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SMART Technologies


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Company: SMART Technologies, Calgary, Alberta
Company Description: SMART is the world’s leading provider of interactive whiteboards. The company introduced the world’s first interactive whiteboard in 1991 and remains the global product category leader, providing easy-to-use, integrated products and services that improve the way the world works and learns. Our success is driven by a deep commitment to and engagement with both education and business communities.
Nomination Category: Customer Service & Call Center Awards Team Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Customer Service Management Team of the Year

Nomination Title: SMART Technologies Customer Service Management Team

    Tell the story about what this nominated team achieved since the beginning of July last year (up to 500 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms. Be sure to mention obstacles overcome, innovations or discoveries made, and outcomes:

With leadership from Sandra Coates, Vice President, Services, and her
management team, SMART Technologies has achieved its goal of delivering world-
class support for its customers located in over 100 countries.

Over the past year, SMART’s services department has been extensively involved
in the implementation of new contact center technology and onboarding of a
third-party contact center. Ms. Coates also created a new team, customer
systems and quality with the aim to improve the use of SMART's internal
systems to better serve customers.

When SMART’s contact center infrastructure approached peak capacity in late
2008, SMART's customer service management team engaged the company's
information systems (IS) department to replace the existing platform.

Collaboration between the departments culminated with the implementation of
Cisco’s Unified Contact Center Enterprise (UCCE) in August 2009. The new
service includes web chat, a new contact type for SMART customers well
received. Many additional improvements have also been made, including
implementation of call forecasting, use of refined quality measurement and
analytics, and the shift of e-mail contacts into UCCE.

By moving to UCCE, SMART has been able to handle an increased call volume of
32 percent and increased chat volume of 86 percent. The new system has also
enabled the company to increase new support incidents created via e-mail by 12
percent. These metrics would be impressive if handled with existing staff
members, but SMART has actually reduced its frontline contact center
representatives by 31 percent while maintaining an average-speed-of-answer
(ASA) of less than 60 seconds since August 2009.

During the implementation, further action was required when annual business
projections indicated support incidents for 2009 would increase substantially.
After careful consideration, engaging a third-party support company was deemed
the best option for handling the increase. The team then undertook the task of
integrating a third-party into SMART's customer service operations using its
internal contact and customer-relationship-management (CRM) systems. Training
and integration was completed in August 2009.

Initially, the third-party contact center handled level-one customer support
and technical support issues. However, the integration has been so successful
that the third-party team now also answers questions for SMART's training and
professional development teams and responds to technical support queries from
resellers. Integration of the third-party contact center has allowed SMART to
maintain its service at a time when the company is experiencing the highest
contact volume in its history.

In addition, throughout the implementation of UCCE, IS project manager Julian
Sanders used his telephony expertise to drive project objectives, meet tight
deadlines and deliver world-class customer service. After the initial rollout,
Ms. Coates saw the need to create a team inside her services organization
dedicated to enhancing the use of SMART’s existing infrastructure to improve
its customer experience. In early 2010, she created the customer systems and
quality team with Mr. Sanders as manager. Mr. Sanders and his new team created
a roadmap to optimize processes and systems, reducing SMART's cost-per-call by
23% while maintaining customer service levels and average handle times
globally despite a 46% increase in call volumes.

    List hyperlinks to any online news stories, press releases, or other documents that support the claims made in the section above. IMPORTANT: Begin each link with http://, and enclose each link in square brackets; for example, []:

Supporting links:
• Investor relations
• SMART's category share   

    Provide a brief (up to 100 words) biography about the leader(s) of the nominated team:

Biography – Sandra Coates, Vice President, Services
Sandra Coates is responsible for the services group providing support to
SMART's customers. The group's functions include customer support, technical
support, product returns, training and professional development, sales
support, testing and quality assurance and documentation.

Ms. Coates joined SMART in 2006. She has more than 20 years of experience with
various organizations in the areas of customer support, quality assurance,
research and development, training, finance and IT. During her extensive
career, she has held various leadership positions including CIO, VP and
general manager. Ms. Coates is an active member of several professional
associations and holds a bachelor of commerce degree.