A need to move with the times

Century Yuasa is predominantly a business-to-business (B2B) operation – selling directly to thousands of small and large businesses alike in the automotive services sector. A lot may have changed in the past 25 years, but good old-fashioned service has been a mainstay throughout.

“How our customers interact with us is quite old school,” explains Paulus Wanandi, Executive Director of Century Yuasa Batteries (CYB).

“They’re used to calling us for pricing, to place orders, or to obtain product information. They even like the fact that our service representatives deliver batteries to them in person – the human touch is appreciated.”

Paulus Wanandi | Executive Director of Century Yuasa batteries (CYB)

To support over seven thousand customers across Australia and New Zealand, CYB’s customer service team receives hundreds of incoming calls daily, covering a wide gamut of issues. During these calls, team members would manually search for customer details and enter order information into CYB’s ERP system –a repetitive and time-intensive task, with the possibility for mistakes to be made. Extra care also had to be taken to establish who was calling, as each customer has a personalised pricing matrix.

As a result, CYB’s customer service team members were constantly busy. Just fifteen people were handling incoming customer calls across Australia and New Zealand, with each call taking five minutes on average.

Adding a modern spin to good an old-fashion service

Given that CYB and its customers had always worked together smoothly in this manner, it was difficult to envisage that a change to the ordering process would be either welcomed or beneficial. However, CYB was keen to leverage their existing Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement and Field Service applications to offer their customers a self-service option.

CYB turned to their Microsoft partner, Fusion5, to design and implement an e-commerce portal with a shopping cart-style experience using Microsoft Power Platform and Power Pages. Fusion5 delivered the cost-effective portal in record time, and it quickly won over CYB customers who loved being able to view their own customised price list and stock availability, and place orders and service requests – all at a time which suited them.

Wanandi says the portal has been a success.

“Everyone has been delighted with the result. By leveraging our existing investment in Microsoft technologies and utilising a knowledgeable partner, it meant that building the portal ended up being a relatively fast and low-investment project.”

Paulus Wanandi | Executive Director of Century Yuasa batteries (CYB)

“Most customers we’ve introduced to the portal have been quick to appreciate the convenience of online ordering,” says Wanandi.

“However, those who prefer to pick up the phone and place orders through our call centre or sales reps can still do so – we certainly haven’t taken that option away from them.”

Taking it slow with progressive rollout

To mitigate the risk of overwhelming their customers, CYB opted for a deliberate approach to rolling out their e-commerce portal. They started with a trial using a group of close-knit customers before progressively inviting more customer groups to use the portal.

To date, customer feedback about CYB’s self-service portal has been overwhelmingly positive. Most users found it easier and faster to place orders, and with a much higher degree of accuracy considering there is no need to relay information to a second person, who then has to enter the data manually.

A large dealership commented, “We absolutely love the platform - it’s easy to use and convenient.” Other automotive service customers praised the new flexibility of being able to order batteries when it suited them and being able to check cost and availability instantly.

Regional agencies that sell CYB products have also welcomed the initiative. “The portal enables us to focus on other areas of the business instead of fielding numerous customer calls regarding price and availability,” said one happy agency. Another commented: “It makes my life a whole lot easier, as I don’t have to call and chase the customers who are now placing their orders through the portal.”

The volume of inbound calls to CYB’s contact centre has also fallen, but this gives the customer service team more time to proactively schedule outbound calls to customers who need additional support.

"Fusion5 already knew our system inside out and had the proven experience and expertise to set our portal up correctly with minimal fuss."

Paulus Wanandi | Executive Director of Century Yuasa batteries (CYB)

Working with Fusion5

Considering Fusion5 was involved in the implementation of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement and Field Service for CYB, they were naturally Wanandi’s first choice to develop the e-commerce portal.

“Although we have the internal resources to support and configure our Microsoft environment, we wanted an expert’s advice on the best approach to setting up the portal,” Wanandi explained. 

“The portal was a collaborative project. There are many ways to create a website, so Fusion5 provided a lot of valuable advice on how to structure it. We appreciated their recommendation to keep it simple and functional instead of building a behemoth that would be difficult to maintain – and that proved to be great advice.”

Paulus Wanandi | Executive Director of Century Yuasa batteries (CYB)

While adding more functionality to the portal is certainly on the cards in the future, Wanandi says CYB is in no rush.

“We want to finish rolling it out to our entire customer base, so we have complete and full feedback on where we can improve and refine it,” he says. “Then, we’ll start a wish list.”

Great outcomes start with great conversations


Great outcomes start with great conversations

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