E-FILES: Clear sells mobile phones online

Use of the Web to automate business processes is one of those promises which often doesn't seem to quite come off, but it appears to have done so for Clear Communications.

www.clear.co.nz Use of the Web to automate business processes is one of those promises which often doesn't seem to quite come off, but it appears to have done so for Clear Communications. The telecomms company staged a major revamp of its Web site earlier this year. The move followed a profound restructure and reorientation of the company to becoming an online business services provider. The boost to the Web site now means that transactions such as ordering a mobile phone or signing up for Internet and land-line phone services can be done with a few points and a clicks. Late last year Clear signed a reseller deal with Vodafone, and new users can sign up on Clear's Web site and have the mobile handset delivered within 48 hours, says marketing and online services director Ian Scherger. For the customer, there is no waiting on the phone while an automated voice assures them that their call is important, and no complicated forms to fill. For Clear, it means a much more efficient business process. "The revamped Web site has really enhanced what we do," says Scherger. "We can take the order, run a background credit check and get the whole deal signed up and the handset sent to the customer without anyone at Clear having to touch the order. The first thing we know about it is when the mobile phone interfaces into the Clear system. Using the Web in this way has taken a whole transaction loop out of what we do." The site is understood to be the first in New Zealand which allows a customer to make a purchase, choose a pricing plan and whatever enhanced features and accessories they may want, without physically signing a contract. Nearly a quarter of the firm's new mobile services are signed up this way, he says. All transactions and customer details are encrypted for security and are managed via a secure Oracle database. Customers are automatically notified by e-mail once the order has been approved and despatched. If they want to, they can check its progress with a courier tracking code. The site can also be used to sign up for the mobile messaging service, which allows users to check their email on their mobile phone while they are away from their computer. Last month the company added a domain name registration feature to the site. Instead of the usual 24 hours it takes to register a domain name, users can register a name online and have it cleared in an average of 15 minutes. The service, which is fully automated, is called DNS (Domain Name Service) Plus, and also allows users to register multiple domains at the same time, track the process online and manage their domain names.

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