CGI implements powerful, enterprise-wide CRM solution, turning customer contacts into productive cross-sell and up-sell opportunities
“Because CGI works so closely with Bell and understands our business and our vision, they’re able to be proactive in the way they think and act, and they bring a lot of things to our attention that might affect our environment.”
Owen Sonnenschein, Associate Director
Since its inception more than 125 years ago, Bell Canada has been a key force in shaping the Canadian communications landscape. Now, as Canada’s leading telecommunications company, and one of North America’s largest, Bell Canada Enterprises (BCE) provides the most comprehensive and innovative suite of communication services to 28 million residential and business customers across Canada. Along with a number of other business units, BCE operates Bell Canada Local Service, Bell Mobility wireless service, ExpressVu digital satellite television service, and Sympatico high-speed Internet service.
More importantly, Bell needed a better way to leverage all customer contacts, including Web site visits, into opportunities to increase Average Revenue Per User (ARPU), one of Bell’s most important business metrics. With Bell Mobility, ExpressVU, Sympatico and Bell Local Services each having separate Customer Relationship Management (CRM) applications and customer databases, however, and with no formalized process in place for cross-selling or up-selling services to existing customers, Bell Agents could not easily recommend new or more competitive products to inbound callers. They had to search through each of these customer databases to find out what services the customer already subscribed to and then try to figure out what services might be best to offer – all in real time, while the customer was still on the phone. By enhancing the interaction amongst its CRM applications, however, Bell would be able to create more personalized and profitable interactions with customers.
CGI was engaged by Bell to build the RT system for use by all Bell business units. The system needed to be able to merge and update the data from the individual business unit billing systems into a single repository, have an easy-to-use graphical interface, and be easily scalable to service up to 10,000 Agents.
“Because of the quality work CGI had been doing for us for some time as part of a long-term IT services outsourcing agreement, it was a natural decision for us to have them create the user interface and handle the back-end data integration for this project,” says Owen Sonnenschein, Associate Director, CRM Development & Enablement at Bell Canada.
Although all Bell business units are now using the RT, this was accomplished only after a number of significant challenges were overcome, not the least of which was extracting all the customer data from the databases of each Bell operating unit and integrating it into a single RT repository. The complexity of the data presented a real challenge since each business unit had its own definition of what a customer profile should look like. A sizeable development effort by CGI was required to create a custom ETL (Extract-Transform-Load) program that could extract these different forms of data from the legacy databases and consolidate them into a single, common view in the RT. This was a complex process, requiring CGI to understand what data to transform, what data needed to be captured in real time and how to sequence all the ETL tasks. The sheer volume of the data was also a significant factor – 13 million accounts have to be processed every night to refresh the RT database – and the system needed to have the capacity and speed to handle this volume of data.
The other significant challenge that had to be overcome by the Bell-CGI team was building a user interface for the RT that would be common to all Agents in all business units. Not only would all channels have to agree on this interface, it would also need to be highly usable so that Agents would be willing to use it. By combining advanced GUI development skills with a thorough understanding of Bell’s business and the needs of its Agents, CGI developed MAX+, an effective and highly scalable Web-based interface to the RT suitable for use by a large number of call centre agents.
“Through their experience and expertise, CGI provided a consistent level of excellence in creating the MAX+ interface to meet the needs of our users, while staying within the schedule and budget guidelines set down at the beginning of the project,” says Don Wilkinson, Associate Director, Business Solutions Advisor at Bell.
As part of providing a single, consolidated display of a customer’s complete profile, including all Bell products and services the customer subscribes to, MAX+ provides a history of all contact a customer has with Bell, whether the customer visits Bell’s Web site, enters a Bell store, calls any of its call centres or logs into Bell’s IVR phone system.
This allows the Agent to service the customer more efficiently, without having to search through multiple systems for this information. Most important of all, however, MAX+ presents the Agent with the five recommended offers a customer would most likely be interested in as determined by the underlying RT system based on the customer’s profile, history and information gathered during the course of the call. With the consolidation of other, older tools into MAX+ as well, Bell Agents got a single, consolidated portal, eliminating the need for them to jump around in order to work with multiple tools.
“All the information Agents need is now readily available to them on a single screen,” claims Sonnenschein. “By working closely with us and understanding the way Agents interact with our systems, CGI was able to give us an interface that will scale easily as we continue to add new call-handling channels.”
In addition to extending the RT system to include the Bell.ca Web site, where visiting customers are similarly presented with recommended offers generated by the RT based on their personal customer profile, CGI also implemented an RT system in Bell’s Small & Medium Business (SMB) unit.
CGI also built the computer hardware infrastructure to run the RT, ETL and MAX+ applications, providing a robust environment that could easily scale to support as many as 10,000 agent desktops, while still providing sub-second response times.
In addition to increasing the efficiency with which customer calls are now handled – the system automatically identifies the customer, analyzes dozens of customer attributes and immediately presents the Agent with the most appropriate offers for that customer – it’s now easier for the Agents to pre-qualify the customer and sell more complex products and services, thus increasing the revenue per call. And with more data at their disposal, it’s easier for Bell’s customer insight groups to improve existing products and identify new product opportunities.
“With CGI’s help, we’ve been able to significantly enhance our ability to cross-sell and up-sell based on our customers’ personalized needs,” says Sonnenschein. “The RT has allowed us to gain valuable marketing data at the individual customer level and create predictive marketing models that dramatically improve our sales effectiveness.”
With CGI’s ongoing development assistance, Bell continues to enhance the RT with new features, such as a customer retention feature that uses event-based marketing.
“We also have a Service Level Agreement in place with CGI for ongoing problem response and resolution for the RT and MAX+, but I never have to look at it because the service has always been excellent,” concludes Sonnenschein.
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