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Case Studies : Sony Computer Entertainment Australia

Sony Computer Entertainment Australia (SCEA) anticipated increased customer support demands for the arrival of their next-generation gaming platforms, PlayStation® Portable and PlayStation® 3.

SCEA made the decision to seek an outsource partner that could deliver end-to-end customer interaction management and consolidate their two outsourced services (Gaming & Help Desk Support and Repair & Exchanges) into one.

After analysing their service processes and technologies, and defining the service requirements, SCEA released a tender. After a rigorous selection process, Stellar Call Centres was selected to deliver a consolidated, end-to-end solution.

The Challenge
The arrival of two new gaming platforms (PlayStation® Portable and PlayStation® 3) outstretched SCEA's existing service support and repair functions. In addition, two different outsourcing suppliers were managing separate parts of the service.

SCEA needed an outsource partner that could consolidate the two services together with minimal impact to the customer experience. They also needed to implement a customer support and service system that enabled a higher degree of self-service, and supported the next-generation gaming platforms' new capabilities and associated user needs.

"Initiating a self-service application in many cases pushes the cost away from taking the inquiry at the call centre. Many customers just want to find the information they need fast and fix problems themselves" said John Wilson (Service & Support Manager, SCEA). "As the console becomes more powerful, supporting it becomes more complicated, so a solution to reduce duplication, complexity and waste is essential. The next-generation PlayStation® and the PlayStation® Portable needed a base to service the more technical console platform."

The Solution
Stellar Call Centres developed a structured project management plan detailing the transfer of all required skills and knowledge from the two previous suppliers, and the design, implementation and launch of the consolidated service solution. Staff were recruited and trained to meet the unique requirements of the service.

Genesys contact centre software and FrontRange Solutions' Heat Service Desk suite of technologies (including Heat Plus Knowledge and Heat Self Service) were selected and customised to suit SCEA's business requirements. The solution provides a consolidated and intelligent back-end database, linking activity at the call centre, the PlayStation® website and PlayStation®2 Network Entertainment (online gaming).

Stellar Call Centres implemented a fully blended and multi-skilled environment to manage all inbound and outbound customer interactions (including phone, web and self-service channels).

The end-to-end solution includes:

  • Help desk and after-sales support across two countries

  • Website forum moderation and management

  • Promotion of new products and services across multiple communication channels including web, voice and email

  • Management of online self-serve channels

  • Benchmarking surveys and competitor intelligence research

  • Customer and web user satisfaction surveys

  • Detailed reporting and service analysis to identify call minimisation strategies, first call resolution enablers and continuous process improvement initiatives.

Stellar Call Centres worked closely with SCEA to develop a strategic roadmap to guide future solution developments and improvements. The plan gives SCEA a long-term strategic view of what, when and how their solution will be developed, as well as providing flexibility to meet future customer demands.

"Excellence in customer service is an integral part of the PlayStation® experience" said Michael Ephraim (Managing Director, SCEA). "Our partnership with Stellar Call Centres ensures we provide a consistent and impeccable level of 'intelligent' customer service, regardless of whether a customer is contacting us while playing a game online, ringing our phone line, sending us an email or interacting on our local web forums"

The Results
As a result of the partnership with Stellar Call Centres, SCEA is fully equipped to support the needs of its PlayStation® customer base, both now and into the future.

Combining the Heat Service Desk suite with the PlayStation® website member database gives SCEA a deeper insight into their registered customers.

Customers benefit from enhanced self-service channels and web support, including the ability to log any equipment issues online and receive automatic status updates via email. This in turn benefits SCEA by reducing the number of follow-up enquiries to the call centre. Customers also benefit from extended opening hours including weekends.

Stellar Call Centres implemented a Knowledge Management system, where all product and process information is stored online for agents to access. This assists in training and development, and ensures that customers receive consistent and correct information. Standard email responses to common enquiries and frequently asked questions are also stored to improve efficiency and remove duplication of effort.

To support SCEA's marketing activities, product launches and build a close connection with the PlayStation® gaming community, Stellar Call Centres manages the PlayStation® website's forums and monitors content to ensure it is appropriate. Forum moderation has been found to be an effective channel for promoting upcoming events and building closer relationships with users.

Stellar Call Centres further supports SCEA's online presence by managing and interacting with the PlayStation® gaming community through online gaming support. The agents, who are known as "Angels" online, are responsible for monitoring activity that occurs on all online games and ensuring there is a SCEA presence at all peak times. They also help promote SCEA online gaming through events such as "Fun Anyone Nights" and competitions between the gaming community and the Angels.

Nic Foster (Regional Director, Finance & Operations, SCEA) stated "Our relationship with Stellar Call Centres ensures we have the necessary infrastructure to support the new range of software and hardware coming from PlayStation® in the near future."

About Probe Group:
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Published: Friday, December 8, 2006

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