Creating Competitive Edge through Customer Service
Creating Competitive Edge through Customer ServiceCisco IP contact center helps Hamburg Wasser improve customer serviceand compete in emerging market for clean energy.Customer Name: Hamburg Wasser Business ImpactIndustry: Utility • Brand differentiation through excellent customer serviceLocation: Germany • Agent efficiency increased by access to customer informationNumber of Employees: 2200 • Low agent turnover due to increased job satisfactionCisco Partner: NextiraOne • Platform for future service innovation Case StudyChallenge Another major problem was that theFor over 160 years, Hamburg Wasser has played an integral role “At times, we felt as if we were blind to what call center could not be integrated was actually going on, because we didn’t into Hamburg Wasser’s SAP-basedin the life of the city by providing it with clean drinking water and customer relationship managementmanaging its wastewater. The publically-owned company’s 2200 have clear visibility of our traffic flows. We felt system. This problem meant that agents never knew who wasemployees serve some 2 million customers, and with an annualturnover of €455.5 million, it is one of Europe’s largest public we were delivering a good service, but our calling and what the status of a particular issue was. Most callers customers’ feedback said the opposite.” had to be transferred to back-office staff, who could access thewater utilities. system and, therefore, answer queries. It was not only inefficientIn 2009, the City created Hamburg Energie as part of Hamburg Timor Buchhorn and frustrating for callers, it effectively meant that the majority ofSenate’s drive to reduce the city’s carbon footprint by 40 percent Contact Center Leader, Hamburg Wasser. customer requests could only be resolved during office hoursby 2020 (compared to 1990). A subsidiary of Hamburg Wasser, when the back-office staff were at work.the company’s mission is to promote and sell clean solar, wind, The platform’s inability to provide callers with relevant, up-to-and gas energy to the city’s citizens and businesses. The system was also unable to provide the information needed date, recorded information meant that every enquiry had to beImpeccable green credentials, however, would not be enough to help ensure calls were being managed well and answered handled by an agent. This situation resulted in the call centerto win new business in the fiercely competitive energy market promptly. For example, abandoned calls, a good indicator of being unable to cope with the huge peak of calls that occurwhere suppliers typically compete on price, especially as the callers listening too long to ringing tone, were logged only once whenever there is a water-related issue, such as a mains waterproduction of clean energy currently costs more than traditional by the caller’s telephone number. This arrangement meant that pipe bursting.sources. Hamburg Wasser, therefore, decided that it would repeated attempts by a person to get through were invisible.differentiate itself by delivering excellent customer service. Solution and Results “The lack of comprehensive reporting affected all our managementBoth companies realized, however, that Hamburg Wasser’s information,” says Timor Buchhorn, the former customer service In seeking a solution, Hamburg Wasser turned to its trustedexisting call center technology platform at its customer service leader at Hamburg Wasser. “At times, we felt as if we were blind advisor, NextiraOne, which had previously designed and built thecenter was a major barrier to fulfilling this strategy. Installed to what was actually going on, because we didn’t have clear company’s data network infrastructure and subsequentlysome 13 years before, the center’s support contract was visibility of our traffic flows. We felt we were delivering a good deployed IP telephony throughout the organization. NextiraOneabout to expire, and the center was already proving to be service, but our customers’ feedback said the opposite.” carried out a series of workshops to help ensure that itincreasingly unreliable. understood what its customer was seeking to achieve.