Getting closer to customers

Samsung calls in Avaya for an IP telephony solution to power its United Arab Emirates (UAE) contact centre.

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By  Simon Duddy Published  November 25, 2004

|~|MAN-A3-small_m.jpg|~|“Samsung is a customer-centric company and we always aim to put the customer first in everything that we do. With this call centre, we aspire to address customers on a one-to-one basis.” - Y Y Shin, general manager, Samsung’s Gulf Customer Satisfaction Headquarters (GCSHQ).|~|Samsung has deployed an Avaya IP telephony solution to equip its UAE contact centre, which went live on September 1. The contact centre has four agents and one supervisor with the firm planning to double the number of agents after six months. Samsung set up the contact centre to improve customer relations in the UAE and also as part of a worldwide CRM initiative, which the electronics and computing giant hopes will enhance its understanding of customers. Customer support is traditionally delivered through distributor’s service centres and Samsung wanted a more direct model. The implementation was carried out alongside the creation of a new toll free number (800-Samsung) for UAE residents to call if they need help with products. “Samsung is a customer-centric company and we always aim to put the customer first in everything that we do, whether offering an easy to remember toll-free number to address queries pertaining to Samsung products or launching the first Samsung call centre in the UAE. With this call centre, we aspire to be even more focused in our approach towards our valued customers and address their feedback on a one-to-one basis,” says Y Y Shin, general manager, Samsung’s Gulf Customer Satisfaction Headquarters (GCSHQ). The solution is based on Avaya’s Definity offering, which was chosen as part of a global tie-up between Samsung and Avaya, with 6408D+ IP phones in use. Samsung needed to replace an aging Alcatel PBX and the Avaya IP solution allows for advanced contact centre features such as the ability to receive e-mail messages from customers visiting Samsung’s regional website. It also provides enhanced management and troubleshooting capabilities. “If there is a problem, we can access the phone through a PC anywhere in the building and troubleshoot through the console. We can also block calls on a handset from a PC without having to go to the handset itself,” says Srikant Gullapalli, manager, Samsung’s Gulf Customer Satisfaction Headquarters (GCSHQ). The active infrastructure consists of Cisco 2600 routers and Cisco Catalyst 2950 switches. For software, the contact centre uses the Avaya applications that come with the Definity solution for administration and supervision but most of the call centre work is done through a modified SAP application. “Using the SAP application at the front-end allows seamless integration with other Samsung offices, which also use the program. For example, it makes it easy for internal reports to be read in branches in other countries,” says Gullapalli. The new facility also allows Samsung to exchange information with its distributors. “The contact centre and our distributor’s service centres share XML-based Cosmos software,” explains Gullapalli. “This means, for example, we can easily refer customers to them and exchange information,” he adds. The contact centre is situated in the Jebel Ali free zone and shares a building with a warehouse and training centre. The Avaya telephony system is deployed throughout the building, although the contact centre is on its own network and links to the other facilities at the location through VPN. The VPN capability is provided by the Cisco routers. The contact centre is linked through lease lines to Samsung’s UK-based contact centre to make use of its data servers. The operation in the UAE is not yet big enough to justify a dedicated data centre. However, the firm is looking to expand the contact centre’s operations GCC-wide in 2005.||**||

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