Speed is of the essence when it comes to customer care.

Brenda Jones
On: 25 Jul 2019
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Brenda Jones

Following the recent publication of industry research by Ireland’s leading market research agency, which ranked Three Ireland in first place in its sector for customer care in the business market, Brenda Jones, Head of Business Care spoke to the Irish Times about the initiatives Three are introducing to help maintain this position.

“Three Business Care is run out of our award-winning contact centre in Limerick and serves all business customers across all products including mobile, fixed line and the fast-growing IoT and ICT areas. We support all types of customers from sole traders to SMEs right up to large corporates. Our focus is on the speed and quality of the customer experience – to resolve any queries as quickly as possible.

Three’s ranking is based on customer feedback and the results of other research such as net promoter score – a rating system used to calculate overall customer satisfaction. Three had a brilliant net promoter score result in the latest quarter. It was one of the best in our history and that ties directly back to the quality of our customer care. But we must continue to improve all the time if we want to maintain that.

A new programme was launched last year with the aim of improving the quality of the service further. The programme is aimed at building the knowledge of employees so they can get the right answers first time and quickly for the customer.

Speed of service.

It is clear from our own customer research that the thing our customers value the most is speed of service. Our customers want help quickly and they want to be able to resolve their issues on the phone or via online chat there and then. We have invested in a lot of learning and development for our call-centre staff to help them deal very quickly with the issues that come up over and over again. These can be simple things like a billing query or something more complicated to do with their device or roaming. The new initiatives will help ensure that our employees are able recognise the issue and help to fix it straight away.

The programme involves a number of different learning tools. A little over 12 months ago we invested in two forms of training, LinkedIn Learning and our own in-house learning tool. People can use the bespoke training available online to learn in their own time. Putting it online allows employees get the knowledge they need to do their jobs better.

Training is much faster than before as well. In a call-centre environment, it can be difficult to get everyone together for group or classroom training. People can log in and learn in their own time. We also used flipped learning for more complex areas where people learn online first and then in the classroom.

The LinkedIn resource is used for upskilling in more generic areas such as the use of particular software tools, while the bespoke in-house learning solution is focused on the specific customer-care issues. We built the solution based on feedback from our customers. We looked at common queries in relation to areas such as roaming rates or how to switch on wifi and developed content in relation to them.

We also found that customers want advice on multiple services during the same call rather than having to speak to multiple agents. For example, if a customer is upgrading a device and wants insurance we can look after that on the same call.

Knowledge bases.

Another important aspect of the programme is serving new business areas. Our IoT and ICT business is growing rapidly, and we expect it to continue to grow at a very substantial rate. We are building new knowledge bases for our employees to help them resolve customer issues as quickly as possible. Quite a significant expansion in the knowledge base is required as these are more complicated areas than our mobile or fixed-line services.

Another initiative over the past couple of years has been the move to digital modes of support. Usage of our chat service has doubled over the past two years. The feedback from customers is that they use it for speed and the ability to use it in their own time, as the service has extended hours. As our business customers are very digital savvy and use digital channels for other services, we focus on providing the same smooth experience they would get elsewhere.

And the knowledge banks and learning resources for all customer-care channels are constantly updated. Generally speaking, the top 10 customer queries don’t change that much over time. The rankings might change during the year with roaming queries being more prevalent during holiday periods, for example. However, where new queries come in, we add them and the resolutions to the knowledge bank to continuously improve the quality of care we deliver to our customers. “

If you are interested in joining our award winning business customer care team view our current vacanies:

(Note: This article originally appeared in The Irish Times on 4 July 2019)