Going with the Workflow

17 Jul 2006

Vodafone looked no further than SoftCo when implementing a new document management system for its administrative call centre in Dundalk.

The mobile provider had worked with the company in previous projects and knew they would get an efficiency-enhancing solution and great backup. SoftCo Workflow was the system decided upon and it has proved to be such a success that other Vodafone departments are looking at adopting it, says Mervin Neary, CTI/IVR manager of Vodafone Ireland.

Prior to the adoption of SoftCo Workflow, paperwork sent to the Dundalk centre was dealt with by hand. “We get in about 15,000 non-telephony contacts a week: mostly postal correspondence and faxes,” explains Neary. “Our previous process was a laborious, manual task. Our mailroom would sort mail into categories; these then would be scanned into queues for team leaders to delegate to the customer service representatives (CSRs) within their teams.

“It was scanned so we had a visual record of the correspondence but the physical paperwork was then handed out. The team leader could see it on his system but the CSRs couldn’t. It was a very people-intensive process, resulting in slow turnaround times with no intra-day transparency, which meant progress reporting was limited. It just wasn’t cost effective to be using this manual resource. We knew from our customer satisfaction surveys that we needed to improve our internal document management processes as a whole.”

The new system scans incoming documents, assigns each request a category and priority and routes these requests into an electronic queue which CSRs could log into in order to receive their assignments based on their own particular skillsets.

Throughput has increased and the turnaround time for processing customer queries has decreased since its introduction. “Early indications are that we have seen a big reduction in turnaround times. Our previous five- to 10-day turnaround is now 24 hours,” says Neary.

As well as speeding up response times, traceability and internal reporting have been improved greatly. “Before we had minimal traceability of documents that came in and because of the volume of work, paper trails were difficult to follow. It could be a rather painful task to try to pinpoint where something was,” he says. “Now we can see at a glance when a request comes in who it’s with and where they are in terms of processing it.”

Vodafone team leaders and co-ordinators can also use SoftCo Workflow’s in-built reporting capabilities to quickly create useful reports by request type, team or individual CSRs. This means the company can now easily measure and evaluate the daily, weekly or monthly performance of its customer request-resolution teams. Workflow has added another layer of business control to the centre, says Neary.

The decision to switch to the Workflow system was partly as a result of a suggestion by SoftCo, says Neary, illustrating the proactive way the company deals with its partners. “It wasn’t a case that we went looking for a new document management system; it was based on SoftCo’s own evaluation and survey feedback.”

Installation of the new system was a breeze, says Neary. As it is very user friendly, staff could pick it up very quickly, with only a one-day training period being necessary.

For technical backup, he maintains that SoftCo personnel are second to none. “They offer first-class support, are always helpful and willing to make suggestions. A lot of our solutions need heavy customisation and SoftCo has been very accommodating in that regard.”

Imitation is the best form of flattery, and the fact that other Vodafone departments are looking to the Dundalk centre’s document management strategy with envy is testament to the success of the Workflow solution.

“The word about how well the product and service is doing has crept in over the grapevine to Dublin and those departments are eager to get it installed for some of Vodafone’s business and other administrative areas. That is under way in terms of leveraging the product and rolling it out to other departments in Dublin.”

Integration with the Clarify customer relationship management system used by Vodafone is another feather in the cap of the new product.

By Niall Byrne

Pictured: Anton Scott, operations director of SoftCo with Mervin Neary, CTI/IVR manager of Vodafone Ireland