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When Londis implemented CRM in its customer service department, it wasn’t simply about resolving customer queries, it was an exercise in building trust with retail customers.

Published: Jan 2011

“Our customers expect rapid and efficient resolutions to both queries and claims,” said Claude Tonna-Barthet, Customer Operations Director. “The service levels expected in the retail market are so much higher than in other areas of commerce.”

ADM Londis is one of Ireland’s premier symbol groups. It acts as the central supplier to a network of over 300 independent stores, employing over 7,000 people in retail, distribution and support services nationwide. From early stages in its history, the group identified that in an intensely competitive retail market, it had to deliver the highest level of customer satisfaction.

“Our customers expect rapid and efficient resolutions to both queries and claims,” said Claude Tonna-Barthet, Customer Operations Director. “The service levels expected in the retail market are so much higher than in other areas of commerce.”

Enhancing and maintaining service levels to ADM Londis retailers necessitated wider corporate engagement in resolving customer queries, as well as to give managers the ability to view the number and status of departmental queries.

“Other than being able to track store- specific queries relevant to each department within our Group Support Office, my primary concern was to identify and eliminate the bottlenecks and pursue an ethos whereby we would resolve 100% of queries”, said Claude Tonna-Barthet.

As part of a €3 million supply chain initiative to deliver improved service levels to retailers, the company decided to implement a CRM system in 2010.

The group decided to entitle the new CRM system ‘ASSIST’, summarising the core principles that Londis instills in its staff when dealing with customers: Accountability, Synergy, Service, Interaction, Supreme Care and Teamwork.

The new Dynamics CRM system, in which every member of the Group Support Office is involved, allows the Customer Service team to promptly and correctly forward queries to the relevant departments within the organisation.

“We designed and implemented procedures within CRM which allowed us to get the best from our customer service team and vitally, to build confidence among our retailers,” said Tonna-Barthet. “It’s a fiercely competitive market and retailers need to feel secure that there is a strong system behind the customer service centre.”

Microsoft Dynamics CRM was chosen because of its robust back-end and because of its front-end integration with Microsoft Outlook. Londis sought a user-friendly application that all employees would feel comfortable using on a daily basis.

“The user interface is common to all in the company and was a key factor in ensuring maximum buy-in from staff,” said Tonna-Barthet.

Dynamics has a native Outlook client, which shows all related e-mails, contacts and calendar appointments in a single string, tracked within Dynamics CRM. Users can simply convert an incoming e-mail into a new sales opportunity rather than having to copy and paste the email as you would usually. It also means that all information is tracked within one holistic system.

Prior to the CRM implementation, the group had defined service level targets, but had been unable to accurately measure how successful it had been in terms of meeting those targets.

Part of the reason that Dynamics CRM was chosen was it provided up to the minute views on how effectively queries were being resolved.

“We measured the effectiveness of the CRM system in the post-implementation period,” said Tonna-Barthet. “Our service levels have improved from 95% to 99% satisfaction rating.”

“From a qualitative point of view, we know the CRM system is working, because our customers are now familiar with the query process and know that once their call is logged, their query will be dealt with. There is a notable decline in customer dissatisfaction and the ambiguity surrounding unsolved queries is now no longer a concern. The reporting system ensures that the solution timeline tagged to a specific query is both achievable and provides a satisfactory outcome to the customer.”

The next phase of the CRM project will be to deliver a self service solution via the web to the retailers. This enhancement will allow our retailers to log their own calls at any time of the day or night, to facilitate the needs of retailers who are under immense time pressure. The retailers will also be able to check the status of their query, which helps to build and maintain a close trusing relationship.

“Customer Service is core to the ADM Londis culture. This CRM system not only has enabled us to improve on our already excellent service levels, but allows us to engage more effectively with our customers in the query resolution process”, says Tonna-Barthet.


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