Catherine Ong heads up Sony’s customer relations operations in Asia, Middle East, Africa (AMEA) and India. It is a huge geography, she said, but her strategy provides reasonable autonomy and scope for localisation to Sony’s 13 customer contact centres across the region.
Sony’s contact centres in the region manage a significant number of customer contacts a year. Everything from product pre-sales to post-sales: telephone calls about product features and price; email requests to clarify setup instructions; a live chat to discuss product warranty; and product registration information funnelled from web forms. It’s a lot to consolidate and manage, drawing information from service partners and an ERP system.
“Social media adds another dimension and will eventually form a key platform in Sony’s customer support outreach,” said Ong.
Traditional business systems demand that their owners look down. Cloud-based systems keep their owners looking up and out at the really important things. It was this thinking that drew Sony to salesforce.com, said Ong. “Customers expect you to know. Being locked into our own network wasn’t working. We had to provide access from anywhere. Integrating apps, new features and other systems had to be easy and let us tie everything together.”
Today salesforce.com underpins nine of Sony’s 13 contact centres across AMEA and India. Sony has integrated its Cisco telephony managed service and also manages customer contact via email, web, social media, and Live Agent feeds.
Ong said keeping customers happy is easier when customer cases are managed as one unified agent experience. This is the magic of Salesforce Service Cloud. A single customer view allows Sony’s contact centre agents to quickly pinpoint the right information about customers. Tabbed customer records and screen optimisation allow agents to navigate diverse histories, manage social media and case activities, with fewer clicks and less scrolling. Contact can come from anywhere, but everything about the customer is in one place.
Sony is also using Dashboards and Reports to report regional performance and provide managers with real-time reporting across a number of metrics.
Specific service offerings can blur system boundaries. For example, Sony’s technicians use LogMeIn Rescue Support – a remote support app from salesforce.com AppExchange – to perform remote problem diagnosis and fixes for computer and smartphone customers. The really clever part – and key to seamless case management integration – is a tab in Salesforce Service Cloud that generates a pin code, which is sent to the customer and connects their device. The technician gets down to work and when the job is completed, session data is automatically exported from LogMeIn Rescue Support to the customer case record in salesforce.com.
Ong said Sony was in the early stages of its Salesforce journey but had witnessed across-the -board improvements in speed and efficiency. “Automation has improved our efficiency and accuracy, and information we need is easier to get. We can see emerging patterns and potential pain points and change our operation accordingly.”
“Our contact centre managers say Salesforce is very intuitive. We were initially worried about the learning curve, but our agents picked it up quickly,” said Ong. “It’s the simplest launch of a new system we’ve ever done. But that’s the nature of buying a service rather than a system. It also helped that we could use so much of it without any customisation.”