Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

Aamcom Achieves Client/Sales Team Continuity and Accountability with Avidian

February 24, 2010

Outsourcing companies, especially teleservices firms are all about delivering topnotch service in both directions: to clients’ customers and to the clients. I know; I used to provide public relations/marketing support for a TMC Top 50 Teleservices agency, closely working with the sales teams and managers.

Yet sometimes the tools used in carrying out these tasks on the outsourcer-client end get neglected, as opposed to those deployed in serving the clients’ customers that always remain sharp. That’s where companies need to step back and look at upgrading their applications with effective and flexible CRM solutions like Avidian Technologies’ Prophet.
Aamcom, based in Redondo Beach, Calif., is a small teleservices firm with 50 employees spread across two locations – Redondo Beach, Calif. and Sacramento, Calif. – with several of them working remotely. The company takes intense pride on service quality. It has won the Association of TeleServices International’s Award of Excellence for seven consecutive years.
“Customer service is our job,” says Steve Diels, president of Aamcom. “If we don’t show our clients our ability to manage our own client relationships, how can they trust us to manage their customers’ relationships with them?”
Yet Aamcom had been using what it describes as a “patchwork of in-house solutions” to track clients and their needs and it found it had gaps in their communication with clients. The customer service team, sales team, a new service team that it recently put together and past service teams had different databases, which caused confusion and led to a lack of continuity.
“We were constantly stepping on each other’s toes,” recounts Diels. ”One person was doing the same thing someone else had already done because no one had visibility into the entire pipeline. It was like a really disorganized fast food restaurant where everyone behind the counter was constantly bumping into each other and getting in everyone else’s way.”
That’s when Aamcom decided the pieced together pseudo-customer relationship management CRM solutions they were using weren’t making the grade. They also realized, says the firm that they needed to have a better means of measuring the success of their sales and current client management teams, thereby increasing accountability. Management would often ask employees to reach out to X number of clients in order to probe for known issues so Aamcom could then solve the problems, but they had no way to track whether or not the goals were actually met. They operated solely off of assumptions and trust.
Aamcom knew it says what it needed: a simple to implement, unified solution that would allow it to connect the dots across all their clients and increase accountability among employees. The firm investigated several CRM tools, including solutions from Goldmine, Salesforce, Telemagic, Microsoft and Avidian Technologies. Aamcom’s primary concerns were cost, scalability, trainability and deployability.
After thorough analysis, in 2008 Aamcom selected Avidian’s Prophet CRM solution. Avidian would customize it to meet Aamcom’s specific needs at an affordable price.
“As a call center, we have experience with a lot of telecommunications software tools and we know how easy it was to buy a tool and then never have it get used,” Diels says. “We wanted to make sure the CRM software we bought was deployable. Also, some of the solutions we investigated were deployable, but the cost to customize and then train employees was too high. Some of the others were simply too complex to deploy.
“Prophet simply stood out above the rest in terms of deployability. It plugs into Microsoft Outlook, essentially adding all the CRM features right into a program employees were already using all day long. We felt this would make it very easy to deploy and practically guarantee that employees would actually use it. We also thought this would require a lot less training than a solution that has a completely different interface and feature set.”
Aamcom rolled out Prophet in a four to six week time frame. This allowed time to train employees on a limited set of new functionalities each week, giving them the opportunity to try each new feature before moving on to the next.
“The implementation went pretty smoothly,” reports Diels. “There was one point when we discovered that Prophet didn’t do something we thought it would, but Avidian’s support staff jumped on the issue and was able to customize our version of Prophet so it did exactly what we wanted it to. It was a pretty painless process.”
Prophet has already created tangible results for Aamcom. Sales have increased by 12 percent from 2008 to 2009 while entire sales and client management process is running much more smoothly.
“Thanks to Prophet, everyone is now connected to each other,” says Diels. “Employees can see what has already been done with each client so now people aren’t repeating the same things over and over. There have definitely been fewer repeated mistakes.”
In addition, Diels has noticed a happier work environment, meaning Prophet has benefited the organization and the individual.
“Because there’s more accountability created by Prophet’s reporting capabilities, our sales and client management people have more pride in their work,” Diels said. “Employees are now taking a more proactive approach to their work and when they leave at the end of the day, they look back and say, ‘I got a lot done today.’”

Brendan B. Read is ContactCenterSolutions’s Senior Contributing Editor. To read more of Brendan’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Erin Harrison