Case Studies : Kodak EasyShare Gallery - an online digital photo developing service
Advances in digital photography over the past 5-10 years have created an explosive growth of digital images. In the earlier days of digital photography, amateur and professional photographers alike had to “file” pictures in their own cumbersome digital libraries, which few people ever did. With the introduction of online photo services, consumers were given new options for storing and getting the most out of their digital images. Many have turned to Kodak, well known and trusted for its quality, reliability and unmatched customer service. With Kodak, customers can upload pictures, share them with family and friends, order prints and put their images on numerous types of products, from mugs and cards to calendars and mouse pads.
Launched as Ofoto and now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Eastman Kodak Company, Kodak EasyShare Gallery is an online digital photo developing service. The Kodak gallery site provides consumers with a secure and easy way to view, store and share their photos, obtain genuine Kodak quality prints of their pictures, and to experiment with free editing and other creative tools.
Digital cameras have since become more widespread, particularly in the past two years, when, in line with industry analyst projections, digital cameras began to outsell their film counterparts. The Kodak EasyShare team began to notice a trend; their customer support team was handling a significant increase in calls and e-mails to the customer service center during the last months of each year.
“Once Halloween rolls around, we see a steady rise in call and e-mail volumes from our customers looking for order status details such as shipment and delivery updates, or general information about our services,” said John Allum-Poon, director of customer support for Kodak EasyShare Gallery. “While the call center is busy throughout the year, there is a noticeable activity spike during the holiday season, which starts around Halloween and continues through the New Year.”
Unfortunately, Kodak lacked the infrastructure to handle this seasonal increase in call center demand, as well as integration between the call center and self-service tools.
With this challenge came an opportunity to improve the service experience for all its customers and decrease the number of inbound agent touch-points by updating Kodak’s call center infrastructure and streamlining how both calls and e-mails are managed. After reviewing improvement options for the existing call center infrastructure, they realized that a simple upgrade to what was in place was not an option. Kodak needed a more advanced system that would intelligently route calls and create opportunities for new capabilities, such as voice self-service.
The team began looking for a hosted on-demand solution which would ultimately allow them to adjust the number of call center agents depending on the time of year, while reducing costs and also creating improved consistency in the overall nature of support provided to customers. Investing in and maintaining new on-premise infrastructure was too costly and could not provide the flexibility that the Kodak EasyShare Gallery call center required.
Starting With Self Service And RightNow
Implementing a new self-service feature that tied into the company’s existing customer database was a key component of Kodak’s plan to provide better customer service, 24/7, while streamlining call center operations. After researching several options, the team chose RightNow Technologies Voice Self Service, which gave Kodak the ability to automatically answer a wide range of customer calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This automation quickly reduced contact center workloads, saving the company money and ensuring its ability to deliver a superior customer experience any time of the day or night.
RightNow integrates with a Sybase database to provide customers with answers about their own individual accounts. Because roughly 35 percent of the Kodak’s overall call volume comes from customers checking on the status of an order, this solution provided a quick and easy means for customers to access this information. Customers simply speak or punch in appropriate numbers or answers as prompted, and are able to determine their own order status, avoiding more costly support channels.
Still lacking however, was a full integration between RightNow and Sybase, other Kodak legacy systems and the current call center infrastructure. The existing call center from another company was limiting Kodak’s ability to fully leverage its investment in RightNow. Kodak realized the need for a more reliable call center infrastructure to appropriately route calls and e-mail messages to the appropriate agent.
Adding Echopass For Contact Center Optimization
“It’s really all about getting the right information into the right person’s hands, whether that means delivery status for a customer or a contact history for an agent, and Echopass and RightNow facilitate that process seamlessly,” said Allum-Poon. “Some customers want self service, some want and need a live agent; providing both was our priority.”
Echopass became the one last important piece in Kodak’s puzzle, a hosted call center infrastructure and managed services provider that could guarantee 24/7 uptime of the entire contact center infrastructure and integrate RightNow’s solutions in a single customer support platform managing multiple touch-points, such as phone, e-mail and Web chat.
“The existing relationship and proven integration successes between Echopass and RightNow made us very confident about our decision to move to a new customer support platform featuring their solutions,” said Allum-Poon. “In addition, we had a short timeline in order to ensure the new system was up and running before our busy holiday rush. We did not want to go through pulling employees from other duties to answer the phone, nor did we want to continue to hire temporary agents, both of which we were forced to do in the past. As it turned out, the new Echopass platform was implemented on schedule and both teams were very efficient and responsive during the process.”
Echopass is a call and contact center industry provider of on-demand, always on, guaranteed, and end-to-end solutions offered as a complete, web-based service through the Echopass EchoSystem Service Integration Platform. Echopass Call Center On-Demand, the company’s flagship voice offering, incorporates and integrates CRM applications from providers such as RightNow; other components such as workforce management and interactive voice response, IP and routing technologies from Genesys Telecommunications, ensuring an advanced call center infrastructure at an affordable price.
“Given our history working with RightNow, we knew that Kodak would find the answer to its business challenge with a combination of our always-on call center services and RightNow’s voice self-service solutions,” said Vin Deschamps, CEO of Echopass. “Kodak realized it was time for a more sophisticated way to deliver even better customer support, while also streamlining overall support operations, ultimately reducing costs. Our on-demand, hosted solution, along with proven automated voice self-service technology from RightNow, offered the intelligent call routing and seamless integration to make the solution a success. In the end, it’s all about making the customer happy and this solution accomplishes just that.”
Picture Perfect: Happier Customers And Happier Agents
With its call center agent resources spread between an off-site call center in Nebraska and Kodak’s on-site staff in Emeryville, California, Echopass created a seamless link that is completely transparent to Kodak’s incoming customer. Calls are routed intelligently based on the customer’s request and the options they choose using RightNow’s automated system, and call center agents can provide personalized service with information about the customer from the customer database. For those customers electing self-service, at any point they can opt for live help and be routed to an agent along with a history of those self-service actions.
Since the Kodak EasyShare Gallery updated its call center infrastructure last year, it has greatly improved its customer service delivery and streamlined the management of call center infrastructure and agents, resulting in significant cost savings, happier customers and happier agents. Agents are no longer bogged down with routine requests, and customers enjoy faster access to up-to-date information about their own accounts and Kodak’s general services. With intelligent and flexible call routing, the right customer now reaches the right call center agent, whether for Web site technical support or for specific order questions. Kodak’s agents know in advance whether a customer has tried self-service first, making their interaction with the customer more helpful and efficient.
“With our new customer support platform, we have happier customers and happier agents, truly the best of both worlds and exactly what we wanted as an end result,” said Allum-Poon. “We can scale as our universe of customers grows, without having to make significant infrastructure and staff investments. Echopass and RightNow have relieved the team from a lot of management burdens so that we can concentrate on our core business of delivering the quality photography goods and services that our customers expect. We’ve been extremely pleased with this partnership.”
With the slogan "you press the button, we do the rest," George Eastman put the first simple camera into the hands of a world of consumers in 1888. In so doing, he made a cumbersome and complicated process easy to use and accessible to nearly everyone. Since that time, the Eastman Kodak Company has led the way with an abundance of new products and processes to make photography simpler, more useful and more enjoyable. In fact, today's Kodak is known not only for photography, but also for images used in a variety of leisure, commercial, entertainment and scientific applications. Its reach increasingly involves the use of technology to combine images and information--creating the potential to profoundly change how people and businesses communicate.
About Echopass Corporation:
Echopass is the #1 Software as a Service (SaaS) provider of cloud-based contact center solutions to large enterprises. Since 2000, Echopass customized solutions have served enterprises with up to 20,000 agents across multiple sites and complex application and infrastructure environments, while satisfying the most stringent industry compliance and security requirements. Echopass solutions are fully integrated, flexible and scalable, and require no capital investment or ongoing maintenance. Our contact center software solutions significantly and immediately reduce the ongoing cost and complexity of running an enterprise-class contact center.
Published: Tuesday, November 13, 2007