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  Reply # 1219369 21-Jan-2015 18:14
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Changing the location, number or nationallity of the CSRs is only the 'face' of the problem. ... it looks like VF are addressing the customers concerns because theyre making changes at the customer touch point.

Like all Telcos/ISPs their marketing strategy is sales driven. Make the brand look good - biggest/fastest/freshest- and don't let a prospect sign with another provider.
Customer service is secondary because most disaffected customers won't churn, they'll stay with the devil they know.

And whilst we all may know that the 'service' Telcos/ISPs provide has 2 components; the intangible techy service of Gigabytes and time, AND the physical support service side of dealing with your connection/billing/hardware issues; the bean counters and marketers can talk their way around the cost benefits of support verses tbe gains of sales.
But I think with VF they've been believing their own spin about the cost of integrating the various billing and CRM platforms and simply passed it on to the Custermer service team. And thats the root of their fail too much reading and planning based on the Theresa Gatting model of Telco brand building.

As John key would say: " At the end of the day.."
& quoting Paul Brislen " Telcos are coin driven."

VF need to stop worrying about the cost of getting the support service side of their operation right and swallow the growing pill they've been ignoring....

Or as Alan Martin would say.. "It's the putting right that counts"





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  Reply # 1219389 21-Jan-2015 18:59
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The nationality of CSRs is not a problem. They are apparently very good.

The problem is lack of system integration and a tight script that requires a lot of escalation. Things fall in between the cracks when this happens.

I am not surprised, but annoyed that people see offshore call centres as the problem. What I actually see is people drawing the "the CSR can't speak English" in frustation but I don't think it's fair.





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  Reply # 1219392 21-Jan-2015 19:00
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Lots of angry comments about these job cuts on the Vodafone FB page since last night.

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  Reply # 1219395 21-Jan-2015 19:11
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freitasm: The nationality of CSRs is not a problem. They are apparently very good.

The problem is lack of system integration and a tight script that requires a lot of escalation. Things fall in between the cracks when this happens.

I am not surprised, but annoyed that people see offshore call centres as the problem. What I actually see is people drawing the "the CSR can't speak English" in frustation but I don't think it's fair.



I think how well the offshore CSRs are trained and managed is the big factor. Spark/Telecom do an excellent job of training their people in Manila, they're usually able to help and when they can't they're good at handing you off so you don't have to repeat your whole problem again.

When VF did Egypt they seemed to dump people on the lines with no training, based on some of the ridiculous things I had their CSRs tell me. There also seemed to be a lack of ability for the CSRs to escalate - on multiple occasions I was told "I can't escalate without a team leader, and there aren't any team leaders working, you'll have to call back later".

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  Reply # 1219396 21-Jan-2015 19:13
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I remember that too. I called with a query on the then-new Vodem and the rep in Egypt couldn't tell me anything about it, then asked if there was anything else they could do for me. Um, okay.

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  Reply # 1219459 21-Jan-2015 20:49
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networkn:
Glassboy:
networkn:
Glassboy:
networkn: 

I'd suggest RS has done a great job until pretty recently. VF was going really well until quite recently.


I'm not sure what your criteria for "quite well" is.  For example do you have a view of what is happening with their large commercial clients or are you expressing an opinion based on domestic ISP and mobile customers?


I'm basing that on subscriber numbers and profits, and general customer feedback I see/hear/experience.


So it sounds like you're referring to domestic customers only.


Actually primary we are a Business IT Provider, so I deal primarily with business customers from 1 to 200 users.


Are they mobile only customers or do they have a large number of network circuits, VoIP installations, call centres, and reliance on services like DMZGlobal?  Because it sounds like you're judging only on commodity services and products.

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  Reply # 1219478 21-Jan-2015 21:18
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freitasm: The nationality of CSRs is not a problem. They are apparently very good.

The problem is lack of system integration and a tight script that requires a lot of escalation. Things fall in between the cracks when this happens.

I am not surprised, but annoyed that people see offshore call centres as the problem. What I actually see is people drawing the "the CSR can't speak English" in frustation but I don't think it's fair.


I agree with your comment and in no way was besmirching offshore CSRs.
From publicized information it appears the changes aren't necessarily addressing the core problem, they're simply deck chair shuffling to provide cost benefits, dressed to present better customer engagement.

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Reply # 1219621 22-Jan-2015 00:41
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freitasm: Got word that a certain telco is working on very deep customer services changes. Some... interesting... changes. I am not sure these will improve current levels of customer service but will save money. So there's that going for them.



UPDATE 1:

I have contacted said telco about this document and received the following reply:


[Telco] is in the process of consulting on a number of changes with our customer care team, as we look to complete the wider organisational change programme we announced in November last year.

We will be implementing a number of initiatives aimed at achieving faster call answering times and a quicker first-call resolution for our customers. These include; further investment in removing systems and process duplication (particularly for fixed line services); continuing to improve self-service functionality with the [telco] app and on our online site; creating new roles [New Zealand location]; providing a better work environment through a more stable work roster; and leveraging our existing capability at our [offshore] service centre to complete simple transactional tasks (top-ups, account balance enquiries, etc).

This is a draft proposal at this stage, and is subject consultation with our teams. Our top priority is to support our people through this change.


I have to say a public thanks for getting this response so quickly and quite frankly, open.

The document I've seen is just one piece of the puzzle. It suggests changes in the contact centre in terms of headcount (mostly going down), redistribution of transaction types and changes in roster scheduling.

The document put emphasis on increased use of data via high speed networks (no distinction between mobile or fixed line). It also mentions that (gasp) customers expect to get more data for the same spend.

This leads, the author says, to revenue declining over a certain period of time with at last revenue falling short of expectations. The document outlines changes to reduce cost of serving customers contacting the company.

There are some good suggestions there. For example for fixed it suggests current call handling around 20 minutes average and a "expertise limit" at 1.5 - 2 hours, after which calls would be escalated. CSRs would "own" the call. CSRs should escalate calls if customer has repeat unsolved calls (good luck with that, seeing many of the comments I've heard is that customers calling back hear the "I don't have a record of you calling before").

The 55-page document does mention that changes in the customer services team will allow for better roster scheduling, with team leaders available at times similar to their team. (What do they have now? Teams with no leaders at some times?)

Why did I start this topic then? Because, even though companies have a duty to operate in a way to maximise return of investment to its shareholders, it's interesting that the emphasis on saving money seems much stronger than in actually improving customers care. The first is the driver for the change, the other is a consequence. 

I won't post the document because it contains names and specific numbers that I don't think should be disclosed.

UPDATE 2:

The document proposes an extreme reduction of customer services position, hence my original comment that it would save them money but at what impact to customers trying to reach solutions to their problems?

We already know Vodafone customers experience an extremely high call hold time as it is now.

Some of the ideas in the document make sense, and we all know that throwing more people into a problem doesn't help solve it faster, but I am not sure this applies to what seems to be a queueing problem with bad support from their systems. And this is not discussed in the document.

I will not post exact numbers and where because that would probably cause too much distress in certain teams.

I feel for Vodafone customers...



Sounds like come March 1st, all the call centre staff are going to be offered a zero hours contract on minimum wage, or shown the door...  


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  Reply # 1219699 22-Jan-2015 07:52
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I don't think outsourcing is going to fix their customer service problems. But someone, somewhere in the company thinks it's the silver bullet that will sort it out and change the world for the better.
I guess we will see.

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  Reply # 1219757 22-Jan-2015 08:57
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quickymart: I don't think outsourcing is going to fix their customer service problems. But someone, somewhere in the company thinks it's the silver bullet that will sort it out and change the world for the better.
I guess we will see.


I highly doubt anybody is thinking of it as a silver bullet. My guess is it is more likely seen as a needed step in order reduce costs enough to be able to have resources to fix underlying issues.




Please note: I have a professional bias towards Vodafone.

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  Reply # 1219885 22-Jan-2015 11:07
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On the discussion about Vodafone management:

It's not about individual managers. What we're seeing are two different tensions. Vodafone's TelstraClear acquisition was a long-term strategic move designed to bulk up the business. The cuts to customer support are a short-term tactical move. There may be long term implications from short term actions, but managers are under more short-term pressure than long term pressure and are judged that way in performance reviews. 




Bill Bennett www.billbennett.co.nz @billbennettnz


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  Reply # 1220172 22-Jan-2015 15:29
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I personally do not care where the call centre is located as long as I can understand what they are saying and know their jobs.

What seems to have been the issue over the last year or two is the clarity of the actual VOIP being used. A scratchy connection from the call centre to the cellphone only makes matter much worse.

I also agree that another key issue with VF is the lack of integration of what is a massive list of products and services. They should not have purchased TCL until previous services were at least on a short to medium path to full integration.

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  Reply # 1223683 27-Jan-2015 23:14
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I have had slow speeds for the last couple of days so finally called up customer support.  The first lady I spoke to seemed to pass me along to second-level support pretty quickly, only to be put on hold for 45 minutes.  When we finally called back from another line, the person we spoke to said that there was no more second-tier support tonight but someone could call me back in the morning.

Shocking customer service now.  Vodafone had such good customer service before the merger with Telstra, such a shame.

So what other ISP has good customer service these days???


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  Reply # 1223686 27-Jan-2015 23:19
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Vodafone cant even make a login page that works with lastpass. That would be the first thing they should sort out.




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  Reply # 1223691 27-Jan-2015 23:38
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andrewinwlg: I have had slow speeds for the last couple of days so finally called up customer support.  The first lady I spoke to seemed to pass me along to second-level support pretty quickly, only to be put on hold for 45 minutes.  When we finally called back from another line, the person we spoke to said that there was no more second-tier support tonight but someone could call me back in the morning.

Shocking customer service now.  Vodafone had such good customer service before the merger with Telstra, such a shame.

So what other ISP has good customer service these days???



Ild suspect your are better off making a new thread on this.

Quick look at your ping, without line stats to compare directly to and have a solid indicator that it is the case I would say your upstream is congested.




#include <std_disclaimer>

 

Any comments made are personal opinion and do not reflect directly on the position my current or past employers may have.


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