Written by ITWeb Informatica
ATIO ’s Customer Interaction Centre solution provided the tools necessary for Vox Telecom’s service centre to further up its already impressive service game.
SERVING THE CUSTOMER
Vox Telecom operates on the philosophy that its customers are not simply looking for help. Instead, the company believes that customers – having purchased a product – want that product to work, so they are effectively looking for a service. For that reason, the company insists that it runs a service centre, not a helpdesk.
According to Kevin Coleby, MD of Vox Telecom’s service centre, the goal is about servicing the customer in order to obtain a resolution by consensus. “Unlike many other centres of this nature, our goal is not only to provide our customers with good service, but also to continually improve. For example, our service centre has a retentions desk, and every single cancellation we have across the group goes through this, so that we can find out exactly why our customers are leaving, and if there is anything we can do to change their minds,” he says.
BUILDING A PROACTIVE ENVIRONMENT
The focus for improvement over the past two years has been its telephone system, he says. It was for this reason that Vox decided that ATIO’s Customer Interaction Centre (CIC) solution was the answer.
CIC is an IP communications platform and pre-integrated application suite that has been developed specifically for the demands of the modern multi-channel contact centre. Says Coleby, “While it is a fantastic product, I did have my concerns, due mainly to the fact that the potential providers offered it to us as a package deal. However, as far as we were concerned, we were making a crucial group-wide investment, so we needed the right solution, and ATIO was the only one that listened to and matched our exact requirements.”
“This solution enables us to have a proactive monitoring environment. Unlike the reactive nature of traditional contact centres, because of the CIC’s real-time continuous monitoring, enabling us to oversee agents and workgroups, monitor queues and stations, listen to lines, record interactions and view queue summary statistics, we are able to be far more proactive.”
He says that another major difference is that because ATIO enabled Vox employees to become certified on the product, it has minimised their dependence on ATIO as a service provider. “Critical skills have been transferred to key employees at the centre, meaning that ATIO is now only involved in third and fourth line support. This reduces costs and improves our ability to use the product, because our people now have in-depth knowledge of it.”
“It also means we can immediately respond if there is a problem with the system, or if changes are required. At the same time, ATIO is still there if we do need them, but the day-to-day operations have been transferred back to the service centre. Effectively, we own not only the technology, but also the serviceability, support and maintenance of the solution.”
The main reason Vox chose ATIO is because they not only listened, but also understood Vox’s needs. As Coleby says. “I’m an entrepreneur who understands operational issues. I don’t need any fancy bells and whistles with the product I purchase. It doesn’t mean they aren’t available, should they be required at a later stage.”
The modularity of the solution was also very important, as flexibility was a crucial aspect. Coleby says the service centre is just three years old and has already grown from 200 square metres to 2 000 square metres, with a concomitant staff increase from 28 engineers to 141 at present. “ATIO was able to structure its proposal in such a way that it afforded us feasibility, usability and simplicity, while providing maximum stability, quality and flexibility.”
Another aspect that makes the Vox service centre different to standard helpdesks, is the fact that here, agents are highly skilled individuals who have definite career paths, he notes. “Of the original team we launched the centre with, three years ago, 88% of them are still working for us. Also, our ratio of accounts to engineers is nearly four times the industry average – 1 500 compared to the average of 400 – and I would still challenge anyone else to better our service levels. “This is because we build our customer relationships on service, rather than on terms and conditions. Our entire philosophy is based around providing a one-stop resolution for our customers.”
Coleby says that because the CIC enables a complete management view of agents and the service they are providing, he told staff when the centre launched the CIC that it was a solution that could either become their friend or their enemy. “Obviously, we had some agents who looked at this as a bad thing, but these were generally the stragglers who were quickly exposed by the new system. The majority of agents – those who are good at what they do – have really taken to it.
“There are both soft and hard benefits in this implementation. On the one hand, it has had a major impact on productivity, while on the other hand, it has the functions required of it as a telephone system, but in addition, it offers itself as a management tool that enables us to continue building and enhancing our service culture.
“Our agents are now reaping the benefits of this. Nothing can beat the feel-good factor of first call resolution. And nothing is more gratifying to an agent than having a customer say ‘thank you’. The fact that our people are now receiving compliments like this every day just serves to highlight how the CIC solution has helped us to improve our service levels.”
CHALLENGES? WHAT CHALLENGES?
Coleby claims that because ATIO provided skills training for the Vox engineers and had them certified, it meant they we were part of the project from day one, meaning there was little in the way of genuine challenges.
“In fact, by the time our people were ready to come on site, the Vox engineers had done so much that in many respects, our people were virtually observers, rather than installation engineers,” says Cindy van Wyk, business unit executive for ATIO’s Interactive Intelligence. “Thanks to their efforts, the entire project was ahead of schedule until the final four days, which gave additional time to iron out the interactions between the networks. Even with this extra testing, the project still went live a day ahead of schedule.”
Van Wyk indicates that the ATIO engineers even learned a few things from the Vox service centre staff. “They were so au fait with the solution that they showed our people a couple of tricks. This helped to build an even stronger relationship between our organisations, as our two sets of engineers work really well together.”
MAKING CIC A WAY OF LIFE
“We are striving to enhance a service culture as a way of life here at Vox,” says Coleby, “and the CIC will enable us to concentrate on those areas where we occasionally do drop the ball. After all, this is something that every service centre does on occasion – where the real difference comes in is how you respond to such a situation. The CIC enables us to further entrench this attitude of being service-cultured. This, in turn, will improve our agents’ lives outside of their job too. After all, if your job is all about building relationships and learning to say sorry, it can only help to have such attitudes spill over into your personal life.”
Coleby says the key lesson that Vox is taking away from this implementation is that if you are going to implement a system, you must ensure that it is the Rolls Royce of its kind. “With the CIC, we got exactly that, and it means we no longer spend our time putting out fires. Instead, we can focus on providing good service, which is really what we are all about.”
C O N T A C T
MD: Vox Telecom service centre
Tel: +27 082 770 4124
Cindy van Wyk
Business Unit Executive - Interactive Intelligence
Tel/fax: +27 011 235 7013
main fax: +27 011 235 7199
mobile: +27 083 299 2469
PO Box 4467 Rvonia