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Customer service – a strong growth driver in e-commerce

In recent years e-commerce has reported staggering growth worldwide. In June 2014, Ecommerce Europe published its 2014 report on European e-commerce in the Business to Consumer (B2C) market for goods and services, offering an updated picture of the market size in Europe and the rest of the world.

According to the report, total turnover for e-commerce in the European market in 2013 was EUR 363 bn (+16% on 2012), a figure which is expected to grow to EUR 425 bn in 2014. The Asia-Pacific region is the global leader, with EUR 406 bn, while North America ranks third after Europe with EUR 334 bn.

Global 2013 b2c e-commerce data

Source: Ecommerce Europe Association

The biggest e-commerce markets in Europe are the UKGermany and France. Together these three countries make up more than 60 percent of the entire European market.

The fastest acceleration in recent years has been in Eastern Europe, with Russia rising by nearly 50 percent compared to last year.

In 2013, Italy reported sales of EUR 11 bn (+20% on 2012). Although, this figure is lower than in other European countries, the Italian market is regarded as one of the most promising, as demonstrated by the steep rise in the number of online buyers, which over the last three years has grown from 9 to 16 million.

Europe 2013 b2c e-commerce data

Source: Ecommerce Europe Association

In such a dynamic global context, competition is based on the ability to offer a simple and consistent buying experience across all touch points. Accessibility and continuity are the keywords for the modern consumer: the web, product comparisons and careful consideration of reviews are the starting point for all purchases. Nonetheless, many ‘e-shoppers’ want the option of human contact and demand quality, competence and availability.

This is where Customer Service plays a key role. By providing quick and consistent answers (by phone, chat services, social media and email) to questions about products, payments, delivery times and return procedures, Customer Service is transformed from a cost center into a profit driver by exploiting the true value of e-commerce: establishing a relationship with the buyer. But the solidity of relationships is put to the test when problems arise (delays, undelivered products or other unexpected events). And this is where Customer Service can show its mettle by restoring customers’ trust (and loyalty) through service that is consistently first class and integrated across multiple channels.

Transcom has long experience of working with leading brands that offer various goods and services online. For example, clothing, fashion accessories, consumer electronics, travel, financial services and online payments. During the years, we have used our expertise to become a global outsourcer specialized in the ‘e-customer experience’:

  • Innovation: We develop personalized customer care apps and automated self-care, automatic call-back solutions for our clients to improve the customer experience.
  • Multilingualism: By offering services in many different languages, Transcom has helped many of our clients to expand into new markets.
  • multichannel approach and social customer care: We have agents who are specialized in the delicate process of managing online customer service conversations (Facebook, Twitter, chat etc).
  • Flexibility: we can cater for seasonal peaks without compromising service quality, which is guaranteed by strict control procedures and ongoing training.
  • Sales orientation: by using  specialized teams and best practices tested worldwide, we know how to encourage retention and reacquisition, which translates into growth and value for the client.
  • This value is also generated by cost reductions resulting from the mix of onshoring, nearshoring and offshoring services offered by Transcom.

Our clients confirm that they have achieved results which are both important and measurable. As the experts’ estimates demonstrate, e-commerce has huge potential. In this increasingly global, mobile and connected world, Transcom serves digital companies in all sectors with one goal in common: to become a market leader within their industry.

A win-win agreement with leading Italian mobile operator creates added value for client and Transcom employees

One of Transcom Italy’s main clients is a major international telecommunications operator, with over 30 million active SIM cards in Italy.

LIFE IN TRANSCOM telefonia-mobile (2)

Our partnership with this market leading telecommunications operator started in 1999, providing inbound customer care and sales services. Today, Transcom Italy supplies a comprehensive range of services, managing interactions between the operator and its customers through all the main contact channels. Our two companies have grown, changed and evolved together in a market which has undergone profound transformations over the years, consolidating a long-term partnership based on mutual trust, value creation and total transparency.

In October 2014, we signed an agreement that offers Transcom Italia’s employees special discounts and promotions across the entire line of services and products offered by our Client, from voice to top-up contracts and from ADSL broadband lines to the purchase of smartphones and tablets.

This agreement consolidates our partnership still further, because it generates added value for both companies: new sales for our Client and beneficial offers for Transcom employees.

LIFE IN TRANSCOM Partnership (2)

The win-win approach is a key feature of all successful partnerships; value creation is always the main driver that ties Transcom to the company’s most important clients.

Author: Walter Spadoni

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What makes a company great is the customer service it offers

Today, businesses in all sectors continue to invest more and more in their Customer Service. Products and their characteristics (quality, price and distribution channel) are no longer the focus of attention of boards or directors. What makes the difference is the customer care as perceived by users when they interact with the company and its front line staff.

I think that there is nothing more important and business-critical in any company than customer service. All organizations that operate in a competitive market will lose clients and money if they ignore this fundamental rule for too long. Let’s look at the example of a multinational like McDonald’s, that spends almost two billion dollars a year in advertising. The fast food giant has recently admitted that 20% of complaints are about “bad service” and that the main reason for customers not returning is attributable to “impolite or unprofessional service staff”.

But this rule is applicable to any sector. And this is why more and more entrepreneurs are trying to come up with new ways to improve their relationship between front line personnel and customers.

The CEO of one of America’s largest banks recently sent a letter to its more than 270,000 employees, begging them to improve their relationship with the bank’s  customers. It is clear that even a zero-charge current account generating three percent interest loses its shine if you have to deal with personnel who are impolite, inattentive and unhelpful.

INTERVIEW foto operatrice

What every company needs to do is to involve and empower the staff that is in direct contact with customers, as they play a crucial role in the health of the entire organization. It is important to share the commercial strategy being pursued by the company with all personnel, informing them about priorities and objectives, but also trusting front line personnel and giving them the resources to manage valuable customer relationships with greater awareness and independence.

By doing so, various enlightened organizations have made it possible for employees to resolve their customers’ problems more quickly and anticipate their unexpressed needs. These companies have understood that the most interesting and useful information about customers’ preferences, leaving expensive market research exercises aside, can be obtained from the people who communicate with them every day (in branch offices, on the phone, in chat rooms, by email, on Facebook, or in any other way). And that reducing the hierarchical distance between front line and top management, i.e. encouraging the exchange of opinions and proposals from the bottom up, is the first step to guarantee a memorable Customer Experience for users and a healthy-looking future for the company.

Amazon - where at meetings CEO Jeff Bezos has made a habit of placing an empty chair at the table to represent the “Customer’s voice” – actively encourages employees to try out new ideas based on their intimate knowledge about Customers. Innovations like “Customers also bought” tips were originally proposals put forward by new recruits. The function that includes users’ purchasing history and behavior in all searches, and drove a three percent increase in turnover, was implemented by an intern.

Zara, the Spanish fashion company, receives daily reports from store managers about qualitative observations and quantitative data to improve the company’s understanding of what customers want. Shop assistants chat with customers every day, exploring what they want and asking questions like “What other colors would you like this blouse to be available in?” and “What if this skirt were longer?”. This has enabled Zara to reduce the number of new articles it introduces which customers don’t like to one percent (the sector average is almost ten percent), although it offers almost ten times as many products as its main competitors.

Providing a unique and memorable Customer Experience is the most pressing objective of all organizations today, and the companies that excel in this area know how to obtain the best possible results from their front line:

  • They invest heavily in training the people who are in contact with customers
  • They motivate and involve them by asking for feedback and suggestions
  • They promote leadership among their most talented collaborators
  • They ensure they have the tools needed to manage Customer relationships independently and expertly.

As a result, customers are pleased, stay loyal to the brand and talk about it in positive terms to their friends; creating a virtuous spiral that makes everyone happy.

Making our teammates aware of the importance of the front line contributes not only to providing an excellent customer experience to customers, but also to keep them motivated.

At Transcom, we manage millions of customer contacts every day, and thanks to our valuable front line staff and our tools, we are capable of collecting and analyzing customer feedback and making the intelligence available to our clients.

Author: Alberto Piñeiro

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Delivering special service to ensure telecom customer satisfaction

At Transcom we always try to adapt our resources to our clients’ needs. One example: the added-value services we deliver from our San Fernando site for a leading telecommunications operator.

Taking into account the type of services that our client offers – and to ensure continuity – it is extremely important that the customer billing process be conducted in a precise manner and without incident.

Transcom San Fernando Team

Early detection and reporting of any irregular usage is one of the best ways to minimize the amount of unpaid bills. It is also a service that helps customers manage their spending in order to avoid a nasty surprise when the invoice arrives.

This service requires delicate management, where providing maximum support and facilitating alternative solutions becomes the best way to achieve our goal, while generating a very positive feedback from our customers.

To ensure this service’s success, it has to be carried out as a comprehensive operation. Therefore, the same agent will manage all related activities: calls, completion of back office tasks, etc…

Transcom San Fernando Team

Thus, the profile of all team members has to be based mainly on great communication skills, agility with the computer-based systems, and rapid execution of actions, customer orientation and adaptability to change.

Consolidation of the partnership with an innovative broadband provider: the new contract crowns a success story

Transcom Italy began working with this client in 2010, managing customer care and retention activities from the Bari site. As time passed, good results and client relations gradually drove business growth. In 2011 we were also assigned the provisioning service, which began the diversification process.

In the three years since the project was launched, as a result of high-quality performance and organizational stability, the number of sites managing services for this client has risen to four, representing a significant increase in volume, but most importantly a substantial strategic change in how the service is managed, which has further consolidated the partnership.

SALES partnership image

In light of our extensive knowledge about customer care processes, the client and the market, Transcom was chosen as strategic partner to tackle the challenge of providing complete end-to-end coverage of the services offered to our client’s customers, taking a proactive role in all stages of the Customer Experience Management project, also promoting remunerated activities and generating Customer Efficiency.

Behind the consolidation of our agreement with this important broadband provider lies a team of skilled and motivated people who work with a high level of commitment and enthusiasm at every site to achieve the excellent results expected by our Client. This too is Customer Experience!

Author: Augustina Kliukaite

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It’s all about Outstanding Customer Experience!

TL Offsite is an annual Transcom Lithuania team-building event where all the Team Leaders, Business Managers and Training and Quality Managers from the Vilnius and Kaunas sites meet to learn and share their experiences, practices and knowledge, as well as get to know each other better and feel part of One Transcom.

TL_Offsite_2013_008TL_Offsite_2013_026 

This year, TL Offsite was organized in a very beautiful resort in Trakai. And it was all about Outstanding Customer Experience! Everyone was there, experiencing, learning and enjoying themselves!

The goal of this event was to see Outstanding Customer Experience from a different perspective. Team Leaders were split into several groups and were tasked to create their own concept of OCE and to deliver it by representing different service providers running businesses in a fictional shopping and entertainment center named „Transkopolis“.

A newly-founded grocery store „Tranksima“ invited visitors to try out a different shopping experiences.

Tranksima 1Tranksima 2
The doctors of „Transklinika“ provided medical and spiritual help to everyone in need. You could get vaccinated and receive immunity against all diseases or request that a psychologist build your emotional profile.

Transklinika 1Transklinika 2
A new view of posting and packaging services was created by „Transposte“ where everyone who had trans-money could buy postcards or get help to find a lost document shipment.

Transposte 1Transposte 2

 

„Transpuls“ offered everyone to try out different sporting activities, including yoga, aerobics and other group activities, as well as to have a relaxing head massage and several beauty procedures.

Transpuls 1Transpuls 2

 

The extravagant 16-star restaurant „Translounge“ invited the guests to taste exotic dishes.

Translounge 1Translounge 2

 

An electronics shop, „Elektrotransas“, was not only offering any light bulb you might need, but could also help you install an “artificial intelligence system” in your house.

Elektrotransas 1Elektrotransas 2

 

Every group developed a concept of customer experience of their own and created a vision, mission and goals for their companies. They all had a „real life“ opportunity to deliver OCE to their customers (BMs and TQMs) where the BMs had a role of a secret customer or a client and were evaluating their experiences in these shops.

TL_Offsite_2013_004TL_Offsite_2013_001

 

Team Leaders Migle and Giedrius on their experience in TL Offsite:

Migle:

The idea  was great. The experience we got while preparing for the task was very useful. This experience is very important in our day-to-day tasks and effective distribution of work to provide a positive customer experience.
We realized that every client must be important to you in order to achieve your business goals. Each customer must be treated the same way – the unpleasant tasks cannot be put off. You must take action to solve the problem “here” and “now”.
We were assured that we always need to be prepared for all kinds of situations – not to be surprised that clients can be unsatisfied. It is very important to imagine yourself in the customer’s situation – would you be happy or unhappy?
Also, we realized how important it is for us as a company to be reliable for our clients who are not afraid to give their business to us.

Giedrius:

This year, TL offsite offered us to get involved in setting up a company and delivering an outstanding customer experience. I personally was excited to work in a brand new team where members were selected randomly as we got an opportunity to meet and work with great people. Moreover, I liked the idea of the task a lot. Being able to create a company, its mission and branding required us to use our imagination and creativity. Also, we were challenged to serve difficult customers and come to decisions that were ‘out of the box’ so as to provide as pleasant a customer experience as possible.

Thank you for your efforts, new ideas and positive attitude!