Woolworths’ Liquor Multi Option Retail division has reduced customer phone wait times following the implementation of communications software in 2010.
Speaking at a briefing in Sydney today, Woolworths Liquor Multi Option Retail head of IT Cameron Brawn – who manages technology for Cellarmaster Wines, Winemarket, Nextday, Langton’s and the New Zealand Wine Society – said that it deployed Interactive Intelligence’s IP communications software, Customer Interaction Centre (CIC).
Prior to the implementation, call centre staff were faced with challenges if call volumes increased, he said.
“If the inbound sales and service centre was busy, the supervisor in the call centre would shout across the office so that we could slow the predictive dialler system down,” said Brawn.
The company’s predictive dialler system was previously separate to the automatic call distributor (ACD) platform, which distributed incoming phone calls to a specific group of terminals based on customer need, type, and agent skill set.
“Once that was done, agents had to log off their telephones, go back into the ACD and by then, the 30 calls waiting may have already been cleared or got worse. It was an incredibly labour inefficient process to go through.”
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Now, when call volumes increase at specific times of the year such as Christmas, customers wanting to place orders are not kept waiting on the phone for too long.
“At Christmas when our inbound sales and service centre is getting busier, the platform will automatically slow down the outbound call rates to take phone orders,” Brawn said. “If someone is ringing you with an order number, that’s a guaranteed sale so it’s silly to let that customer sit on hold.”
Another benefit has been the interaction of CIC with the organisation’s four customer relationship management (CRM) systems. These CRMs include offerings from SAP, NetSuite and two internal applications.
“Cellarmasters uses an internal CRM but it’s a system we have the source code for. We have integrated that [CRM] with CIC so our call centre agents have one screen, which includes the customer details and sales background. That means the agent doesn’t need to switch across to a different window,” he said.
“To be able to blend emails, inbound/outbound phone calls and Web chat to the same system has been a huge advantage to us. We have one team looking after all these functions and our customers can choose how they want to interact with us.”
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