My Transcom Experience

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Author: Helene Ruda

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TalkTalk walks the walk with digital customer service strategy

Five years ago, TalkTalk was one of the most complained about telecoms operators in Britain. Today the company has completely turned things by revamping the contact centre operating model and finding new ways for customers to get the support they need across digital channels. As a result, TalkTalk is succeeding in its mission to be a value champion taking on the traditional giants in one of the toughest industries in Britain. 

After being handed the Daily Mail’s ‘Wooden Spoon’, given to companies their readers deem have the worst customer service, TalkTalk, which delivers value for money phone, broadband and TV packages to more than 4 million UK customers, realised it needed to change. One of the problems was that it had recently acquired several different companies who all had their own customer service networks. As a result it was working with many different outsourcing providers, making it incredibly hard to deliver a consistent customer experience.

Talk Talk

A decision was made to simplify and streamline the number of partners and at each stage, TalkTalk chose to stick with Transcom, despite the fact that Transcom’s Manila-based operations were so far from the UK.

“The temptation was to work with someone closer, so that’s a testament to the quality of Transcom’s services that it negated the distance,” says Sholto Mee, Head of Customer Service for TalkTalk. “We wanted to move to a larger strategic partnership where we could develop a deeply embedded relationship, one with equal respect where we share in each other’s successes and have to work together in order to be successful together.”

Remarkable turnaround

The results have been remarkable, and today TalkTalk outperforms larger players such as BT in the regulator’s formal reports on customer satisfaction and complaint handling. One of the main reasons is because TalkTalk has realised that customers increasingly want to interact with companies using a variety of channels, especially digital ones. One of the company’s main strategies has been to invest in innovations such as Live Chat functionality and online self-service so that customers can solve their problems digitally, thereby reducing the numbers of calls into contact centres.

“We are seeing customers migrate to digital channels more and more, and customer satisfaction is much higher in those areas as a result. Today 40 percent of our frontline customer service is through live chat, compared to 5 percent a few years ago,” says Sholto Mee.

And consumers are more demanding, and more likely to switch than ever before, keeping those customers happy is crucial.

“Internet connectivity is as important to consumers today as electricity or water. People expect to be able to be online 24/7, and expectations are on a completely different level than they were five or 10 years ago. It’s crucial we deliver support in a way that retains those customers,” says Mark Lyndsell, Transcom’s Country Manager for UK and Asia Pacific Accounts.

New solutions changing the game

Today about 1,800 agents in two of Transcom’s delivery centers in Manilla handle all types of customer queries for TalkTalk, from billing to technical support.

And TalkTalk is constantly adopting innovative solutions, such as voice biometric software that helps identify customers without having to go through lengthy security questions. Transcom has also created escalation layers so that more skilled agents can deal with callers who have urgent problems or complaints.

And TalkTalk is planning to launch a new WhatsApp-style messaging application where customers can send questions and replies to agents at any time, without the need for instant responses.

“That’s really exciting because it fundamentally changes the experience from the customer’s point of view. They can engage with us on their terms, when it suits them. If they need an instant response, they get one. But if they want to send a message, then get on the train and check the response later, they can fit in their questions around their day-to-day lives,” says Sholto Mee.

It’s clear that TalkTalk is determined to stay ahead of the game and isn’t afraid to make fast and sweeping changes to the way the company operates. That means their partners must have the same attitude, and willingness to evolve.

“The reason why our partnership has lasted so long is that Transcom has been able to align to their culture,” says Mark Lyndsell. “TalkTalk is very entrepreneurial. They like to zig when everybody else zags. They like to buck the trend. That means you have be very agile and flexible in terms of your thinking when you’re working with them.”

And that’s also why TalkTalk feel they have found the perfect partner in Transcom.

“We operate at the value-end of the market which means we can’t outspend our competition, we have to outthink them. That means we have a culture of moving quickly and delivering innovative products. So all our partners have to be flexible with us,” says Sholto Mee. “Transcom is great at that because they have a flexible management team with the ability to deal with ambiguity and deal with change. We talk about challenging with integrity. It’s a two-way dialogue, and that’s based on trust.”

This article, written by Mattias Karén, appeared in the latest issue of the Hello Transcom magazine.

Download the Hello Transcom magazine here.

Author: Arturo Fernandez

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Instant support around the clock

The millennials’ motto of “anytime, anywhere availability” is putting unprecedented demands on companies to deliver instant support around the clock. This means customer service companies need a new strategy to make sure those demands are met.

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The key is to be proactive rather than reactive, to deal with customers across digital channels, and to make maximum use of new automation tools that can ease the burden on human agents. E-commerce companies must have a clear strategy for how to use digital channels such as chat, instant messaging and social media. In more traditional sectors, voice is still an important channel. But the millennials who shop online prefer to engage with companies across digital channels rather than over the phone. This means we need to change our traditional approach – putting the right human agents in front of our clients – to a more technological and digitalized approach.

The global turnover for the e-commerce industry is expected to increase from the current EUR 2,520 billion to EUR 5,230 billion by 2020. This makes it an increasingly important sector for the customer care industry, but also one that poses unique challenges. Traditional retail businesses only needed to offer customer services during normal business hours, when their stores were open. But since online stores never close, a support team must be available around the clock. The only way to handle that on a reasonable budget is to define a best-in-place self-service capability with automated technologies such as virtual customer assistants and robotic process automation tools that can provide a first level of support without human intervention.

Services have to be available 24 hours a day, and if you only have human support, it’s very expensive and companies cannot afford it. So they need to find the right balance between human and digital interaction with their customers.

This means customers will interact increasingly with virtual agents in the future (automated services using artificial intelligence to answer simple and frequently asked questions), and proactive support will be offered when an error is detected.

Transcom is constantly working to find the best industry-specific ways of using these new technologies. We appreciate that the same technology will be used in different ways in the banking, e-commerce and telecom industries, for example.

Even though an increasing number of interactions will become automated as time goes by, the individual customer service agent will still play a crucial role, even for e-commerce companies. The difference is that they will manage more complex tasks, working across multiple channels in the future, instead of specializing in just one.

In the past, the agent concentrated on just one channel. But we are moving forward with the ‘smart agent’ who, with the digital revolution, will need to have skills to handle everything from voice to chat, to e-mail, to instant messaging. In some cases, this will mean offering them more sophisticated training in the technologies available, and we are currently testing ways of improving things like agent motivation, brand advocacy, gamification and new compensation models.

This article was originally published in Hello Transcom 2017

Author: Philip Sköld

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Customer care in a digitalized world

“Customer experience has never been hotter”. These were the words written in a trend analysis published at the end of 2016 by Forbes Magazine.

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They are not exactly alone in highlighting the significance and value of customer experience: if you do a quick Google search, you get more than 34 million widely varying hits for the term. There are many companies and organizations that have realized that digitalization has a fundamental impact on customer relationships. It is of course all about the way customers experience the services and products themselves, but also about the way the company behind these services treats its customers – that is, the actual customer service offered.

Meanwhile, driven by the younger generation, today’s customers have much higher expectations of their suppliers than say 10 years ago because of the novel fast mobile services now on offer. One bad experience is enough for a customer to switch service providers with a couple of clicks. And there is also the risk of the customer then communicating on social media, which doesn’t tend to do much to strengthen a brand.

Customer experience is increasingly crucial to all companies today. It’s an important source of differentiation. At the same time, digitalization is gradually changing the playing field in terms of companies’ interaction with their customers. The technical tools now available are creating new opportunities to meet customers’ expectations. But the challenge is to strike the right balance between human interaction and automated services.

In the article “Customer care in a digitalized world” by Johan Wickström, published in our Hello Transcom magazine, you can read more about the latest trends and how Transcom is continuously innovating to address the changes in our industry.

Transcom improves travel and leisure experience for a leading operator’s customers

In May 2015, one of the world’s largest travel operators became our client. The company, which operates exclusively online, offering leisure solutions and ideas to millions of users worldwide, has a significant presence today in Europe and particularly in the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain and France. In this framework, Transcom acts as a strategic partner, providing efficient multilingual, multichannel assistance services and managing customer service activities on the European market.

Leisure Day

Our client offers a huge range of travel services on its website (hotels, flights, holidays, car hire, cruises), with an entire section devoted to the leisure offering, featuring special theme packages in the areas of sport and adventure, events, concerts, wellness packages, original gift ideas, tickets for football matches and much more.

The customer service activities entrusted to Transcom’s multilingual team cover the entire range of services and aim to ensure that users receive the best possible travel and leisure experience.

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The most important requirement expressed by the client was to combine high quality multilingual services with a competitive price model. The solution proposed by Transcom fully satisfies this expectation and today provides quality at the highest level and the best possible customer experience in various languages out of two different operating centers: Budapest and Tunisia.

Transcom’s presence in so many different areas of the world and the consolidated experience it has accumulated in the travel sector underpin the success of the partnership and open up possibilities for further collaboration outside Europe.

The Chat Experience that affects both business results and customer service

In an ever more competitive market, adopting advanced relationship strategies with customers represents a differentiating factor and an effective way to create a sustainable, long-term competitive edge.

In this scenario, retaining customers is increasingly difficult because they are bombarded daily by often very effective marketing communications. That is why we need to turn to the latest new business models, which are increasingly directed at enhancing the customer experience. These models involve comprehensive, ongoing support for customers using a “live” User Centered Business Model.

This is the reason why live chat functions are very popular by both corporate and e-commerce websites. They make it possible to walk customers and prospects through the purchase process, as well as representing an excellent tool to increase the conversion rate (the percentage of visits that are converted into sales). A live chat solution, in fact, represents the ideal response to the expectations of consumers who, in the first instance, want to receive an immediate answer.

In the framework of the LeonarDo 2.0.14 project, Transcom is developing chat and collaboration tools to provide our clients with the best omni-channel customer engagement solutions.

In March 2015, our research team entered the prototype phase of an innovative customer care solution and  now this project has reach an advanced level.

One of the main tools developed is a live chat function, because it represents the ideal technical solution to deliver multiple results. What are they?

Increasing the level of customer satisfaction, retention and loyalty. A live chat solution is not only the most effective way to receive online support, but also one of the best channels for instant interaction with the company.
Increasing sales.   Walking customers through the purchase process and providing a rapid response  to reduce the loss rate of “undecided” users establishes a personal relationship between seller and purchaser, as well as offering the  possibility of using the “right” agent to engage the “right” visitor.
Responding to customer management issues (shipment, after-sales service) and developing the relationship with the purchaser to guarantee a pleasant and personalized experience, even after purchases have been closed, using a CRM system.
Reducing service costs.   Interaction by live chat costs less than other channels (telephone and email). The agent spend less time on each individual user interaction and can also manage multiple customers simultaneously (generally 4-5).

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Generally speaking, the implementation of a live chat solution simplifies the relationship with customers or prospects, providing personalized, targeted support for a company’s services or products, without requiring customers to leave the web platform. This encourages positive purchase decisions and develops the relationship that the customer/prospect has entered into with the company.

Live chat solutions available on the market provide a multichannel online platform that offers real time web interaction between customers and contact center operators without any special configuration or installation requirements (it is a cloud-based service), as well as the possibility of using a combination of various tools: chat, real-time collaboration including co-browsing and document sharing, VoIP (audio and video), callback and so on.

In the test phase, the assistance tools developed by the LeonarDo laboratory are delivering excellent results. Monitoring the services offered to our clients has revealed that the solution significantly improves the customer experience of users who are walked through the entire navigation process.

Transcom finalizes multi-lingual customer service transition for an innovative e-commerce provider

Our client, a lifestyle fashion company that offers an engaging and personalized shopping experience to over 35 million members worldwide through its portfolio of brands, was looking for a new partnership for enabling a multi-lingual customer service in a fast growing environment. In 2014, Transcom was selected as the new strategic partner to support the client’s European multi-channel and multi-lingual inbound customer service operations.

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All our client’s customers become part of a membership program and member service is setup as an integral and essential part of their business strategy to provide a seamless member experience, which ultimately leads to business growth. Professional management of order inquiries, returns & exchanges, billing inquiries and retention activities are the key objectives in this strategic partnership. After an initial 6-months pilot phase, we have now agreed and signed a two year contract.
Transcom operates worldwide through 54 contact center across 23 countries, delivering services in 33 languages to over 400 international brands in various industry verticals.

A stable customer satisfaction level in the transition phase and clear improvements of customer experience (proven by KPI development) after full transition have shown that Transcom’s proposed solution meets exactly the clients requirements. Now the customer service organization is perfectly prepared for further growth scenarios for different languages and European markets.