Operating in over 170 countries, BT (formerly British Telecom) is one of the world’s leading providers of communications solutions and services. Its principal activities include networked IT services, local, national and international telecommunications services, and high-value broadband and internet products.
“SupportPoint is a key element in our aim to be number one for customer service. Not only has SupportPoint almost completely reduced our error rates, but it’s helping to bring in more revenue, faster.”
Director Service Delivery, BT Group PLC
- Eliminate staff and system errors
- Reduce the cost of redoing sales orders
- Role specific guidance for workers
- Maintain up-to-date information
- Provide cost effective, on-time service delivery
- Cut training requirements and costs
- Achieve objective of #1 in service excellence
- Simplified order processing with real-time guidance and
- 80% reduction in error rates during pilot
- Faster delivery of revenue
- Consistent, accurate service in every country
- Reduced need for training and lower training costs
- Faster speed-to-market for new products, services and procedural
- Improved customer service levels
- Dramatic impact on bottom line – millions in annual savings and
BT’s networked Multiprotocol Label Switching Service (MPLS) business allows large companies to connect all of their operations and is worth tens of millions of pounds in annual revenue.
The MPLS provisioning process involves six stages – starting with collating sales orders and entering them into their system, through to supplying the physical equipment and configuring the service, and so on. Each stage is further complicated by the global nature of their business, with varying laws, currency, practices and staff in each country.
BT’s goal was to be number one in customer service around the world. It was vital that every global customer received consistent, accurate service at their exact moment of need, irrespective of the country they were located in. BT had to get it right the first time, every time.
BT’s further challenge was complex processes and critical information so volatile that nearly 30% of initial sales orders included human and system errors. Reworking orders caused late delivery, added costs, and failed customer expectations.
Daryl Szebesta, Director Service Delivery at BT notes: “The financial impact of these flawed work orders could run potentially into millions of pounds. Finding a solution wasn’t just about money saved, it was about the necessity of meeting our obligations to our customers to provide costeffective, on-time delivery in the most efficient way possible.”
BT’s provisioning system involved specialists handling each of the six stages, with no individual specialist managing more than one process. Even then, staff had to deal with multiple systems and interfaces, out-of-date support materials, and lengthy searches through intranets, documents and notes.
BT needed better process guidance for their staff. To limit the opportunity for errors, the guidance had to be role-based with information and access limited to individual roles so that staff only received information relevant to their job.
Training was also a concern, as observed by Szebesta: “Most training amounts to ‘Death by PowerPoint,’ which isn’t effective in complex situations and doesn’t offer a good ROI. We really needed something that presented us with entirely new possibilities for bringing people in and keeping them current, at a cost that made sense.”
BT consulted with Product Education, an enterprise learning and knowledge solutions company, who proposed and delivered a solution incorporating SupportPoint. SupportPoint solved the complexity problem by guiding BT staff step-by- step through every aspect of completing an MPLS order, providing just the right information, procedures and policies to complete the processes correctly.
“What we’ve done with SupportPoint is embed it in our system’s infrastructure, in the workflow, on a role-specific basis,” says Szebesta. “SupportPoint actually takes the thinking out of every process. The system is aware of exactly what the user is trying to do by the particular application or combination of screens open on their desk, and literally pushes the right information and procedures to them. Our initial order-entry pilot of SupportPoint was in India where we saw error rates fall by 80%. Now we’ve deployed it across 20 countries and are down to a 6% error rate.”
The fall in error rates was accompanied by a complementary decline in rework. “To our customers, this means a much improved service,” says Szebesta. “Cost savings to BT could be worth millions annually, enabling us to offer more competitive pricing.”
As for improvements in training and knowledge sustainability, he explains: “With SupportPoint, we are using an e-learning solution to train people on the business and their roles, but the real technical information is now delivered by SupportPoint and no longer needs to be part of the training. SupportPoint sustains the knowledge; it’s the expert so we have no more major concerns about countries with traditionally high turnover rates.”
“SupportPoint is a key element in our aim to be number one for customer service. We’ve embedded it in our development and training processes. It’s expected to improve our deployment of systems and processes by speeding up the delivery cycle, speeding up the time-to-market for new products by eliminating most training, and enhancing the accuracy and consistency with which we can deliver on our commitments in every country. Not only has it almost completely reduced our error rates, but it’s helping to bring in more revenue, faster.”
Szebesta summarizes: “Some system enhancements are tactical. We see SupportPoint as transformational. It’s the real power at the core of our change programs.”