Samsung Electronics

We were seeking an agile framework to support both customer and agent experience - which we've found with Salesforce.”

Gareth Hobson, | Head of B2B Customer Experience Operations, Samsung Electronics UK & Ireland
 

88%

of cases resolved on first contact

 
 

Samsung Electronics UK & Ireland gives B2B customers a faster and smarter experience with Salesforce

Business continuity is at the forefront of every organisation’s mind right now. But how many are using this time to embark on new initiatives and further transform operations?

For Gareth Hobson, Head of B2B Customer Experience Operations, and Gary Skeels, Head of B2B Customer Experience Development, the COVID-19 global pandemic has become a catalyst for change — and proof that transformation efforts are paying off. Empowered with Salesforce Service Cloud, Samsung Electronics UK & Ireland’s customer success agents have seen a 60% increase in cases being raised via digital versus traditional channels such as voice and email – with 88% of these cases resolved on first contact.. An increase that’s happened during the COVID-19 crisis.

 

For our operations, Service Cloud has been transformational from the perspective of customer and agent experience.”

Gareth Hobson | HEAD OF B2B CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE OPERATIONS, SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS UK & IRELAND

Business continuity — and improvement — in a time of crisis.

During COVID-19, Samsung UK & Ireland had to make some seriously major changes – changes that happened to the team customer experience. “During COVID-19, we set out to maintain a consistent and continuous customer experience journey,” said Hobson. “When customers contact us, they have no idea that we’ve transitioned from an office to working from home. It’s been that seamless, and we‘ve set the standard.”

But the team doesn’t stop at ensuring continuity. Transformation is in full swing across Samsung UK & Ireland, and COVID-19 has accelerated it. Almost instantly, the technology company turned off email and voice. It switched almost entirely to chat, and directed people to their customer community. “It’s been on the roadmap for a few years,” said Hobson, “but we didn’t have the opportunity – or a fit-for-purpose case management system, like Service Cloud. So when it did happen, we were ahead of the curve, as we already had live chat on the platform.”

What Skeels and Hobson have achieved in the last few weeks is equal to what most people plan for over 12 months: they moved the entire team from the office to home-working in ten days. And without causing any disturbance to customers. But this pace and scale of transformation isn’t unique to the pandemic. The roots of Samsung UK & Ireland’s transformation go much deeper than the current crisis. The team was able to accelerate transformation and ensure business continuity because the foundations were there. There was already a plan – and a vision – in place.

Samsung UK & Ireland provides technology solutions, devices and electronic applications to businesses of all sizes: whether it's an SME that needs mobiles and tablets or an enterprise communications solution for a large corporation. Its Business Support Centre serves a wide range of B2B customers: end users, channel partners and resellers, internal customers (especially sales), and Managed Services customers. Its on shore operation in Leeds provides first-, second- and third-line support across 500 touchpoints, to both internal support of sales and marketing teams, and external across distributers, carriers, and end customers. The operation also supports over a multi-hundred million pounds in revenue.

A contact centre unlike any other.

The Business Support Centre is unlike the majority of contact centres, with a near-unheard of staff attrition rate of under 4%. “Culture beats strategy,” said Skeels, when discussing the success of their centre. 

The centre has been using the Service Cloud since January 2018. And pace of change has been embedded in the relationship with Samsung UK & Ireland from day one. After selecting Salesforce, the team had 12 working days from signing the contract to going live. “We did a 10-day Salesforce build to get the system in place for one customer,” said Skeels. “From there, one became two, two became three… and the rest is history.” The customer success team now helps 1,000 plus customers with Service Cloud.

Moving this quickly was nearly impossible before Salesforce. Prior to implementing Service Cloud, the support centre used proprietary systems which meant changes were often too complex to execute. “We knew our success agents could help customers far better if they could make changes to the system. With Service Cloud, this became a reality,” said Skeels. “We have a spreadsheet of user stories where agents come to me asking, ‘can we do this?’ and ‘my job would be better if we did this’,” said Skeels. “Agents constantly input ideas on how they can do their jobs better.”

Samsung UK & Ireland needed a framework with the agility to support changing customer and agent needs. After all, if agents are constrained by their tools, it demotivates them and impacts customer experience.

 

We knew our success agents could support customers far better if they could make changes to the system. With Service Cloud, this became a reality.”

Gary Skeels | Head of B2B Customer Experience Development, Samsung Electronics UK & Ireland

Case turnaround time has almost halved.

With the confidence, support and tools to excel at – and enjoy – their work, the agents in the Business Support Centre deliver the best customer experience in the organisation. In 2019, the customer success team raised and managed around 10,000 cases. And already this year – by May 2020 – they’ve has raised over 16,000. This uptick in case volume hasn’t slowed the agents down. In 2019, the average turnaround time from a case being opened to closed was nine days. Now, it’s 4.8. 

Skeels attributes this speed to Service Cloud. Regardless of the problem, the customer or the complexity, an agent can simply look at one screen and find all the information they need in one place. Whether it’s customer preferences – some want to repair devices rather than replace – contract details or knowledge articles, the platform makes the process fast and efficient. 

Customer experience directly improves NPS.

“Happy customers want to work with us for longer” said Skeels. “And happy agents are key to creating these happy customers. Plus, we want employees to enjoy coming to work, to feel confident, and impact customer experience.” And that they do: since starting to measure NPS in Q4 2019 the customer success team is hitting 80. Which has risen dramatically from a sub-50 score at the start – and quickly overtaken the target of 65.

Samsung UK & Ireland is empowering its customers by introducing personalised support through a variety of channels. Using Community Cloud, customers can now create their own cases. The team has also built a mobile app that connects customers by phone, live chat or text – helping to resolve issues faster, and via the customer’s preferred channel. Before COVID-19, 70% of customers were using phone to contact Samsung, with only 10% using web, but during the pandemic all traffic moved to web cases. As Samsung moves out of the lockdown, telephone cases are beginning to balance out again.

A redefinition of success metrics.

When it comes to customer service, most agents are measured on the time spent on a call. For Skeels, Hobson and the Business Support Centre – this couldn’t be further from the truth. Instead, the team focuses on first contact resolution (FCR). Currently, it stands at 88%: with the vast majority of issues resolved the first time a customer gets in touch. “We tell our agents to take as much time as necessary,” said Hobson. “If it results in a customer feeling they’ve had a fantastic experience, we’ll take that every time.”

With plans to deploy Einstein for Service, agents will be able to see the right knowledge article at the right time – letting them resolve cases even faster.

Agents are empowered to make change.

Skeels uses Salesforce’s clicks, not code approach to implement and plan this ever-growing list of employee-driven projects. “Everything we’ve done is through configurations, which is fantastic,” he said. “With Salesforce, we can say yes to a lot of requests and make them a reality very quickly.”

Rather than a rigid framework that’s been prescribed from on high, the customer success team has adopted Salesforce as theirs. A system built for them and around them, that can change and mature according to what they need.

Because the agents are so involved in customising the platform’s capabilities, they are the ones testing in the sandbox. So, by the time a new feature goes live, agents are already familiar with it. This minimises handovers – a Monday evening deployment doesn’t lead to a disrupted Tuesday morning.

The customer success team is made up of as many engineers as agents. Plus, agents use Knowledge for easy access to information – meaning they’re far more likely to solve customer issues on first contact.

“We’ve had great feedback from both our resellers and agents. Resellers hold more sway over what brand a B2B customer buys because they also need a managed service,” explained Skeels. “With Salesforce, we can boost our reputation and differentiation in the crowded mobile communications market.”

Tailored workflows do the heavy lifting.

Service Cloud is customised to include customer preferences and specific workflows – right down to particular customer validation rules – which enhances both customer and agent experience.

So, customer success agents can offer a support service proposition with the rigour and reliability of one that’s been rolled out to countless customers – but that’s also personalised to an individual customer's needs. Whether agents are helping a single warranty customer at an SME or assisting a global corporation, they can guarantee a consistent experience. “With Service Cloud, we can offer a personalised experience to our B2B customers, and that’s been a game changer.”

Transformation at Samsung UK & Ireland is multi-dimensional. 

From agent empowerment and contact centre culture, to customer experience and speed of delivery, Samsung UK & Ireland has transformed the entire Business Service Centre.

“Over the last 12 months, we’ve consistently ranked highly from a morale, happiness, and customer experience perspective,” said Hobson. “And Salesforce has been a contributing factor.”

 

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