With customer numbers topping 150,000 last year, Internode has chosen to implement NetSuite Business Management software as the centrepiece of its customer system overhaul. The new software includes fully integrated customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications, delivered as a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution.
As well as speeding up calls and reducing queues during busy periods at the Internode customer call centre, the NetSuite solution will provide a customer-centric portal to let customers track the progress of orders, view the history of their interactions with Internode and undertake many self-service activities.
Internode CEO Patrick Tapper said Internode was making the $4 million investment to purchase and customise the NetSuite application to maintain its reputation for great customer service. "We are investing in this system to make our customer service even better," he said.
"Our research shows that more than 90 per cent of our customers come on board after being recommended by a family member, friend or colleague. That's a great testimony to Internode's credibility with its customers, so we want to ensure we protect and improve that reputation as we grow."
Internode chose NetSuite because it was the best system for managing its customer interaction. The system will provide a much more user-friendly and automated interface for frontline staff. Integration with Internode's telephone system will speed up service by automatically presenting staff with customer details if the customer has Calling Line Identification (CLI) turned on.
NetSuite will also provide Internode team leaders with accurate and timely information, giving them greater visibility into the business, which will allow them to better serve their customers' inquiries. The application will also provide employees with improved reporting about the status of customer interactions in areas such as tickets, sales opportunities and complaint handling.
A central benefit of NetSuite will be the creation of a Customer Portal that will greatly extend the customer self-service facilities that are already available through the My Internode portal at www.internode.on.net. As well as providing a deep view into Internode's ordering system, the portal can provide customers with Amazon-like recommendations for services popular with comparable customers.
The integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution will simplify the introduction and marketing of new products and services.
NetSuite was brought on board to replace Internode's internally-developed system for recording customer data. To reduce the risk of disruption during the transition, the NetSuite application will be introduced incrementally during the next 12 months. Stage one is expected to be complete by August. Internode plans to continue customising the system to meet its needs over the next three to four years.
NetSuite is a Web-based business application solution, with customer data securely hosted on NetSuite's US-based servers. NetSuite is certified as a SAS 70 Level II compliant provider of on-demand solutions and services, which meets the high standards required by Australian privacy legislation. Data is transmitted between Australia and the US via a private IP network operated by Internode.
Mr. Tapper said that customer service and product innovation would be the critical differentiators for telecommunication companies such as Internode as the broadband market matured. "Internode has a great track record of innovation such pioneering ADSL2+ broadband in Australia," he said.
"We've recently launched our Internode Media group to spearhead the provision of great content on top of our range of broadband services. Examples of new products include TiVo, chumby and iPhone apps. Overhauling our customer systems will underpin that product innovation by ensuring our customers enjoy the experience of interacting with Internode. It will also allow Internode to learn from its customers by tracking and reporting their preferences, so we can give them even more of what they want."