Many customer service departments and agents feel underappreciated and it’s no surprise. Upper...
USU is proud to kick off a new series of customer stories chronicling our work together and the feedback and insights our customers and their agents provide.
Customer feedback is deeply valuable to us from the overall project and implementation down to individual agents using our software. We believe that we can only deliver an extraordinary user experience for agents if we understand how they work with our products and their needs and expectations in daily life.
Cable & Wireless has an exciting history, being founded in the 1860s and running the first telegraph cable between London and Dublin. From there, they expanded into undersea cables worldwide. Today, C&W provides telephone, internet and television services all over the Caribbean and Latin America.
With over 800 agents and over a dozen countries served, C&W began rolling out their new knowledge base software in early 2019. Trinidad, being home to one of their largest call centers, was an important step in the process and USU was on-site to ensure smooth implementation, provide training and help with the new system.
We arrived at their call center with three floors dedicated solely to customer support, not to mention offering beautiful views of the mountains.
Starting off on the Right Foot
Right off the bat we were very impressed at how closely their core knowledge management team was involved. They’d organized on-site visits to all of their call centers in order to educate, train and gather feedback on the new knowledge base and how it would be deployed.
While many companies happily invest large amounts of money and effort in selecting, purchasing and deploying new software, many forget to involve the employees in the process. This can delay both rollout and adoption, not to mention improvements in KPIs. After all, without user buy-in, the best tools bring limited gains.
C&W however, made sure to keep their agents apprised and involved with the new solution and helped to organize feedback and review sessions with us as well.
Retention: A Call Center within a Call Center
We were also impressed by the second call center housed there. It is solely responsible for customer retention, a huge challenge in the telecommunications industry where competition is fierce. But the real surprise was that all customers are routed through the retention team, even those who come to retail stores. For those at a physical location, phone booths are provided with a direct line to the retention call center. This ensures that every single customer goes through the same process. The most impressive however, is that their retention rate is over 50% meaning more than half of those planning to change providers ultimately don’t.
Call Center Software Challenges
Why was C&W interested in switching to a new knowledge management solution? Discussions with both management and employees yielded the following problems with the incumbent solution:
- Lots of outdated information
- Only used by approximately 1 in 10 agents
- User interface was not user-friendly
- Legacy system not designed for agents’ needs
- Users were not submitting feedback
- Solution needed to cover three call centers in three countries and support 14 different markets and product portfolios!
User Focus Groups
Perhaps the best compliment we received was completely unprompted. While waiting to get one of our focus groups started, an agent popped in the room to find us and share their feedback after using the new system.
“I really like it. It’s just one place for all the documents and I don’t need to search in a bunch of places anymore”
Despite being a brand-new Knowledge Center user, the difference and impact was already clear. An essential part of our on-site support was a focus group that the project team had organized with selected agents to gather first-hand feedback on the new solution. We were keen to listen to those early impressions to better understand how they use it, what they like and where we could improve even more.
The focus group was composed of agents with a minimum of two years of experience. They had a lot of institutional knowledge in their heads, not yet captured in the system and plenty of hands-on experience with customers. Yet, the ability to quickly keep up with promotions, policy changes and other news was still seen as extremely valuable and a big relief.
- In the past, customers sometimes had information we didn’t! Now we’re always on top of things. No more surprises.
- “The promotions view is great, because we always know what is currently happening”
- “Great tool!"
- "So easy to sign in!”
The editorial team was also particularly excited about the ability to prepare, finalize and automatically schedule promotions in advance. Previously, overtime was often required, and updates had to be done manually.
Cultural Differences in Service
While self-service is a hot topic in the United States and Europe, the Caribbean is a bit different. Because Trinidadian culture puts a higher premium on person to person interaction and is less used to impersonal methods like chatbots and self-service, agents explained that most customers still prefer to call despite what other options were available. In fact, the company still does a lot of door-to-door sales, something almost unthinkable in other countries.
Heading Home on a High Note
Wrapping up a great trip and successful rollout, we were happy to end on a high note with the following achievements:
- Go-live for over 300 support agents
- Over 350 documents live and ready
- High user acceptance and adoption
- Over 15 knowledge contributors
The trip was a wonderful experience overall filled with valuable user feedback, beautiful sights and great weather of course. We love being on-site with customers and benefiting from their first-hand experience. At C&W’s call center, their credo is:
“Knowledge is Power. Sharing knowledge is empowering”
We’d like to especially thank the project team for all their dedication and hard work on the project. Stuart Beame and Stephanie Paterson in particular were instrumental in ensuring a successful partnership, roll out and developing best practices for the new system. Their contributions will help both C&W’s customer service department and USU as it grows in North America.
From right to left:
- Wayne Chambliss, Project Leader
- Stephanie Paterson, Manager Knowledge Management
- Patricka Walker, Knowledge Management Specialist
- Amrita Seelochan-Maharaj, Training & Quality Assurance Supervisor
- Chris Rall, Sales Director
- Judy-Ann Burgher, Knowledge Management Specialist
- Stuart P. Beame, Director Learning & Development
If you’re agents are struggling to find basic support information or prefer not to even use your current system, get in touch!
Our team can help with the software selection, solution design and implementation.
Chris joined USU in 2016 as a Sales Manager. Chris has a strong background in application management and over 5 years software industry experience. Prior to this position he worked for Vodafone and IBM, giving him the ability to easily understand process and service challenges within enterprise organizations. Chris is the right person to accompany the buying process for USU products on every step of the process and to ensure the future success of your service department. In 2018, he joined our United States team as part of our growth strategy and he is now responsible for new business opportunities and customers in the US. Chris has a Bachelor of Science degree from DHBW Stuttgart in Application Management.