Oddbins capitalises on e-mail

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Oddbins capitalises on e-mail

Karl Cushing
Wine merchant Oddbins has invested in contact centre software to help it cope with the massive influx of e-mails being generated by its e-tailing operations.

Oddbins praised the eService enterprise system from software firm eGain Communications for improving customer service and said it has enabled the company to handle a greater volume of e-mail enquiries.

Neil Bench, Oddbins' customer services and direct sales manager, said the company has seen a large increase in e-mail enquiries from customers wanting updates on their online orders or looking for store and product information. The previous e-mail system, based on Lotus cc:Mail, could not cope with demand, he said.

Oddbins set out with a "low-tech" vision to improve e-mail management but is now "adding the bells and whistles", explained Bench. The system now automates the e-mail query process, tracking each e-mail and routing it directly to the appropriate agent, who has access to a shared database of answers to common questions.

The firm's call centre staff can also now deal with spikes in demand at key times such as Christmas. "It is much more scalable," said Bench. The system also maintains a history of customer communications and monitors agent performance.

"It is a customer service function we could not do without now," said Bench, who added that the system will enable the company to give e-mail a bigger role in its promotional campaigns and on its Web site.

Bench said the company's next goal is to fully integrate the system with its customer relationship management system and "close the loop".

The software was implemented six months ago at Oddbins' call centre in Wimbledon.

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