Company: Princeton Consulting
Customer: Volvo Trucks
Submitted by: Princeton Consulting
Date: August 2002
When Volvo required a common and advanced technology platform to support its worldwide operations it turned to the pragmatic technical expertise of Princeton Consulting. Volvo has again called in the CRM and eBusiness specialists to assist with the deployment of a dealer relationship management solution at its North American truck division that is enriching the support the company provides to its valued channel partners.
Volvo built its first truck in 1928 to provide a growing transport industry with the safe and robust vehicles needed to travel the rough roads. After 70 years, that commitment to quality has helped make the company one of the world’s largest, leading designers and manufacturers of commercial vehicles and construction equipment, with production in almost 30 countries world-wide and a workforce of over 53,000 employees.
Volvo Trucks North America (VTNA), the US division of Volvo Truck Corporation, produces an average of 30,000 trucks a year for customers in North America and portions of South America and the Middle East. The majority of these vehicles are sold to customers via the company’s network of dealerships, channel partners who provide the vital customer interface for Volvo and upon whom the company depends for its continuing commercial success.
Don Philyaw, Director of Sales & Marketing Support at VTNA, said, “Our dealers are our main sales channel and are as important a business asset to our company as our employees and our customers. We are committed to supporting them with the information and tools they need to attract business, win sales and foster the loyalty of our existing customers.”
Vital dealer support
As part of this support VTNA runs a contact center from its Virginia manufacturing plant that dealers can call with general inquiries, gain assistance with truck specifications and request the status of an order or vehicle. When Volvo determined this center was receiving upwards of 11,000 calls a month, they knew there was a danger of not providing the quick and responsive service their dealers needed.
Philyaw said, “If a customer needs to know when the truck they have on order is going to be delivered, the dealer must be able to get a fast and efficient response from us the moment he picks up the phone. Similarly we cannot keep them waiting for information they need to secure a sale. But with the traffic we were getting through the center we had to find a better way of handling, routing and managing calls to enable us to provide that up-to-the-minute feedback.”
VTNA decided to look for a technology solution that would allow them to handle the volume of calls and analyse the nature of the inquiry so it could be routed to the most suitable person. The company recognised that it also needed to equip that employee with readily available information so they could fully answer the dealer’s query at the initial point of contact.
Philyaw said, “Improving the telephone support to the dealers was the first stage. We knew we would quickly want to deploy eBusiness technology in the future to support our channel partners with a variety of contact methods and means of getting the information they needed – via the contact centre, the Web and emerging new media.”
He continued, “We believed there was only of solution that could provide us with the contact centre and eBusiness technology we needed and that was Siebel. We also realised that we were aiming to achieve was a relationship management system for our dealers and, from our ongoing work with Princeton Consulting, we knew they had the combination of Siebel knowledge, CRM, and eBusiness expertise to make this project a success.”
Princeton Consulting’s relationship with Volvo spans four years and started when the company masterminded the world-wide implementation of a common technology platform for the entire Volvo group.
Philyaw said, “From the moment we started talking to Princeton we were impressed by their willingness and ability to understand the business reasons for deploying the Siebel technology. Because they understand the Siebel solution so well, they quickly understood our needs and showed us how to optimise the technology’s capability for our own contact center requirements.”
He continued, “What we particularly liked about their approach was that they have a pragmatic, practical view of how to deploy a solution in incremental stages rather than the ‘big bang’ methods of other consultancies. That means you rapidly begin to see business benefit from the project and early return on investment.”
Quicker availability of supportive information
Initially deploying Siebel Call Centre 99, but having seamlessly upgraded now to Siebel 2000, VTNA has implemented the solution at its Virginia assembly plant to support its 25-plus staff in the dealer contact center. The solution has also been installed at VTNA’s North Carolina headquarters to assist staff who deal with enquiries from the company’s direct sales channel. Princeton Consulting has provided both business strategy and technical consultancy for the entire deployment.
As well as streamlining the handling of calls, VTNA uses the Siebel solution to track the interactions a dealer has with the centre as a ‘case.’ Anytime a dealer calls the contact center, a full history of interactions is available on screen for the call handler to view. This provides the contact centre staff with a wealth of information they can use to better manage the call.
The company is also using Siebel to analyse the calls to the contact centre to gain a greater understanding of the types of queries it receives. The company is keen to see where it can provide information proactively to dealers, so that they know how to source the answers they need without needing to physically contact the call centre. It is VTNA’s aim ultimately to make this information available on the Web.
Philyaw said, “Typically a dealer will call us wanting to know at what stage of the build the truck is at to know when he can tell the customer to expect delivery. By making this information available on the Web we can allow the dealer to track the truck at every stage from order to completion themselves without needing to contact us directly. This will reduce the number of calls to the centre and enable our staff to focus on those dealer enquiries that need more in-depth handling, whilst ensuring that every enquiry gets the swift and professional response it needs.”
He continued, “We also want to take this one step further and enable dealers to configure trucks to individual customer specifications via the Web, and extend the sort of information that we currently provide to dealers on our intranet. All this would help them provide an informed and efficient service to our customers that would increase sales productivity. We also believe that offering dealers such proactive and efficient support will encourage their commitment to our company.”
Web-based relationship management system
Princeton Consulting has now provided VTNA with a proof-of-concept for creating such a dealership relationship management system using Siebel e-Service. As well as enabling dealers to contact the support centre not only by telephone but also via the Web a key component of this eBusiness solution will be an Internet self-service feature that will enable dealers and customers to configure truck specifications.
Such a system would be hugely beneficial in the competitive market in which VTNA operates because it will dramatically increase the speed in which dealers can compile individualised specifications and quotes for customers. Crucially, the Siebel solution will enable VTNA to track every interaction through the Web as efficiently as it can through the contact centre.
Philyaw concluded, “Princeton’s CRM and eBusiness expertise is proving invaluable as we look to roll out these new initiatives because they understand how important enriching relationships is with customers and partners, and know how best to deploy technology to achieve it. In their case they practise what they preach. The way they have fostered a relationship with Volvo over the past few years has won our loyalty to their services, and it gives us confidence that they can help us nurture and protect the relationships that matter most to us.”