Gulf Air improves service with CRM

Gulf Air is looking to boost its customer service levels with the implementation of a customer relationship management (CRM) system based on the Oracle E-Business Suite.

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By  Peter Branton Published  April 17, 2005

Gulf Air is looking to boost its customer service levels with the implementation of a customer relationship management (CRM) system based on the Oracle E-Business Suite. The carrier said it is also planning to expand the functionality of its internet protocol (IP) telephony contact centre later this year. The Bahrain-headquartered company’s plans are an extension of the IP contact centre (IPCC) Gulf Air currently operates in Oman’s Knowledge Oasis, a senior executive in Gulf Air’s IT team told IT Weekly. “Over the next year we want to go even further with our IPCC plans,” said Mohammed Sarwar Rabbani, project manager, IT infrastructure at Gulf Air. These plans will include the roll-out of an online e-payment gateway and e-ticketing service for customers, which will allow them to complete all aspects of their transactions with Gulf Air online, as well as by other communications channels such as voice, fax and e-mail. Central to these plans will be the implementation of the Oracle CRM system’s functionality, Rabbani claimed. “We’re rolling out Oracle E-Business Suite, once the implementation is completed the IPCC will enable us to benefit from this,” he said. “The CRM solution will allow us to better identify our customers,” Rabbani added. Oracle’s solution was a natural choice for Gulf Air as it is already a big Oracle customer, Rabbani claimed. “We have about a dozen applications running on Oracle right now and it’s a lot easier going for a similar platform rather than choosing a different one,” he said. However, the carrier did carry out an extensive evaluation and consulting process before deciding on Oracle, Rabbani said. “We looked at Microsoft, we looked at SAP, but they didn’t fit our needs… SAP could be very good for somebody into big-time manufacturing, but as an airline we have very specific requirements,” he added. Rabbani identified human resources, marketing, finance and sales as key areas for Gulf Air, and said the company was looking at how best to integrate these functions before beginning the implementation, which is not expected to happen until near the end of the year. Gulf Air is also looking at extending the geographical reach of its IPCC solution, allowing customers from more countries to use it. Currently, the service is only available to customers in the UAE, Bahrain, Oman and parts of Saudi Arabia, as well as some markets outside the region, including Singapore, Australia and the UK. Gulf Air is also looking to expand the IPCC’s availability to Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon, with future plans to add India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The IPCC has been in operation since 2003, and is part of a joint venture, Infoline, between Bahwan CyberTek, Omantel and Oman’s Public Establishment for Industrial Estate. The IPCC allows users outside Oman to contact Gulf Air directly, and have calls routed over an IP network so they don’t have to pay international rates. Currently, Gulf Air can support up to 124 seats at the call centre simultaneously, but with the proposed expansion plans of the service, it is looking to increase this by another 100 to 150 seats, Rabbani said. Gulf Air is working with Cisco on the network infrastructure for the IPCC and HP will provide hardware and support. Infoline is also offering the IPCC services to other customers locally, according to S Durgaprasad, chief executive of Bahwan CyberTek.

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