News : Three UK Saves by Integrating Stores, Web and Call Centres
Nov 5, 2014 — Mobile phone operator Three UK expects to save in IT capital costs by integrating the computer systems that power its call centres, website and high street stores.
The company is investing in integration technology that will give its customers the same quality of service whether they visit a store, shop online, or call a contact centre.
Three is rolling out integration software from Tibco, as part of a project that will make it easier for customers to interact with the company, place orders, or enquire about phone upgrades.
"When someone chooses to come into a store, go online, or phone us, they want to have a seamless experience. Our primary motivation is to deliver a consistent and easy experience for our customers," Graham Baxter, chief operating officer of Three UK, told Computer Weekly.
Historically, the company has treated its sales outlets as different business operations, which has led to inconsistencies in the way it approaches customers.
For example, phone owners can cancel airtime contracts if they call Three’s call centre, but it is harder for them to do so if they walk into a high street store.
By mid-2015, Baxter plans to have the first applications up and running that will give customers the same options no matter how they approach the company.
The project, known internally as "the multi-channel-engine", will also give phone owners the ability to start transactions on one channel and complete them on another.
Customers might want to go online, order a phone and have it delivered to a store, or they might choose to go to a store to check out handsets and have it delivered to their home, said Baxter.
Three plans to use the same technology to generate a real-time inventory of mobile phone stock in stores and warehouses, making it easier to find the right phone for customers.
"If you go to a store for the latest iPhone, but there is not the phone you want and the colour you want, we will be able to identify where one is and get it to you," he said.
The project will simplify development work for Three’s IT department, leading to substantial savings.
Rather than redeveloping the IT systems for each channel when a modification needs to be made, developers will only need to make one set of changes. That could save tens of millions of pounds a year in capital IT spend, said Baxter.
Three UK began evaluating software for its multi-channel project in June 2013. It tested six or seven technologies.
The phone company chose Tibco because the supplier had a strong track record in multi-channel applications, said Baxter, and also because of the existing strong relationship between the two companies.
Three UK deployed Tibco’s Rendezvous messaging software when the phone operator launched in 2003, and later deployed Kabira transaction processing software for real-time billing, which was bought by Tibco in 2010.
Three is also using Tibco’s technology to manage the way customers use services on its 4G network.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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3 provides national coverage for calls and texts, and has great 3G coverage in the UK, with over 88% population coverage for video services including video calling, video messaging and the downloading of video clips. 3’s services are available in over 8,800 retail outlets across the UK.
TIBCO Software Inc. is an American company that provides software for companies to use on-premises or as part of cloud computing environments.
Published: Thursday, November 6, 2014