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BT Inbound Contact helps ZTE provide its customers with faster, more effective technical support
Each time it won a new customer, ZTE used to set up another helpdesk. The result for Huang Hairong was a costly patchwork of support centres, network technologies and suppliers across the world.
Huang wanted a fresh approach to integrate everything and speak to all customers in their own language as well. He found it with BT Inbound Contact. Now, customers get through to the right technical problem-solvers fast, night and day, no matter how complex their questions. That's a great feeling for every 24/7 business. And for Huang too.
We are leveraging the BT Inbound Contact solution to consolidate separate hotline facilities in over 80 countries into a much smaller number of locations. This enables us to focus on the customer service experience in each country, rather than technical issues.”
- Huang Hairong, Call Centre Director, ZTE Global Customer Support Centre
ZTE is a world leading provider of telecommunications equipment and network solutions, employing close to 80,000 people and offering a wide range of products and services. Especially strong in wireless technology, it was one of the earliest Chinese companies to articulate a clear vision for global expansion. The company has partnerships with more than 500 fixed and mobile service providers worldwide. As a relative newcomer in a highly competitive sector, ZTE aims to become the leading supplier in emerging markets and a credible force elsewhere, by offering end-to-end solutions that maximise the value chain.
During its recent growth surge, the priority for ZTE was to establish a strong presence quickly across multiple markets at differing stages of development. Each time ZTE won a contract, it would set up a dedicated customer support team and helpdesk – even when similar resources were in place to serve the same customer elsewhere in the world.
Huang Hairong, Call Centre Director at the ZTE Global Customer Support Centre, explains: “We had created individual hotlines on a project-by-project basis scattered across some 80 countries. The system was costly, fragmented, awkward to manage, and made it difficult to offer customers the vital assurance of 24*7 assistance.”
Global IT infrastructure choices for ZTE had at first been based upon availability and time to market. Huang Hairong continues: “Another legacy of our fast growth was a patchwork of network technologies, which made monitoring and management difficult and time consuming. We wanted to consolidate our IT infrastructure to ensure network security and stability while reducing the number of suppliers and lowering costs.”
Since its customers are mainly carriers, their enquiries are often highly complex, requiring senior-level second-line technical support linked to the ZTE laboratories. Furthermore, the global nature of the company’s business meant that it needed to collect enquiries from different language groups and route them efficiently to the appropriate support centre. So ZTE could see that consolidating its support operations on a common infrastructure would make customer service much more effective; and enable the launch of new service delivery channels such as videoconferencing.
Having examined a number of potential suppliers, both international and based in China, ZTE determined that a BT Inbound Contact global solution would offer the best possible coverage. Using the reach and quality of the BT global network infrastructure, Inbound Contact enables BT to take end-to-end responsibility for the international carriage of ZTE voice calls.
Huang Hairong says: “An important factor in our decision was that BT was able to point to reference customers like ourselves for whom it had solved similar contact centre problems with great success.”
Another key differentiator was BT’s readiness to offer full consultancy services on design and implementation. As a telecommunications equipment maker, ZTE chose to deploy its own equipment in the new contact centres, while using BT’s global voice network coverage to provide connectivity between them. This offered the benefit of superior BT service level agreements (SLAs) to underpin the service.
ZTE’s first move was to open a new global customer support centre in Shenzhen, China; followed by a second in Bangalore, India. The latter will handle enquiries from English-speaking customers. The ultimate aim is to launch more consolidated customer contact centres serving Spanish, French, and Portuguese speakers.
Huang Hairong comments: “The BT solution helped us set up the platform and infrastructure step-by-step. BT was the best match for our situation and its process was better than any of the other solutions offered, with minimal upfront investment.” ZTE is now running a separate pilot scheme for a consolidated contact centre solution serving global consumers pursuing enquiries about ZTE-made mobile handsets.
The BT Inbound Contact solution is helping ZTE to transform its customer support operation on behalf of the many international carriers who make up its core market. It has enabled the Chinese company to establish a two-tier system, whereby initial enquiries can be intelligently routed quickly and efficiently to the appropriate language centre, with advanced second-line technical support easily reached in China if the query demands more detailed technical understanding and discussion.
The customer support system is organised and managed along clear regional lines, enabling each centre to operate reliably on a 24*7 basis. In the event that one of the new centres experiences problems, customer enquiries can easily be rerouted to another centre instead of having to depend exclusively on a single in-country hotline. This gives ZTE the best of both worlds, combining greater speed and efficiency with higher responsiveness to linguistic and cultural customer needs. In stepping up its transition to an MPLS network, now underpinning selected markets across Asia Pacific and the Americas, it is again deploying its own contact centre equipment but has a 24*7 network monitoring agreement with BT.
Huang Hairong concludes: “We are leveraging the BT Inbound Contact solution to consolidate separate hotline facilities in over 80 countries into a much smaller number of locations. This enables us to focus on the customer service experience in each country, rather than technical issues.” He expects to reduce the number of call centre agents by up to 50 per cent globally, with a 10 per cent overall cost saving.
- BT Inbound Contact global
- BT global voice network services
- BT global network monitoring and management
- BT Advise professional services including design consultancy, systems integration, and project management of the implementation