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“With the Avaya solution our customers are simply waiting less to get issues resolved and our agents have more time to deal with enquiries in a satisfactory way.”
— Dejan Ognjanovic, head of contact center development and customer experience, Telekom Serbia
TELEKOM SERBIA TURNS CONTACT CENTER INTO PROFIT CENTER WITH AVAYA
Company transforms customer experience, develops innovative contact center services, and enters new market
Companies that provide phone, internet and media services operate in a highly competitive market. They are constantly searching for ways to improve customer service, increase efficiency, be cost-competitive and deliver innovative products. If they don’t, they lose customers to disruptive competitors.
When Telekom Serbia embarked on a strategic review of its contact center operations in 2013, it posed these questions plus one more: could it transform customer service from a cost center to a profit center?
“We have a brilliant record of accomplishment at Telekom Serbia,” says Dejan Ognjanovic, head of contact center development and customer experience for Telekom Serbia. “Our market penetration is extremely high, reaching as much as 88% for fixed telephony and 46% for mobile. But we know we can’t rest on this success. When we looked at our customer service, we were only offering voice interactions and our first-time resolution of enquiries was extremely low.”
“In today’s market, where it’s so easy for customers to switch to an alternative provider,” he adds, “that’s not good enough.”
Telekom Serbia decided to work with Avaya to transform its customer service levels, deliver integrated experiences across all touch points, and create new services as part of its transformation effort to break into new markets.
- Improve customer service and support for telephony, internet and media services
- Introduce omnichannel customer service to meet customer expectations and reduce reliance on voice
- Develop new capabilities that drive revenue through the contact center
- Create a platform for the launch of new services in vertical sector
- Enabled omnichannel service with integrated channels for voice, chat, mail, video and screen collaboration
- Improved first time resolution from almost zero to 32%
- Increased overall customer satisfaction by 16%
- Integrated IVR with customer relationship management to improve debt collection
- Provided Agents with a 360 view of the customer to drive cross-selling and increase revenue
- Launched a mobile virtual banking service that generates contact center revenue
Dramatic Improvement in Customer Satisfaction
The process began when Avaya reviewed Telekom Serbia’s contact center and discovered that the company’s customer service strategy was built around technical imperatives rather than customer needs. Not surprisingly, the discovery process also revealed that Telekom Serbia was missing its targets for customer satisfaction levels.
Avaya and its local partners, Algotech and Saga, worked with Telekom Serbia to overcome these issues by implementing an omnichannel customer experience solution. This solution enabled agents to communicate via voice, chat, mail, video and screen collaboration. Other improvements included the integration of Telekom Serbia’s interactive voice recognition (IVR) system, internal customer relationship management (CRM) and billing applications, email exchange servers, short message service (SMS) centers, and a redesigned ticketing system.
The Avaya solution provided all Telekom Serbia support teams with unified communications and a 360° view of the customer. Over 400 contact center agents can now tap into a single source of intelligence on user history and improve the service they provide to each consumer.
The results have been noteworthy. Telekom Serbia has increased its customer satisfaction rating by almost 16%. It has improved support for mobile services, with almost zero abandoned calls, and lowered abandoned calls for its fixed line and technical support services by over 25%. Telekom Serbia has also delivered first-time resolution to 32% of its customers, up from almost zero in 2013.
“With the Avaya solution, our customers are waiting less to get issues resolved and our agents have more time to deal with enquiries in a satisfactory way,” says Ognjanovic. “We’ve also been able to add features that provide a real wow factor, such as a service that enables a customer to hang up, remain in the queue, and get a call back as soon as an agent is available. These are the things that customers really remember.”
When we looked at our customer service, we were only offering voice interactions and our first-time resolution of enquiries was extremely low. In today’s market, where it’s so easy for customers to switch to an alternative provider, that’s not good enough.
—Dejan Ognjanovic, head of contact center development and customer experience, Telekom Serbia
Delivery of Innovative Contact Center Services
Telekom Serbia developed numerous self-services and automated frontend and back-end processes, which are implemented on AIF (Advanced Interactive Voice Response Framework) and mobile AIF. The most popular self-service is “Reconnection”, which enables the user to re-activate a temporary canceled service on his/her promise to pay – a service used by 500,000 subscribers in 2017. Also, over 20% of all technical incident tickets are created by subscribers via the automated voice response feature.
Telekom Serbia has not just improved the way it delivers customer experience to support the business. It has capitalized on the improvements to make changes to its business model and enter new vertical markets.
For example, the company has launched a new mobile virtual banking service supported by ‘virtual banking agents’ in its contact center. Customers can use this service to manage all their banking needs through a dedicated mobile app that includes self-service options, text and video chat, and collaborative document creation. With business applications and the contact center already integrated, the virtual banking agents have a complete view of each customer, enabling them to deliver the right experience to new customers from the day they come on board.
“Virtual banking is completely new for us,” says Ognjanovic. “We saw the opportunity to build on our brand and provide a fresh new service with a great customer experience, but this is not something we would have been able to deliver a few years ago. With the Avaya omnichannel solution in place it became possible.”
From Cost Center to Profit Center
From the outset of the journey in 2013, the goal of both Telekom Serbia and Avaya has been to turn customer service from a cost center into a profit generator. According to Dejan Ognjanovic, this is now a reality.
“During the journey our goals were to improve customer experience, increase efficiency and increase quality. We have finished transformation from a voice-only approach to an omnichannel blending with voice, chats, mail, video and screen collaboration. Generally speaking, we changed our business model with strong accent on digitalization. It truly has been a business transformation”, says Dejan Ognjanovic.
“We have successfully transformed our contact center into a profit center,” Ognjanovic adds. “Our IVR is now integrated with our customer relationship management system to improve debt collection – automatically offering reconnection on payment of debt, for example. Our agents are able to use their 360° degree view of the customer to start cross-selling relevant services to customers during support calls. And then there’s new revenue generating services like the mobile virtual banking service.”
Impressively, all this has been achieved without having to increase the number of Telekom Serbia agents.
Ognjanovic explains: “Right from the start, this has been a business story, not a technology story. Avaya has not sold us technology and features. It has listened to what we wanted to achieve as a business, learned how we make money, and then provided us with the solutions we need to support that. The fact that we now make money from our contact center is the proof that this is the right approach.”
“ With the Avaya solution our customers are simply waiting less to get issues resolved and our agents have more time to deal with enquiries in a satisfactory way. We’ve also been able to add features that provide a real wow factor, such as a service that enables a customer to hang up, remain in the queue, and get a call back as soon as an agent is available. These are the things that customers really remember”
—Dejan Ognjanovic, head of contact center development and customer experience, Telekom Serbia
A Strong Partnership
Ognjanovic sums up: “Avaya has a strong consultancy team and local partners who have been willing to develop a deep relationship with us and work closely with us to achieve our goals. Technology is of course important, but it’s people who really make the difference. Working together as a team, we have achieved impressive results."
About Telekom Serbia
Telekom Serbia is the leading telecommunications company in Serbia and provides fixed and mobile telephony, internet and multimedia services both in Serbia and the wider the region. The company, first founded in 1997, is driven by innovation and continuously develops new solutions for the benefit of its businesses and consumers under the brand MTS. Today the company serves more than 7 million customers and employs over 9,000 staff.
Telekom Serbia, the biggest communications company in Serbia, has played a major role in developing the country’s infrastructure over the past two decades. Today, the company provides landline, mobile, internet and TV services to more than 11 million subscribers — and has recently moved into the financial services arena as part of a strategic transformation.