BPM clears a path through workflow hurdles

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By using business process management (BPM) solutions, companies are servicing customers more quickly and enjoying enhanced collaboration capabilities.

More than 50 percent of senior IT professionals believe BPM optimization can increase revenue and reduce costs by more than 15 percent because it provides knowledge management benefits throughout organizations, according to a recent survey by PNMsoft, a BPM software vendor.

Portugal Telecom sells cell phones, ancillary equipment and other telecommunications equipment services in Portugal through its MEO cellular stores. Until recently, the retail shops were deluged with so many workflow processes that even the simplest sale was difficult to make, according to Goncalo Mendes, Portugal Telecom’s head of retail development and optimization.

“There was a lot of complexity … a lot of errors … a lot of time wasted,” Mendes says. The retail shops are the point of customer contact not only for sales, but also for all Portugal Telecom-related services, so store owners need to be experts across the breadth of products and services the telecommunications company offers.

“It’s important for staff members at MEO shops to have the right knowledge of our equipment, services, payments, equipment repairs and customer care principles,” Mendes explains.

Portugal Telecom started looking for a solution about three years ago. The first step was to determine what the BPM system should be able to do and the knowledge that it should be able to deliver, Mendes says. Developing that proof of concept enabled the telecom company to determine the tangible results it wanted and to evaluate the solutions that could deliver on those results.

Small savings but big impact

Portugal Telecom chose Sequence, PNMsoft’s intelligent business process management suite (iBPMS), due to its Microsoft-based architecture and user-friendly interface for non-technical users, according to Mendes. The telecom company implemented the solution and quickly saw positive results.

Portugal Telecom used Sequence to develop SHOP Box, a framework to interact with the company’s legacy systems through Microsoft Customer Care Accelerator and through Legacy Services. Portugal Telecom reworked its workflows using Sequence’s visual workflow canvas. With the workflows optimized, the average time to service customers dropped by more than 90 seconds within 12 weeks after adding the PNMsoft solution.

Even that seemingly small time savings has a significant impact on time and resources, customer waiting time and the level of service at the MEO stores, according to Mendes. By cutting the time needed to service customers, the telecom company enhanced the customer experience, which is critical for retention and expansion of a customer’s business.

In a whitepaper, PNMsoft cites the following customer experience findings from various sources:

  • Sixty-two percent of organizations view customer experience provided through contact centers as a competitive differentiator.
  • Ninety-four percent of customers who have a low-effort service experience will buy from that same company again (CEB).
  • Loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase (White House Office of Consumer Affairs).
  • The customer experience is the primary investment target, with 68 percent of businesses planning to increase their customer management spend (Call Center Executive Priorities Report).
  • Seventy-eight percent of companies plan on dedicating significantly more or somewhat more effort to improving their online customer experience

(Temkin Group).

Mendes expects Portugal Telecom to gain more benefits from the SHOP Box solution in the future. The company will further optimize workflows to reduce the time to service customers and to expand the resolutions offered through the solution. Portugal Telecom also expects to expand installation across more of its retail shops.

“We are continually improving the solution to minimize errors,” Medes adds.

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