Leading industry analysts select top nine customer service innovators in fifth annual Genesys Customer Innovations Awards

Paris, May 10, 2010 – The world’s most innovative companies in customer service were recognised by Genesys at Europe’s leading gathering of business and technology executives dedicated to improving the customer experience. This year, nine global companies were selected as the best innovators in the world for customer service, as part of the fifth annual Customer Innovation Awards program, sponsored by Genesys from Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) and honoured at its G-Force event in Amsterdam.

The Customer Innovations Awards is an annual competition that leverages a global panel of expert industry analysts who determine the companies that deliver the most innovative customer service in highly dynamic environments. Out of an entry pool of more than 200 companies, 28 industry independent analysts, including those who work with international firms such as IDC, Frost, Ovum, Yankee Group, McGee-Smith Analytics, CommFusion and Forrester Research, chose nine winners based on presentations held in San Francisco in January 2010 and London in April 2010. The nine winners are Akbank, Betfair, HUK-COBURG, DnB NOR and CEZ from the EMEA region; and Travelers, IHG, Kaplan and Telefonica Moviles from the Americas region.

These winners each gave a detailed presentation and demonstration to the industry analysts of their customer engagement strategies and why they should be included among the elite customer service organisations in the world. The judging process held the finalists to the highest standards in customer care, evaluating each candidate against six key categories. Three criteria determined their overall scores: innovation, optimisation and improving the customer experience. The common element each of the winners shared was their ability to improve the overall customer experience while linking business objectives to customer service; resulting in a more strategic approach to customer engagement.

The companies being recognised scored either a "4-Star" or a "3-Star" ranking (on a scale of one- to four-stars), indicating how analysts felt the companies performed when compared to the three scoring criteria. A 4-Star ranking is the highest honour possible, while a 3-Star award is also regarded as an exceptional achievement. This year seven winners achieved 4-Star status: Akbank, Betfair, HUK-COBURG, DnB NOR, Kaplan, IHG and Travelers; and two achieved 3-Stars: CEZ and Telefonica Moviles.

Details on the 4-Star winners:

  • Akbank, one of Turkey’s leading banks, was selected for delivering a consistent customer experience across all channels – including Telephone, Mobile, ATM, Kiosk, Branch and Web – and because its contact centre utilises every interaction to deliver value to the customer and bank. Akbak’s success is based on performing basic tasks flawlessly, while integrating innovation – such as Video IVR, IVR Up-sell and Cross-sell, plus SMS-based services – to surprise and delight the customer.
  • Betfair, the UK-based licensed gaming operator, was selected for its innovative use of reporting and analytics that delivers a single view of the customer and their complete interaction history across phone, web, email and web chat channels. This innovation helps Betfair to deliver personalised, segmented 24/7 service across 19 languages; supporting key strategic initiatives such as customer welcome, acquisition, retention and win-back. The customer intelligence is also used to monitor customer satisfaction and NPS, which form part of its core business KPI’s.
  • Leading German insurance company, HUK-COBURG, was selected because of its highly innovative approach to intelligent Workload Distribution. At HUK-COBURG’s seven contact centre locations, all customer interactions including letters, faxes, voice calls and emails are integrated and distributed equitably to the best available resource. This enhanced operational efficiency and interaction transparency has resulted in significant improvements to productivity, task resolution times and the customer experience.
  • International hotel company, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), was selected for placing guests at the very centre of everything they do, by enveloping them in a technology ecosystem which serves 4,400 franchised hotels, across 7 brands, in 100 countries. IHG’s SIP-based, hosted environment enables the organisation to competently manage all interactions and business processes; spanning the phone, internet and mobile devices through to kiosks and the hotel front desk. These advances have also significantly reduced costs to franchisees and greatly improved their ability to activate new call centres.
  • The US-based educational service provider, Kaplan, was selected for its use of technology to maintain outstanding levels of customer service, while undergoing rapid business growth over the last six years. Kaplan is now the largest and fastest growing division of the Washington Post Company and its success is built on the ability to effectively identify, route and proactively deflect calls; enabling advisors to maximise their interaction time with students.
  • DnB NOR, Norway’s leading bank, was selected for its innovative use of self-service to effectively and efficiently handle 95 per cent of the organisation's 150 million annual enquiries; spanning internet, telephone, mobile touch points. DnB NOR’s use of SMS-based services to handle routine account enquiries, transaction and support promotional campaigns has been particularly successful, with users and transactions both up by over 300 per cent since 2008; resulting in significant cost savings, fueled by the deflection of calls to the contact centre and enhanced levels of customer satisfaction.
  • Leading US insurance company, Travelers, was selected for leveraging technology to close the operational silos that previously existed between front and back office functions. These enhancements are helping to deliver superior service by ensuring tasks are handled by the best appropriate resource, while making all interactions consistent and visible to everyone. The new technology which routes all interactions – including voice, email, fax and paper mail – through a single queue has dramatically improved resolution times for non-voice tasks and reduced repeat and transferred call levels. This has contributed to improved customer satisfaction levels.

Details on the 3-Star winners:

  • The Mexican telecommunications provider, Telefonica Moviles, was selected for helping to transform customer service across Mexico and Latin America, through the use of an innovative self-service solution featuring natural language call steering. The richer experience of natural speech combined with skills-based routing has helped move Telefonica to #1 for customer satisfaction amongst the more lucrative post-paid customer segment through enhanced, more personalised service, while improving overall operational efficiency.
  • Central and South-East European utility provider, CEZ, was selected for building a robust customer service operation that has merged the contact centre and the back office; with ‘universal’ agents handling all interactions across voice, fax, SMS, paper mail and web channels. The improvements made to the customer service operation has seen significant improvements to the quality of service and customer satisfaction levels. From an organisation standpoint, CEZ has benefited from improved first call resolution rates, non-voice task resolution times, plus increased agent utilisation and staff productivity.

About Genesys
Alcatel-Lucent Genesys solutions feature leading software that manages customer interactions over phone, Web and mobile devices. The Genesys software suite handles customer conversations across multiple channels and resources –  self-service, assisted-service and proactive outreach – fulfilling customer requests and optimising customer care goals while efficiently using resources. Genesys software directs more than 100 million customer interactions every day for 4,000 companies and government agencies in 80 countries. These companies and agencies leverage their entire organisation, from the contact center to the back office, while dynamically engaging their customers. For more information, go to www.genesyslab.com.

About Alcatel-Lucent
Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) is the trusted transformation partner of service providers, enterprises, strategic industries such as defense, energy, healthcare, transportation, and governments worldwide, providing solutions to deliver voice, data and video communication services to end-users. A leader in fixed, mobile and converged broadband networking, IP technologies, applications and services, Alcatel-Lucent leverages the unrivaled technical and scientific expertise of Bell Labs, one of the largest innovation powerhouses in the communications industry. With operations in more than 130 countries and the most experienced global services organisation in the industry, Alcatel-Lucent is a local partner with a global reach. Alcatel-Lucent achieved revenues of Euro 15.2 billion in 2009 and is incorporated in France, with executive offices located in Paris. For more information, visit Alcatel-Lucent on the Internet: http://www.alcatel-lucent.com

Media Contacts:

Duncan Burford
UK PR for Genesys
Tel: +44 (0)1780 721 433
Email: dburford@iba-international.com

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