The whole customer story

When customers complained it was hard doing business with Shell, the company realised its customer service act was falling apart....

When customers complained it was hard doing business with Shell, the company realised its customer service act was falling apart. Shell adopted CRM and noticed a vast improvement, writes Liz Warren.

In 1997, Shell Oil Products, a $100bn division of Shell that supplies lubricants, heating fuel and gas to homes and businesses, found itself in trouble with its customers. "Basically, customers were saying it was difficult to do business with Shell," admits Toby Detter, customer service programme director for Shell Europe.

Shell's response was to develop a new strategy based on a single customer service centre in each of the 30 European countries where it operates. Drawing on a central data repository, the centres let customers place orders, check the status of product deliveries, make account enquiries, complain and obtain technical product information with a single call. Customer service representatives get all the relevant information about each customer, so they can develop a more personalised relationship and introduce customers to products and services that are relevant to them.

Shell chose PeopleSoft CRM as the foundation for the new service centres because it could pull together customer-related information from across Shell's existing systems, including its ERP, distribution and fuel-card systems. "It's the single view of the customer which improves the quality of the relationship," said Detter. "That's what makes the difference between customer attrition and customer retention."

Shell has seen a significant rise in customer satisfaction in its regular customer surveys and the number of queries resolved in the first call has gone from well below 50% to near its target of 80%. The solution has also helped Shell cut costs by between 25% and 40% in each country, and its targeting of customers' needs has already let the company exceed its target for generating additional revenues.

The Bottom Line: Costs cut by 25-40%

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