Drinks.com Streamlines Customer Management With Aspect Software

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In an attempt to streamline its customer relationship management process, Internet start-up Drinks.com, Lake Bluff, IL, has implemented Aspect software solutions at the core of its eCRM infrastructure.

The goal is for all calls coming into the company's call center, also based in Lake Bluff, to be routed through the same system and forwarded to the appropriate operator.

"Traditionally, all of the customer inquiries were handled independently," said Mike Gillispie, director of customer support at Drinks.com. "This new system is going to allow for a cohesive flow of customer communication with our operators, whether it be phone calls, e-mails or online chat."

After coming through the Aspect system, all incoming inquiries will be forwarded to the most appropriate service representative. Drinks.com is in the process of implementing the system and hopes to have it fully operational by the fall.

This is not being done in response to complaints from consumers regarding service from the site, but instead, it's a move that Gillispie hopes will help Drinks.com expand more cost-effectively.

"It's intended to help us grow by adding new technology instead of a lot of new people," he said. "The metric we are looking to most improve is the number of contacts per hour a customer representative can handle. We want to increase that instead of increasing the bodies we have here."

Currently, five representatives are working at the Drinks.com call center. According to Gillispie, it hopes to have nearly 30 representatives working there by the end of the year. The company retains the call center as an in-house operation because the direct marketing of beer and liquor is a fairly new concept.

"Our customers want a certain level of personalized care, and they know what they are looking for," Gillispie said. "I think expert knowledge in this area is still very limited, so we want to handle this ourselves. And this will probably give us a competitive advantage as well."

Gillispie said the number of incoming calls is still very low since Drinks.com is a new company but that it does receive a lot of e-mail.

Aspect, San Jose, CA, provides customer relationship portals.

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