2 page Case Study
Posted: 6/10/2014
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Reliance Home Comfort Reliance Boosts Sales, Customer Experience with Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Surface Pro

Reliance Home Comfort is a leading provider of home heating, cooling, and water heater solutions in Canada. Over the years, to assist 1.6 million customers across four Canadian provinces, Reliance accumulated a variety of disparate IT systems. Tasks such as creating a service order obligated call center agents to go through six screens and 20 mouse clicks, which required about six minutes. Given that the company conducts 300,000 of these customer interactions per year, the process was expensive in both time and labor. To streamline its sales and customer service processes, Reliance chose Microsoft Dynamics CRM and gave its salespeople Microsoft Surface Pro tablets. By deploying Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Reliance has improved productivity, streamlined processes, and delivered better access to customer information, so the company can provide a better customer experience and increase sales.

Business Needs
Ever since Reliance Home Comfort became an independent company in the late 80s, providing a great customer experience has been its mission. Over the years, to assist its 1.6 million customers across four Canadian provinces, Reliance accumulated a variety of IT systems. “Our solutions were loosely connected through homegrown interfaces,” explains Celso Mello, Chief Information Officer at Reliance Home Comfort. “To create a service order, a call center agent would go through six screens and 20 mouse clicks, which required about six minutes.” Given that the company conducts 300,000 of these customer interactions per year, the process was expensive in both time and labor.

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* When we deployed Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Surface Pro tablets to our sales team, we improved our customer satisfaction score by 12 points in the first month. *

Celso Mello
Chief Information Officer, Reliance Home Comfort

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An all-out replacement of its disparate systems was not logistically feasible, so Mello initiated a project to use middleware—Microsoft BizTalk Server—to broker data among systems. That approach proved fully successful, but Reliance needed to provide a fast, easy-to-use interface to support business functions that ranged from customer service center operations to in-the-field sales at customers’ homes.

Solution
To meet the company’s business requirements, Mello chose Microsoft Dynamics CRM, a customer relationship management (CRM) solution that organizes and automates business processes and encompasses customer satisfaction, sales, marketing, and customer service. “I usually say that Microsoft is ‘right-sized’ for Reliance, which means that whenever we have a need that can be addressed by a Microsoft product, then that will be our selection,” says Mello. “With Microsoft Dynamics CRM, we have an ideal interface that integrates with BizTalk Server to simplify the process for our customer service agents and other corporate employees. Plus, as we move toward a more standardized IT environment, it makes sense to choose software that’s part of a family of solutions that streamline business operations. Microsoft Dynamics CRM was the obvious choice from an IT standardization point of view.”

Flexibility was another driver for choosing the solution. “The ability to start on the cloud without a lot of investment and effort, and knowing that I could bring the solution back on-premises without much impact to the users, was an important aspect in decision making,” says Mello.

Reliance recently gave its salespeople Microsoft Surface Pro tablets running Microsoft Dynamics CRM. “We wanted to equip our salespeople with tablets and CRM to help them organize their work, ensure accuracy, eliminate paper, and streamline the order entry process,” Mello says. “We chose Surface Pro because of its compatibility with Microsoft Dynamics CRM, both online and offline.”

Benefits
By deploying Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Surface Pro tablets for its sales force, Reliance has improved productivity, streamlined processes, and delivered better access to customer information, so the company can provide a better customer experience and increase sales.

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* We wanted to equip our salespeople with tablets and CRM to help them organize their work, ensure accuracy, eliminate paper, and streamline the order entry process. *

Celso Mello
Chief Information Officer,
Reliance Home Comfort

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Improved Productivity
Reliance call center agents no longer have to go through several screens from multiple systems to perform transactions, reducing the time to create a service order from six minutes to five minutes for all 300,000 interactions a year. “With all the information at their fingertips, agents provide better and faster service, resulting in improved customer experience, increased productivity, and sales of additional services,” says Mello.

Streamlined Sales Processes
The Reliance field sales force also benefits from the company’s new CRM capabilities. “Before, an advisor would have to manually transfer information to a contract. The process was troublesome and prone to errors,” explains Sherri Woodman, General Manager at Reliance Home Comfort. “Now, customer information is prepopulated on the Surface Pro tablets running Microsoft Dynamics CRM. The advisor picks the service packet and the system populates the rest of the information.”

Better Access to Customer Information
Having customer information in the CRM interface enables faster service across Reliance. “If a customer has an inquiry, an advisor can pull up the contract in real time,” adds Woodman, “instead of having to go to a specific branch to retrieve the paper-based contract.” Also, handoff of contracts from the advisor to the installation and billing teams is automated and streamlined.

The rollout of the company’s sales support solution is nearly complete, with good results already. “When we deployed Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Surface Pro tablets to our sales team, we improved our customer satisfaction score by 12 points in the first month,” says Mello. “Although we knew how much it would help our salespeople, we never expected that customers would see value in this technology, and we’re very happy. There’s something about the professional look of a salesperson with a tablet and an application that generates quotes that customers obviously appreciate."

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Solution Overview



Organization Size: 1100 employees

Organization Profile
Headquartered in Toronto, Reliance Home Comfort is a leading provider of home heating, cooling, and water heater solutions in Canada. It has 1.6 million customers and a fleet of more than 500 service vehicles, and it operates through 700 partners in Ontario alone.

Software and Services
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM
  • Microsoft Surface
  • Microsoft Surface with Windows 8 Pro

Vertical Industries
Consumer Goods

Country/Region
Canada

Languages
English

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