Virgin Mobile

When Virgin Mobile contracted OneOffice as their ERP system, they had just 9 weeks to deliver a full system (including web and credit card) for Christmas sales.  Virgin Mobile’s sales were ahead of all expectation.

The ERP system that drives virgin mobile’s customer service.
It was only ever a matter of time before Virgin broke in to the mobile phone market. The conditions were perfect: massive public confusion over tariffs; an array of different operators; and very poor customer service all round.

Virgin knew it could put things right. Its reputation for straight-talking and good value, backed by the best possible service was just what the mobile phone generation needed. It was natural Virgin territory. Since launch Virgin Mobile has grown rapidly and now has in excess of four million subscribers.

Background

When Virgin set its sights on the mobile phone market, it knew it had to take a radically different approach from everyone else. First, it wanted to make it easier for customers by offering a single tariff system, but a wide choice of phones. Second, all its handsets would be equipped with advanced e-commerce facilities so users could access online Virgin services such as discount holidays, flights and CDs. Third, Virgin would provide superb end-to-end customer service via the internet, telephone and retail outlets. In short, Virgin set out to turn the whole mobile phone market upside down.

Delivering The Virgin Promise

Virgin Mobile was under no illusions about the challenge it faced, especially with customer service. It wanted to able to sell phones through all the different channels simultaneously and offer the same service, the same stock information and give the same delivery promise to everyone.

That meant having a back office system, linked to all the sales channels, that would provide consistent stock control data, order processing and delivery. In other words, no matter how people contacted Virgin Mobile, they would get up-to-minute information and spot-on service.

There was no shortage of companies offering a solution. The problem was that Virgin needed proven technology, something its managers could see working in front of them before they signed on the dotted line. Secondly, they wanted the whole system up and running in just nine weeks, so they would be ready to launch the business in time for the peak buying season.

Most IT companies failed on both counts: all they could show was a theoretical solution that might work, and they needed months of development time to implement their software.

However, Virgin finally found the right partner in OneOffice and its enterprise management system that integrates the needs of high volume distribution and e-commerce. The OneOffice team were able to demonstrate their system immediately and make a firm commitment to meeting Virgin’s demanding launch schedule.

Even before the ink on the contract was dry, the OneOffice team got started on the project. They worked day and night and over every weekend to complete the implementation and test the system so that it was ready and working on the day Virgin Mobile launched.

The Multi-Site Solution

The focal point of the Virgin Mobile operation is the Customer Service Centres which, with approaching 1,000 seats, handle any orders placed via the phone or the Virgin Mobile web site.

OneOffice Business Components have been embedded into the call handling software at the Customer Service Centres and into the web site. These components ensure seamless integration between these front ends and the full OneOffice enterprise management system. This guarantees that everyone gets consistent real-time information about stock availability and the same level of service, whether they call in by phone, access the web site or make contact through a retail outlet.

Once an order is placed, it is processed immediately. Credit card authorisation is automatic, the stock is allocated in the warehouse, accounts are updated and the despatch process is started – all within a few seconds of the customer confirming the purchase.

Over 30 warehouse staff in Virgin Mobile’s warehouse in Daventry have access to OneOffice, which provides both internal and external logistics support. It is also integrated with the delivery system used by Virgin Mobile’s carrier.

OneOffice is also heavily used at Virgin Mobile’s headquarters in London, where some 50 managers use it to monitor sales, check buying patterns and ensure that the whole order processing and delivery system is running smoothly.

OneOffice also manages product returns for Virgin Mobile. It handles pick-ups from customers and cross-checks that all the necessary items have been returned. In addition, OneOffice monitors the product regrading process and amends stock records once the products have been checked for quality and put back into the system, automatically crediting customer accounts where appropriate.

System Performance

The OneOffice system was given a baptism of fire, according to Andrew Ralston, Customer Relationship Director of Virgin Mobile. “We launched Virgin Mobile just before the busiest buying season of the year, so OneOffice was in at the deep end. It had to work perfectly right from the start.”

Virgin Mobile sold tens of thousands of phones in the first weeks of its operation, and the business is growing faster than anyone expected with sales flowing through all three channels. “We have been especially pleased with the way the web channel has been working,” added Mr Ralston.

As for OneOffice , Virgin Mobile is delighted with its solid reliability. “OneOffice does the back office job very well. It was a pretty tall order for it to do all the things we wanted, but so far it has delivered and we are pleased with the level of support we receive from the OneOffice team,” said Mr Ralston.

The Benefits

OneOffice has helped Virgin Mobile live up to its promise. Virgin really is changing the way the mobile phone industry works and is setting new standards of customer service. Much of the success is down to the efficiency of its back office.




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