How GRACE Improves Enquiry Handling

Ourenquiry recording system, webGRACE provides us with rich information and useful information about our service activity. It reports not only how many students we have served but who they were, when on how they accessed our service and which of over two hundred enquiries or requests were made.

Developed in SSiD in 2007, the system is used by colleagues in Student Support and Guidance, the Income Office and Student Administration Services.

GRACE (Gate keeping, Referrals and Customer Enquiries) is named after one of my heroes: Admiral Grace Hopper, a pioneer computer scientist, who, among other things, was instrumental in the development of COBOL, which was the first language that allowed a programmer to speak to the computer with words rather than numbers. She also invented one of the first computers in the 1940’s (Havard Mark I) and received the inaugural computer sciences "man of the year" award in 1969 from the British Computing Society.

What is the purpose of webGRACE?

webGRACE is used to monitor and record all customer interactions, so that we can understand customer needs and meet them. These include:

  • Collect vital data, like customer details and order histories
  • Deliver instant, University-wide access to customer histories
  • Develop better communication channels between ourselves as staff and with students

Collecting customer data enables us to make sure that when products and services are developed are appropriate and meet the needs of our customers. We analyse the data collected by webGRACE to understand:

  • who our customers are
  • what type of products and services they use
  • what they expect from the products and services

What are the benefits of using a CRM like webGRACE?

Enhance Customer Experience

  • Identifying needs more effectively by understanding specific customer requirements
  • More efficient enquiry handling as a result of anticipating needs based on historic trends
  • Cross-selling of other products by highlighting and suggesting alternatives or enhancements
  • Increased customer satisfaction. The customer feels that their needs are anticipated and they are included as "part of the team”.
  • Builds customer loyalty and decreases customer "churn" (loss of customers/clients

Improve Staff Experience

  • Help counter staff deal with enquiries more quickly
  • Reduce rework (doing the same task more than once)
  • Resolve customer disputes
  • Queries quickly referred to appropriate service
  • Reduction of repeat calls

Discover New Customers

Enhanced customer satisfaction and retention will ensure that our good reputation attract new customers. Furthermore, analysis of data and follow up surveys identify those potential customers we could be serving.

A Comprehensive Customer History:

  • Increase our knowledge of individual consumers
  • Create detailed profiles such as customer preferences
  • Better marketing of your products or services - aimed at customer needs.

Improved Operational Efficiency

  • Cost Reduction - increased value from our existing customers and reduced cost associated with supporting and servicing them, increasing our overall efficiency and reducing total cost of sales
  • Improved Management Information
  • Improved Decision Making
  • Streamline Business Processes by eliminating manual rework caused by poor quality data.

Reduce Process Failure Costs

These arise when poor quality information causes a process to perform poorly.

Process failure costs can include:

  • Irrecoverable costs such as the cost of mailing a second item to same person.
  • Recovery costs of unhappy customers
  • Information scrap and rework costs - when information is defective, it requires clean-sing (rework) or rejecting, or marking as an error (scrap).
  • Costs associated with hunting for or chasing missing information
  • Rework costs
  • Workaround costs
  • Decreased productivity
  • Verification costs

by Scott Castle
18 December 2008
updated 5 January 2018