Thuo ups its service game, with Microsoft Dynamics CRM

With more than 1 600 slot machines at different entertainment venues throughout KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape, Thuo Gaming South Africa has found a new way to provide faster, more efficient technical service to its customers.

Business need

Thuo Gaming South Africa is one of the country’s leading operators of Limited Payout Slot Machines (“LPM”), currently managing around 720 and 900 slot machines in KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape respectively. These machines are installed at independently owned entertainment venues through the region. While the venue owner and his/her staff handle day-to-day operation, Thuo provides maintenance and technical support through a team of help desk agents and field technicians.

Tanya Martin, help desk team leader, explains that this support is provided on three levels. “At the outset we provide training to the relevant gaming employee/s at the venues where we place our LPMs, to equip them with basic operational skills,” she says. “We then offer continued refresher training as the need arises, and as new staff are employed or when gaming employees change.

“Once the LPM site is operational and if a situation arises that the relevant venue owner or employee is unable to resolve, the second tier of support – our help desk – kicks in. Through the help desk we are able to telephonically resolve the bulk of all technical queries.“

“The third level of support is provided by our field technicians who are despatched, via the help desk, to attend to unresolved faults and queries on site.”

This help desk service – and the information that is gathered during each call – is a critical component of the support service that Thuo Gaming offers its clients. However, as the business has grown, the help desk’s spreadsheet system for managing this information had become large and cumbersome.

“It was difficult to track incoming calls properly, access client information quickly, or monitor service trends and issues like the resolution time of field technicians,” says Martin. “The system was not productive or efficient. We needed a far more sophisticated, controlled and integrated approach.”

Solution

Thuo Gaming consulted Microsoft partner, Datasmith, who recommended Microsoft Dynamics CRM as a package that would not only facilitate their client contact and information management requirements, but which could also expand to provide additional CRM value-add as the business continued to grow.

“We have worked with the Datasmith team before, so we were confident that they understood our business and that they would be able to provide and customise the most effective solution for our needs,” says Duncan Pollock, Thuo Gaming’s Group Commercial Manager.

“We opted for a two-phase installation process, which was started in 2008 and completed in December 2009.” Pollock explains that the first phase of the project took six months, from design and testing through to final implementation.

The second phase involved integrating Dynamics CRM with Thuo’s PABX system so that help desk staff could instantly identify incoming callers. The Datasmith team accomplished this within the required timeframe, ensuring that the help desk team had the full functionality they were expecting.

Benefits

As with any business, good customer relationships are a top priority for Thuo Gaming. However, while the new Dynamics CRM system will enable them to add an even more personal touch to their client service, its real value lies in the performance improvements that the business has been able to achieve.

“Our help desk agents are now instantly presented with a client’s information when they phone in, showing when last they called and why, and providing technical and service background information that helps us to resolve queries more quickly,” explains Martin.

“We can use the same system to identify and deploy field technicians, who in turn can receive new service requests and update the status of existing ones instantly via Microsoft CRM Mobile, while in the field. We are also able to log specific information about any technical queries on any particular machine, which helps us to pinpoint common trends or potential problem areas.”

In essence, this means that Thuo’s help desk team can anticipate technical or environmental concerns in advance, and liaise directly with the venue owner or conduct preemptive maintenance before this concern manifests as a problem.

“The solution has given us greater control over our machines – despite their geographical spread – as well as deeper insight into the trends that emerge from each machine and site,” adds Alisha Almeida, Thuo Chief Operating Officer: Slots. “Coupled with being able to track customer interactions more efficiently, this means we can provide a far better, more effective overall service solution.”