Demand for multimedia services within the home and growing consumer awareness of the choices available to them has created unprecedented competition amongst suppliers of digital television, Internet and telephone services in the UK.
The launch of Virgin Media in early 2007 as the first ‘quadruple-play’ media company in Britain, offering television, Internet, mobile phone and fixed line telephone services, marks a new generation of multimedia companies determined to address the needs of this growing market.
Formed following the merger of NTL Group (previously marketed under the NTL, Telewest and Virgin.net brands) and Virgin Mobile in 2007, Virgin Media already has over 10 million customers who are now able to receive all their media requirements from one supplier.
Committed to offering its customers a wide range of Internet services to meet the individual requirements of each home, Virgin Media’s broadband division combines both cable and non-cable Internet access.
It does this via NTL and Blueyonder’s cable-broadband operations and Virgin.net, one of Britain’s leading internet service providers (ISP), which offers ADSL broadband connection as well as an award winning web portal.
The insatiable appetite for Internet access has resulted in intense competition amongst ISPs and the rapid growth of broadband uptake in the UK, with broadband penetration now exceeding that of the United States and Japan. The challenge for Virgin Media is to attract and retain customers, in the face of competition from other ISPs.
Differentiation can be achieved through both pricing and offering other services as part of its ‘quad-play’ portfolio, but quality of service and customer satisfaction is the key to growing and maintaining a successful business.
Virgin Media manages approximately 4,000 calls each day from new and existing customers. It uses an outsourced contact centre to manage all front line communications with these customers, whether it be signing up new accounts or general enquiries about service delivery or billing.
The key issue for Virgin Media is to ensure that the quality of both inbound and outbound call handling is the best it can be in order to maximise customer acquisition and retention.
In order to obtain a better understanding of the issues that lead customers to sign up or leave Virgin Media, the company decided to take a proactive approach to:
· obtaining customer feedback about its products and services and;
· to monitoring the effectiveness of its contact centre agents during each customer interaction.
“We were looking for a system that would allow us to capture agent and channel performance,” says head of telesales and retentions for Virgin Media’s non-cable division, Oren Maor.
“We wanted to be able to analyse agent performance by monitoring conversion and retention rates by channel. We turned to Confirmit as the only solution capable of capturing and tracking all the information we sought, including the ability to record resolution codes while agents were speaking to customers.”
Understanding the customer decision making process
Maor initially used Confirmit to create a system that tracked all calls relating to customer acquisition and new accounts. It allows the outsourced call centre agents to request and capture data about where each inbound call has come from, the reason for the call (response to a promotion, up-sell or cross-sell from another service), and the end result - whether the customer did or did not take on the service.
The agents are also able to capture customer attitude to help them understand why customers fail to take up a particular service if that is the result of the call. All data is fed to Virgin Media’s information management team to facilitate daily, weekly and monthly performance monitoring and trend/change analysis.
The success of the program led Maor to implement a similar system to enable the company to monitor problem resolution and track retention rates more effectively.
The performance of agents managing inbound calls from customers wishing to terminate their service are monitored carefully, with result codes and the reasons behind a customer’s decision to close an account recorded and fed through to the management team in trend reports.
“The Confirmit system has proved to be a very useful tool for our business,” adds Maor. “It has not only helped us to understand the performance of our promotions but has also helped us to identify training requirements for our outsourced call centre agents.”
“We are able to monitor specific reasons behind a customer’s decision to leave us and make changes in order to minimise the impact, whether it be changes to our product portfolio or pricing to counteract a competitor offer, for example.”
“Instead of an inbound call requesting account termination being the first time that we learn that a customer is at risk of leaving us, Confirmit allows us to pinpoint where problems exist and to track any trends that need to be addressed in order to improve retention rates.”
“We have experienced a significant improvement in churn in the first months of using the system and Confirmit has played a vital role in this increase in performance,” concludes Maor.
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