SMART Technologies helps teachers, students, and teams learn and collaborate in innovative ways. The company’s mission is to provide simple, intuitive, connected solutions to help customers inspire greatness in themselves and others. As part of this mission they wanted to offer a flawless customer experience, but system silos prevented them from doing so. Previous efforts to solve this problem left SMART searching for a better solution.
During customer calls, SMART agents were required to search through multiple screens to find customer information. This disjointed process was frustrating and time-consuming for agents and customers alike. The company’s goal was to bring all information needed by agents onto one screen, ensure they could respond easily to customers and provide an experience that delights customers.
Finding the Right Expert
To ensure a smooth customer experience SMART knew they required the “right” expert, one who understood contact center processes, had the expertise to help them implement the solution, and could work seamlessly with their internal team.
Susan LaLonde, Director, Customer Experience at SMART, had previously worked with Aria Solutions founders Noel Roberts and Rob Church.
“We knew the Aria team members were committed to building long-term relationships, had strong customer contact experience and were aligned with improving the customer experience together with increasing agent productivity” – Susan, Director of Customer Experience
During an initial meeting, SMART saw that Aria fully understood their situation, had the skills to discuss it in depth, and were willing to provide thoughtful ideas about how to accomplish their goals. They were confident that Aria understood what they needed and were willing to work with them to ensure they got it.
The Aria team started their process by checking in with the SMART leadership team to understand the company’s high-level direction and vision. They also met with those in charge of mapping that vision to ensure compatibility. Many other members of the SMART team were involved in conversations, including agents, customer care managers and their director. Throughout, Aria encouraged SMART to remove as many barriers to a positive customer experience as possible, knowing that if agents are feeling frustrated, customers will feel it too.
SMART had found the right experts; now they needed the right solution.
Creating a Customer Engagement Center
Key requirements for the new solution included:
- Agents having easy and streamlined access to detailed customer information while managing cases.
- The ability to disposition both phone and email activities to drive new, automated case management processes.
- The ability to automate case routing, and easily manage cases, reducing manual case supervision, assignment and monitoring for advanced teams and managers.
- Seamlessly blending content from more than one system.
- The ability to report on all phone and email activities, for cases, in one place to drive operational efficiencies.
With Aria’s assistance, SMART decided to switch from the Cisco voice platform to Amazon Connect, which works on a pay-per-minute model, so the company no longer had to worry about maintaining capacity to scale up for only a small portion of the year. In addition, more flexibility with a Voice Over IP solution allows SMART the capability to leverage more agents working from home.
SMART had already decided to move from their existing CRM system to Salesforce, because it would enable agents to be more agile during customer calls, and is flexible enough to accommodate how agents work. It was the right decision. Salesforce helped agents greet customers correctly and easily update information, ask for product serial numbers, and easily initiate further business processes from the cases they were working on.
These solutions, used together, created exactly what SMART needed: a complete and flexible customer engagement center.
SMART had to continue running day-to-day operations while the new solution was implemented, and they were concerned because previous technology rollouts had been difficult. But the team was pleasantly surprised. Aria collaborated with the SMART team in real time to clarify requirements, work through design details, and demonstrate functionality in 2-week sprints until all sprints were completed.
“We enjoyed working with the Aria team. They kept us involved and very close to the solution they were building for us. They were strong partners during UAT, deployment and post deployment. We felt that we were working together as partners toward the same goal.” – Judy, Project Manager of Customer Experience
Improving the Customer Experience
After using the new system for just a short time, SMART could already see that the unified customer engagement center — made possible by the updates — enabled progress toward delivering an improved customer experience.
The single CRM platform replaced multiple platforms, so agents could see everything happening with each customer in one place, making for smoother and faster customer calls. Integration between Amazon Connect and Salesforce enhanced how calls are handled since agents can work from one screen, and updates could be made directly, improving agent efficiency. Amazon Connect will save the company considerable money over the long term.
Agents report the changes have made their job more straightforward and increased their satisfaction, and management has noted that it’s easier to see the big picture within the customer engagement environment. SMART has started conversations with Aria to help with another implementation that will take these improvements even further.
The SMART team now has a solution that works better for their business, enables them to support agent productivity and delivers the flawless customer experience they require.