Sony Latin America Breaks Down Communication Barriers: Improving the Company's Touch Points and Data Collection Capabilities Enhances Marketing, Sales, and Service Efforts

Article excerpt

With five call centers and some 260 e-business Web sites spread throughout Latin America, Fernando Taralli, new-business development director for Sony Latin America (SOLA), faced quite a dilemma in transforming the company's customer relationships south of the equator. "We were providing CRM for the entire Latin American region, for both our Web sites that we sell through, and our call center operations. We provide a platform for all of our offices across the region, so it was quite an interesting challenge for us," Taralli says.

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SOLA made the investment in CRM to align with a much larger corporate strategy. The company began transforming its business to be more customer-centric, although Sony refers to the new initiative as CCM, customer communications management. It's a twofold idea to improve its products, services, and brand perception through a continual communications process with its customers, and gain customer feedback on products and services to provide more direction for the company. This initiative did not proceed without encountering some challenges.

It would have been easier to implement such a project based on prior experiences, but Taralli was starting the initiative from scratch, and had a lot of work to do. SOLA call center agents could not retrieve info from its Web sites--data was stored separately, and not shared. Additionally, SOLA had stand-alone, country-specific CRM applications ranging across the area, so duplicate investments and processes were being repeated at the call centers without any one of them knowing about it. Finally, there was the language barrier, with many languages being spoken throughout the area.

"Each country was doing something different--one country would be doing one thing, then another country would be doing something else. We needed to standardize [processes] across the board," Taralli says.

Sony Latin America chose E.piphany and ATG's e-commerce platforms to align its customer touch points and standardize its data-processing. …