In July 2012 the UK telco giant, TalkTalk, agreed to a deal that would see HGS take over its contact centre operation in Preston, Lancashire and continue working to make it a centre of excellence for customer retention while driving down the overall operational costs. HGS carried out the transition while improving morale and productivity. We were also required to hire agents with the right skill sets — service, tech, and sales skills — and provide relevant and high-quality training to teams to ensure targets were met while quality and compliance requirements were fulfilled. We also had to handle TUPE transfers skillfully.
There was a lack of workflow processes and understanding of customer journeys. Tickets were being raised indiscriminately increasing the load on TalkTalk’s back office, and this load had to be reduced. HGS also had to receive complaints on behalf of TalkTalk from multiple internal departments such as OFCOM, Citizens Advice, solicitors, and complaints made directly to TalkTalk’s chief executive, and resolve them completely within 56 days. This was the final internal complaint process before a customer escalated to the regulatory body for auto resolution, so it was crucial to resolve complaints within the set timeframe.
HGS’s solution for TalkTalk focused efforts on multiple key areas:
We educated the client about Contact Handle Time (CHT) and introduced an outbound validation check to decrease outbound call volumes and improve First Call Resolution (FCR) and CHT.
We created Jigsaw, a new system that collated insights and tracked calls, duration, and FCR reporting to TalkTalk on a weekly basis. This helped track repeat calls, identify call drivers, reward top performers, and focus on coaching for bottom performers.
We formed a team of CEO complaints case managers and subject matter experts with skills in multiple areas to work on resolving complaints at the highest standard. These agents have the skill to handle complaints regarding provisioning issues, technical faults, contract disputes, billing issues, and general customer complaints. Within each skill set there lies subprocesses in handling these complaints.
The agents liaise with various other departments to resolve the customer complaint. The agents are required to adhere to all compliance areas and follow a rigid process for complaint resolution, working within a stringent quality framework.
TUPE: We worked with the client to ensure a smooth TUPE process with seasoned agents and subject matter experts (SMEs) being offered promotions and new roles.
Recruitment and training: We developed a comprehensive recruitment program with SME collaboration to hire agents with the right blended skill sets. The agent on-boarding plan included three weeks of classroom training and a 12-week graduation process during which agents received live calls with SME support.
Ongoing insight-driven coaching: The program includes about 12 to 15 hours of training every month. Using speech analytics, agents’ pain points were identified and used for individual coaching sessions. Quality managers reviewed 600 calls per month to ensure adherence to compliance and DPA regulations.
Workflow and tickets: We worked with back-office SMEs to define customer journeys and create proper workflow processes. HGS removed the ticket queue and freed up back office resources making First Call Resolution (FCR) a crucial metric.
Maximizing the revenue: TalkTalk, already one of the UK’s largest broadband and fixed line phone providers, now has the UK’s fastest growing new TV service, YouView. “Customers taking TV, phone, and broadband generate more revenue and are happier with TalkTalk, so they are more likely to recommend services and less likely to churn,” says Andrew Crozier, Retention Manager, TalkTalk.
By offering additional, bundled services to customers we retain, HGS is securing both loyalty and security of tenure for TalkTalk. In the first year, HGS supported the migration of customers from Tiscali TV (acquired by TalkTalk in 2009) to TalkTalk’s new Plus TV service, which includes YouView and phone services. Thousands decided to shift to TalkTalk Plus TV ensuring TalkTalk’s share of their communication and entertainment expenditure.
Keeping the customer satisfied: Customer satisfaction is measured via email and IVR surveys, which callers are invited to complete after every contact with the centre. It asks for feedback about that particular interaction and the agent’s success in dealing with their issue. Speedy and accurate resolution of customer issues is a key contributor to loyalty. TalkTalk measures FCR very rigorously by looking at actual call reoccurrence. It captures the Caller Line Identifier (CLI) for every incoming call and then monitors for its recurrence over the next forty days. If a second call is received from that CLI within a seven day period, it is assumed that the customer’s initial issue was not resolved successfully.
Better all the time
HGS is using agent observation and analytics to identify the root causes of customer dissatisfaction and feeding them back to TalkTalk.
HGS works with a third-party education and training provider to enroll every new recruit onto an apprenticeship program in contact centre operations. This leads to a nationally recognised qualification and opportunities for even more advanced training. Agents that successfully negotiate their apprenticeship and have a degree qualification, can also choose to undertake Six Sigma Lean training.
- Billing complaints resolved within 96 hours
- Reduced outbound call volumes from 42% to 12% within four weeks
- Due to insight building processes, percentage of repeat calls to the contact centre have been decreasing
- Cost-per-retained customer reduced by 43%
- High CR7 score indicating a strong ‘first time fix’
- Significant reduction in per annum seat cost generating sizeable annualized savings
- Exceeded the retention rate target by 9% during rebrand from Tiscali to TalkTalk
- 86% 38-day save rate
- 11% upsell rate
- 12% reduction in churn rate