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NEC Europe

Case Study - The NEC European Technical Centre

NEC is a global brand recognised for its computing, telecommunications, display, electronic devices and software products. The company operates a European Technical Centre, based in Telford, UK, consisting of a warehouse and contact centre, to provide product support and repair services for all of the groups within NEC's European sales subsidiaries. 





To maintain a consistently high standard of service, everyone in the centre - from the engineers to the contact centre agents - adheres to strict service targets (such as ensuring 100% of the 3,500 calls per month are answered within 15 seconds). Once the call is answered the priority is to diagnose the problem facing the customer as quickly as possible, determining the issue and in turn initiating the best course of action. This can range from resolving the enquiry on the telephone, arranging an emergency visit from one of the centre's highly skilled engineers, or scheduling a return and repair of a product to and from the warehouse. Making the wrong decision would result in unnecessary expense for NEC and unacceptable delays for the customer.

To help complete each customer enquiry the team at the centre had been relying on a purpose built web-based information management system. However, as more and more product information was added to the system it became resource intensive to manage. Senior Operations Manager at the European Technical Centre, Mark Weston explains: "We took the decision to look for an existing technology that we could customise ourselves and make the contact centre responsible for it."

The centre was introduced to Noetica and its customer interaction management software platform, Synthesys™, through a recommendation from Integrated Communication Services (ICS) - a company that had already benefitted from deploying the system at its contact centre. "We were looking for more than just a contact centre management system," states Weston. "What we really wanted was a platform from which we could integrate, implement and manage all of our business processes. Crucial to this was the ability to do so without needing to rely on an already busy IT department."

In 2010 the NEC European Technical Centre purchased Synthesys™ to be deployed in both the contact centre and the warehouse. The entire project was completed in just one week, without any disruption to the centre's day-to-day activity, with in-depth training provided by Noetica's specialist team over three days.

"We already had our business processes clearly mapped out, so it was a case of transferring them to Synthesys™," comments Weston. The centre's management team used the powerful Business Process Management engine in Synthesys™ to create visual step-by-step guides (callflows), which agents now follow from their desktop to complete every customer interaction. He adds: "The simple drag-and-drop interface allows us to build and edit callflows, based on our business processes.  We are using it daily and find it a really easy-to-use tool."

Today, when an agent receives a call or email they simply follow the instructions clearly presented to them on their screen, via a user friendly Unified Agent Front End. From here they take the customer enquiry, schedule engineer site visits, order parts and arrange product hires, all without changing screen. They can also create and send personalised HTML emails at the click of a button, which are automatically populated with the customer's details, product description and part code. Weston adds: "Our agents don't have to rely on memory as the callflows guide them through every call and email, so customers who don't call us often will receive exactly the same high standard of personalised service as more frequent callers."

The centre is also taking advantage of the Call Tracker feature within Synthesys™, to 'join up' the contact centre and the warehouse in a fully end-to-end process. Weston outlines how it works: "Once a call has ended we have a pending follow-up action to take. This is automatically entered in to the system and subsequently pushed through to our logistics group to complete. The Call Tracker gives us complete traceability and accountability from the first contact with the customer through to booking products in, to running it through the repair process and shipping it back out to the customer."

All relevant information relating to the enquiry that is captured by Synthesys™ during the call is recorded into the Synthesys™ Customer Relationship Management database, to provide an up-to-date record of every customer history. Furthermore, the warehouse team use the same callflow technology to update the customer record regarding the status of a repair or hire order, as well as for reporting back on call-outs. Weston explains: "Within a few clicks we can be presented with a real-time customer's status." 

Today, Synthesys™ is vital to the daily running of the NEC European Technical Centre and Noetica is in regular contact with the management team to ensure that they are maximising the use of the technology. Weston adds: "From the very first interaction through to the resolution of the enquiry everything is completed in adherence to the centre's processes, within our strict service level agreements and key performance indicators". In fact, the operation has become so slick the company is looking to offer the services of the centre to other technology manufacturers.

Weston concludes: "Synthesys™ is certainly a very good and very useful system and we would certainly recommend it to other organisations. It has enabled us to harmonise the whole approach to how the NEC European Technical Centre operates and this ultimately improves the overall level of service that we deliver to our customers."