BSkyB's £50m CRM project stays on track

Pay-TV operator BSkyB has completed the latest stage of its ambitious £50m customer relationship management (CRM) project, a...

Pay-TV operator BSkyB has completed the latest stage of its ambitious £50m customer relationship management (CRM) project, a refurbished call centre in Livingston, Lothian.

The broadcaster handles up to a million customer calls per week. It is investing heavily in CRM software and processes to improve customer retention rates and support its aims of gaining 1.3 million new customers and raising annual revenue per customer to £400 by 2005.

BSkyB spokesman Robert Fraser said CRM can play a vital role in retaining customers which is essential to the survival of pay-TV operators.

"We already have good customer retention rates but it is key that we maintain and improve this as only the highest levels of service will persuade customers to keep subscribing," he said.

In a bid to ensure customer service representatives give the right answers the first time around, BSkyB is rolling out software supplier Kana's IQ application to 4,500 end-users.

The software is designed to allow BSkyB customer service representatives to access a single bank of information, which is constantly updated.

This will ensure they are able to provide consistent responses to a range of issues, such as technical advice or billing information, according to Kana.

"When a customer calls Sky it is vital they get a consistent response," said Fraser. "It is critical that call centre staff have the knowledge immediately - something that was impossible with our largely paper-based processes."

However, the CRM project is not just centred on improving customer service, explained Fraser.

"One of our big goals is to increase customer numbers from 5.7 million to 7 million by 2005 and we also want more revenue from each customer - from its current £331 level to around £400," he said.

"Our direct sales operation is growing," Fraser added. "We are pushing interactive TV services and other products such as Sky Plus [automatic programme recording] and we need the technology to back this up."

Survey finds low value in CRM
Some 76% of UK-based IT directors and chief information officers said that customer relationship management (CRM) has delivered less value than e-business, supply chain and enterprise resource planning systems, according to a new report from research company Vanson Bourne.

CRM has delivered in the mid-market sector - companies with between £50m and £250m in revenue. Some 23% of the IT chiefs from this sector identified CRM as the application providing greatest returns, compared with 9% from companies with larger revenues.

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