Sky Italia looks to the cloud for better customer experience

Sky Italia “remakes” its customer acquisition, customer service and change order management processes using cloud

This article can also be found in the Premium Editorial Download: CW Europe: CW Europe – May 2015 Edition

Managing the customer service needs of 4.7 million TV households in Italy is no easy task, particularly in a world where all manner of video and entertainment services are now jostling for the attention of subscribers. 

Following its acquisition by BSkyB – now Sky plc – in November 2014, pay-TV provider Sky Italia is under pressure not only to keep signing up new subscribers, but also to keep its existing customer base happy.

The company therefore began a strategic initiative last year to “remake” its customer acquisition, customer service and change order management processes using cloud-based technologies. The priority was to find a system that would enable it to modernise its customer service experience through self-service and contact centre channels and improve its operational efficiency.

Sky Italia had already been using Salesforce and Siebel customer relationship management (CRM) software, and says it was easy to make use of its existing Salesforce relationship to speed up its customer acquisition efforts. 

But as Sky Italia CTO Umberto Angelucci notes, customer service and change order management are more complex processes and thus required a more flexible system.

New channels for customer interaction

Angelucci says the overarching goal was to make the entire process more efficient and to reduce customer call times. “Plus, we knew that customers were looking for new ways to interact with us, especially through self-serve channels like the web and social media,” he adds.

According to Sky Italia, its research showed that to meet these internal and external expectations, it required a vertical system that could integrate interactions across channels, make internal service processes more efficient and deliver an improved overall customer experience.

The company realised from the start that its legacy Siebel CRM system was not flexible enough to handle these requirements. “We began with the understanding that our existing Siebel CRM system was not up the task of meeting new internal and external stakeholder expectations,” says Angelucci.

Meeting three key goals

The next step, therefore, was to find a system that would meet all of these expectations. To achieve this, the company based its search for a system on three key goals: modernise the customer experience; enhance operational efficiency; and seamlessly transition from Siebel CRM to the cloud. 

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“Initially, we considered custom development on Salesforce, but ultimately determined that having a vertical system with key telco-industry expertise and insights was our best long-term solution,” says Angelucci.

Sky Italia eventually chose Vlocity Communications and Salesforce Service Cloud based on the strength of the team and its evaluation of the technology. 

“It was obvious that Vlocity will enable faster deployment and a lower cost of ownership along with additional business benefits,” says Angelucci. He adds that the company will be deploying the solution using Deloitte Digital – the management consultancy’s digital arm – to more than 5,000 business-to-consumer contact centre agents over the course of 2015.

Providing a consistent omni-channel service experience at lower cost

Vlocity, which describes itself as an industry cloud software company that delivers multiple industry-specific applications on the Salesforce1 Platform, is more than aware of the task that lies ahead.

“Sky Italia is an industry leader and innovator, committed to delivering compelling pay TV content to consumers at home and on the go,” says Vlocity CEO and founder David Schmaier (pictured).

“Building on the Salesforce1 Platform, we’re helping Sky Italia deliver a more consistent and satisfying omni-channel service experience with greater agility and at a lower cost of ownership than with its legacy, on-premise CRM applications.” 

Once complete, the omni-channel customer service system will serve Sky Italia’s 4.7 million customers and manage more than 30 million inbound customer interactions per year.

“Sky has always pursued cutting-edge technology to provide our customers the best possible TV viewing experience,” says Angelucci. “By standardising on Vlocity and Salesforce, we now use best-in-class, industry-specific cloud applications to engage our customers in new ways that enhance the customer experience, loyalty and profitability.”

Identifying four key benefits

An enhanced omni-channel customer experience is one of four key benefits that Angelucci claims Vlocity Communications would ultimately deliver to Sky Italia.

The ability to record a particular prospect’s interest in various services helps us with marketing, strategic planning and economic analysis of future network development

Umberto Angelucci, Sky Italia

The Sky Italia CTO says that Vlocity Communications’ omni-script technology allows the pay-TV company to script and more efficiently resolve common customer inquiries with easy-to-use actions and workflows across all channels.

“We will use this first in our contact centre, where we expect it to provide faster service, manage more customers interactions and improve NPS [net promoter score] while reducing average handling time and operating expenses," says Angelucci. 

"Plus, Vlocity Communications gives our agents a 360-degree view of the customer, including active services and billing and service histories across all channels – creating a more unified customer experience.”

The second benefit identified by the firm is the ability to seamlessly import and export customer data.

“Using the Vlocity DataRaptor mapping and transfer tool, we can transfer complex, multi-object datasets while ensuring relational integrity between data objects. This will help us accelerate the integration with our legacy Siebel CRM system and reduce ongoing data storage costs via automated archiving of data records,” says Angelucci.

Improving access to customer premises

The third benefit is enabling better access to customer premises, which is often an issue for Sky Italia because many of its customers live in apartment complexes and multi-unit dwellings, and share services through networked devices.

“It is critical that we track and maintain this detailed premise information to deliver world-class service,” says Angelucci. “This is a great example of why a vertical, industry-specific solution like Vlocity Communications was such an obvious choice.”

According to Angelucci, Vlocity’s pre-built premises capability allows Sky Italia to efficiently address this critical need by giving agents an immediate view into the equipment at a customer’s site and identify site-specific installers and property managers.

“The ability to also record a particular prospect’s interest in various services helps us with marketing, strategic planning and economic analysis of future network development,” he adds.

Transition to the cloud

Last but by no means least, the Vlocity Communications system will help Sky Italia make what Angelucci describes as a measured transition to the cloud.

We have used Siebel CRM for more than 10 years, and it was critical to leverage both this investment and its data within our new solution," he says. 

"Vlocity Communications creates a bridge between Siebel CRM and Salesforce, enabling a flexible flow of information between the systems today and a steady migration to the cloud in the future.”

Vlocity notes that its system conforms to TM Forum industry standards and integrates with third-party systems through pre-built application programming interfaces and web services. 

It provides an open architecture and utilities to simplify data migration and archiving, and enables flexible integration with Sky Italia’s legacy CRM, business and operations support systems.

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