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Hello Transcom 2017

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Hello Transcom features stories from around the company.

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Hello Transcom 2017

  2. 2. W hen I started here at Transcom­­­ six and a half years ago, our business was still almost exclusively centered on serving our clients’ customers over the telephone. While the phone channel is still important, the nature of customer service has gradually changed, as a result of the migration to digital, non-voice channels such as apps, social media, chat, and self-service. Digitalization is having a profound impact on how people choose to interact and communicate. For customer care and support, it is clear that most of us tend to use the channel that will solve our issues in the simplest, most effortless way. This is the reason why roughly a third of Trans- com’s revenue is related to non-voice activities today, up from under ten percent when I started in 2010. In the years ahead, this number will keep growing. While less complex questions will increasingly be resolved via self-service tools and other digital channels, contact center agents will be faced with taking care of the more difficult issues over the phone, resulting in longer conversa- tions with customers. As a result, technical and communication skills requirements for customer care specialists are growing quite significantly. The way that we develop and train our people is becoming even more central to our success. We are making important investments in order to stay ahead in the people development and training area. One example is the new training site we opened in the Philippines during 2016. (Read more about this on page 10). The proliferation of new technologies and changing consumer preferences require us to constantly innovate and refine best practices together with our clients in order to remain com- petitive. Transcom is supporting many clients on their digital journeys, helping them to manage the shift towards digital and multichannel ­solutions for customer care. New technology enables innovative ways of supporting human interaction and improving the customer experience, with positive effects on loyalty, retention and sales. Feel free to read on to learn more about how we are working together with some of our clients: TalkTalk, Whirlpool and Viaplay. Johan Eriksson, President and CEO of Transcom Digitalization is having a profound impact on how people choose to communicate. This requires us to constantly innovate. HELLO! Hello Transcom is a magazine published by Transcom. Here, we share stories from around Transcom, and also exemplify how we work together with our clients to enhance their business performance by improving the experience of their customers. Editor: Stefan Petterson, stefan.pettersson@transcom.com Phone: +46 70 776 80 88 Production: Intellecta Corporate, www.intellectacorporate.se Print: TMG Repro: Turbin Cover photo: Lina Jushke www.transcom.com 2 Hello Transcom 2017
  3. 3. CONTENT TOP OF THE TELCOS TalkTalk takes on the UK’s biggest players TRAINING FOR OUR TIME Transcom opens a new center of excellence LEADING BY EXAMPLE How Agne Butkute became a winning team leader THUMBS UP TO DIGITAL Viaplay meets its customers online CUSTOMER CARE ANYTIME, ANYWHERE Meeting the demands of the millennials WHY SMART APPLIANCES ­REQUIRE SMART AGENTS Services in a world of connected things A LEADING LEADER Eloy Rojas Delgado pays tribute to his team INSIDE TRANSCOM HELP FROM THE HEART The winning formula of team leader Mary Ann Angeles DIGITAL INNOVATION Why human and virtual agents go hand in hand 4-5 10-11 6-9    12 20-21 25 16-19 22-24 26-27 28     13-15 SMALL TALK 3Hello Transcom 2017
  4. 4. SMALL TALK SCANDIC COUNTS ON TRANSCOM – WITHOUT RESERVATION      Transcom’s partnership      with Scandic Hotels has been extended, and not only that: the business relationship has also been expanded significantly. Henrik Olsson, Country Manager Sweden at Transcom, believes “this is testimony to Transcom’s service quality, efficiency and, not least, our sales performance, which helps to generate additional revenue for our client.” While Transcom has been providing reservation services for Scandic’s customers in Sweden since 2007, under the new agreement, it will deliver similar services in Danish, Finnish and Norwegian as well as Swedish. It will be the hotel chain’s sole partner for reservation services in these four Nordic markets. All of Transcom’s customer services agents working with Scandic Hotels will be based at the multilingual contact center in Borås, Sweden. Jobs for shoppers       In the Philippines,     you can now walk into a shopping mall and walk out with a brand-new career. That’s because in July 2016, Transcom launched its mall-based recruitment hub in Basement 1 of Robinsons Gal- leria in Quezon City, Metro Manila: a move that lives up to the company’s core values of passion, excellence, and innovation. The idea is to offer a convenient way for job seekers to improve their career prospects in a warm, spacious environment where nervous applicants feel at ease and can do their best during interviews. MILLION The number of interactions ­managed by Transcom’s agents during a typical day. Approximately 30 percent of Transcom’s revenue is related to non-voice channels. Get ready for A BRAINSTORM with ThinkBank      Many heads are     better than one… That’s why Transcom believes in sharing ideas – especially those relating to people, processes and technology. Now, to make life easy, Transcom has developed an in-house app that staff can use both to deposit their ideas, and discover those that their colleagues have come up with. There’s money in this too… because once an idea has been assessed and approved for development as a business case, the employee gets paid for it. So, get ready for a brainstorm.            IN SEARCH                       OF THE                       DREAM JOB            1.5 4 Hello Transcom 2017
  5. 5.      The Internet of Things     (IoT) has been a hot topic for some time now and we are increas- ingly surrounded by smart devices and objects that can communicate with each other and with the user. All market analysts and observers are ­forecasting exponential growth for the Internet of Things. Intel has analyzed the IoT scenario, reporting that 15 billion objects were connected to the internet in 2015 and esti- mating that this figure will reach 200 billion devices in 2020. We are therefore witnessing the birth of a new frontier for the interconnection between people’s physical lives and digital worlds. If this trend continues, there will be a revolution in customer care activities too in the years ahead. Transcom is setting its sights on the future, by analyzing opportunities and empowering technology to create advanced contact center solutions. As an example, Transcom’s research lab LeonarDo 2.0.14 is now focusing its attention on the new devices we can use to connect with contact centers. The telephone is no longer the only contact channel, but also cars, refrigerators, televisions, alarm clocks, shoes, keys and washing machines… Another area of analysis is the transition from classic customer care to “proactive” assistance, in which smart objects use the data they continuously collect to ­diagnose operating malfunctions by them- selves and trigger operator calls to the owner. All told, the Internet of Things really does seem to be one of the most important and promising of recent developments, increasing the quality of life for all of us in ways that are hard to predict. INTERNET OF THINGS TRANSFORMS CUSTOMER CARE Growing with Transcom      At 46 Theresa      Ordiales shares her inspiring story of growing and learning with Transcom Philippines. “My life hasn’t been the same since I joined the company in 2007. At first, I only considered entering the BPO industry for the sake of paying the bills. I never realized it would lead to the establishment of my career and the rebirth of my self-esteem. I was 37 years old then, and just like everyone else, I started taking calls with a handful of jitters and apprehensions. It was like all the negative vibes rolled into one. Fortunately, after the heart-pounding first call, I was able to get “the hang of it”. I never knew I had the confidence to do customer service – talking to customers, addressing their inquiries, explaining their bills, and ultimately resolving their issues. I started as an agent in 2007, got promoted as a trainer in 2012, and transitioned as an Organizational Development trainer in April this year. It’s safe to say that Transcom has transformed me and helped me not only discover, but also harness my skills.” Read more personal stories at blog.transcom.com      In April 2016     Transcom launched a campaign called My Generation designed to honor young people’s efforts in the workplace. The initiative included a survey about the way young people are treated in the workplace, and a competition inviting young adults to share a post on Insta- gram about someone who had inspired them on the career front. The winner of the competition, Filip Lundahl, had nominated his best friend, who has made a career out of his passion for German football. His favorite pastime, which really began as a hobby writing for svenskafans.com, has now led to a well-paid writing job in Hamburg. Inspired by his friend’s determination to do something he is truly passionate about, Lundahl says it’s now only a matter of time till he finds his dream job in film and TV. Hopefully the prize he won (a visit to Netflix with careers guidance from a certified coach) will help him do just that. Filip Lundahl 5Hello Transcom 2017
  6. 6. TalkTalk walks THE TALK 6 Hello Transcom 2017
  7. 7. Sholto Mee, Head of Customer service at TalkTalk, explains how the company has tur- ned things around completely thanks to a new strategy implemented in close partnership with Transcom. Five years ago, TalkTalk was one of the most complained about telecoms operators in Britain. Today the company has completely turned things by revamping the contact centre operating model and finding new ways for customers to get the support they need across digital channels. TEXT: MATTIAS KARÉN PHOTO: DAN BURMAN 7Hello Transcom 2017
  8. 8. A fter being handed the Daily Mail’s ‘Wooden Spoon’, given to companies their readers deem have the worst customer service, TalkTalk, which delivers value for money phone, broadband and TV packages to more than 4 million UK customers, realised it need- ed to change. One of the problems was that it had recently acquired several different companies who all had their own customer service networks. As a result it was working with many different out- sourcing providers, making it incredibly hard to deliver a consistent customer experience. A decision was made to simplify and streamline the number of partners and at each stage, TalkTalk chose to stick with Transcom, despite the fact that Transcom’s Manila-based operations were so far from the UK. “The temptation was to work with someone closer, so that’s a testament to the quality of Transcom’s services that it negated the distance,” says Sholto Mee, Head of Customer Service for TalkTalk. “We wanted to move to a larger stra- tegic partnership where we could develop a deeply embedded relationship, one with equal respect where we share in each other’s successes and have to work together in order to be successful together.” The results have been remarkable, and today TalkTalk outperforms larger players such as BT in the regula- tor’s formal reports on customer satisfaction and com- plaint handling. One of the main reasons is because TalkTalk has realised that customers increasingly want to interact with companies using a variety of channels, especially digital ones. One of the company’s main strategies has been to invest in innovations such as Live Chat functionality and online self-service so that customers can solve their problems digitally, thereby reducing the numbers of calls into contact centres. “We are seeing customers migrate to digital channels more and more, and customer satisfaction is much higher in those areas as a result. Today 40 percent of our frontline customer service is through live chat, compared to 5 percent a few years ago,” says Sholto Mee. And consumers are more demanding, and more likely to switch than ever before, keeping those cus- tomers happy is crucial. “Internet connectivity is as important to consum- ers today as electricity or water. People expect to be able to be online 24/7, and expectations are on a completely different level than they were five or 10 years ago. It’s crucial we deliver support in a way that retains those customers,” says Mark Lyndsell, Transcom’s Country Manager for UK and Asia Pacific Accounts. Today about 1,800 agents in two of Transcom’s deliv- ery centers in Manilla handle all types of customer queries for TalkTalk, from billing to technical support. And TalkTalk is constantly adopting innovative solutions, such as voice biometric software that helps identify customers without having to go through lengthy security questions. Transcom has also created escalation layers so that more skilled agents can deal with callers who have urgent problems or complaints. And TalkTalk is planning to launch a new We are seeing customers migrate to digital channels more and more, and customer satisfaction is much higher in those areas as a result. Sholto Mee, Head of Customer Service at TalkTalk “Today 40 percent of our front­line customer service is through live chat,” says Sholto Mee. 8 Hello Transcom 2017
  9. 9. WhatsApp-style messaging application where cus- tomers can send questions and replies to agents at any time, without the need for instant responses. “That’s really exciting because it fundamentally changes the experience from the customer’s point of view. They can engage with us on their terms, when it suits them. If they need an instant response, they get one. But if they want to send a message, then get on the train and check the response later, they can fit in their questions around their day-to-day lives,” says Sholto Mee. It’s clear that TalkTalk is determined to stay ahead of the game and isn’t afraid to make fast and sweeping changes to the way the company oper- ates. That means their partners must have the same attitude, and willingness to evolve. “The reason why our partnership has lasted so long is that Transcom has been able to align to their culture,” says Mark Lyndsell. “TalkTalk is very entrepreneurial. They like to zig when everybody else zags. They like to buck the trend. That means you have be very agile and flexible in terms of your thinking when you’re working with them.” And that’s also why TalkTalk feel they have found the perfect partner in Transcom. “We operate at the value-end of the market which means we can’t outspend our competition, we have to outthink them. That means we have a culture of moving quickly and delivering innovative products. So all our partners have to be flexible with us,” says Sholto Mee. “Transcom is great at that because they have a flexible management team with the ability to deal with ambiguity and deal with change. We talk about challenging with integrity. It’s a two-way dialogue, and that’s based on trust.” FACTS/ FAST-GROWING COMPANY TalkTalk was formed in 2003 and has quickly grown to become one of the biggest telecom companies in Britain, with more than 4 million customers. TalkTalk is a value pro- vider that is constantly challenging the more established giants with low-cost offers for internet, phone and TV services. 4million customers 180,000 250million GB of customer downloads per month 99percent mobile network coverage of UK population by the numbers: UK business customersTalkTalk’s 2015 PR campaign included emoji people. 9Hello Transcom 2017
  10. 10. As Transcom strives to meet the customer service user’s ever-evolving needs, the company continues to prioritize compe- tence development. Hence the new center of excellence on Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) in Metro Manila. Completed in November 2016, the center has been a significant invest- ment. It features all the latest technology, preparing trainees for work in the digital age. Besides instructor-led training the center offers online courses and even microlearning: smaller educational units and short-term activities. “We have to align with the times,” says Robert Cabral, Vice President for Learning Development and Quality. “Content has evolved, becoming increasingly interactive, and we have to look at that.” With innovation at the forefront, the ground floor has a showcase area, where touchscreens will allow trainees to explore web- or app-based learning tools. His ­vision for the center is ambitious: “Ultimately, the plan is to apply virtual technology in the product and training labs, and to run a program that will allow a person to experience a different country or the customer’s home where they can do the troubleshooting.” The interiors were carefully planned to ­facilitate learning. It may come as a surprise, says Robert Cabral, but “the color green stimulates the mind.” Naturally, he­made this color a key element of the sub­dued palette selected for the center. You should never underestimate the impact of visual stimuli, he says. “You avoid client ­logos, advertise- ments and pictures or anything else that might be distracting. The idea is to ensure trainees pay close attention!” Above all though, the idea was to create an interesting space: something different where trainees would enjoy being. COMFORT AND CUTTING-EDGE CLASSESTEXT: BIRGITTE VAN DEN MUYZENBERG PHOTO: TRANSCOM 10 Hello Transcom 2017
  11. 11. FACTS/EDSA Built in: November 2016. Located in: Metro Manila. Number of Learning Development training staff: 150. Reason for building it: A bigger, more centralized facility was needed. Purpose: To be used solely for trai- ning and talent development. Facilities: 24-hour clinic, daycare, pharmacy, sleeping quarters, free shuttle service. Extra facilities: Leadership academy and learning labs. Number of Transcom training sites in Manila: Four including the center of excellence. 11Hello Transcom 2017
  12. 12. Leading by example BEST TEAM LEADER, REGION NORTH EUROPE FACTS/AGNE BUTKUTE Age: 27. Works as: Senior team leader. Started working for Transcom in 2013 Education: Bachelor’s degree in cultural management. Lives in: Vilnius, Lithuania. Best thing about Transcom: The people. I n November last year, three team leaders were granted the Transcom Team Leader Award 2016 in recognition of special effort. Agne Butkute, a Senior Team Leader from Vilnius, Lithuania, was one of them. She answers modestly when questioned about the award: “Honestly, I don’t know why I won, but I guess I must have done something good. I feel very humble and proud.” But when Agne starts to talk about her career, it is not difficult to understand why she received the award. During her four years with Transcom, she has already fulfilled four different roles. In 2013 she started as a first-line agent, and after just one year she was promoted to back office. A year later, she became a team leader. But it didn’t stop there… In March 2016, she advanced again, becoming a senior team leader. “That’s one of the greatest things about Transcom: you can advance and develop within the company. You don’t have to go anywhere else. For me, that is great because I love change, and I love learning new things. Today, Agne has four team leaders reporting to her. “As a leader, I think it is very important to communicate with my team. I listen to what they say and do not give them orders. My leadership is built on trust, and I would never look over their shoulders. I think this is the best way for people to develop and achieve good results. Agne motivates and inspires the agents in her team by showing them she understands their situation. “I sometimes take a call so the agents can hear me talking to the customer. I believe good leaders lead by example. I can really show my team I know how it feels to work as an agent. I have the experience and know what I’m talking about when I give them advice. I’ve been there myself.” MALIN LARSHAMMAR LINAJUSHKE 12 Hello Transcom 2017Hello Transcom 201712
  13. 13. Digitalization is gradually changing the playing field in terms of companies’ ­interaction with their customers. Meanwhile the technical tools now available are ­creating new opportunities to meet customers’ expectations. But the challenge is to strike the right balance between human interaction and automated services. TEXT: JOHAN WICKSTRÖM ILLUSTRATION: ROBERT HILMERSSON CUSTOMER CARE IN A DIGITALIZED  WORLD 13Hello Transcom 2017
  14. 14. C ustomer experience has never been hotter.” These were the words written in a trend analysis pub- lished at the end of 2016 by Forbes Magazine. They are not exactly alone in highlighting the significance and value of customer experience: if you do a quick Google search, you get more than 34 million widely varying hits for the term. There are many companies and organizations that have realized that digitalization has a fundamental impact on customer relationships. It is of course all about the way customers experience the services and products themselves, but also about the way the company behind these services treats its customers – that is, the actual customer service offered. Meanwhile, driven by the younger generation, today’s customers have much higher expectations of their suppliers than say 10 years ago because of the novel fast mobile services now on offer. One bad experience is enough for a customer to switch service providers with a couple of clicks. And there is also the risk of the customer then communi- cating on social media, which doesn’t tend to do much to strengthen a brand. “Customer experience is increasingly crucial to all companies today,” says Philip Sköld, Chief Commercial Officer at Transcom. “It’s an impor- tant source of differentiation.” There are several major technology trends that are changing today’s market conditions: the develop- ment of social media and other fast mobile services; the emergence of the Internet of Things, with sensors included in an increasing number of new products; and innovations in the machine learning and artificial intelligence domains. “All companies are wrestling with the effects of digitalization, and the question of how to manage the transformation,” says Philip Sköld. “It’s impor- tant for Transcom to be at the forefront so that we can help our clients in the best possible way on this transformation journey. We need to be able to adapt to our clients’ needs, and be able to offer them an appropriate and competitive technical solution.” Transcom is continuously working with its clients to help them reap the benefits of digital- ization, to become more effective, efficient, and to support them in developing new services. It’s partly a matter of providing appropriate services “ 14 Hello Transcom 2017
  15. 15. for every channel – voice, email and chat but also channels such as instant messaging, social media and video chat. But it’s also partly about offering value-added services such as customer journey mapping, or advanced analytics of the vast amounts of customer. “We prefer working closely with our clients in innovating and developing the services,” Philip Sköld says. “Conditions vary from industry to in- dustry, so we customize our service offering to the particular need of our clients.” One thing is clear: customers are increasingly using digital channels rather than traditional voice calls to contact customer services centers. This is facilitated by the development and emergence of virtual agents and automated services. Even though still only handling a fraction of volumes, about 10 percent of companies are today experimenting with the use of virtual agents, and studies show that this figure is expected to rise to 25 percent by 2020. One possible conclusion to be drawn from this is that digital developments are causing companies’ customer services staff to become increasingly redundant. But many analysts have reached a different conclusion: automation will allow many simple customer service tasks to be solved. But interacting with a human will continue to be important – and will probably become even more important – when it comes to answering the more complex questions raised by customers. This will put even greater demand on the competence of the agents in the future. Philip Sköld at Transcom agrees with this con- clusion: “There will be a transition between chan- nels in the future, and the amount of interactions between the customer and the provider is likely to increase even if much of it takes place in digital and automated channels. But the more complex cases will require more of our agents. They will need to have a wider range of skills and abilities. In future customer service operations, it will be critical to strike the right balance between auto- mated services and human interaction. In the end, customer service is about dealing with people. In 2016, Transcom established a global Innovation Council to address these questions more systemati- cally, with representatives from all regions and key functions. “We addressed this by taking a global approach, and now run a number of innovation projects – for example, piloting of virtual agents,” Philip Sköld says. “We also take advantage of our best prac- tices across the different regions, and make sure that these are deployed globally. In this way, we work systematically on improving and simplifying processes, both for our clients and their end cus- tomers. We have also started up industry-specific groups focusing on e-commerce, for example, that customize and roll out the offering to our clients.” Technical advancements not only benefit Transcom’s clients; but Transcom’s internal pro- cesses can also be improved by using automated services that support the agents, for example, by providing them with tools as speech analytics and knowledge base systems to speed up the handling process. The amount of interaction between the customer and the provider is likely to increase even if much of it takes place in digital and automated channels. Philip Sköld, Chief Commercial Officer at Transcom 25percent of companies are likely to be using virtual agents by 2020. 15Hello Transcom 2017
  16. 16. An increasing share of the interactions that the online service Viaplay has with its customers is digital. The idea is to be in touch with the customers where they actually are – and to meet their needs directly: a strategy that pays. TEXT: JOHAN WICKSTRÖM PHOTO: JENNIFER GLANS W hy are there so many interruptions when you’re watching The Blacklist? It’s becoming tiresome.” The first question of the day pops up on Andreas Fjäder’s screen. He works in Transcom’s customer service center for Viaplay, the online service provider that broadcasts movies, series and sports programmes in the Nordics. “We’ll sort this out.” This is how Andreas Fjäder’s routine response to the customer begins…           Here at the       customer service center, around 60 employ- ees provide support for Viaplay’s customers in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland on the phone, and via e-mail, chat, web forms, Google Play and social media. Questions relate to anything from episodes in a TV series and match times, to connection problems, to billing issues. It’s nearly three in the afternoon, and the issues raised by customers are increasing by the hour. “On social media, a lot of questions are raised regarding TV series and new seasons,” says Emir Catir, one of the team leaders. “We work hard on adopting an appropriate tone of voice. Our answers have to stand out, and they have to be human. We respond dif- ferently from the way we interact on the phone or via e-mail, where the tone is perhaps a little less familiar.”           Twice a month,         Catir works with the agents in his team, doing exercises that allow them to work on the tone of voice they adopt in responding to customers. The idea is to raise the overall level of customer satisfaction. Once they have finished interacting with the team, customers can grade the service provided – often with a thumbs up (green) or thumbs down (red). “We are usually just above the 90 percent thumbs up level, which is pretty good, I think,” Catir laughs. Just a few kilometers from Transcom’s customer service center is Viaplay’s head office in central Stock- holm. Here we meet Tomas Yangbyn, who has been Head of Viaplay’s customer services for the past three years. “When I took over here, we were providing fairly traditional customer services with no digital strategy,” “ Thumbs up to 16 Hello Transcom 2017
  17. 17. “You have to keep cool,” says Andreas Fjäder, one of the agents working with Viaplay. Emir Catir with one of the agents in his team. 17Hello Transcom 2017
  18. 18. says Yangbyn. “We now have our sights set on our growth in today’s digital channels without com- promising our focus on customer satisfaction.” And that is just what the company has done – and it has grown in leaps and bounds: between 2015 and 2016, contact with customers via digital channels (excluding e-mail) rose from 18 to 48 percent of the total (see graph opposite). At the same time, self-service has grown enormously in recent years. “Our aim is to meet our customers where they actually are, providing them with contextual in- formation. And it’s an ever-changing agile process where one single question is central to everything we do: how can we make our customers more satisfied?        When it comes       to purely technical problems, Viaplay has succeeded in steering most dialogue with customers away from social media, engaging rather using web forms, chat or telephone ser- vices and aided by the company’s introduction of contextual information, i.e. providing information that is relevant to the situation that the customer finds problematic. On social media – primarily Facebook, but also Instagram and Twitter – it’s all about creating a pleasant, familiar feeling when interacting with customers. “If you take the wrong tone on Facebook it can go viral, and that’s not good,” says Yangbyn. Coping with the broadcast of the 2016 Olym- pics was a challenge. Viaplay and Transcom devised a plan in preparation for the predicted increase in customer queries. Staff numbers were almost doubled during certain periods. “We offered customer support around the clock, and carried out analyses to establish the times that customers were expected to contact us, and which questions they were likely to ask: summaries and schedules were considered proba- ble topics, for example. And the predictions were surprisingly accurate.” Tomas Yangbyn maintains a close collabora- tion with his contacts at Transcom as they work together on the continual development of the customer services offering. Generally, he visits Transcom’s customer service center every week to run through the happenings of the past week with the team leaders. Besides this, they remain in regular contact, calling and e-mailing each other and liaising on Skype on a daily basis.        “Our meetings are       quite informal,” he says. “We look at customer satisfaction over the past week and discuss how we can boost it even more. Those working with Viaplay also need to feel that they are part of our company. They have to feel involved in Viaplay’s culture, and be familiar with our ways of working, our tone of voice and our attitude to things. Yangbyn says the collaboration between Viaplay and Transcom is very agile, and is characterized by a clear culture of change and close cooperation at every level – “It’s far from a traditional outsourcing arrangement.” Our meetings are quite informal. We look at customer satisfaction over the past week and discuss how we can boost it even more. Tomas Yangbyn, Head of Customer service at Viaplay More digital ­interactions Trends of incoming tickets to Viaplay’s customer service 2015 2016 Tomas Yangbyn, Head of Viaplay´s customer services, has a close colla- boration with Transcom. 2015 2016 Phone 52% 39% E-mail 30% 13% Webform 5% 25% Social 13% 21% Chat 0% 2% 18 Hello Transcom 2017
  19. 19. FACTS/VIAPLAY Viaplay is the leading provider of digital entertain­ ment in the Nordics, offering audiences series, movies, sport as well as children’s content. The company is owned by the international entertainment group MTG (Modern Times Group). So how is the customer services operation likely to develop in the future? “The proportion of telephone and e-mail ­interactions will continue to shrink, but I think the ­decrease will be less dramatic now,” says Yangbyn. “Meanwhile, there will be even more channels of communication as time goes by. We will also be able to find out more about our customers and take an increasingly proactive approach to our work. Today’s customers solve 84 percent of the issues they address to us them­selves – and if you figure out the amount of ­money that is saved, it translates into an ­enormous sum.”        Yangbyn expects       the biggest challenge faced by customer services in the future to be dealing with leadership matters. “We have the technology at hand right now. But few know how to handle the data available. It’s all about making decisions based on the right insights, and daring to experiment. Besides that, it’s about giving agents a lot of responsibility. Back at Transcom’s customer service center, the work continues unabated. There is a real time manager sitting in a corner with five or six big screens, keeping a check on current customer-­ related activities. If a dramatic increase in the agents’ contact with customers suddenly causes a bottleneck, he has to act.        Another question       from a slightly irritated custom- er pops up on Andreas Fjäder’s screen, this time about a Premier League match. “You have to keep cool and respond in the best possible way,” says Fjäder. “In most cases, things go smoothly. You figure out your own way of solving problems. He even directs the occasional question to customer services himself – about the results of a match result, for instance – to spark an increase in customer activity. “Sometimes I get several hundred answers,” he says. “It’s great fun.” The agents don’t appear to get unduly stressed. And many are spurred on by the constant desire to get better at the job they do. “It’s the scope for development that has kept me at Transcom,” says Emir Catir. “You tend to want to do a better job every day. That driving force is highly significant.” 84percent Today’s customers ­solve 84 percent of the issues they address to us them- selves Around 60 employees provide support for Viaplay’s customers. 19Hello Transcom 2017
  20. 20. never close, a support team must be available around the clock. The only way to handle that on a reasona- ble budget is to define a best-in-place self-service ca- pability with automated technologies such as virtual customer assistants and robotic process automation tools that can provide a first level of support without human intervention. “Services have to be available 24 hours a day, and if you only have human support, it’s very expensive and companies cannot afford it,” says Arturo Fernan- dez. “So they need to find the right balance between human and digital interaction with their customers.” This means customers will interact increasingly with virtual agents in the future (automated services using artificial intelligence to answer simple and fre- quently asked questions), and proactive support will be offered when an error is detected. “Transcom is constantly working to find the best industry-specific ways of using these new technolo- gies,” says Arturo Fernandez. “We appreciate that the same technology will be used in dif- ferent ways in the banking, e-commerce and telecom industries, for example.” Even though an increas- ing number of interactions will become automated as time goes by, the individual customer service agent will still play a crucial role, even for e-commerce companies. The differ- ence is that they will manage more com- plex tasks, working across multiple channels in the future, instead of specializing in just one. “In the past, the agent concentrated on just one channel,” says Arturo Fernandez. “But we are moving forward with the ‘smart agent’ who, with the digital revolution, will need to have skills to handle everything from voice to chat, to e-mail, to instant messaging. In some cases, this will mean offering them more sophisticated training in the technologies available, and we are currently testing ways of im- proving things like agent motivation, brand advocacy, gamification and new compensation models.” INSTANT SUPPORT AROUNDTHECLOCK The e-commerce industry is revolutionizing not only the way ­people shop, but also the way they interact with customer care agents. TEXT: MATTIAS KARÉN T he millennials’ motto of “anytime, anywhere availability” is putting unprecedented demands on companies to deliver instant support around the clock. This means customer service companies need a new strategy to make sure those demands are met. Arturo Fernandez, Global Head of Business Line Development, Transcom, says the key is to be proactive rather than reactive, to deal with customers across digital channels, and to make maximum use of new ­automation tools that can ease the burden on human agents. “E-commerce companies must have a clear strategy for how to use digital chan- nels such as chat, instant messaging and social media,” he says. “In more tradition- al sectors, voice is still an important channel. But the millennials who shop online prefer to engage with compa- nies across digital channels rather than over the phone. This means we need to change our traditional approach – putting the right human agents in front of our clients – to a more technological and digitalized approach.” The global turnover for the e-commerce industry is expected to increase from the current EUR 2,520 bil- lion to EUR 5,230 billion by 2020. This makes it an increasingly important sector for the customer care industry, but also one that poses unique challenges. Traditional retail businesses only needed to offer customer services during normal business hours, when their stores were open. But since online stores 20 Hello Transcom 2017
  21. 21. GROWING MARKET Global revenue for the e-commerce industry reached €2.52 trillion in 2016 and is expected to double by 2020. While giants like Amazon and China’s Alibaba are among the biggest companies, consumer goods is only the third biggest product category for online sales. Here is a breakdown of the market shares: OMNICHANNEL APPROACH Online shoppers are using more and more devices to make their purchases, increasing the need for seamless customer service across all channels. Here’s a look at the percentage of people who used a certain device to make a purchase over the last year: Computer 95% Smartphone 74% Smart TV 28% Wearable technology 13% Tablet 56% Turnover growth € 2,521 billion € 5,230 billion 39% 20% 19% 18% 4% Food groceries Online travel Consumer goods Fashion Home living € 2,521 billion 2016 2020 SOURCES: E-COMMERCE FOUNDATION REPORTS 2014–2016, STATISTA A.T. KEARNEY SOURCE: PULSE OF ONLINE SHOPPER 2015 21Hello Transcom 2017
  22. 22. The latest Whirlpool refrigerator is far more than just a humble cold cabinet. It’s a smart device. So when the connection fails, and the frustrated customer starts calling, a Transcom customer service agent is there to help them – and their fridges – keep their cool. TEXT: LOUISE NORDSTRÖM PHOTO: WHIRLPOOL I magine a future where your fridge helps you decide what to make for dinner. Or where your washing machine determines how to treat that irritating stain on your jumper. At Whirlpool, the world’s number one major appliance manufacturer, these types of innovations are already in the works, and they require a whole new level of customer service. Fortunately, that job is in the capable hands of Transcom, Whirlpool’s strategic partner. “For every day that goes by, domestic appliances are getting smarter and smarter,” says Stefano Ballerini, Cus- tomer Service Manager EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) at Whirlpool. “They will do more and more for us and we will be able to operate them from our mo- bile phones. The whole market is going in this direction, and sooner or later they will be launched, presenting us with a new reality.” But, Ballerini notes, these types of appliances will also become more and more difficult to use. And it will be especially tricky when things go wrong. “The array of troubleshooting will be so much greater than it’s ever been. It won’t just be about the machine itself anymore… Perhaps it will be about the router it is connected to, or other machines that are linked to the same network.” PLAYING IT COOL IN THE CONNECTED WORLD 23
  23. 23. Ballerini predicts that this will put a lot of pres- sure on the customer service agents handling the clients; not only will they need to have the people skills required to effectively calm down an agitat- ed customer, they will also need to have technical skills that extend far beyond just bolts and screws. “The agents need to know just about everything there is to know about internet connections, routers and so forth to be able to deal effectively with this kind of reality,” he says, adding that, already today, his company relies a great deal on the Transcom agents’ knowledge to avoid real-life technician intervention and still keep Whirlpool’s customers happy and satisfied. “The truth is, people don’t read the user manuals that come with the machines they buy. That is one of the main problems we have. If everybody actual- ly read them, people would find 80 percent of the solutions to the problems they encounter and call in for are there in print. But that’s where Transcom’s agents have us covered.” Transcom became a strategic Whirlpool partner in 2014, when the global white goods giant acquired a controlling stake in Italian household appliance group Indesit. Transcom had provided Indesit with customer contact services since 2007: a coopera- tion that began with five European countries and quickly grew to cover 12. Today Transcom provides customer assistance services for Whirlpool in some 20 countries throughout EMEA, in 28 different languages. And there seems to be a great demand for these services. In EMEA alone, Transcom’s agents receive a staggering 10 million e-mails and calls from Whirlpool’s customers every year: or 30,000 a day. And the questions range vastly in nature, often re- quiring both extraordinary people skills and almost super-natural tact. Debora Mendola, Global Account Manager, recalls when a customer phoned in to report that the light inside his refrigerator didn’t go off when he closed the door. The agent then asked him how he could possibly know this since the fridge door was actually closed. “The man then answered that he had put his little son inside the fridge to check,” she says bemused. In the first year of its partnership with Transcom, Whirlpool’s operating costs were optimized, mainly thanks to Whirlpool being able to whittle down the number of providers to just one thanks to Transcom’s multi-language services, located in just four contact centers. “This means I just have one number to call and one person to speak to if I have a problem now. It makes life so easy,” Ballerini says. Ballerini, who has worked with Transcom since back in the Indesit days, says that although the cost-savings are of course of great importance to the cooperation between Whirlpool and Transcom working so well, it is particularly Transcom’s flex- ibility, responsiveness and loyalty that he appreci- ates. “When you walk into the customer assistance services center in Budapest, you feel like you’re in a Whirlpool center. Everything is Whirlpool branded and everyone is talking Whirlpool – to the point, in fact, that we gave the Transcom agents the same Christmas gifts we gave our own staff, because they really feel part of our team.” “We are true partners,” Ballerini says. “We work together, we fight together and we always come out with a joint decision. This is so, so important.” The array of troubleshooting will be so much greater than it’s ever been. It won’t just be about the machine itself ­anymore. Stefano Ballerini, Customer Service Manager EMEA, Whirlpool FACTS/WHIRLPOOL Whirlpool Corporation is the number one major appliance manufacturer in the world, with approx- imately USD 21 billion in annual sales, 93,000 employees and 70 manufacturing and technology research centers in 2016. Transcom’s 350 agents provide Whirlpool with customer assistance services in 28 languages in more than 20 countries, operating out of four main centers. In 2017, Transcom’s mission for Whirlpool was extended to also cover sales calls, starting in France as the first market. Stefano Ballerini, Customer Service Manager EMEA, Whirlpool. 24
  24. 24. 25Hello Transcom 2016 A fter five years as a team leader and nine years within Transcom, Mary Ann Angeles from Manila in the Philippines has found the key to success: you need to stay positive and help cus- tomers from the heart. That is also what she teaches the agents in her team. “I believe that if you focus on the positive things in life, your work becomes much eas- ier and more enjoyable. Having a positive spirit also rubs off on the customers. I want to have this influence on my team too.” And maybe it is because of her positive way of thinking that she won the Transcom Team Leader Award 2016, which is granted in recognition of special effort. “I was really surprised and so happy to win,” she says. All the award winners were invited to a leadership conference in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. For Mary Ann, that was the best thing about winning. “Going to Amsterdam was my second trip out of the Philippines. It was very inter- esting and fascinating to go to Europe. It was also an honor to meet all the leaders from Transcom. At first, I was a bit shy. But everyone was so down to earth and humble, it made me even more proud of winning the award.” There is no doubt that Mary Ann likes Transcom. And she has no plans to pursue a career elsewhere. In fact, she says: “I would like to retire within Transcom.” Maybe her role as a team leader will be inherited by her daughter. Because some- times Mary Ann brings her seven-year-old to work after school. “She has visited me at work since she was three years old, and she really enjoys it. She likes to sleep in the childcare facil- ities here with other kids, and she gets to meet my colleagues. Soon Mary Ann will be leaving her team for a new one and a new set of agents. “It’s going to be fun teaching new agents. But I will miss my old team – people I have worked with for three years. Separa- tion is always difficult.” MALIN LARSHAMMAR FACTS/MARY ANN ANGELES Age: 40. Work as: Team leader. Started working for Transcom in 2007. Education: B.Sc. in computer engineering. Lives in: Manila, the Philippines. My favorite memory from Trans- com: When I was chosen as the Best Team leader. It was the high- light of my career at Transcom, and I will treasure it for a lifetime. Influencing with positive vibes PHILIPANTHONYENOPIA BEST TEAM LEADER REGION ENGLISHSPEAKINGMARKETS AND APAC 25Hello Transcom 2017
  25. 25. Tell us more about Altor “Altor is a family of four Private Equity Funds headquartered in Stockholm. We identify promising companies, such as Transcom, and work as an active owner with a long-term plan in order to help these companies reach their full potential.” What other companies are included in the Altor portfolio? “We currently have 28 companies in our four funds, some of which are more well-known than we are. Amongst the companies that are current or previous members of the Altor family, you can find the ski manufacturer Rossignol, the online IT retailer Dustin, the investment bank Carnegie,the clothing brand Helly Hansen, and the European debt collection group Lindorff.” Why do you want to take Transcom off the stock market? “After almost two years as Transcom’s largest shareholder, we are impressed by the team and attracted by the opportunities ahead of us, but believe that faster and more thorough changes would be beneficial. To make this happen, a ­period of private ownership is a good solution. We have a long-term investment horizon, resources and capital to build a stronger and even more competitive Transcom in a private setting.” What are some of the most important priorities for Transcom going forward? “Altor supports Transcom’s strategy, but I believe that we can help to speed things up. For example, we want to help increase digitaliza- tion and look at opportunities to grow through acquisitions.” How will this ownership change affect Transcom’s clients and employees? “Transcom is, and will continue to be, committed to delivering excellent service and support to its clients’ customers. At the same time, we are planning to accelerate the implementation of some activities, increase investments to support digitalization and also make targeted acquisi- tions. Our plan is to grow the company by further improving Transcom’s offerings, market position and competitiveness. I am convinced that this will create positive effects both for Transcom’s employees, clients and other stakeholders.” Transcom expands in Poland A new contact center has opened in Bialystok, the biggest city in north-east Poland. The Bia- lystok team will support domestic clients in the Polish language, allowing the company’s service centers in Gdansk and Olsztyn to strengthen their position as multilingual near shore deliv- ery centers, and expand their capacity as key delivery hubs for clients throughout Europe. MEET ALTOR, TRANSCOM’S NEW OWNER INSIDE TRANSCOM FACTS/ALTOR The dedicated Transcom team at Altor: Klas Johansson, Mattias Holmström, Karl Svenningsson. Offices: Stockholm (HQ), Oslo, Copenhagen, Helsinki. Number of employees at Altor: ~60. Number of employees in portfolio companies: ~ 60 000. Number of companies in the portfolio: 28 (including Transcom). Find more information at www.altor.com Klas Johansson, board member and partner in Altor. At the end of 2016, the Swedish private equity company Altor announced that they wanted to buy Transcom thus becoming the company’s sole owner. Klas Johansson, board member and partner in Altor, shares his view on the road ahead and why he wanted to take Transcom off the stock market. 26 Hello Transcom 2017
  26. 26. We are making significant investments in innovation in order to be in the forefront, and are developing our partner­ships with technology providers in order to bring the latest solutions to our clients. Johan Eriksson, President and CEO of Transcom Certification for service excellence Transcom’s customer contact centers in Groningen in the Netherlands and Rostock, Germany have been certified with the COPC Outsource Service Provider (OSP) Standard. Both centers have demonstrated their ability to deliver outstanding services, with a focus on customer and employee satisfaction as well as cost reduction. blog.transcom.com On Transcom’s corporate blog, we share stories from around the company. We also try to exemplify how we work together with our clients to enhance their business perfor- mance by improving the experience of their customers. 2016.transcom.com This special website replaces the traditional front section of Transcom’s annual report, giving you key highlights from 2016. You will also find Transcom’s people sustaina- bility report here. MORE INFORMATION ABOUT TRANSCOM A global customer experience specialist Generating €586.1million in revenue in 2016 Employing 29,000 people In 20 countries Operating 52contact centers, onshore, off-shore and near shore 33languages Delivering services in Representing more than      100nationalities Triple win in Spain Transcom Spain was awarded three prizes at the seventh annual Platinum Contact Center Awards held in Madrid in June 2016. The triple win was secured in the following categories: Best ­Customer Service in Banking; Best Customer Service in the Publishing sector; Best Customer Experience Strategy. Transcom Italia wins award In 2016 Transcom started to optimize the customer assistance processes of online travel operator Lastmi- nute.com, for which it has been managing customer care activities since 2015. These initiatives have de- livered even higher levels of customer satisfaction, more efficient contact management and reduced operating costs. In March 2017, Transcom Italia was assigned the 2016 best Customer Relationship Management award from the CMMC Club. “This award crowns our partnership with Trans- com,” said Lastminute. com group Operations Manager Giorgio Bonafini. x3 27Hello Transcom 2017
  27. 27. T eam leader Eloy Rojas Delgado has just arrived at work for the afternoon shift. He manages a team of 20 agents working with a client within telephone banking. “During a normal day, I try to assist the agents with their daily work,” he says. “I help them develop by giving them advice. I also monitor their results as well as the quality of the calls.” Right now, Eloy and his team are working on a very broad and complex campaign so he is trying to give the agents more feedback than usual. “I have to correct them sometimes,” he says, “but it’s also important to acknowl- edge a job well done.” Every day, the team has meetings to discuss the work. “It is important for us to talk to each other; it makes it easier for us to do our work. We have the meet- ings to build something we can share. Because during the working day, we all tend to focus on different parts of the campaign. Eloy believes it is necessary for him to be part of the team and to help improve the customer experience. “For example, sometimes the customer asks to talk to a team leader. By then, the agent has often taken the first step to help the customer, but I then try to take the next step to solve the problem.” Having started working as an agent in 2003, Eloy has been at Transcom for 14 years. And he loves the contact he has with the people in the company. In November 2016, he became one of the winners of Transcom Team Leader Award, which is granted in recognition of special effort or outstanding performance. “Of course, I didn’t expect to win – it was a really nice surprise,” he says. “But I think my team’s efforts and their results are among the main reasons I won. A naturally enthusiastic person, Eloy seems to really enjoy his job. “I really do like my work, and I want to continue to develop within Transcom. But I also love my spare time. I like running, biking and other sports, and I also enjoy cooking.” MALIN LARSHAMMAR FACTS/ELOY ROJAS DELGADO Age: 40. Works as: Team leader. Started working for Transcom in 2003. Education: English Philolog. Lives in: Torre de la Reina, near Seville, Spain. My favorite memory from Transcom: At the very beginning,­ when working for the telecom- munications company ONO, we could watch football Premier League matches while working. That was a pleasant job. The key to building a winning team JULIANALVAREZ BEST TEAM LEADER, REGION CONTINENTAL EUROPE