Company: SoftlabCustomer: diAxSubmitted by: Portfolio CommunicationsDate: August 2000(SWITZERLAND) A good functioning Call Centre is a company’s business card and is of prime importance for successful customer relationships. One of Europe’s most pioneering solutions has been put into operation by the successful Swiss telecommunications provider, diAx, in co-operation with Softlab. The multi-site Call Centre links several locations to one single Virtual Call Centre and supports four languages.From 0 to over 600,000 customers in the space of 15 months, this feat was achieved by the Swiss telecommunications company diAx, working in partnership with Softlab.
Since its entry into the market in May 1998, diAx has established itself as a leading player in Switzerland’s telecommunications market and is now one of Europe’s fastest growing telecommunications companies. diAx’s range of services covers both national and international phone calls as well as mobile phones, Internet services and telephone cards, all the way through to data services for private and business clients.The success enjoyed by diAx is closely linked to the history of the call centre. This is the pivotal hub of contact with the client. As far as diAx is concerned – be it for direct sales, advertising, information or help support – the call centre is its most powerful marketing instrument.Up to 20,000 calls a day come through to the call centre and are dealt with by agents in a fast, efficient and friendly manner.
In order to make this possible a modern, technically mature platform is necessary to support the call centre staff.
A four-language call centre implemented in just three months
diAx started up with two call centres – one in Zurich and one in Lausanne. Initially, this gave adequate provision for the company’s growing number of customers. In April 1998, howver, when diAx was granted two new concessions for the operation of a mobile telephone network, it became obvious that the existing call centres, faced with the anticipated mobile-telephone boom, would not be large enough to handle the future large scale increase in call volume. A new call centre was essential.Thomas Stöcker, Project Manager for the launch of the new call centre, explained the situation after the decision on mobile telephones had been made: “It was up to us to come up with a solution that was able to support not only a significantly greater number of customers but also much more varied and complex services.
“In order to be able to provide new telephone services throughout the whole of Switzerland from the outset, Stöcker needed to come up with a solution for one particularly thorny problem. “Right from the start, we wanted to be able to provide the whole range of services in four languages – German, French, Italian and English”, explained Stöcker.Added to this, the timetable for this challenging project was extremely ambitious. Management set the start date for mobile telephony as December 1998. That left three months after the assessment – half the normal time – for the planning, design, installation, configuration and testing of the new call centre.
The solution – Genesys Call Centre Suite
These were the primary challenges to be resolved when Thomas Stöcker and his team began the assessment.
Several software products were evaluated initially and from these, the diAx team decided on the Call Centre Suite offering from leading US provider, Genesys. “It’s not just the most tried and tested product, it is also the only one able to fulfil all our extremely complex demands,” explained Stöcker. Apart from its complete coverage of functions, Call Centre Suite also has convincing transparency and flexibility. As Stöcker says, “It’s a platform we can grow with”.Once the Genesys solution had been chosen, the assessment criteria for a systems integrator proved to be both simple yet challenging. What was needed was an experienced, reliable partner which, considering the very restrictive time factor, would be totally committed and which had the necessary depth of knowledge of the Genesys Call Centre Suite.
After thorough evaluation of the leading integrators in the market, Softlab was awarded the contract. Stöcker explains the reason for the choice: “As far as the Softlab specialists were concerned, we could see right away that they knew exactly what they were talking about. We immediately felt confident about their ability to do the job”.
Virtual call centre
Over the following three months diAx and Softlab came up with a call centre solution based on the Genesys Call Centre Suite. It is one of the most advanced in Europe and exploits the opportunities of computer/telephony integration (CTI).
Its main features are as follows:
- Multi-site call centre. Both call centres in Zurich and Lausanne were fused into one single virtual call centre. All calls are automatically and dynamically routed to the agent best suited to attend to the job, in either location
- Call blending. All workplaces have a standardised GUI (graphical user interface) for handling telephones via the PC monitor. Outbound as well as inbound calls are supported by this interface (this is called call blending)
- Back-office integration. Even before the caller hears the agent’s voice, the system checks the telephone number alongside customer information in an Oracle database.
If it is a registered customer the system automatically determines which language that customer prefers, what services he uses, and whether there have been prior complaints from him. On the basis of this information, the call Centre solution passes the call on to the appropriate customer service operator. All the customer information shows up automatically on the chosen operator’s screen. At the end of a call, updated information gets stored in the database
- Manual language selection. Unidentified customers can state their preferred language via a language system
- Capacity planning.
The solution continually analyses the volume of incoming calls and provides information for short, mid-, and long-term planning of capacity and disposition
- Controlling in real time. In a data mart, designed in co-operation with Softlab, performance data is compressed and evaluated in real time. diAx can hence monitor the performance of the call centre and agents at all times
The basis for future expansion
The diAx call centre had its baptism of fire on 1st December 1998. It was on this day that the company announced that the fast approaching Christmas Eve, 24th December, would be the date for the launch of its mobile network. diAx operators were flooded with enquiries so that, at times the call centre was unable to handle all the calls. Softlab specialists reacted immediately.
Within two hours and with business going on as usual, they installed a supplementary server to ensure smooth customer service continued.Since then the call centre has dealt successfully with all the challenges that the rapid growth of diAx has brought along. Today it is three times larger than it was eighteen months ago. On peak days agents in Zurich and Lausanne, who now number 350, deal with 20,000 calls. On average days, calls number between 12,000 and 15,000. Customer service quality is consistently high as various surveys have shown.
Stöcker is delighted with the call centre solution, commenting: “The fact that it took only three months to get it going was due primarily to the skill and dedication of the Softlab team. The company proved itself to be extremely flexible and gave us the knowledge along with the specialists we needed. As far as we’re concerned, a real partnership has grown up that goes beyond any normal business relationship.”The next phase of the partnership between diAx and Softlab has already started. In Autumn 1999 a third call centre was opened in Biel and will be integrated into the same multi-site infrastructure, whilst a fourth is planned for this year in the Freiburg district. Now a new customer care solution is to be introduced from market leader Clarify.
Here too technological responsibility will be in the hands of Softlab.