Knowledge: Case Studies

Belron studied Chinese wisdom to help it build a new omnichannel engagement
framework to the joyful benefit of both customers and employees

It is an iconic phrase which has been used to inspire politicians, soldiers, sports stars and anyone wanting to build a different life for themselves. But ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu’s simple but inspiring words – ‘A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step’ has also helped Autoglass and Carglass owner Belron frame a new approach to contact centre customer engagement.

“That phrase has been a valuable lesson for us,” says Sean McMahon, Customer Contact Innovation Manager at Belron. “Developing an omnichannel engagement framework is a step by step process. You can start from anywhere if you put innovation first, build for change and measure everything.” Tzu was also famous for travelling to the West on a water buffalo. CRM veteran McMahon, who joined Belron two years ago, may not have travelled to its Surrey headquarters by the same mode of transport, but he also had global geographies to consider.

“We are a holding group for a number of different companies, and we operate all over the world,” he explains. “We have 16.5billion customers and 28,000 employees over 36 countries. We are big but we are federated and one of the challenges of implementing an overarching philosophy is how do you convince a self-determining group of people that what you intend to do is a good idea? It is part of the reason why we ended up doing this in incremental steps business unit by business unit rather than a big bang.” McMahon says he discovered a largely service based company two years ago. “We are brilliant at knowing glass, moving glass and fitting glass and lead the world in service and patent standards. But from a customer engagement perspective we had no legacy systems. We operated a traditional call centre with systems and methodology built 8 or 9 years previously,” he states. “Belron was a very ERP orientated company and customer engagement was done via job management systems.”

It also had limited marketing attribution. “Very few people buy a vehicle and then go and find out how much it will cost to replace a windscreen,” McMahon adds. “We have a funnel of people coming to us
who need a solution when the unexpected happens. Once they call us, we know they are in need.”

Case study – Belron, Sean McMahon

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