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Assignment: Customer Care

Swisscom's customer service team creates a competitive advantage.

Swisscom Mobil AG uses its outstanding customer service for critical competitive advantage in the telecommunications industry. The firm uses Oracle's Siebel call center software and Oracle Database to meet the needs of its 4 million clients.

Up until 2003, call center agents used 47 different customer systems that gave agents only part of the data they needed to address customer problems. Now billing and customer care information can be pulled up in the same view, facilitating the management of product and service orders, price quotes, and service requests.

Markus Wilhelm, who heads the Swisscom Customer Care group, contends that Siebel offers valuable system performance and reliability. The combination helps call center agents to meet the needs of customers because system problems are less likely to frustrate customers calling in with telecommunications problems. Future plans call for the company to implement the Siebel Customer Relationship Management system to all points of sale and to also introduce data-mining features to assist with customer retention.

"If your mobile is not working, you have to complain," says Markus Wilhelm, who heads the Customer Care group at Swisscom Mobil AG, in Bern, Switzerland. And despite the best efforts of Swisscom's telephone suppliers and network engineers, sometimes things go wrong. Handle it well, and Swisscom has a happy customer. Handle it badly, and the customer will move to another vendor in the highly competitive Swiss mobile market. That makes Wilhelm and his team critical to the success of the company.

Swisscom Mobile relies on Oracle's Siebel Communications and Oracle Database to serve its 4 million customers—residential, small and medium businesses, and large business customers. Until 2003, the call center agents needed to navigate a patchwork of 47 different customer systems. Each gave agents a fraction of the information they needed to solve complex problems. Today, customer care and billing information can be pulled up in the same view, helping agents make and track price quotes, place orders for products and services, and manage service requests.

"Swisscom is known for very good customer service. Customers expect that if they give us a call, they will get service immediately," Wilhelm says. Swisscom Mobile's philosophy is that customer service forms a competitive advantage. If customers get the service they expect from well-trained agents, they are less likely to choose other mobile carriers.

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