Central Service Association Success Story
- Better track customer information company wide.
- Eliminate duplicate databases and maintain one central database with all customer information.
- Improve collaboration by providing all employees direct access to customer and product database.
- One corporate-wide database with increased customer information.
- All employees can easily access information; collaboration greatly improved.
- More information tracked; customer service enhanced.
- Efficiency and performance increased.
- Brings all departments and projects together, saving time and money.
Central Service Association (CSA), www.csa1.com, provides information technology services to public utilities throughout the southeastern United States . In its 65-plus year history, CSA has grown from serving the Tennessee Valley Area to serving seven states. What began as a billing service has grown into an association offering a very comprehensive range of modern, computerized information systems and consulting services to assist in all areas of utility operations and management.
With all of this growth, CSA needed a better way to track and share information companywide. The company’s biggest challenge was a lack of collaboration, because each division in the company maintained a separate database of customer information. They also needed a better way to maintain and share customer information.
CRM implementation – fast, flexible, and cost-effective
CSA looked at numerous CRM solutions before choosing Soffront CRM from Soffront Software, Inc. in November 2005. “We selected Soffront primarily for two reasons: speed of implementation and cost,” explained to Mark Herrington, manager of client hardware installation and support. “With Soffront’s hosted or on-demand solution, we were able to jump in within a month. The entire system was available online, and we did not have to purchase any hardware or third party software to get started. We also liked the idea that we had the flexibility to bring the system in-house at some point in the future.”
According to Herrington, Soffront offered the greatest overall value and was an effective solution on multiple levels. “For the price, other vendors did not offer a system with this much flexibility. Most CRM packages offer many of the same features, but the area where certain vendors stand out is in flexibility of licensing, hosting, and their implementation model. Soffront definitely stood out in these areas.”
CSA purchased the Soffront CRM server suite and numerous modules including customer helpdesk, customer portal, sales force automation, knowledge management, email response marketing automation, email campaign and outlook integration. For the first year, they used the software as an on-demand solution, but then decided to bring the solution in house in November of 2006. They have deployed almost all of the modules companywide and expect full deployment within a couple of months.
Herrington explained that right out of the box, CSA saw immediate positive results using Soffront CRM. “All of our information has been consolidated and can be verified and accessed by any user who needs it. Information is passed from one division to another without losing critical documentation. We have a level of confidence now that didn’t exist before; we know that issues won’t fall through the cracks.”
According to Herrington, one of the biggest challenges they faced was in the area of tracking customer issues and collaborating companywide. “We now have access to data that we never could track before, and we can share it with coworkers in ways that never existed previously. For instance, we can see how many issues are being resolved and how fast it takes us to resolve them,” explained Herrington. “This information is a key factor in determining efficiency, performance, and workload in our personnel. Soffront CRM provides us with information that is powerful for us and valuable to improving customer satisfaction.”
Herrington explained that CSA is planning to use Soffront’s customization features to a greater degree in the near future. “With Soffront’s customization features, we will automate remaining processes that are currently being handled manually. Automating these few remaining processes won’t only alleviate the ‘paper shuffle’, but it will also result in a central repository where we can easily review historical efforts and transactions all under each customer’s account in the CRM system. Further, we will be able to conduct additional analysis and reporting on critical metrics on problem areas with data that was not so easily accessible in the past.”
Other improvements include the capability for CSA to mass market to their customers and enhance project planning. “The system really brings together every division under one umbrella. Everything from marketing efforts, determining wants and needs of the customer, sales, delivery and training on hardware/software systems, and tracking of loose ends can be tied under one project record for the customer.”