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Playing it cool in the connected world

The latest Whirlpool refrigerator is far more than just a humble cold cabinet. It’s a smart device. So when the connection fails, and the frustrated customer starts calling, a Transcom customer service agent is there to help them – and their fridges – keep their cool.

Transcom became a strategic Whirlpool partner in 2014, when the global white goods giant acquired a controlling stake in Italian household appliance group Indesit. Transcom had provided Indesit with customer contact services since 2007: a coopera­tion that began with five European countries and quickly grew to cover 12. Today Transcom provides customer assistance services for Whirlpool in some 20 countries throughout EMEA, in 28 different languages. And there seems to be a great demand for these services. In EMEA alone, Transcom’s agents receive a staggering 10 million e-mails and calls from Whirlpool’s customers every year: or 30,000 a day.

In the first year of its partnership with Transcom, Whirlpool’s operating costs were optimized, mainly thanks to Whirlpool being able to whittle down the number of providers to just one thanks to Transcom’s multi-language services, located in just four contact centers. “This means I just have one number to call and one person to speak to if I have a problem now. It makes life so easy,” says Stefano Ballerini, Customer Service Manager EMEA at Whirlpool.

Whirlpool photo per articolo

“For every day that goes by, domestic appliances are getting smarter and smarter,” explains Ballerini “and they require a whole new level of customer service. The agents need to know everything about internet connections, routers and so forth to be able to deal effectively with this kind of reality,” he says, adding that, already today, his company relies a great deal on the Transcom agents’ knowledge to avoid real-life technician intervention and still keep Whirlpool’s customers happy and satisfied.

“Although the cost-savings are of course of great importance to the cooperation between Whirlpool and Transcom working so well, it is particularly Transcom’s flexibility, responsiveness and loyalty that I appreciate”, adds Ballerini. “When you walk into the customer assistance services center in Budapest, you feel like you’re in a Whirlpool center. Everything is Whirlpool branded and everyone is talking Whirlpool – to the point, in fact, that we gave the Transcom agents the same Christmas gifts we gave our own staff, because they really feel part of our team.”

“We are true partners,” Ballerini says. “We work together, we fight together and we always come out with a joint decision. This is so, so important.”

This is an abbreviated version of an article that appeared in the latest issue of the Hello Transcom magazine, written by Louise Nordström.

To read the complete article, please download the Hello Transcom magazine here.

Transcom Italia wins Customer Relationship Management Award

Process innovation increases customer satisfaction and improves the operating efficiency of Lastminute.com services

Transcom Italia has been assigned the 2016 best Customer Relationship Management award by a panel of experts from the CMMC Club, the association for companies and service providers working in the client relations supply chain. For CMMC, the award is a way to promote businesses that stand out, in a particularly complicated period for the sector, for the excellence of the initiatives put in place to improve their organization, in terms of both financial results and the internal climate among associates, by developing partnership relationships and innovating customer relationship processes.

The reasons for the award

In 2016, Transcom identified several areas for optimization in the customer assistance processes of leading online travel operator Lastminute.com, for which it has been managing customer care activities since 2015, in a dozen or so languages. In partnership with Datachronic, a company that specializes in Robotic Process Automation (RPA) solutions to improve the efficiency of corporate procedures, Transcom has introduced several process automation measures for Lastminute.com services. A new web platform has been developed to automatically dispatch back office activities to the first agent available on the basis of the Client’s real priorities. The dispatching platform includes an integrated, user friendly web interface that provides real time checking of all the fields entered manually by the operator. In practice, it acts as an “Automatic Checker” for booking data, guaranteeing that the Lastminute.com system is aligned with airline websites, for example, across all stages in the booking process. If any discrepancies are detected, the system suggests corrections.

Last September, Lastminute.com also decided to introduce the “Transcom Quality Centre”, a system that collects and classifies all quality monitoring results to analyze the points of strength and areas for improvement of each project, team or individual operator. This proprietary Transcom solution provides a quick way to introduce continuous improvement measures, which are essential in such a dynamic and constantly evolving sector.

“All these Transcom’s initiatives have delivered tangible results, with even higher levels of customer satisfaction, more efficient contact management and reduced operating costs,” said Lastminute.com group Operations Manager Giorgio Bonafini. This award truly crowns our partnership.”

“We are extremely proud of this award and I would like to thank my team, our client Lastminute.com and Datachronic for their contributions to obtaining this acknowledgement,” said Transcom General Manager for Central and Southern Europe Gianluca Gemma. “At a time when there is much talk about technological innovation, virtualization and robotics applied to customer relations, we are convinced that operating efficiency can also be achieved through process innovation, by studying solutions to make the human relationship with end users more effective and improve the quality of our agents’ work.”

 

On the left, TRANSCOM represented by Global Account Manager Debora Mendola and General Manager, Central and Southern Europe Gianluca Gemma; on the right, lastminute.com group Operations Director Giorgio Bonafini

On the left, TRANSCOM represented by Global Account Manager Debora Mendola and General Manager, Central and Southern Europe Gianluca Gemma; on the right, lastminute.com group Operations Director Giorgio Bonafini

 

Author: Stefan Pettersson

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The world is calling

“You have to be ready for virtually any situation and so it is fundamental for us to have a solid supplier like Transcom who can guarantee us a high-quality service all the time.”

Giorgio Bonafini, Operations Director of lastminute.com group

Giorgio Bonafini, Operations Director at lastminute.com group

Giorgio Bonafini, Operations Director at lastminute.com group

As a customer care agent, you need a lot of finesse and quick thinking, not to mention diplomatic and language skills. Big time,” says Giorgio Bonafini, Operations Director of lastminute.com group and speaking from the company’s headquarters in Chiasso, Switzerland. The lastminute.com group offers a range of products including flights, hotels, holidays, city breaks, cruises, car hire as well as other travel and leisure related products.

With services in 17 languages and handling approximately 10 million customers per year, the amount of client assistance services delivered is huge. Transcom has been acting as lastminute.com group’s strategic partner, providing bookings and customer service activities across Europe and North Africa through voice, email and chat functions. Giorgio Bonafini estimates that between 60 and 70 percent of the company’s customer management is handled by Transcom via these traditional channels. Phoning in is especially popular with, for example, the Russians, he says.

“When it comes to our Russian customers for example, my observation is that they want to be sure and secure about what they have reserved, and the procedures that are in place in the case of a ‘what if’. There are a great deal of cultural differences in the way our clients contact us, and why,” he explains. And the nature of the questions and requirements that come through can almost be as varied as there are destinations and activities to choose from.

“We had this one customer who wanted to know whether he could bring a live zebra with him on board his flight,” Giorgio Bonafini recalls, noting that the agent processing the enquiry then had to contact the airline in question to check whether it was actually possible. “It’s important for us that agents go that extra mile to ensure that we can offer our customers the best travel and leisure experiences out there, but no, in this case it just wasn’t possible. Animals of a certain size couldn’t be brought along.”

There was also the case when a customer wished to bring 15 bicycles with him in his luggage, or the time when an airplane passenger wasn’t familiar with having to adjust the time on her watch when flying westwards. “The client couldn’t understand how she could possibly arrive at her destination before the time of her departure. That took a bit of gentle explaining about time zones,” he says. Compared with just a decade ago, the evolution of new technology and the increasing use of social media have also added a whole new dimension when it comes to the courtesy, product know-how and diplomacy skills required by customer care agents – even for those who handle the conventional channels like telephone and email services.

“Although we’re seeing an increased migration towards social media, most people are still using the traditional channels as a point of first contact. But if they’re not happy, they may take to social media which obviously can be very impactful,” Bonafini explains, adding that his company remains directly in charge of the group’s customer care on the social media channels. “You have to be ready for virtually any situation and so it is fundamental for us to have a solid supplier like Transcom who can guarantee us a high-quality service all the time.”

FACTS/LASTMINUTE.COM GROUP

  • lastminute.com group is a European leader in the online travel and leisure industry.
  • It offers flights, hotels, holidays, city breaks, cruises, car hire as well as other travel and leisure related products.
  • More than 10 million customers book their travel and leisure experiences every year.
  • Its biggest markets are UK, Italy, France, Spain and Germany, and its services are offered in 17 languages, including Arabic.

Article originally published in the Hello Transcom magazine. Text: Louise Nordström. 

Transcom successfully handles peak traffic in 11 countries for an international client

Flexibility, scalability and technology at our clients’ service

Not so long ago, one of our clients, a leading manufacturer of household appliances, asked us to submit a proposal to manage a peak in customer care traffic for several weeks in 11 European countries. The client in question had to recall and replace a defective product of which about 10,000 had been sold throughout Europe. The communication campaign was expected to generate a peak in the number of calls in France, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Italy, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland.

An international task force, coordinated from Italy, was set up and immediately went to work. The proposal didn’t take long to finalize, and involved various Transcom sites in six countries: Sweden, Germany, Italy, Tunisia, the Netherlands and Spain. The Transcom technology infrastructure is based on a centralized data center, making it possible to coordinate the management of customer care activities for 11 different markets, switch telephone calls to our sites throughout Europe and cover all the languages needed.

This innovative organizational model, based on flexibility, language skills, scalability and technology fully convinced and satisfied our client. In fact, the solution allowed rapid ramp-up and ramp-down times, thus enabling the company to optimize communication campaign timing in the target countries. Transcom implemented the centralized IVR platform for all markets and assembled the necessary resources in record time: in the space of just one week, over 200 agents were selected from those available in all the Transcom sites involved.

After special training, these customer care specialists provided consumers with instructions to guarantee the safety of each and every product by means of either technical adjustment or replacement. The project, which was initially planned to run for 10 weeks, is still underway and Transcom continues to work with the client to ensure the best possible assistance and contact experience for all its European users.

This emergency plan was seamlessly integrated with the regular customer assistance services we have been managing since August 2015 for the same client from our multilingual centers in Budapest, Danzica, Olsztyn and Porto, where our customer experience specialists guarantee the provision of a high-quality customer service to consumers in 20 countries: Germany, Poland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Czech Republic, Spain, Portugal, Hungary, Sweden, Denmark, Slovakia, Austria, Finland, Bulgaria, Greece, Croatia, France, Lithuania and Romania.

Author: Magdalena Szałaj

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Transcom adds new client in the white goods sector

Another white goods client was recently added to the Transcom portfolio. The Chinese multinational in question, a global leader in the consumer electronics and white goods sector, designs, develops, produces and markets many different items, including air-conditioners, smartphones, computers, microwave ovens, washing machines, refrigerators and TVs.

Various major brands in the consumer electronics and durable goods segments have already entrusted their customer care and technical assistance services to Transcom in various parts of the world. Our expertise in this specific sector was without a doubt a contributing factor to the decision made by our new client.

Currently, the Transcom team provides inbound and outbound support in nine languages: French, German, Italian, Spanish, English, Portuguese, Flemish, Dutch and Polish. The team provides assistance to end customers, stores and repair centers through various contact channels: telephone, email, live chat and also social media in some countries. Most of the team members work out of our Gdansk site (one of our leading multilanguage hubs), but a number of Transcom specialists have also been transferred to work in several of the Client’s European offices (in France, Italy, Spain and Germany), with a view to coordinating work and facilitating the sharing of information and know-how. The tasks assigned to them include the management of customer care services provided over the chat channel and through the client’s Facebook page.

SALEs visualization2

Virtual image of the showroom project devised for the client

Transcom has adopted an innovative approach in order to help its operators gain a perfect understanding of the products for which they are providing technical and commercial assistance. In a joint initiative with the client, Transcom has created a showroom for its team at the center of the operations area where customer care services are handled. This not only gives operators some firsthand experience of the various products during training, but also simplifies relations with users and makes the service more effective, because the products in question are right there next to their work stations.

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Operators at work in Gdansk and the showroom containing the client’s products behind them

Transcom is constantly working on new solutions, new processes and new approaches to offer its clients’ end customers the best possible experience. The showroom in the operating area and the transfer of Transcom personnel to several of the Client’s sites is giving a powerful boost to this important new partnership, which has looked set right from the outset to grow and be consolidated in the future.

Author: Anna Meijere

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Transcom reaches ​High Performance Benchmark target for Client Overall Satisfaction in 2015

Transcom regularly measures Client Satisfaction through online surveys. The surveys are based on COPC (Customer Operations Performance Center) principles, and quantify ​overall ​satisfaction and satisfaction with specific attributes (e.g. end-user/customer feedback management, account management, key support processes) across multiple entities and provide a total score for a client. All managers in the client organization who have business-related contacts with Transcom are invited to participate.

Transcom as a Telecom Client Customer Service Supplier reached the target of 80% Top 2 Boxes Overall Satisfaction (very satisfied and satisfied respondents, COPC High Performance Benchmark) for the first six months of 2015. For the second part of the year Transcom exceeded the benchmark even more and finished with 92% Top 2 Boxes Overall Satisfaction.

This is a notable milestone in the partnership. During the last few years both Transcom and the Client have upgraded several key customer related processes and key support processes to share responsibilities and ensure that each party specialize in the operational practices to support performance. The Overall Satisfaction level achieved demonstrates that Trancom has been successful in using structured change management while maintaining the focus on efficient and effective performance to provide both the Client and the Client’s customers with services that meet expectations.