My Transcom Experience

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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. 

Author: Stefan Pettersson

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Having customer focus

Ensuring that Transcom is bolstering its customer experience is a top priority for Cheryll Aganda.
Moving from the warm tropical Philippines to the freezing temperatures in Sweden may seem like an odd choice for some. But for Cheryll Aganda, it was an inspiring opportunity. In November 2015, Cheryll Aganda moved to Stockholm and started her job as global operational development director at the Stockholm head office. Her main focus is process standardization and optimization, while still supporting efforts to strengthen Transcom’s value proposition within Customer Experience.

“I am both happy and challenged in my new role, because I see this as a fundamental platform for bringing the regions together – not only to share best practices, but also to collaborate and influence positive changes on the customer and employee experience.”

In the Philippines, Cheryll Aganda worked as senior director for Customer Experience Management. She feels that the years she spent with the Asia Leadership team allowed her to grow both personally and professionally.

“The topic of Customer Experience is often considered as one of the primary selling points of our business. But I believe that at Transcom, we have taken significant steps to ensure that we fully execute on this value proposition.”

So, what are the biggest differences between the Philippines and Sweden? “The weather and the darkness. I arrived in November and the sun sets already in the early afternoon! But I am beginning to adapt to these changes.”

Article originally published in the Hello Transcom magazine. Text: Malin Larshammar Photo: Jennifer Glans
Author: Stefan Pettersson

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Siva Subramaniam on Transcom and its people

Siva Subramaniam, General Manager of Transcom’s English-speaking markets & APAC region, was featured in the May 2016 issue of The CEO Magazine.

“As Siva Subramanian explains, Transcom is world-leading in customer experience, so it’s no surprise that it puts people first; be they clients or employees.”

In the article, Siva describes some of the programs and incentives that Transcom offers its employees.

“You cannot stop them being poached,” Siva explains, “but we take care of our employees, and if we lose them to competition, then shame on us! We focus a lot on our employees and, in fact, 90 per cent of my time is spent making sure my employees are happy. The thought process is that if they are happy, they are going to make the customers, the clients, and the shareholders happy.”

The article is available for download here.

Author: Johan Eriksson

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Highlights from Transcom’s year-end report 2015

Transcom’s 2015 year-end report was released this morning.

We are making progress towards our financial targets. The closure of our loss-making site in Colombia and the simplification of our regional and management structure will support margin improvements going forward.

These are the highlights for Q4 2015:

  • Organic growth was negative 4.1%. Transcom’s previously disclosed decision not to renew an agreement with an Italian public sector client had a negative 3.5% impact on growth in the quarter.
  • EBIT margin in Q4 2015 was 2.6% (5.8% in Q4 2014). EBIT margin excluding non-recurring items was 4.1% (5.8% in Q4 2014).
  • Profitability improved in the North America & Asia Pacific region, while we saw a negative development in the Iberia & Latam region.
  • As announced on January 18, 2016, we are closing our loss-making site in Colombia. A restructuring cost of €2.3 million has been recognized in the Q4 2015. Also, Transcom’s management structure will be simplified in order to improve efficiency. These actions will benefit margins in the years ahead.
  • Net debt/EBITDA 0.6, compared to 0.9 in Q4 2014.
  • The Board of Directors recommends a dividend for 2015 amounting to SEK 1.75 per share.

Important focus areas for Transcom in the coming years are to ensure that we have efficient and effective regional and corporate functions, that our sites deliver superior performance through operational excellence, that we excel in contract and account management, and that we win long-term profitable business in line with Transcom’s commercial and operational set-up.

Feel free to have a look at the presentation below or contact me with any questions.

Author: Johan Eriksson

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Highlights from Transcom’s Q3 2015 interim report

Transcom’s positive profitability trend continued in Q3. Our EBIT margin development on a rolling 12-month basis is steadily improving towards our mid-term target of at least five percent.

A few highlights from the Q3 report:

Feel free to have a look at the presentation below or contact me with any questions.