My Transcom Experience

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Author: Monica Llagostera

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Trends and expectations in customer care in 2015

While change and evolution are part of our DNA as a species, there is no doubt that in recent years we have witnessed a rapid acceleration of the pace at which these changes are happening.

Access to technology and to knowledge is spreading so rapidly that users are now more interconnected and are taking better decisions based on the available information. Therefore  customers have more impact on the success of any product or company.

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Furthermore, they are aware of this new equilibrium in which they play a leading role and this “consciousness” makes our public increasingly demanding and their expectations, higher:

Attention and response times: Once the user is connected all the time (via smartphone, tablet, etc), his or her concept of ”reasonable waiting time” has changed and shortened. Users understand that companies must adapt to them and not vice versa. The customer expects extended care times to be available 24/7 and, at the same time, shorter response times consistent with the effort he is willing to make to solve queries about a product or service.

Accuracy of the service: The customer is willing to share a lot of information with companies as long as the use of it means more customized offers and services, otherwise he will not waste his time.

Consistency and omnichannel: If a company offers its users a wide range of contact channels, the customer will feel free to choose the one that best suits his purpose, but will hardly accept that the company does not have the ability to know about all his  interactions and act accordingly, and he will wait for the same answer regardless of the access channel.

Proactive knowledge: Customers are assuming that companies are investing in order to know their needs and preferences. Thus, they will assume that any of the suppliers will monitor what is said of their company and its services with the intention of improving and, if necessary, the company will proactively respond even when a corporate channel has not been specifically used

To live up to these high expectations, companies must pay attention to consumer trends, anticipate them, and be able to adapt.

Some of the trends we have been watching during 2014 and that we expect to be even stronger in 2015 are the following.

- Mobile Connectivity: Internet access through mobile devices has already exceeded access from computers. Furthermore, the use of mobile applications has increased by 74% during 2014, the “Life-style and Shopping category” being the fastest-growing one, with 174%. This means that we must focus especially on improving the experience of the mobile customer.
But the impact of mobile technology goes far beyond. From the weareables, to mobile payments, the increase of installed sensors in homes and in shops, and the data analysis that they all will generate, represent a unique opportunity to deepen our knowledge of users, trends, and to get “insights” that will allow us to improve our offer by adapting it to the real demand.

- Real-time analysis: Never before have companies  been able to collect so much information. However, the raw data are not enough. Correct analysis of data and the right speed in processing them are essential to better understand consumer trends and  therefore being able  to improve the customer experience and consequently, increase sales and gain a competitive advantage.

Content Production and customer self-service: All this knowledge that companies have nowadays, can, and should, revert directly to a better customer service. It becomes imperative to know your customer’s needs and doubts and anticipate them, creating content that can be easily accessed by users, which will give them greater autonomy, while improving the customer experience and helping reduce the cost of calls or contacts through other channels.

It would be a terrible mistake to ignore this reality in which we are moving and that directly shows us the right path. That is why Transcom is working closely with our clients to help them develop strategies and processes together that help them to get the most of the information we obtain through improving the experience we deliver in each of our services.

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.

Author: Hans-Rainer Michels

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Contact centers on the move – Transcom makes its voice heard

To improve customer experience is the supreme objective for every contact center. But our industry is changing fast. Customer needs are evolving and client requirements are shifting from a transactional focus towards quality and value. Players in this industry need to adapt quickly, but changes need to be implemented with a holistic strategy. So far, many companies in the sector are struggling to define and implement a consistent approach.

To analyse the situation more deeply, Damovo, a leading provider of enterprise Information Communication Technology (ICT) services and solutions, conducted a survey in collaboration with the research and consulting firm Pierre Audoin Consultants (PAC). For the study, contact center executives and managers from related subject areas were interviewed at this year’s Call Center World (CCW2014) in Berlin.

Transcom, as a recognized high-quality service provider, contributed to the study. Innovation, agility and best practice implementation are some of the most important things our clients say that they expect Transcom to bring to their customer service organizations. In this context, it is also important for us to collaborate with leading providers of enterprise ICT services and solutions.

Let me give you some details about the study. Five fields of action for modern and sustainable contact centers were identified, and respondents assessed the current situation in terms of these key areas:

  • Strategic integration and cooperation
  • Social media integration
  • Knowledge management and exchange
  • Performance Management
  • Customer focus

More than three quarters of the respondents rated “Knowledge management and exchange” among the top three areas with the greatest need to modernize. “Strategic integration and cooperation” came next, followed by “customer focus”.
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It is indisputable that customer focus is still crucial for every contact center, and the trend is towards an increasing importance of knowledge management and exchange. This result should come as no surprise, as knowledge management and exchange is fundamental for companies that offer customer contact services. And it becomes ever more important, as solutions become more complex and diversified.

The extract below, from an expert talk with PAC in March 2014, illustrates how Transcom is trying to improve processes with the help of reliable quality management and intelligent analysis methodologies:

‘Classical outsourcing doesn’t work in Contact Centers any more. Future trends move towards complete solutions with a clear focus on customer satisfaction. Important pillars of our model to cope with these trends are reliable quality management and intelligent analysis methodologies. This way we are able to identify ways to optimize and work on improved processes together with our clients.

Our clients actively participate in and contribute to this approach. This has for sure been supported by our early positioning as a quality service provider. In my role I solely service clients who are interested in reliable, long-term improvements of their customer contacts.’ (Hans-Rainer Michels)

For Transcom, and the industry at large, there is another field that is gaining quickly in importance: Social media integration. Gartner predicts that non-voice services will overtake the voice channel (phone) in 2016 or 2017, with the highest growth in the web, chat, SMS and mobile app channels.

Our clients use plenty of channels to communicate with their customers. A classic contact center is mainly responsible for e-mail and phone support. But nowadays many customers prefer to communicate on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. In some projects, Transcom manages the Facebook account of the products and services we support. There are agents that are only responsible for answering these online requests.

The customers are satisfied because they expect to be able to resolve their issue via the channel of their choice. Our clients are satisfied that they can hand over the responsibility to deal with their customers’ requests on social media networks. This form of communication can be delicate and it requires professional skills. In the end, this open dialogue and intensive exchange leads to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.

The overall results of Damovo’s study are sobering. Most contact center executives recognize the need for change, but it’s not strategically implemented in many organizations. If you are curious to find out where weaknesses still exist and how to eliminate them, you can download the study (in German) here.

I am glad that Transcom has recognized the risks and opportunities of the sector and is setting its priorities accordingly. Our share of non-voice services has increased significantly in the last year, and we expect this trend to accelerate. Transcom helps clients who want to provide a consistent customer experience that can move seamlessly across voice and non-voice channels as the customer requires.

Author: Christian Hultén

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From Contact Center to Engagement Center

The contact center industry has over the past 20 years gone through some significant changes and developments. Many of us have experienced, and been part of, the introduction of new tools, processes, methods and standards that have both responded to changes in customer communication trends and at the same time influenced the entire end-user interaction landscape as well as corporate customer communication strategies globally.

We have seen the transition from cost center to profit center, the spread of process optimization, multichannel integration, workforce management applications, quality monitoring tools, industrial improvement methodologies, various performance management frameworks, Six Sigma, Lean, virtual contact centers, COPC, multiple sourcing trends and numerous other developments that have formed the industry into what it is today.

From Contact Center to Engagement Center

This continuous development and constant improvements have not only contributed to the overall growth of the industry, but it has also elevated customer experience in the value chain; taken its well-deserved place in board rooms, executive meetings and in corporate strategies. This, together with the enhanced management experience, skills, increased complexity of tasks, overall maturity and career opportunities have also changed the general view of the industry. It is not just a job anymore; it is a profession with a very promising outlook.

However, despite the past decade´s tremendous progress we are likely to see even more profound and industry defining changes in the years to come. The rapidly changing social and consumer behaviors are modifying service expectations and consequently the requirements on us as an industry, as an outsourcer and as a company.

“The current transition from “contact center” to “engagement center” is challenging in that it requires us to innovate, it requires us to adopt new technology and it requires us to further develop the recruitment, training, coaching and development of our employees.”

At the same time, it offers an unprecedented opportunity for us to create the engagement our clients and our clients’ customers are looking for. This means engagement driven by the choice of the customer, no matter how and when the customer has chosen to interact with us. This means customer engagement strategies and practices that truly engage the customers in the brand and creates loyalty that will benefit both us and our clients. As the proportion of voice interactions is decreasing, we need to listen to and become part of conversations across social networks as well as traditional communication channels and leverage this when building customer relationships.

When looking at management discussions, client conversations and best practice meetings within Transcom, it is evident that we are responding well to the changing needs of this generation’s “engagement center”. Below are only a few examples of topics and titles that have recently been presented at conferences, workshops and client meetings held at Transcom:

It is events and activities such as the examples mentioned above that support the view that this is really the time for Transcom to shine – as an industry and as a company!

Author: Alejandro Menjura

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Sharing ideas about multichannel trends at the “I Transcom Forum” in Lima, Peru

On Tuesday, June 24th, I had the pleasure of participating in the” I Transcom Forum –Multichannel: Integration strategies for your client”, organized by Transcom Peru in Lima.

Our aim with the event was to create a meeting point where customer care professionals and directors in the banking, insurance and telecommunications sectors could discuss and share their experiences about multichannel trends and strategies.

Welcome breakfast at I Forum Transcom

After welcoming our guests, Isabel Sánchez-Lozano, Regional Director of Transcom Iberia & Latin America, introduced the first speaker; Ignacio Ortega, Head of Contact Center Operations Spain and Portugal at the financial group BBVA.  Ignacio presented how BBVA currently addresses the key challenges with multichannel solutions. He emphasized that today it’s the customers that control and manage their relationship with their bank, not the other way around. Ignacio stressed that within this new context, the contact center, thanks to its personalized service, is emerging as one of the crucial channels alongside the branches and various online platforms.

Then, Richard Custer, Digital Strategy Manager for Alternative Channels at Banco de Credito BCP, shared the bank’s experience when facing the biggest challenge: how to maintain consistency of messages across all channels. Richard’s interactive presentation enabled the participants to better understand the concepts of multichannel versus omnichannel. He explained the importance of putting the customer at the center of the business, recognizing their expectations, and trying to generate value from an emotional point of view, rather than a commercial one. The “The Journey Map” process was a key feature, enabling the attendants to understand how the use of smartphones impact customers’ transactions on a daily basis.

Speeches at the I Forum Transcom

At the end of the morning session, I had the opportunity to talk about Transcom’s multichannel perspective, and our view that the contact center without any doubt is one of the key success factors in this transformation. Some of the most crucial points are related to how new consumer generations use multichannel solutions. Organizations need to reconsider their channel strategy and the effectiveness of each channel from a customer service perspective.

Then it was time for the expert panel to discuss the contact center’s role in developing relationships with customers. The invited panelists were:

  • Miguel Tellez Arce, Development and Innovation Manager New Channels, Scotiabank Peru
  • Jaime Mourão, Continental Manager Multichannel Bank, BBVA
  • Juan Luis Jaureguy, Director of Marketing and mass channels, Mapfre

Jorge Moran, Senior Advisor at Transcom moderated the debate.

During the discussions, it became clear that the contact center plays a central role when it comes to managing different customer service channels and making them coexist, as well as identifying strategies on how to take advantage of each channel’s strengths.

I Forum Transcom in Lima

To summarize, the I Transcom Forum in Peru was very successful with the attendance of numerous professionals from different sectors, who wanted to know more about Transcom’s and the other participants’ knowledge and insights into the latest multichannel customer care trends. Thanks to our speakers, whom I would like to recognize for their valuable contributions, and to the active participation of the other participants, I feel that this event was a real success in terms of the exchange of ideas and knowledge.

Author: Hartmut Jaschok

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Transcom at CCW 2014 to showcase how we improve our clients’ business performance

The Call Center World (CCW) is the largest event of the customer service, communication and call center business in Europe. This year’s edition took place in Berlin from 17th to 20th of February. 7600 visitors and customer service experts attended the fair to exchange knowledge, take part in interesting discussions and get informed about the latest innovations in the call center industry. Of course, Transcom could not miss such an important event in the European region. An enthusiastic group of colleagues from Transcom sites in Germany, Italy and the Netherlands proudly represented Transcom at our booth to present our services and the outstanding customer experience we deliver every day to our clients’ customers.

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Janine Jakobi, Business Manager and Michael Steinhilb, Team Leader from Transcom Rostock at CCW in Berlin.

The aim was to inform the market about our value proposition by showcasing how Transcom uses the synergies that derive from our global approach and presence to improve our clients’ business performance. In all our sites worldwide, we leverage our ability to replicate best practices and operating models in every industrial sector in order to exploit our global synergies without sacrificing local flexibility and customization. To achieve these targets, we continue to invest in innovations. We have formed strategic partnerships with the main players in the ICT (Information and Communications Technology) market to ensure that our clients have access to the most comprehensive multi-channel communication platforms available. As a result, we can fully satisfy all mobile access needs through traditional and social channels. Then, we focus all the activities on our main objective: to help our clients improve their business performance and customer experience. Their goals are our goals.