Bertelsmann Marketing Service, which operates two UK call centres in Liverpool and Manchester, provides outsourced direct marketing services to a number of companies, including online retailers, telcos and Internet service providers. Between them, the companies that use the Bertelsmann services represent a worldwide user base of 35 million people.
The company implemented the Kana Response application from software provider Kana to help support its customer services representatives, who have to deal with a large volume of inquiries in a number of languages.
The Kana Response software allows the company to route customer e-mails to a representative who is able to respond in the language the e-mail is written in, explained Andreus Jung, IT director at Bertelsmann Marketing Service.
"The software allows customer service representatives to reduce the average e-mail response time from between 10 and 12 minutes to two or three minutes, while identifying each customer's individual history instantly," he said. "It has also allowed us to cut costs, although this was not the main driver behind the implementation."
As well as supporting e-mail inquiries, the application links into Bertelsmann Marketing Service's multimedia system, which means customer service representatives see the same information when a customer makes an enquiry by telephone.
The implementation has also brought some internal benefits for Bertelsmann Marketing Service. "Kana enables consolidated reporting, which is important from an internal point of view," said Jung. "The fact that we could install the software from a central location - because it is Web-based - was important from the cost side of things."
Looking ahead, Bertelsmann Marketing Service is planning to trial e-mail management software that will enable a higher automatic response rate to customer enquires. In addition, Jung said the company is considering expanding its use of Kana Response to further call centres outside Germany and the UK.