Q2 seminar a review by CCMA recruitment partner Douglas Jackson

23rd May 2017

May 16th 2017, location: The Brewery EC1

Members of the CCMA arrived to a surprisingly sunny London to enjoy the Q2 Seminar on Homeworking and Social Media best practice.

Set in the very stylish venue, The Brewery on Chiswell Street, the seminar began with networking and refreshments and there was a buzz of excitement ahead of the Contact Centre Awards that evening. Many of the finalists of course were in the room, waiting to share their success stories with us.

The seminar kicked off with an extremely insightful talk from Claire Tibbits, Plantronics. Who talked of a topic that is asked by all at the moment, will the generation of millennials who now make up the majority category in the consumer market mean the death of the contact centre as we know it.

What do millennials expect customer service to be and are millennials really against an old fashioned phone call in order to get a resolution? The answer to both of these questions were answered by Plantronics following a global survey and the answers are very interesting indeed.

  1. Millennials in fact expect far better customer service whether it be via email, web chat, social media or phone call. Contact centres can breathe a sigh of relief; they are a vital part of the customer service expected by the future generations.
  2. Interestingly, although Millennials do have a desire to self-serve and will initially use other methods to solve any issues, the phone call is and will continue to be a popular method of contact.

What I, and am sure many others in the room took away is that, the telephone call in to the contact centre is more important than ever; it is something done when self-service does not cut it and is the escalation process. In order to combat this, Customer Service Agents must be talented, adaptive and most importantly empowered to deal with the phone call and get a first time resolution for the customer.

Harveys Furniture, Anjli Kotak then took to the stage to discuss her team and their achievements. In the last year they have gone from strength to strength with the team growing and managing up to 400 caseloads at once. Some parts very much stood out, at Harveys they do not delete negative comments on their social media but let customers see the resolution through to the end. It is this honest approach that they are proud of. They also spoke about the importance of sharing the not so good feedback to other departments in order to attack the root of the problem if required, they also of course spread the good news too. The customer is at the heart of what they do.

We were then fortunate enough to hear from Para and Rachel from the MET police, their social media team has been established since June 2016 and since then has become a vital part of the contact centre. Yes, that is right, the contact centre – it was felt that rather than the twitter account be used for marketing purposes, it was better used as a direct link to the public and another contact channel, something that has worked wonderfully. Success stories included a 100% of query resolution which resulted in none of the social media queries picked up being escalated to phone contact or dispatch,  members of the public coming forward with evidence – which they said they would not have done via phone call, and  finally they were able to have a big impact in the recent sad events at Westminster sending out a tweet to the public assuring them that they were doing everything possible and to only contact 999 in a real emergency – as a result of this, call volumes dropped dramatically allowing the call handlers to deal with more emergencies.

Vodafone and their main attraction TOBi, the Chatbot, then stole the show. Dean Giblin, Head of Customer Relations & Social Media talked us through the journey they and their customers have been on in the last year across their social media channels. One year ago Vodafone’s social media presence and communication with its customers was a far cry from where they are today. With up to 48 hour wait times for social media in some cases, something had to be done to fix it, and that is what Vodafone did!

They looked at the journey they needed to develop, designed a social blueprint, looked at the ‘as is’ and ‘to be’ models, got internal and external feedback and asked themselves what does Best in Class look like on social media? Through this they were able to set out a 12-month road map. Then came the activity – clear actions were set, the most important of these being recruiting the right people. 12 months on the 48 hour wait time has been reduced to between 30-50 minutes, a great result and Dean explained they still have big plans to improve this.

As I mentioned before TOBi the I Bot was the real star, see more about TOBI here: 

We then moved onto the topic of homeworking and were lucky enough to follow the journeys of NHS Professionals and L&Q Housing.  Both have moved a large number of their office based customer service workers to home based working in the last year and have both found this decision to be successful in many ways, it has proved to be cost efficient, improved productivity, boosted morale in the workforce as well as improving attrition and absence levels.

NHS Professionals are planning to expand into another region of home workers in the very near future due to the success they have had!

L&Q now have a growing team of home workers and took home the award of ‘Most Effective Home Working Approach’.

All that is left to say is thank you to Ann–Marie Stagg and her team and congratulations to all of the winners, who had their awards presented by none other than Martin Kemp – GOLD!