eTOM Request to Answer
The first process flow I will focus on is the eTOM ‘Request to Answer’ flow. This process is comprised of activities relevant to managing customer requests across all communications channels (customer interfaces). Specific information requests or product information requests are addressed and qualified by this process. It may result in the preparation of a pre-sales offer if the customer expresses sufficient interest.
The following eTOM Level 2 functions are involved in this process flow:
- CRM _ Support & Readiness
- Customer Interface Management
- Order Handling
- Retention & Loyalty
Essentially, ‘Request to Answer’ comprises lead qualification, proposal management, order qualification and customer feedback sub-processes. Here is the overall process flow:
Let’s look at the processes involved in more detail to see how they can be implemented in SalesForce.
The are several options for the customer to initiate an information request. The most common would be via a contact form on service provider’s website. In this case, the ‘Web to Lead’ functionality of Salesforce could be utilized.
There are also several apps available on the Salesforce Appexchange which will take an email and create a lead from it (refer Email to Lead or Email2Lead or LeadFromEmail).
Of course, Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) can enter new lead information directly into Salesforce whilst taking enquiries from the call centre (note that Salesforce provides CTI integration designed to streamline this process).
Create Customer Contact
Once a customer request is received, that request should be qualified. Lead assignment rules are available in Salesforce to automatically assign the qualification of a lead to the lead owner.
Once qualification is complete, the lead can then be converted into an account, contact(s) and opportunity if it meets the qualification criteria. This will be determined by the lead owner. Salesforce Salescloud supports the lead conversion process out-of-the-box.
This process receives the request and either enables its originator to automatically fulfill it, or identifies and activates the opportune process to accomplish the request; it manages the status of the request and is able to provide status information at any moment in which the request is active; it formally closes the request when all related activities have been terminated.
Once the lead has been qualified, and the conversion to an opportunity executed, Salesforce supports the opportunity lifecycle business process flow. The opportunity will transition from one state to the next based on actions taken by the sales team.
The purpose of this process is to match assigned leads with the most appropriate products and ensure that these prospects are handled appropriately. These prospects represent a “pipeline” of potential sales, each of which is expressed in terms of the probability of successful sales closure and an estimate of the total attainable revenue.
These potential sales ‘opportunities’ can be managed within Salesforce by features such as automated opportunity assignment and work flows, probability assignment, alert generation (eg when transitioning from one state to the next), forecasts and reports.
Issue and Distribute Marketing Collateral
The purpose of this process is to handle the issuing and distribution of marketing collateral to customer, in line with marketing campaign needs. This can involve emails, distribution of product collateral, invitations to product launches, invitations to marketing events, voice and text messaging to individuals, and so on.
A product pack and order form can be automatically generated (via 3rd party apps such as Conga) specifically addressing the customer’s initial enquiry. This gives the customer the opportunity to select from a predefined product list which is applicable to their needs.
Salesforce can be configured with products and corresponding price books specifically tailored to the service provider’s business and supporting multiple sales models (eg retail, wholesale, domestic, international, etc).
Determine Customer Order Feasibility
The purpose of the Determine Customer Order Feasibility process is to check the availability and/or the feasibility of providing and supporting standard and customized product offerings where specified as part of the standard product offering process flow, to a customer.
There are three aspects to qualifying the customer’s order request. Firstly, a technical qualification of the order takes place. This involved validating that the combination of products selected by the customer is technically sound and can be delivered. Typically, the service provider’s provisioning system would have the capability of performing this check. For non-complex cases, rules could be setup in Salesforce to perform this validation.
Secondly, a check of the availability of the products needs to be made. For physical products (eg mobile handsets) this involves checking the inventory levels, and if available, optionally placing a reservation on that product. Where the order involves provisioning of capacity in the network, a request to the provisioning systems needs to be made to ascertain the availability of the resources.
Thirdly, the availability of resources needed to implement the customer’s order needs to be confirmed. The scheduling system can be consulted to advise a timeframe for carrying out the work.
Various means are available to interface Salesforce into third party systems in order to confirm the feasibility of the customer’s order. These interfaces can be customized to suit a variety of third party systems.
Note: The offer preparation process may or may not lead to a reservation of resources in advance. Resources might be reserved for some special products or customers depending on the service provider’s policies and procedures.
Develop Sales Proposal
The purpose of this process is to develop a sales proposal to respond to the customer’s requirements.
Once the order has been validated, and ability to deliver the order is confirmed, the sales proposal can be generated and sent to the customer. Salesforce can generate a sales proposal at the click of a button using tools like Conga Composer.
Note: As part of the sales process, there may be a trigger to perform cross or up selling activities.
Validate Customer Satisfaction
This process validates that the customer is capable of realizing maximum value from the operation or use of the solution and that intense Service Provider involvement is no longer needed to manage the solution.
Salesforce can be easily integrated to a number of customer satisfaction survey apps such as ‘Survey Monkey’ and ‘Get Feedback’. Managing customer satisfaction is an important factor in winning new business as well as reducing churn levels across the existing customer base.
Customer satisfaction can also be impacted by timing issues, such as time from initial request to presentation of the sales offer. Note that by automating the processes using tools such as Salesforce can lead to improved customer satisfaction levels, and increase the likelihood of new customers accepting proposals and offers from the Service Provider.
In the next blog I will be focusing on the business flow for Order to Payment. This process deals with all activities which convert the customer request or an accepted offer into a ‘Ready for Use’ product.