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Case Study Of Fortnight

Q: Tell Us Something about the business of your company?

Aircel is the India's leading mobile service provider with pan India presence. It has 55 million mobile customers. It is the fifth largest GSM based mobile telecomnservice provider with annual revenue of more than $1 billion.

Q: What kind of business applications / IT infrastructure are used at your company?

The complete OSS/BSS stack of Aircel is based on est of breed cots product, for example, Siebel for CRM, Kenan for Retail billing, Subex Moneta for Revenue assurance, Mediation from Intec, Metasolve for provisioning, Oracle service bus for EAI and SOA etc. Apart from the above, SAP is used for Enterprise resource planning, MS sharepoint for HR applications, Oracle IDAM for enterprise wide access and authentication etc. The infrastructure is wide ranging from SUN/Solaris, HP/UX, IBM/AIX, Linux and Windows with 6 data centres connected on MPLS backbone across India.

Q: Name the project if any?

One of the project which has impacted business was Customer care Framework(CCF).

Q: What was successfully implemented? Describe the project or initiative and the solution you deployed.

Given the competitive landscape of Indian telecom business, excellence in customer service is mandatory to sustain long term growth and retention. On the other hand, reduction of operational cost is essential to lower the cost to the end customer. Aircel, with the help of the innovative customer care frame work, has been able to achieve both; delighting the customer with proactive customer support on one hand while reducing the operational cost significantly on the other.

We have built an innovative customer care frame work (CCF) in association with Microsoft, by which we are able to bring all relevant information about the customer in a single screen without investing in expensive EAI frame works, that too within a short time frame of 6 months The highlight of this frame work is that the existing ecosystem of applications were retained as is in spite of integrating them into a single framework; This helped all the agents adopt and use the new frame work with great ease.

This application gives the Aircel call Centre Executive a 360 degree view about the customer even before he starts his interaction. By automatically perform most of the work that the agent repetitively does for each call, the Customer Care frame work helps the agent to have focused conversation with the customer that helps him resolve customers query faster & better. By analysing parameters like demographics, behavioural patterns, mobile phone capabilities etc, it suggests products and services the customer is likely to be interested in resulting in significant up sell revenue. By leveraging the frame work's capability to integrate seamlessly with CTI, the agents are now able to have the complete information about the customer and are able to anticipate customer's concern and resolve it faster than before. With this, Aircel agents are redefining and taking Customer Support to higher standards. The faster reframe work of the issue results in reduction of call handling time by as much as 30%. This nose dive in AHT precipitates resulted into a direct reduction of operational cost and significant savings to the org. In addition, CCF with its in built training kit helps call centres significantly reduce training time of new agents and make them productive from day 1.

Q: What was the IT / business challenge faced that led you to this project?

We have 10 LOB applications common for all the circles and over 130 VAS applications which have circle specific presence. The agent at any time would query 20 of these applications to fetch relevant information about the customer. Navigating 20 disparate applications for each call was tedious and time consuming. The agent inadvertently might share\use previous customer's record while answering customer's query if he fails to refresh the application before answering the new call. All this resulted in high call handling time to resolve customer's concern and longer queue time for other customers waiting behind eventuating into a lost opportunity to provide superior customer service. It also increases the call centre cost.

Q: What IT solution / product / strategy was planned to overcome the above business challenges?

Consolidation of all applications UI on a single window with integration with CCT and Query/Request/Complain(QRC) resolution workflow during customer call handling were discussed, understood and implemented in this project. The business and IT both were convinced to adopt the strategy of trail and refine to minimize the average call handling time(AHT). Recording of customer interaction and Feedback of call centre were considered while implementing the workflows.

Q: What was the evaluation process and why did you choose a particular vendor?

There are not many vendors in unified CCF product domain. We did the pilot with Microsoft with no obligation to implement and did a trial in one of the call centres to understand the call patterns and its benefits to CSR. After this trail phase, business and IT was convinced to go ahead with the project. Microsoft being our partner, we decided to award them the project for execution.

Q: Scope of the project – geography, no. of users, systems, timelines for project execution from signoff to go live, etc.

The Scope of Project was Pan India call centre with 2500 concurrent users on the system in busy hour. The complete project was rolled out in one year.

Q: What major challenges (technical, managerial, process) did your organization face during the execution of your project or IT initiative and how did you address (surmounted) them?

The technical challenge faced on this project was majorly the speed of new vas application being introduced by Aircel and its integration into CCF. Partner needed to understand the complexity of VAS application Care interface and business were worried about speed on integration.

Along with Microsoft, we cam with a framework where new application could easility be integrated into the workflow and CCF by administrative user. It gave business the confidence in product and it was quickly accepted in all telecom circles.

Q: What was the role of the partner (if any) and a value add in the implementation of this project?

CCF is a Microsoft product and our implementation partner was Microsoft as well. This gave us the power to drive the project in positive direction. The complete end-to-end delivery was responsibility of Microsoft. Roll out was the responsibility of business with complete project management by a dedicated IT team.

Q: What were the business benefits generated / derived from the project / deployment? Any significant & measurable impact on business? If so please provide quantifiable numbers wherever possible. Please describe the financial return and measurable payback. An overview of the quantifiable benefits that underscore your project's success

CCF Cuts AHT by 15 percent...
The Customer Care Framework also automates several manual tasks saving up to 15 percent AHT, enabling the agent to deliver information quickly, accurately, resolving customers query faster, thereby increasing customer satisfaction significantly; refining the customer support standards in the country.

...And Yet Reduces Operational Costs
This significant reduction in AHT and handling time precipitates a direct reduction of operational cost and significant savings to the organization on account of manpower, infrastructure support and application management.

Significantly Increases Up Sell and Cross Sell Revenue Opportunity
Earlier, disparate systems didn't offer agents with information that would help increase revenue opportunity. However, the CCF presents data analysis from various applications such as demographics, behavioural patterns, mobile phone capabilities etc, and suggests products and services the customer is likely to be interested. This results in significant up sell /cross sell revenue opportunity.

Q: What was something indigenous or radically different about the project or initiative?

The project is in line with business strategy, that is, to enhance customer experience at all touch points. While Aircel rolled out Pan India telecom service, it does not have to augment the call centre staff significantly. Call centre consolidation and training to staff became radically easy, leave aside the motivation and productivity level of Call centre staff who does not have to toggle among plethora of windows.

Q: How did your organization change the way it does business as a result of this project?

The marketing organization never worries about customer services functional efficacy when they launch the VAS products whose TAT is in weeks, not months.

Q: Business user's acceptance is a key measure for the success of any project. A quote from the key business user of the project, solution deployed

"With CCF deployed at call centres, we were able to create a high motivation level of CSR leading to rich customer interaction, needless to say, it saved us call centre cost and focus will shift from customer complain resolution to cross sells/upsale of product with enriched experience", Says Jayaraj Sanmugham, Head-Customer Services Division.

Q: What single "lesson learned" can be described in 20 words or less resulting from the above project?

Always keep business goals on your focus and educate partner about business complexity.

Q: Has the project / initiative won any IT implementation award?

At aircel, we believe in getting the business benefit realized before projects are submitted to IT implementation award. This roll out of project pan India has just completed. The project has been submitted to many IT forum and has got a positive response, while results are awaited.

Q: Future roadmap. What is expected life of this project? Is there anything else you've planned to do for it in the future?

The future of this project is to bring integration with business intelligence at CSR desk in order to provide personalized product recommendation to our customer during interaction.

Q: Something you would like to share with your fellow CIOs

'Take business in confidence, always be with business , educate partner, strong commitment toward delivery is the only successful way to contribute to bottom line as well as top line of organization'

Q: Final words on industry wide adoption of this type of project

Bringing the rich customer experience at touch point is the key challenge, telecom industry is facing. Multiple reasons for this but most important reason is churning the huge data for creating business intelligence and subscriber behavior, AND hence differentiated experience at touch point is the key challenge which IT is still figuring out to bring through technology innovation. CCF is one steps toward it which could be easily integrated with business intelligence tools to recommend best product suited for customer at call centre. We at Aircel, are committed to provide every customer interaction a memorable one.

Q: Any other information you would like to share

CIO should drive the innovation through use of technology put to business use which enhances revenue, reduces cost or increases customer/stakeholder satisfaction.

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