CRM in action: TalkTalk

13th Oct 2011

Customisation is often viewed as a chink in the armour of on-demand CRM compared to on-premise, but this isn't necessarily the case, as broadband and communication supplier TalkTalk will testify.

As a business that was quick to see the potential of putting its corporate applications in the Cloud, Cloud Computing quickly became “bread and butter” for the provider. And so, five years ago when TalkTalk was part of Carphone Warehouse, it became the first major user of NetSuite Cloud-based CRM.

But the company subjected NetSuite to such extreme levels of bespoke tinkering, that it ended up difficult to manage. Paul Higgins, TalkTalk’s head of marketing, explains: "We originally implemented a CRM platform from NetSuite about five years ago and undertook a large amount of development, so made it very bespoke and cumbersome with 10 people supporting it, so to make any changes would take time.”

Although it did consider implementing NetSuite from scratch again, as well as offerings from Microsoft and Sage, in the end won the day because of the availability of plug-ins and gadgets that would make it easy to customise. A last-minute change of plan meant the system was implemented in just three weeks. Higgins explains: “We planned to move NetSuite over for the ticketing side of business, but towards the end of that project we decided to roll out to sales side too, so it was a late decision to go for sales as well as support.”

So the system went live at the end of November 2010 in three weeks, but the company spent the next three months transferring data from NetSuite into and reengineering. Today, is up and running across the sales channel, including telesales and field sales, together with partners and the retail channel and it is integrated with the website.

360 degree view

While TalkTalk is committed to putting as much of its data into the Cloud as possible, billing is one area which it is keeping tethered to the ground, but it has developed a link between and the main billing system. Says Higgins: “All our customer loyalty activities are done through and when a customer calls in, has view of that client. The last piece missing is phone integration and we have just completed the largest roll-out in Europe of Cisco and we are in the process of integrating Cisco into”

Through, the company can identify which campaigns have brought in customers and use metrics to drive productivity. Compliance is also managed through Higgins explains: “From a sales perspective, we have a 360 degree view of our interactions with our customers through to sale or upsell. ”

The company has been quick to see benefits. Previously, all requests for change had to go through the IT department, which was responsible for all the customisation work. This inevitably meant that users had to wait for changes to be made. Today, although IT is fully engaged with the project, the company has a configuration team in its operational unit, so changes can be made fast.

Scalability is another benefit. The company can quickly increase the threshold when it needs it. Currently, it has 50 sales users, but it now looking at adding service through the Cloud, either with or another provider, which will link its sales and service provision. Says Higgins: “The beauty of things in Cloud is we can mash them together seamlessly.”

With on board, sales productivity is up and customer satisfaction improved and there’s greater transparency across the sales process. Higgins points out a vital benefit in highly competiive telco market : “When we work with large tenders, we are now able to understand better why we win or why we lose so we can focus on those areas.”


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