Uncovering, Sherlock

By Alison Diana  |  Posted 2006-05-01 Print this article Print

-Style."> To find the right solution, Ovett led Radio Systems through a process of "uncovery," to use a term he coined. "[In] Star Trek, [the Enterprise] goes out to discover new things, most of them by accident. Uncovery—which Im in the process of trademarking—is like Sherlock Holmes," Ovett said.

"We wind up getting into a lot of soft areas: What are you doing? Why do you do it?" Ovett said. "Were known for our 20-question interrogation. But we dont ask 20 questions. We ask one—Why?—20 times."

Determining that no such software program existed, Extremely Productive wrote a bridge to connect the CRM solution with the accounting system. Extremely Productive reviewed Radio Systems requirements before recommending and reviewing its solution with Automated Accounting. While each company took the lead over its area of expertise, Radio Systems dealt primarily with Extremely Productive since the new solution revolved around CRM.

"I did very little with Greg [Talburt], myself," said Lough. "I actually did everything through Extremely Productive."

The CRM provider also incorporated a telephony component, so call center operators can immediately see a callers history, said Ken Poggensee, a business analyst at Extremely Productive. The company also tied the telephony system in to a reverse-lookup service, further reducing the time call center employees spend gathering basic contact information from customers.

"We integrated the call center software with the telephony system so it would look up an existing customer when they called and look up the report call ticket—which showed how many times theyd called before [and] what theyd called about," said Ovett. "This helps with warranty tracking and future marketing of their products."

Radio Systems quickly realized the benefits of its integrated CRM, accounting and telephony system. "Its saved so much time," Lough said. "The consistency and accuracy are a wonderful opportunity for us."

More difficult to quantify, though, is the systems impact on the companys overall evolution, Lough said. Thanks to the vast amount of data that call center employees now collect and maintain, other Radio Systems departments are reaping less-tangible benefits. For example, the companys R&D group receives information about the types of problems consumers are having with existing products, feature sets customers would like to see, and those technologies or components most likely to fail when in real-life use, said Lough.

The marketing group also uses the information to determine how best to word its manuals. If the call center receives numerous calls concerning one particular product, the group can use this data to rethink its support materials—resulting in fewer costly support calls to the center, Lough added.

Customers—who no longer have to recite their background information on each support call—have reported higher satisfaction rates. In a recent survey, consumers gave Radio Systems a satisfaction rating of 9.8 out of a possible 10, said Lough.

"I think this system has a lot to do with it," Lough said. "Its allowed my team to be very empowered. Ive given them the ability to make intelligent decisions, not be robots. This technology makes us incredibly valuable to the company."

In fact, the company was so satisfied with the setup that it bought a replica for its office in London, said Ovett.

All three companies maintain contact: Extremely Productive has brought Automated Accounting into other contracts and vice versa, said the heads of both companies.

"We started working together about three years ago," Ovett said, "and were still talking. How often does that happen?"

Having built on their individual relationships with Sage, Extremely Productive and Automated Accounting continue to work together to deliver systems that they hope are the cats meow to a growing base of customers.

Alison Diana is a freelance writer in Merritt Island, Fla. Contact her at alisondiana@hotmail.com.

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