The Challenge

This well-known telecommunications client has a storied history. The company practically invented the mobile phone as we know it. Their iconic phone released in the mid-aughts was the first to bring together fashion and technology. But as mobile phone adoption became a basic life necessity, like televisions or autos, competition grew fierce. Acquired by a Chinese electronics giant in 2015, the company has once again grown to become a major global player in the smartphone industry by providing extraordinary capabilities at exceptional value.

Continually achieving that mission requires enhanced innovation and productivity gains across the board. Just as they charge their engineers to push the technology envelope, so too did they challenge their customer care partners with finding more efficient ways to lower cost while enhancing the customer experience. The faster a customer’s issue can be resolved, the lower the cost of service and the higher the customer satisfaction. Positive resolution has the power to build brand loyalty.

Our client maintains several outside customer care partners, and at Harte Hanks, we view challenges among peers as seriously as a World Cup rivalry. No client demands as much as we demand of ourselves. They set what appeared to be an unreachably high bar for customer care efficiencies. While others were thinking “no way,” we were thinking “no problem.”

Our Insights

Technology is a double-edged sword. While enhancing our lives immeasurably, technology inevitably breeds challenges, issues and frustrations most customers are incapable of resolving on their own.

Because adoption of technology quickly leads to dependence, the disruption of service, regardless of cause, engenders a heightened degree of irritation. Customers have little patience for technological glitches — they want the problem fixed and their issues addressed, ASAP.

Lowering the cost of customer support is not simply a matter of reduction of headcount or moving operations to less expensive geographies. Lowered costs that result in lowered customer satisfaction is a fast track to failure.

We had to develop a combination of human-to-human methodologies and expanded technical support solutions that could identify exactly what customer issues needed to be addressed from the outset, creating the “effortless customer experience.”

Our Approach

Our first initiative was to dissect the entire customer support journey, from the very first encounter to final resolution. This resulted in a deep-dive examination of call flow, customer drivers and triggers, and a deep analysis of customer interactions.

We developed a model to execute best-in-class First Time Resolution (FTR). This led us to build tools to measure each channel and the customer flow.

We added reporting and analytics on a second measure, Repeat Interaction Rates (RIR), which segmented the number of unique customer contacts and identified the ones that had to re-connect multiple times.

These protocol improvements enabled us to codify and simplify resources and streamline the access to information needed by agents to address customer needs. We were able to use FTR and RIR data to segment issues and identify the top ten concerns. We improved search terms to instantly pull up the most appropriate solutions. We removed unnecessary steps and diversionary information and polished every call guide, which markedly sped up resolutions.

Utilizing the Tableau platform, we proactively designed a dashboard that enabled our clients access, in real time, to all data and information gathered through every customer interaction across every channel — specific line of business breakdowns; weekly, monthly, yearly comparisons; product anomalies, etc. Our client was able to quickly run complex analytics on every aspect of the business from call flow to problems that may be attached to new
product introductions.

The Results

Harte Hanks essentially won the gold medal. By implementing our comprehensive FTR and RIR customer care innovations, we topped every competitive customer care vendor across all measurements.

The client implemented a BPO scorecard. We not only exceeded monthly targets, but we exceeded the aspirational goals as well.

With faster execution, we lowered the client’s operational spend by 26% while also increasing customer satisfaction scores.

The client was so impressed by the ease of use and insights provided by our proprietary Tableau dashboard solution, they introduced the insights to make improvements throughout the organization.

Our work on the client’s business intelligence dashboard led to continued partnership to provide technology solutions for the redesign of their current customer support site for both the U.S. and Canada.