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Founded by Muhammad Yunus, the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Grameen Bank has created a new category of banking by granting millions of small loans to poor people with no collateral. While originally established as a village bank (Grameen in the local language means Village), Grameen Bank has since lent more than $5.1 billion to 5.3 million people.


Subsequently, Grameen Bank teamed with Norway’s Telenor communications company to provide phone services to rural areas. The organization born of the joint venture, Grameenphone Ltd., developed a program through which poor women in rural villages could buy cell phones with a loan from the bank and then sell the use of them on a per-call basis.


Through the program, Grameenphone has become one of Telenor’s fastest-growing markets. This truly reflected a social business enterprise – and the only one of its kind in the world.

As a result of its growth, Grameenphone recently found that its customer base had grown dramatically within a short period of time and the company’s IT systems were unable to provide the customer service and internal integration Grameenphone demanded. In a span of three years, the organization moved from one million to more than 10 million customers. With eight million additional rural customers, Grameenphone has faced a considerable challenge to effectively communicate with such a large, broad array of customers. In addition, the existing payment collection was unable to communicate using modern means (i.e., e-mail) and could not provide local language support or on-demand customer service.


Grameenphone deployed a Customer Communication Management (CCM) solution from Pitney Bowes Group 1 Software to enable it to add value to its entire CCM value chain. The solution also provided seamless integration between Grameenphone’s billing, CRM and data warehouse systems.

The Problem To Be Solved
Grameenphone’s payment collection system was unable to match the needs of such a rapidly growing and diverse customer base. There was an additional need to present invoices with interactive marketing capabilities. Unlike developed countries, the region’s average revenue per user (ARPU) is among the lowest in the world at a mere six to seven U.S. dollars. Thus, resource optimization has been critical to remain profitable.

Grameenphone’s customer service organization lacked an “exact replica” view of invoices, leading to higher service costs and customer dissatisfaction. The previous system was unable to communicate using modern means (like e-mail) and could not provide local language support or on-demand customer service. The key project objectives were to relieve the business pain areas and provide Grameenphone with the ability to manage its own systems without external dependencies. Seamless integration with Grameenphone’s billing, CRM, data warehouse systems and stringent internal compliance was required. The solution also had to be based on service-oriented architecture to provide for Web services and XML support for future proofing.

The Solution
To achieve this, Grameenphone partnered with Pitney Bowes Group 1 Software, which offered a comprehensive Customer Communication Management (CCM) solution set. The entire project, from requirements gathering and analysis to final implementation and go-live, was managed between the months of August and November 2006. Given the short timeframe, Grameenphone’s team worked with Pitney Bowes Group 1’s team over most weekends.

Achievements And Metrics
The Pitney Bowes Group 1 solution met Grameenphone’s challenges, including managing the electronic and physical communication of the subscribers in both remote villages and urban areas. With particular attention on the villages, Pitney Bowes Group 1 crafted a solution to maximize Grameenphone’s current asset reuse in terms of existing people, applications, printers and other hardware and provided local language support. The focus of the entire solution was on how to add value in Grameenphone’s entire CCM value chain.

The implementation accomplished the following:
1. Sixty percent positive customer feedback on new “English” invoices. Grameenphone expects positive feedback to grow as customers adjust to the process change.
2. Fast access to two years of exact replica documents. CSRs that were limited by access to only one year of historic data (not an exact replica), are now enjoying access to two years of exact replica data within seconds. And the system is easily scaleable, with the only constraint being hardware.
3. Faster fetching of itemized details per customer. Fetching time for CSRs has been reduced from 20 seconds to under three seconds.
4. Corporate summary sheet creation was previously a manual activity that took up to several days for each report. The current system automatically provides corporate summaries along with the rest of the invoices.
5. Local language invoicing implementation completed within days. Implementation of local language invoicing would earlier been extremely costly and time consuming, and would require several months of work. As the system became operational in November 2006, additional metrics are still being captured.

Group 1 Software, a 25-year veteran of customer communication management software, has been part of Pitney Bowes since 2004. For more information about CCM, visit www.g1.com.

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