Contact centre turnaround

Customers have raised their service standards. They no longer want to settle for a mediocre customer service experience, and call centres have to provide top-notch service facilities to meet customer expectations. In fact, a recent survey found that 59% of customers say they have higher expectations for customer support than they had a year ago.

However, providing excellent customer service in a call centre is reliant not just on having well-trained agents, but on having the right technology in place. One of South Africa’s biggest telcos identified room for improvement in its contact centre environment and asked us to deliver a solution that would improve the front end of the contact centre.

Frustrations all round

The existing environment made it extremely difficult for the agents to solve customer queries, having to use 10 different system front-ends. This not only limited each agent to fulfilling a very specific task but led to an extremely frustrating experience for customers.

With this setup, it was difficult for agents to achieve First Call Resolution (FCR), and without the intelligent use of data to guide them, all of the agents in the contact centre had slow average handling times. Needless to say, the use of digital channels by customers was also extremely poor because of the slow service.

A simplified solution

We created a unified front end that allowed agents to not only improve average handling time significantly, but also allowed achievement of higher first call resolution rates. In addition to these direct benefits, the telco now also has the ability to apply agents to different functions, using assurance agents to also execute sales functions like upsell or right-sell without call bouncing.

The solution was developed using various automation approaches, with full integration into the telco’s systems wherever possible. Where full automation was possible, but integration was not feasible, we used unattended RPA bots, while providing for human interaction as required.

The unified front end consolidates customer information across the telco’s different systems as well as different products. In fact, because we provided a single pane of glass to the telco, agents can easily push and pull any information they need from different data sources throughout the organisation.

This had a significant impact on overall cost per contact and great improvements in customer satisfaction ratings. Overall, we managed to reduce the primary call category that constitutes 23% of all calls in the contact centre from eight minutes to one minute per call. With the savings this has brought, we estimate full Return on Investment in four months.

By Johan du Preez, iOCO