Today, there are 165 agents in Capgemini’s new 610-seat Customer Care & Intelligence (CC&I) center in Junction City, Kan., using Google Apps as part of their customer care activities.
Corporations’ use of Google Apps have come a long way, considering that when Google Apps was first introduced it was largely seen as an alternative set of desktop functionality for people who didn’t want to shell out money for Microsoft’s software package. Companies, the theory went, would be unwilling to migrate away from the ubiquitous Microsoft environment for a number of reasons, starting with the fact that Google Apps’ functionality was somewhat basic.
That was then, though. Google has steadily upped the strike capability of its package, adding such features as security and advanced productivity tools. Meanwhile, more firms are rethinking exactly what they need on their desktops. For some, full-blown Office suite functionality is essential.
An Agent’s Desktop
Other operations — and surprisingly, the call center can be one of them — does not have to fall in that category.
The contact center agent’s desktop, it should be pointed out, is already laden with specialized software and extensive integration to give the agent the necessary information to deal with a customer’s call. Productivity applications are not on that short list of essential technology, however.
With this in mind, Robbie Brillhart, global practice lead for Capgemini’s CC&I, began to investigate whether the firm would be better off deploying Google Apps in the company’s new center in Junction City.
“I was looking at every cost line item to see where we could save money without sacrificing quality,” he told CRM Buyer.
Another factor behind its decision to move to Google Apps is the fact that it — or whatever productivity application the company opted for — would not have to integrate too deeply into its CRM applications, he explained.
Such integration was not necessary to the operations, said Brillhart. “Ninety percent of our agents’ time is spent in the CRM application; only 10 percent is spent outside.”
The clincher, he said, was a preexisting relationship between Capgemini and Google. With the necessary license agreements in hand, Capgemini rolled out Google Apps to all the reps staffing its new contact center facility.
A Clash Resolved
For the most part, the application has delivered as Brillhart expected — and in a few ways that he didn’t.
For instance, one of Googles Apps’ strengths — the way it facilitates collaboration — did result in an initial glitch in the application’s deployment, Brillhart recounts — a glitch that was in fact resolved in favor of the agent reps.
Some of the agents kept in Google Apps their own ‘cheat sheets’ — that is, shorthand notes for commonly asked questions, tips on navigating the system and so on.
It was, in essence, a de facto knowledge management (KM) base, updated wiki-style. The knowledge management staff, however, was less than pleased, as it meant that data was forming outside of the KM system.
A meeting resulted in the decision to keep this cheat sheet as a living document, he said. “It is now live in the Google shared docs. Not only are the agents still using it, but the knowledge management team looks at it to see what is being shared among the agents for their own purposes.”
Such deployments are sure to increase as Google continues to build out its Google Apps, Greg Sterling, principal with Sterling Research, told CRM Buyer.
“Google Apps is an evolving product and Google is focusing on making it enterprise-worthy,” he said.
The collaborative features in particular are very appealing — and not just in the contact center environment, he added.
“Not that Microsoft is ignoring (any) aspect of it — on the contrary,” Sterling said. “But I definitely think Google is devoting a lot of energy to this area that will pay off for it.”
I work in this "boutique" section of a power company’s call center that specializes in handling calls from customers requesting contractor work – and for one type of work, the program manager insists on having a "cross street" on the orders we enter.
From my experience, nine times out of ten when I ask a customer for a "cross street", you get either a five-minute geography lecture or an almost-stoned "huh?" from the customer. I’ve stopped asking the question and instead go into Google Maps to pull up the customer’s cross street to enter on the order. It saves me time, saves the customer time, and gives the program manager the info she wants on the orders.