Gartner and 1to1 Customer Award Winners: New Media Optimization


Gold Winner: Accenture Tears Down Borders Using Enterprise 2.0

While it's impossible for all of Accenture's 180,000 global employees to know each other, many feel like they do. Thanks to the company's adoption of a Web 2.0 mentality, previously disconnected offices can interact virtually at any time. In early 2007 Accenture began its Borderless Workplace initiative, which made tele-presence the preferred method of communication within the company, and added a number of social media tools to its interactions between employees and with customers.

"We feel with this kind of technology the advantage will go to the early adopters,? says Frank Modruson, Accenture's CIO. "The core of our initiative is bringing social networking into Accenture, to bring the power of every employee together to make it easier to do business."

The Borderless Workplace includes an internal wiki called Accenture Encyclopedia; its media exchange, which resembles YouTube; personal blogs for employees; and a social network for employees to collaborate, share knowledge, and find subject matter experts when answering customers' questions. Every employee also has a unified messaging system, which combines fax and phone calls into their existing email address and allows them to make calls and host video conferences through their computer.

"We're still in the deployment stage with some of these technologies, yet we're already seeing uptake as people embrace them," Modruson says. "Our media exchange hasn't even been formally announced and we're seeing a high number of views on the site."

Accenture also developed a number of customized microsites to help its marketing and sales teams develop stronger client relationships. The sites act as a portal for each client's team; members from every customer touchpoint have access to the content and receive feedback through the site. The microsites can leverage all of Accenture's social media tools, including discussion boards, podcasts, video streams, and wikis.

"We're in the people business," Modruson says. "We need to leverage our expertise and match it to every client's needs, making every one of our employees accessible to them when they need us." Accenture measures both hard and soft metrics to see how well the borderless workplace is utilized and whether it's successful overall. Cost of operation is how the company measures ROI, and with the reduced travel cost from telepresence alone Modruson says the initiative is a no-brainer.

The company also looks at how many people update their profile pages, view videos, and take advantage of desktop video conferencing. "Generally we look at uptake, rather than overall usage," Modruson says. "We're still in the early stages of deployment so our number one priority is making these tools available to everyone."

Since Accenture's workforce is spread across 49 countries, employees weren't used to having as many personal interactions as the borderless workplace allows. To assist them with the new tools, Accenture created a change management team that worked with small groups, about 100 people at a time, to demonstrate the best way to use the technology to serve clients. To ensure continued use, the company created a user council with representatives from the teams most affected by the new initiatives.

Modruson says he expects to have every program rolled out by the end of the year, and is looking at updating the company's portal and adding a social bookmarking tool soon after. "Overall we think it's been a success," Modruson says. "We've shaped our culture around networking, sharing, connecting, and teaming."

Silver Winner: Bankinter Gives Customers a New View of Online Service

Are contact center agents ready for their close-up? At Madrid-based Bankinter, customers can now chat with agents and local branch employees via video chat on the company's website. Bankinter treats the video communications as a whole new channel, complete with its own challenges.

"We didn't have resistance from our employees because we embrace innovation as a company, but this buy-in was difficult," says Marciso Perales, head of business development. "The biggest change was that now our contact center representatives have to wear ties."

Customers have embraced the online tool, which debuted last October. So far this year Bankinter has hosted more than 100,000 video chats with customers, and about 10 percent of what the company considers "active" customers use the service. More than 85 percent of video chat users give the service high ratings.
"Customers who go to the site tell us what product or service they're interested in, and the system automatically routes them to the local branch or call center, depending on the nature of the transaction," Perales says. For transactions that involve product sales, the video channel has a 25 percent higher conversion rate than traditional methods.

During the chat, employees can walk customers through the process of adding a new account or signing up for a new service. Customers see the documents they need to complete during the chat and receive a PDF copy to fill out and return. At the end of the interaction, customers can print the paperwork they've completed, just as if they'd visited a branch.

Along with the video chat, Bankinter is also investing heavily in banking on cell phones and PDAs, trying to remain one of Spain's leaders in new technology. "We're confident that we're doing everything we can to make the work for our clients easier," Perales says. "With what we're doing now, the wind is at our back."

Bronze Winner: High Performace Delivered

Turkey's Akbank aims to make tedious loan applications a thing of the past. The bank introduced three new loan application channels in the past year, and none involve interacting with a human being. Customers of the bank (and noncustomers who are citizens of Turkey) can apply for a loan via SMS message, special credit machines, and ATMs.

"The easy access to financial operations free from time and space shortens the purchase and disbursement process," says Meltem Cora, a senior vice president at Akbank. "It's important to find a way to present consumer loans through mobile technologies that integrate with people's daily lives."

The loan process through these new channels is simplified, and varies depending on customers' chosen paths. They can text their citizenship number to an SMS short code, apply for a loan via any Akbank ATM and receive instant approval or denial, or stop by one of the bank's new credit machines. The machines resemble an ATM, but for new customers the machine takes their photo, scans an ID card, allows them to sign for a loan, and dispenses a consumer loan card that they can use to withdraw the funds if approved.

Since April 2007 when the program launched, Akbank has granted more than 50,000 loans via SMS alone, and expects mobile loans to account for 10 percent of its total volume going forward. "The SMS loan originations are very profitable," Cora says, "and our success rate with new customer acquisition is very high, with more than 2 million applications coming through the channel."

Akbank is living up to its slogan of "Turkey's Innovative Power" through these three initiatives. In addition to being seen as a technology leader, the bank saw an 80 percent growth rate on consumer loans in 2007, and increased its share of wallet from 50 percent to 65 percent.

"We continue to provide the easiest and fastest service to our customers to make their lives easier," Cora says.