Pakistan had long been a limited cable operation market with small cable distributors providing substandard channels and qualities. When Go4B launched operations in Karachi, it experienced very quick expansion and market acceptance that lead to problems across the organization in sales, installation, billing and customer service.
This expansion flooded the customer service department with both walk-in and call center complaints about:
- Miscommitments from sales agents
- Installations not being completed correctly or equipment being damaged
- Customer complaints not being properly logged or attended too
- Customer service agents behaving unprofessionally with customers
- Billing and recovery problems due to incorrect or incomplete customer information
The Call Center was receiving over 5000 calls a day with over 65% never being answered. The walk-in Customer Service Center was being bypassed, as most customers would directly approach the corporate office to register complaints due to regular inaction by Customer Services and other departments. Additionally, the team that was responsible for complaint resolution teams were split between Customer Service, Network Services, Finance, Sales and Operations causing coordination and prioritization difficulties.
As a result, negative advertising began to spread via the internet and word of mouth that caused a negative impact in new sales and ongoing collection and recovery.
Go4B initially engaged emagine to review its customer services operations and provide on-site management support to identify and efficiently resolve ongoing customer complaints.
- Independent observation of operations in the Customer Service department to identify the items causing bottlenecks and problems in customer satisfaction
- Observe inter-organizational interactions between Customer Service and other departments to understand, map and improve efficiency and communications
- Review all logged and call records of customer complaints over a 30-day period to formulate a true on ground picture of the limitations and training requirements for the Customer Service department
- Develop, submit and oversee a comprehensive re-structuring plan for Customer Service to retain existing customers and implement an efficient complaint registration and logging process
Every interaction of an organization’s customer is through the Customer Service department and its efficient operation is the key to additional sales and revenue collection. At Go4B, Customer Service had never received focused attention being passed from one manager to another. In the process, the growing customer base had become extremely unsatisfied with the quality of service and lack of response from Customer Services after logging a complaint.
At Go4B, Customer Service entailed three distinct divisions: a call center, a walk-in customer service center, and a complaint resolution process that was spread across four different departments with no clear communication process.
By working closely with the management, the emagine team was able to quickly assess the process problems and define new procedures to being eliminating bottlenecks in customer complaint resolution. As part of these procedural changes were daily meetings with senior management to get immediate clearance for long-standing customer complaints and unifying complaint management departments into one control center, Customer Service.
Immediate changes were made to the Call Center operations to clarify the call handling and complaint registration processes. To further monitor the progress of the agents and improve quality assurance, a live call monitoring process was introduced, empowering supervisors to be able to listen to live calls and coach agents that had difficulties working within the new complaint resolution processes. Supervisors were also deployed on the Call Center floor to assist with irate callers and assure prompt complaint resolution. As a result, over the first 2 weeks, call volume decreased by 30% while complaint resolutions increased by 50%.
Additional resources were also added to the Customer Service Center to improve customer satisfaction and reduce waiting time. These resources were trained to serve as sounding boards for customers to release the frustrations they had experienced and worked to re-assure them that the company had made a major change in the Customer Service regime and the problems would not occur in the future. After one month of regular irate customers, Customer Service became more manageable as the satisfaction levels were increasing and the work continued on resolution of all outstanding complaints over the previous six-month period.
Further changes made to Customer Service included a departmental re-structuring that brought complaint resolution into the departmental structure. Prior to this change, customer complaints were logged with Customer Service through the Call Center and walk-in Customer Service Center, then forwarded to the Network Operations department to follow-up. We found that most of the complaints logged with Customer Service would enter a Pending status in Network Services until someone complained to senior management. With the incorporation of complaint resolution into Customer Service, we were able to better prioritize immediate complaints, manage response times and provide customers with more efficient problem resolutions.
Benefits and Results
After a period of 4 months, the Customer Services department was able to move from fighting fires to assisting other departments in identifying regular complaints and problem areas to allow for a permanent resolution for all customers. Having reversed the negative word of mouth advertising by resolving the customer service problems with better defined processes and properly trained spokespeople, emagine oversaw the launch of Go4B’s VoIP telephony service and its successful subscription of over 8,000 users within the first 2 months.
Due to the immediate measures taken, the Customer Service department was able to move from fighting fires to assisting other departments in identifying regular troubles spots and potential complaint areas to allow for a permanent resolution for all customers over a 4 month period. Additionally, Customer Service was able to drastically reduce the number of pending complaints while reducing pending complaint resolution time from 2 weeks to 2 days within the first month of implementing the new complaint management strategy.
As a result of the improved complaint management, the negative advertising trend was contained. By implementing numerous communications channels between the Customer Service department and Go4B customers, including MSN live chat, forums and discussion board monitoring, email, SMS and telephone support procedures. This interactive approach to customer service allowed for the involvement of customers in widespread problem identification and resolution. Additionally, emagine oversaw the launch and successful subscriptions of over 8,000 new customers for the new Go4B VoIP telephony service.
Based on the success of the first contract with Go4B, emagine was further retained for total of 18 months to provide on-site strategic consulting, operations management support, future product and service expansions, in addition to overseeing the Customer Service department during the same time period.