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Keeping wireless customers satisfied

The world is abuzz with cell phones. Just look around you at the airport, on the beach, at the theater (silence, please, except during intermission).

And in the wireless telecommunications industry, customer service is replacing cost when it comes to retaining and gaining customers. That is why GTE Wireless, a $25 billion provider of wireless voice and data telecommunications, has developed a data warehouse whose primary function is to improve service to its 6.9 million customers in 18 states. The new system has streamlined knowledge management and sharing, and boosted customer satisfaction, according to the company.

“We partnered with Hewlett-Packard to create a system to collect, process and report data so that it can be efficiently stored and accessed from the data warehouse,” explains David Yamashita, Enterprise Data Warehouse director for GTE Wireless. The database is from Oracle.

The solution enhances customer service by collecting data from polling switches across the country and making a full call-detail record available to centers that handle customer complaints. If a customer has a problem with static or a lost call, he or she calls a GTE Wireless operator.

“Within six minutes, data about the call is routed to the warehouse and is ready for viewing,” says Yamashita. “We’ve been able to improve customer service so that an operator can quickly view the details of a call and immediately issue the customer with credits for the lost call time.”

The data warehouse also enables the company to achieve higher levels of customer retention and satisfaction by providing detailed forecasting and planning--essential to network performance and rapid correction of service problems.

In the next phase of development, GTE Wireless will be able to analyze data for mutual compensation payment, which the company expects will increase revenues substantially. (Mutual compensation is the wholesale billing to other telecommunications companies.)Explains Yamashita, “Our data warehouse will give us accurate, verifiable data that will avoid an accidental overpayment to long-distance carriers. We estimate that the return on investment will take less than three years. Additionally, our improved forecasting/planning ability and customer retention may shorten that payback by providing increased earnings.”

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