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Improved Customer Service Leads to Unexpected Benefits

A European telco strengthened its market position by improving customer satisfaction. Along the way, it also cut labor costs and improved customer service agent satisfaction.

A leading European telecommunications provider was looking for a way to strengthen its competitive position in the face of waning customer advocacy.

Working with BCG, the provider learned that customers were unhappy with the customer contact center, which could not quickly and effectively resolve problems. Customers were frustrated by poor communication, errors, and long delivery lead times, and they frequently had to call multiple numbers and explain their issues several times before getting a resolution.

Senior management wanted to fundamentally redesign the customer service process by defining critical interventions that would minimize changes in the supporting IT systems.

After examining best practices from comparable industries, such as financial services and utilities, the team set ambitious targets for the redesign and pilot phases of the project. Time was of the essence, so the team decided to take an 80-20 approach. They knew they could make 80% of the necessary changes by focusing on the most important 20% of the operational requirements.

The pilot was overwhelmingly successful, delivering shorter lead times for basic voice products, a reduction in inquiry calls, and faster resolution of customer concerns. Based on these results, the team built a new customer service model around three principles:

  • Customers are assigned one agent for information, ordering, and delivery status.
  • The agent is empowered to help the customers with minimal handovers.
  • Customer communication is consistent and well-timed.

The pilot also indicated that labor costs were reduced by handling customer calls correctly the first time and improving communication with customers. As an added benefit, the new customer service model improved the job satisfaction of the agents, who were now better equipped to help customers.

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