Friday, February 19, 2010
At the heart of this first call resolution vision is technology. It is integral to the calling process and is what drives our call centre. Technology means we have an enormous database of questions and answers, pop up screens, intelligent messaging and search engine and knowledgebase technology (similar to Wikipedia) at our Kiwi operators’ fingertips.
New advances in technology mean our in-house development team is always creating new ways to make the call a better experience for the customer. Recent years have seen a growth in use of alternative contact methods such as Email, Web and TXT (SMS). Our operators will often email or TXT customers’ instructions on how to resolve technical problems, or include links to online resources to help them resolve their query. Incoming emails, faxes, web queries and text messages are handled in just the same way as calls.
Our Kiwi operators now also use text messages to contact staff "in the field" who will help resolve customers’ problems face to face. This is how contact centre communication with Census collectors works (in the 2006 and upcoming 2011 Census) to ensure the right number of forms are dropped off and collected – even when many members of the public use the Internet to fill in their forms.
And when it comes to "avalanche calls", which occur when there is a crisis and many (sometimes hundreds or thousands of) customers call the centre at the same time, our technology systems kicks in so customers are given information and prompts – including self service options to get relevant and up-to-date information throughout, so frustration does not set in. The other key advance is in identifying and resolving those calls that aren’t part of the crisis so that they don’t get lost in the flood of other calls.
Our operators tend to be (or end up!) very IT savvy, and can navigate our multiple systems very skillfully. The basics of a call centre desktop environment include a Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) system (in our case supplied by Kiwi company Zeacom), a contact management tool – used to capture information, manage outbound calling, and direct the operator through the many different call types - Telnet uses its own product - ContactSuite.
Some calls also require access to external systems, such as ‘heavyweight’ customer relationship management tools (like Siebel, SAP, Salesforce.com, QueWeb and RightNow). Telnet's operators seamlessly manage these tools along with our own in-house software giving our clients an edge over other providers, our employees better access to customer information and more importantly, the best possible experience for the caller.
First call resolution dramatically reduces escalation problems for our clients. Escalation occurs when a customer is dissatisfied with the call centre experience and is forced to contact the company direct to get answers. Our clients’ notice this indicator falls immediately after we come on board because customer’s problems are resolved the first time around, lifting customer satisfaction.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
In the early 2000’s call centres were shifted offshore left right and centre because human capital was cheaper and significant cost savings could be made. But at what cost? Companies are now starting to count this and realise the short-term gain might not be worth the cost to the long-term benefits of good customer service.
The trend we now see is New Zealand and Australian companies searching closer to home for their call centre needs. This doesn’t mean all companies should turn their back on offshore call centre Mecca’s. There’s still a very good business case for having simple call centre tasks based overseas but when it comes to more complex calls, including those related to the financial or telecommunications industry, companies need operators that are culturally aligned.
Australia is one of our most rapidly growing markets with more than 25 per cent of our clients based in Australia, and growing. There are four main reasons why Aussies are coming to Kiwi call centres for help:
Wage arbitrage – Lower wage and currency rates allow Kiwis to provide better value for money.
Excellent customer experience - First call resolution is a critical success factor – our focus is on getting it right first time and maximising customer satisfaction while minimising cost to service.
Time Zone – Kiwis are more or less in the same time zone as Australia so there’s no need to make employees work at 4am in the morning (which has its associated costs).
Culture – there’s no culture barrier with Kiwis and therefore the customer experience is better than other offshore providers.
Our employees are so up with the play on Aussie lingo already it’s easy for customers to think they are calling from Australia. Not only that, us Kiwis are very au fait with the Australian regulatory environment so companies can be assured we’re right up there when it comes to best practise. Over time, all this value is creating a growing list of Australian clients seeking call centres based in New Zealand.
Business Development Manager
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
When we first started working with Sony Ericsson Australia in 2007 our mandate was to improve their customers’ contact centre experience. We achieved that goal by placing important information at our CSRs fingertips, solving customer queries quickly and efficiently.
But what Sony Ericcson didn’t expect was for us to also to cut their costs. A reduction in talk times (from an average of 300 seconds per call to less than 240 seconds) and the number of customer call backs led to an overall reduction in costs.
Now that’s what I call customer service!
Click the link below which explains this outcome in full:
Click the link below which explains this outcome in full:
Friday, February 5, 2010
When Internet and email arrived everyone thought it was the next silver bullet to marketing. But more than a decade on and, with the onset of recession, we’ve found companies coming to us wanting a return to the old fashioned way of marketing - picking up the phone.
Last year the biggest transition for companies entering the recession was the need to swing from big budget brand building to pull in customers (usually through marketing spend) to a need to achieve direct and measurable results.
When times are tough more focus goes on acquiring new customers and retaining the ones you’ve got. Business development departments have needed to be more client focussed and sometimes the only way to do that is to pick up the phone. And while blue skies are on the horizon no one has been given relief from targets.
While there is certainly a place for marketing through emails, direct mail and door to door marketing – some of these techniques are either too far removed from contact with a potential customer, or too in your face.
Some would say telemarketing is in your face. We’ve all had those calls from people wanting to sell you timeshares and with whom you can’t get off the phone quick enough (or hang up on quick enough!). But if you get a call from a telemarketer offering something that you identify easily with – such as saving money on your power bill. And that telemarketer on the end of the line is bright bubbly and happy for you to opt out on the call, then there is more chance that you will want to continue the conversation.
During recessionary times, consumers are all the more open to saving money. Especially when loyalties are unlikely to be strong - including on something as unsexy on power (who cares where your power comes from?). Families often want the cheapest way to get the same product.
When it comes to the Internet everything reaches a crest. That’s not to say that Internet is no longer a viable option but you’ve got to be pretty clever to get past spam filters these days or catch a readers eye with a flashy advertisement on a website. And while not everyone is going to be interested, telemarketing is a very powerful tool, especially when the telemarketer is bright bubbly, can speak the language and understands when the customer hasn’t the time or is not interested and is only asking the customer for 30 seconds of their time.
Customers Services Manager
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
But this type of selling isn’t limited to fast food outlets. The same technique can be very successfully applied to companies selling anything from health insurance, broadband to loyalty programmes.
A no brainer upsell for an Internet company, for example, might go something like this: “As a valued customer of ACME, we are taking this opportunity to offer you the chance to upgrade your internet connection from dialup to broadband for only an extra $5 per month. If you are interested in this opportunity I can install it right away and just add it to your next bill. Can I arrange this for you now?”
Customers can immediately weigh up a simple option. Either pay $5 and get the benefit of receiving high speed broadband in return, or do nothing and stick with the slow dialup. Not only that, they can have it initiated without the need to call back, fill out any forms, etc. It’s hassle free and well, a “no brainer”.
One of our most successful campaigns was for a bank looking to convert existing credit card customers to a rewards programme.
As a valued customer of ACME, we are taking this opportunity to offer you the chance to upgrade your Credit card from xxxx to xxxx points rewards. There is an annual fee of only $xx.xx. And if you say yes today we can give you 1500 free xxxx points. Can I arrange this for you now?”
Customers were able to quickly weigh up the option. Either pay $10 and get the benefit of earning rewards, or do nothing and stick with their current card. Hassle free and well, a “no brainer”.
The sales conversion on this campaign was over 60% of presentations making the project instantly profitable.
It’s hard to compare the benefits of a no-brainer campaign with that of a project to secure new customers which doesn’t get the high rate of success as upselling to existing customers. But it’s incredible how overlooked upselling, and no-brainer upselling in particular, is in the corporate world. So, the next time you are thinking of a telemarketing campaign you should think, “Do I want fries with that?”
Outbound Sales Manager