Background & Overview

A large Consumer Electronics company, the Asia based flagship subsidiary of the XXX Group, is the global market leader in more than 60 products. The product categories range from digital displays, home electronics, mobile devices, semi-conductors, computing devices and home appliances.

Premiere Response began working with Consumer Electronics Company in November of 2007.

While Consumer Electronics Company relied on a host of vendors to manage their volume, they sought to create a tier two level of ownership in an effort to reduce the rise in escalated cases opening. The program began by providing an in store support team to field dealer calls regarding consumer electronics and home appliances and grew to include highly complex technical support calls and escalated customer relations.

The Challenge(s)

Within six months of the program’s launch, volumes had tripled well surpassing the original projections of 1500 calls per month. This coincided with organizational restructuring in the Consumer Electronics, USA organization. Pleased with Premiere Response’s ability to manage call volume while providing problem resolution for the callers, the Consumer Electronics Team authorized additional head count to combat the dealer support volume and provide relief to additional programs housed at other locations.

Due to the nature of the calls, recruiting efforts were geared towards identifying a technical skill set coupled with ability to manage multiple tasks in a fast paced environment. In order to keep within a profitable model, this needed to be accomplished with minimal costs.

On the systems side, the rapid deployment of the required the Consumer Electronics Company’s systems required our IT staff to fully understand the company’s infrastructure. Both our on site and home agents needed access to the Consumer Electronics Company’s private network, knowledge based systems and in some cases gain access to their other vendors databases. Stability of the

Consumer Electronics Company’s systems varied, resulting in multiple call backs or agents providing more generic information until connectivity resumed.

In addition to connectivity to their systems, disseminating consistent product and process information across the large and varied workgroups required the help of several technology solutions ranging from internet access to instant messenger applications for all.

As the program continued to grow there were many modifications to the ACD system(s) to create a seamless experience for the callers whether their call initiated on the Consumer Electronics Company’s IVR, onsite at a store or from other vendor locations. On the ACD systems side, our reporting remained critical to demonstrate our effectiveness as the Consumer Electronics Company compared and contrasted our performance against other vendors.

The Solution

Premiere Response kept a common theme in responding to the growth of the Consumer Electronics program. The strong focus on the People, Process and Systems proved to be the successful mantra for growing this program and demonstrating that customer service via any contact method is the core competency of Premiere Response.

People – Initially it was critical to learn about the corporate culture of the Consumer Electronics Company, and then create a team of people that mirrored their values. The Consumer Electronics Company had very specific hiring requirements for agents handling their calls and those overseeing the program. The Premiere Response management team was able to gain trust by assembling a team that fit the bill. As the program grew, some of the workgroups required a very technical background including IT degrees, software certifications and even successful completion of the Consumer Electronics Company’s technical certifications.

The Premiere Response team approached all customers as an extension of Consumer Electronics Company – USA, making the outsourcing seamless to the caller. Though this alignment, the Premiere Response Management team was also able to better understand the internal needs and challenges facing the Consumer Electronics Company. After demonstrating the effectiveness of the agent pool and building a solid rapport with the client partners, the Consumer Electronics Company felt secure enough in the recruiting process to leave it in

the hands of Premiere Response. The Consumer Electronics Company also began to rely on Premiere to develop and deliver new product and process training. The program grew from the initial 5 seats to 80+ seats.

Process – Fielding calls wasn’t enough to gain the trust and respect of this electronics giant. As Premiere Response agents gained proficiency with current programs, they began to identify process improvement opportunities. The account team implemented changes both simple and complex which improved the customer’s experience, shortened transaction time and reduced expenses. Up to date product and competitor knowledge is critical in the electronics industry, so Premiere Response sought any and many methods to keep the team in the know. Innovations included regular product training from the client partners, instant messenger applications on all desktops and utilizing automatic search engine alerts any time the Consumer Electronics Company name appears on the web.

The Consumer Electronics Company began to rely on Premiere Response to support additional and more complex programs such wholly owning the Escalated Customer Relations groups and providing technical printer support for business customers. It was through the newly formed Exchange and Refund group, that Premiere identified a large cost savings opportunity for the Consumer Electronics Company. Prior to this group being at Premiere Response, the group was authorizing exchanges outside of the eligibility requirements. The Premiere Response team quickly implemented processes to identify alternate solutions, namely initiating repairs instead of replacements. By engaging more repairs, Premiere Response saved the Consumer Electronics Company the cost of replacement products as well as the high shipping charges associated with replacing large items. Premiere Response was able to demonstrate an immediate cost savings for the Consumer Electronics Company of approximately $150,000 per month.

Systems – The complex system infrastructure evolved on many fronts. Originally the Premiere Agents utilized the Consumer Electronics Company telephone system to field calls. Migration to the Premiere Response phone systems soon after, allowed for greater flexibility with messaging, handling call volume and reporting. Premiere Response was able to identify and react to trends and measure the program’s success once reporting accountability shifted to the internal management team. Premiere Response was able to provide the Consumer Electronics Company with call disposition intelligence which proved helpful in pinpointing issues at point of sale locations. In addition, live call data was visible to the whole call center via an LFD monitor to allow for quick

remedies in the event of call spikes. Similarly, dashboards were created for the Consumer Electronics Company folks to view the queues Premiere Response handled.

Soon after the program’s inception, all parties identified the need for the Premiere Response agents to have access to the Consumer Electronics Company databases, shared drives and various systems. Virtual Private Network tunnels were created for both on site and remote employees to gain access to the necessary Consumer Electronics Company networks. File Transfer Protocol or FTP sites were established to quickly move information and reports between Premiere and the Consumer Electronics Company.

Additional tools like Rapid Fax, wireless headsets, and IM access were deployed at appropriate agent workstations to further enhance performance and overall customer service. Wireless headsets allow the Tier 2 printer support team the mobility and flexibility it needs to respond to queries while simulating the business caller’s issue. The agents walk into the printer lab to talk the caller through the hardware or software resolution.

Summary and Other Outcomes

  • Premiere Response demonstrated the ability to fill Tier 2 and 3 service needs of the Consumer Electronics Company and grow the program by gaining trust with the client through measureable competency, adaptation to rapid changes and ownership of each call or case
  • Premiere Response created standardized operating procedures for business-to-business calls which allowed for consistent call handling and data capture of call types. Call reduction opportunities were identified and new processes implemented resulting in overall call reductions
  • Premiere Response has supported several Consumer Electronics Company product reworks (the electronics industry version of a recall) by mobilizing technology and people within hours to handle unplanned call spikes
  • ACC conducts over 4 thousand customer satisfaction surveys each month to evaluate Consumer Electronics Company services
  • Premiere Response began its support of Samsung with a core team to handle business-to-business calls and has expanded its support to include retailers, dealers, IT, technicians, field service teams, and escalated consumer issues

Conclusion

Premiere Response and the Consumer Electronics Company developed a partnership rooted in continual communications, consistent management support, and outstanding service delivery. The teams focused on continuous process improvements to enhance the overall service experience and reduce costs. As a result, the program grew tenfold and expanded to support multiple customer needs within the Consumer Electronics Company. Our ability to deploy teams, create processes and procedures, identify improvement opportunities, and deliver outstanding service has been demonstrated repeatedly as the Consumer Electronics Company team has evolved.