead management, opportunity management with sales forecasting, marketing management, customer support and a mix of library reports and data warehouse analysis reports. The company experienced a decrease in average sales cycle elapsed time from 111 days to 98 days; a verifiable increase in ‘closable’ pipeline volume of 18 percent after three months of use; an average ticket revenue size increase of approximately nine percent; and a sales conversion rate increase of approximately eight percent.”

Citrix Online
Citrix GoToAssist 6.0

“Before the client implemented GoToAssist, traveling directly to the client was the only way to effectively install the client’s software. There were so many variables that came into play during an installation that [the client] needed to be on-site to install it appropriately. Traveling took valuable personnel away from the office for an extended time and the trips were costly, necessitating airfare, hotel and other expenses. Since implementing GoToAssist, the client has significantly reduced travel costs and shortened troubleshooting time. In addition to the travel savings, support-team productivity is higher because issue resolution is so much faster with GoToAssist. GoToAssist helped the company’s support team react rapidly when troubleshooting client systems. With just a few clicks, a support technician can see what the client sees. The company can show clients how to use an application or the clients can just fix the problem themselves. GoToAssist has helped resolve issues more quickly and has aided in educating clients on how to use the client’s software more efficiently. Since implementing GoToAssist, the client company has been able to provide faster support and keep costs at the same level even though its call volume has increased.”

ClientLogic Integrated & Personalized Customer Service Program

“The client, an Internet service provider, formerly had a rebate-processing provider that struggled with manual data entry, slow processing times and poor bank reconciliation reporting. In order to use rebates as a way to increase customer sign-ups and to make a positive first impression, ClientLogic developed a fully integrated and personalized rebate-processing program for the ISP. In a mere 60 days, ClientLogic launched an innovative item-processing program to handle the ISP’s customer gift cards and rebates. ClientLogic began by collaborating with the ISP to alter the rebate form itself to maximize scalability and minimize manual data entry. This new form, coupled with ClientLogic’s high-speed imaging and scanning technologies, enabled cutting the rebate turnaround time from 8-to-12 weeks to 5-to-7 days. It also boosted data accuracy and consistency, enabling the client to deflect costs and prevent customer complaints.”

Cross Country Automotive Services

“At the two-year mark, thousands of our client’s (a leading automotive service chain) customers have utilized our customer-focused service. Specifically, the program has enabled our client to interact with customers more than 175,000 times since inception, supporting the mission of becoming the full-service, after-market service provider to its customers. Overall customer satisfaction levels exceeded 96 percent. And service work order revenue has increased by more than 500 percent since program inception. Due to the success of this program, our client has turned to Cross Country Automotive Services to develop a roadside assistance program for its customers to further its mission of providing full service, whether in the shop or on the road.”

Eagle IP LLC

“As a result of the EagleACD solution, the client has developed a flexible call center platform to manage its call-handling capacity. During the last 11 months, it has resulted in an improved service level and their operating costs have gone down. And the EagleACD’s ‘pay-as-you-go’ features have helped to eliminate payments for idle time of call center agents. The client explains another benefit: ‘EagleACD’s skills-based routing finds the right agent among all the agents connected to the network. This allows us to optimize staffing and increase service quality for a better ROI — creating a more efficient company and a more productive call center. No over-staffing is required due to this high reliability. This reduces operating costs for delivering services.’”

Empirix, Inc.
Hammer Service Assurance for Siebel

“The client, a Fortune 100 brokerage firm using both Siebel and Genesys applications, had a goal of using Empirix Service Assurance for Siebel to ensure the company’s upgraded system would be stable and scaleable, and that performance would be at least as good, if not better than, its previous setup. It also needed to ensure that no functionality was lost during the transition. An Empirix team, along with the brokerage’s IT staff, performed the testing in December 2004 with experts from both Siebel and Genesys standing by. The test was conducted during off hours on a portion of the production infrastructure. During the test, the call load was ramped up to correspond to the firm’s expected peak load for that portion of the application — approximately 200 simultaneous inbound calls being served by 200 agents. All facets of the system performed flawlessly.”

Epicor Clientele CRM.NET

Since implementing Epicor Clientele CRM.NET, the client, a provider of travel assistance and international medical insurance, has seen improvements in its day-to-day operations through the flexibility of the solution and the ability to share information across the enterprise. The client reports, “A lot of our service agreement and care facility information was not available in our previous system. With the Epicor solution, we are able to put external documents like contracts right in the system where they are easily and quickly accessible.” The client also reports, “Using Clientele we are able to capture critical metrics, such as client utilization, which helps us in our strategic planning. We can also respond quickly to new business opportunities. The rapid development capabilities enabled through the .NET architecture enable us to get new partners set up in our system quickly so we can start doing business.”

eTelecare Global Solutions
Proprietary CRM Package

“eTelecare Global Solutions was able to offer the client, a leading wireless provider, a variety of customer touch points where other vendors were not. The flexibility, accuracy and speed of our service helped to increase conversion rates, to cut costs, to reduce the number of representatives needed on the program, and to improve customer satisfaction and service quality across the board; through the effective use of CRM, we were able to achieve a 90 percent cost reduction for business reply card processing on a per-transaction basis and an 80 percent reduction in IVR transactions compared to their internal costs. The convenience of the business reply card we designed was proven through its use — more than 50 percent of all renewals were received via BRC. Another 10 percent were handled via IVR. Both approaches cut program costs considerably.”

TotalView Workforce Management Version 3.8

The client, a large mobile services provider, saw its contact centers’ conformance improve instantly with the introduction of the TotalView Real-Time Adherence (RTA) module. Within weeks, the client began averaging 99 percent schedule conformance. As a result, service levels have improved dramatically. The client reports, “Our contact center is meeting or exceeding service goals.” It also reports that it now gets 80 percent of its calls answered in 20 seconds, with a one percent abandon rate. By using TotalView for flexible scheduling, the company reported reducing overhead costs by five percent to eight percent. Instead of having agents sit idle during shift changes, they now plan meetings, training and coaching sessions during periods of high availability. They can also spread vacation throughout the year more easily, which has helped reduce overtime expenses.


Through its implementation of KANA IQ, the client, a financial services company, has fulfilled three key customer service objectives: 1) Transform customer service — KANA IQ has significantly increased first-call resolution rates and cut hold times by consistently offering customers the insights of the most experienced specialists in the company; 2) Improve service reps’ productivity — KANA has enabled the client to develop a multiskilled service team, which can provide advice on a wide range of products and brands, without needing extensive retraining; and 3) Cut contact center costs — KANA IQ has created highly productive, multiskilled teams, enabling the client to support greater call volumes without increasing staffing levels.

Maximizer Software
Maximizer Enterprise 8

For the sales reps at the client company (a software provider), Maximizer Enterprise CRM is providing them with access to critical data at the click of a button. The system also met the client’s goals of reducing the time per transaction and of better reporting on customers. The client reports: “Overall, Maximizer Enterprise has provided significant improvement in sales rep productivity with a 20 percent across-the-board time savings, as well as 23-hours-a-week time savings on reporting and forecasting from a business unit.” As for the future, the client plans on rolling out Maximizer Enterprise to more than 100 users, with plans to open up the portal to resellers and partners, as well.

Centralized Appointment Desk for Network of Community Health Centers

The client, a county department of health services, selected MEDFONE to develop and implement a centralized appointment desk to manage its large telephone call volume. Currently, MEDFONE is successfully managing more than 1,000 calls per day for 11 communities’ health centers in the county. Ninety-two percent of the inbound calls received generate appointments. MEDFONE has 10 full-time agents dedicated to this account. By working with MEDFONE, the county has been able to free up its staff to work more efficiently in its health centers and clinics. Additionally, the client did not have to hire additional personnel to handle the calls. MEDFONE also provides the client with customized reports that detail call volume statistics and call information, so county personnel can manage their facilities more efficiently.

Proficient Systems Inc.
ProficientSales Server

“The client, a national bank, exceeded its business case by 47 percent within seven months of staffing its Online Chat Team with dedicated Agents. In addition to monetary returns, the bank’s use of proactive online chat has positively impacted customer retention and customer satisfaction ratings. Survey feedback indicates that the bank’s customers enjoy banking online and are extremely pleased with the assistance they receive from the bank’s Online Chat Agents.”

Sage Software (formerly Best Software)

“Until deployment of Best Software’s ACCPAC CRM, Enterprise Edition, complaints coming into the offices of a national newspaper were simply faxed over from the Wisconsin call center to the newspaper’s main office, and taken care of by hand, a time-intensive and error-prone process. Making extensive use of the customization and escalation features in the ACCPAC CRM customer care/support module, now when a fax is sent by the Wisconsin call center, a record is also written to the newspaper’s ACCPAC CRM database in an ancillary temporary file. This file is checked every five minutes for additions, and when a new record is found, it is imported into ACCPAC CRM as a new, unassigned case. The escalations find the new case, and using another ancillary cross-reference table, are assigned the proper user I.D., and an on-screen reminder is also provided to the customer service representative (CSR).”

Salesforce Summer ’05

The client — a provider of electronic payment solutions for merchant point-of-sale and Internet transactions — reports: “We customized Salesforce to import leads directly from a new Web portal where the banks enter them. Previously, all leads were faxed in for time-consuming manual processing. Before Salesforce, it took us 24 hours to process a new lead and get back to the merchants; today, we can promise a two-hour turnaround. That kind of responsiveness is a phenomenal benefit both to the merchants and to our customer banks.”

SAS Marketing Automation

The client, a popular interactive baseball fan Web site, gets sophisticated reporting capabilities and the newest generation of predictive analytics for state-of-the-art data management and data discovery capabilities. From that information, teams gain an exhaustive understanding of their fans’ desires for anything baseball — even when they’re away from the ballpark. By combining data from the Web site with data gained from ticketing partners, the client uses SAS to predict what fans want from the Web site and its other offerings, as well as from their favorite teams, which makes their relationship with baseball even more meaningful. With SAS, the client can look at real-time customer behavior against longer-term data and know what the customer is most likely to be interested in next. That way, the site can offer customers appropriate promotions or opportunities.

The SAVO Group
Sales Asset Manager (SAM)

Before implementing SAM, the client had a limited view of activity on both the sales and marketing sides of the business. While high-level information about customer contact was available (i.e., which account manager met with which customers and when), it fell short of detailing the nature of the meeting, products/services discussed and outcome. And marketing management had virtually no information about what materials were being used, how frequently, with which customers, and whether they were successful in advancing relationship growth objectives. SAM’s robust, intuitive reporting tools deliver all of this and more, providing previously untracked analytics about customer contact and sales asset use, from a macro level (e.g., companywide activity in a specific time period) to the very micro (e.g., usage of a single presentation slide).

Siemens Communications, Inc.
Siemens HiPath ProCenter and HiPath IPortal

The client, a cable entertainment and broadband services provider, sought to improve productivity, to reduce costs and to turn its customer service from “good” to “great.” The client acquired the HiPath ProCenter Advanced application’s multimedia suite, which integrates e-mail, Web, IVR and outbound calling capabilities. Since deploying the Siemens solution, the company has seen call volumes to agents drop from 11,500 a week to about 9,000, with the difference made up of callers who are either using the IVR to get account balances or using the automated payment feature. With the new performance reporting capabilities, the client is able to separate customer calls from all call traffic, something they weren’t able to do before, and measure call handling time among a range of performance indicators.

TeleTech On Shore And Off Shore

“In 2001, TeleTech established an onshore ‘staging area’ in Enfield, Connecticut, in the heart of the Northeast insurance corridor. After 18 months’ of operations, TeleTech successfully transitioned the less-complicated calls to its Manila (Philippines) center and backfilled Enfield with the more-complex interactions. By January 2004, TeleTech was taking 100 percent of all provider calls and meeting or exceeding all client metrics. Over three years, the program has grown from 60 to 240 customer service representatives (CSRs).”

Voxify Automated Agents

The client, a large hotel chain, reports that it is pleased that cost improvements came along with the service improvements. The company’s VP of Reservations had this to say: “This is the first time in my career that I’ve been able to improve service and costs simultaneously. The ongoing savings are phenomenal. An Automated Agent call saves 85 percent over the cost of a live agent call. The more calls we take with Automated Agents, the more we save. We recouped the up-front investment in Automated Agents in less than two months.” Now that the first two Automated Agents have proven so successful, the hotel chain is in the process of deploying Automated Agents to book, confirm and cancel reservations, and to service calls regarding the hotel’s loyalty program. Once the additional Automated Agents are deployed, they will serve 45 percent of the hotel’s callers from greeting to completion.

Witness Systems
Workforce Management from Witness Systems’ Workforce Optimization Solution

The client, a provider of interactive communications and entertainment services, reports that using Witness Systems’ technology gained the company the ability and agility to take on much larger competitors by transforming its customer contact center into a source of competitive advantage. With the ability to balance forecasting and scheduling, service quality, costs and employee satisfaction, the client’s contact center has redefined service quality and has helped the company effectively compete against the incumbent cable operators. The client’s post-implementation results include a 19 percent boost in productivity; realized annualized revenue gains of more than $750,000; increased service levels by 121 percent; improved service level consistency by 71 percent; reduced call abandonment rates by 31 percent; greater employee satisfaction and retention; and more effective operations.

Z-Firm LLC
OmniRush Family — FaxRush & ShipRush Server

The client, a software company, implemented SalesLogix as its companywide CRM solution. To address its faxing and shipping needs, identified as areas for potential time savings, the client implemented FaxRush and ShipRush Server. With FaxRush, approximately 40 employees at the client company’s sales and support departments were able to tap into SalesLogix to send faxes from their desktops. With FaxRush handling its faxes, the client sends anywhere from 2,000 to 3,000 faxes every week — significantly more than it could send before. With ShipRush Server, the client processes shipments right from SalesLogix. When sales reps log an order in the CRM application, the shipping team uses SalesLogix to process the shipment using ShipRush Server. Because all order details and contact information are already in SalesLogix, there is no need to copy or duplicate data.

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