Smart linking

When a Saudi contact centre outsourcing provider wanted a unified customer interaction (UCI) solution to handle its fast-paced growth, the company turned to Altitude Software.

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By  Administrator Published  March 1, 2007

Smart Link, a fast-growing outsourcing provider in Saudi Arabia, has implemented the Altitude UCI solution to boost the performance of its contact centre located in Riyadh.

The project was undertaken by Electronic Solution House (ESH), a leading contact centre specialist in the Middle East and a certified Altitude Software partner since 2001.

Smart Link has been in operation for three years and has experienced rapid growth within that time, increasing its number of customers from two in 2006 to eleven this year.

"Not only has the client base grown," explains Muhammed Ali Jabbar, e-Business solutions manager at Smart Link, "but we also now have big companies, such as airlines."

To support its fast-paced growth in the Middle East, Smart Link decided to implement core modules within the IP-enabled Altitude UCI solution, including Altitude Voice, a voice management application that provides intelligent handling of inbound and outbound calls and seamlessly synchronises relevant data with each call through computer telephony integration (CTI).

The solution also enables organisations to improve their contact centre productivity while increasing customer retention and revenue generation. Another module, Altitude Script Developer, enables the Saudi outsourcing company to customise agents' front-office for every single business campaign handled by the contact centre. Scripts guide agents through dialogues with customers, while managing contacts, controlling interactions, and updating databases.

"We needed something that had a really good record in the market in Saudi Arabia, in terms of CTI," says Ali Jabbar. "I come from a background of working in call centres in the UK and USA so when I was there I saw many different companies offer this kind of telephony.

"When I was employed at Smart Link in Saudi Arabia I started working on how to develop my technical side in the call centre and I even contacted some of the companies back in the USA where I'd been previously. After considering it thoroughly I decided that Altitude UCI was the best match for my existing system and exactly the kind of thing I was looking for, at virtually no cost."

The solution has also helped Smart Link increase customer satisfaction with proactive customer service features and flexible voice self-service applications. It provides managers with the tools to centrally design and deliver flexible service delivery models that profit from increased agent productivity.

"This solution is very important now that we're working with bigger clients," explains Ali Jabbar. "The special requirement was to have a software or solution that had CTI integration with a database, and where we could actually provide our agents with the facility to look into the customer interaction history so they can answer the customer's questions and queries that have been raised.

"They will know how many times they've actually interacted with the client, agency, or the company previously, and it has really improved the service level."

Smart Link's main focus is on the relationship-building aspect of working with its clients, while utilising next-generation and proven contact centre technology, explains Safwan Al-Khatib, executive director at Smart Link.

With scheduled 24/7 CRM outsourcing operations, Smart Link required a robust contact centre system that could easily and reliably support high-volume contact management across multiple channels.

"World-class contact centre outsourcing service is, and will remain, our main goal. We evaluated the major contact centre vendors present in the Middle East, and Altitude Software with their local partner ESH clearly distinguished themselves with the Altitude UCI solution," says Al-Khatib. He adds: "We found Altitude uCI really unique in the industry for its unified architecture, with a single configuration database, single language and single design editor. These characteristics allow us to shorten time to market and further reduce our operational costs.

"Altitude's responsive and extensive technical support in Saudi Arabia through their partner ESH was also a major factor in our choice," he says.

The implementation was carried out by ESH and Smart Link has been dealing with them for one and a half years, having built up a strong relationship, so Ali Jabbar knew what to expect.

"First of all, they've trained our staff on how to handle all the problems that they might encounter in the network or telephony. But on top of that they also provide us with quick back-to-back support," he says.

"The solution has really integrated well with the existing databases that we have. We didn't have to upgrade anything or buy in any new software. The best thing about it is that it actually went on top of our existing telephony system so we really didn't have to invest more.

"The solution went live around three months ago. The technicians and people from ESH and Altitude were really very supportive and we let them know our requirement for integration with our CRM system because our CRM system was open architecture."

One recent major contract won by Smart Link was with The Supreme Commission for Tourism (SCT). The Saudi SCT is hoping to support tourism inside the Kingdom through a Tourism Phone project that provides free services for tourists and tourism services providers.

This project allows the tourists to utilise free services all year round by using a toll free number to receive updated information about the festivals, cultural activities and tourist packages. "This project is the biggest contract ever in the Saudi contact centre industry by a government department, according to Ali Jabbar, and further cements Smart Link's need for the UCI solution.

All contact centres in the Middle East are dealing with increasingly diverse methods of interaction, according to Riadh Boukhris, vice-president at Altitude Software Middle East & North Africa.

This includes inbound and outbound calls, e-mail, web chat and other media, and means the centres need easy, rapid ways to manage performance across the board.

"It is mandatory for contact centre managers to be powered with key capabilities for improving operations management in this multi-functional environment, as well as for ensuring that the right agent is always available to serve the customer through any media they choose," says Boukhris.

"For instance, managers should be able to easily configure inbound and outbound campaigns. And once a campaign is in progress, get real-time supervision of all contact centre operations with key indicators such as floor plan displays, evolution graphs, and charts," he concludes.

Project details

Who?

Smart Link

What?

Implementation of an Altitude unified customer interaction solution.

When?

October 2006

Why?

To have a software or solution that had CTI integration with a database, which could provide staff with the facility to look into customer interaction history. This would enable staff to answer customer queries that have been raised.

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