SMS is the new black

A review of mass market mobile apps

Enterprise case study – Pitney Bowes

Posted by Admin on January 21, 2009

I’m always interested in how companies use mobile technologies. The range and requirements for mobile services within an organisation can differ dramatically from how the average person on the street uses their phone.

Here’s an interesting case study about Pitney Bowes equipping its engineers with mobile technology to make them more efficient.

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Introduction
Pitney Bowes is a mailstream technology company that helps organisations manage the flow of information, mail, documents and packages. Its 35,000 employees deliver technology, service and innovation to more than two million customers worldwide. Underpinning its customer service is a team of over 1,000 field service engineers based throughout the UK and Europe.

Customer satisfaction key driver for mobilisation
When Pitney Bowes UK rolled out Oracle-Siebel CRM across the enterprise. Ray Lawes, VP EAME Service Operations at Pitney Bowes, recognised that his team could maximise the return on this investment by providing real time customer updates to field service engineers on their handheld devices.

Lawes needed an enterprise mobility solution that could mobilise Oracle and deliver increased operational efficiency to the European field service team. But most importantly, he was determined to achieve a measurable increase in customer satisfaction levels. “We saw the Oracle-Siebel deployment as a clear opportunity to improve our customers’ experience”.

Pitney Bowes USA had mobilised its field service operations a year earlier and had extended this to engineers across North America using Antenna Software’s AMPower™ SERVICE application on BlackBerry smartphones and PDAs. Lawes was keen to repeat this success in Europe. He decided to deploy Antenna AMPower SERVICE as a fully hosted application as it is a proven solution that has been shown to integrate seamlessly with Oracle, Siebel, SAP, NetSuite and dozens of enterprise software applications.

Streamlining the service dispatch process
Lawes and his team examined the field service operation and identified that the process of getting service requests out to engineers could be made much more efficient if they automated the job dispatch process. “Before we mobilised our CRM application, engineers had to call in to the customer contact centre for their schedule and on completion of a call out, this process was repeated in reverse” says Lawes. Across Europe this amounted to a lot of time being wasted on the phone.

Now, using the Antenna mobile application, engineers receive customer updates on their Pocket PC, directly from Oracle-Siebel. According to Lawes, this means that the engineer can take charge of his own daily schedule and update the back end system as soon as a repair or service is completed. “By using Antenna AMPower SERVICE, we have stripped out the manual layer in the process, reduced dispatch time and increased the engineers’ autonomy and efficiency. We have already seen an enormous increase in the number of service requests that are promptly allocated and dealt with.”

Rapid response reassures customers
Pitney Bowes found that using Antenna’s real-time technology provided a crucial aid in responding promptly to customer requests. “If an engineer does not respond within 30 minutes of receiving an update because he is driving, or he is out of range of a signal, this gets escalated by Antenna, so we always know what’s happening”, explains Lawes.

Since the rollout of Antenna AMPower SERVICE, Pitney Bowes has measured an increase in customer requests responded to within agreed SLAs and now see more than 90% of all service calls automatically directed to the correct engineer without any manual intervention or delay whatsoever.

The Antenna AMPower SERVICE application contains automated assignment rules matching the service request to an engineer’s geographical location and skill set. This ensures that engineers only receive the service requests within their particular territory and in their local language. The engineer then accepts and schedules site visits, updating the Oracle-Siebel back end system from his Pocket PC, so that customers can be kept up to date on the progress of their service request.

Increased revenues
In addition to removing the manual task of dispatching new service requests, the Antenna solution has enabled Pitney Bowes to bill more efficiently for each service because invoices are processed as soon as the engineer’s mobile device updates the system. This means that there are fewer discrepancies and credit notes need to be raised less frequently. Lawes estimates that this will increase revenue by thousands. Another key benefit of extending the Oracle-Siebel application onto mobile devices is that any parts that are used during a repair are automatically logged and replacements ordered. This has reduced the incidence of engineers carrying multiple spare parts around in the back of their vans and so inventory costs have also been reduced.

Conclusion
So far, Pitney Bowes has rolled out Antenna AMPower SERVICE to more than 550 engineers in the UK, Germany, Austria and Switzerland with plans to extend the roll out to France and Holland. Engineers receive tasks on their mobile handset in their local language, automatically allocated by country, region and skillset.

Lawes reports that even in the early stages of the Antenna deployment in Europe, Pitney Bowes has already seen measurable returns. These include a substantial increase in the number of allocated service requests that are dealt with within the agreed timeframe; increased revenue through more efficient billing and tracking of chargeable services and better management of replacement parts inventory, leading to reduced costs.

Most importantly, the mobilisation of Pitney Bowes’ CRM has increased customer satisfaction by cutting out the manual dispatch processes, enabling engineers to respond more quickly to service requests and keep customers updated. Lawes is confident that because Antenna integrates with more than 50 enterprise level applications, this will also support Pitney Bowes’ future growth strategy. By deploying a common solution throughout Europe, Lawes hopes to ensure a consistently high level of customer service across the territory.

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