Utility Gains Omni-channel Inbound and Admin Support with Callbox
In 2013, the Client faced a number of business challenges that prompted a thorough review of the company’s internal processes. An increase in the frequency of power outages and multiple billing disputes caused a spike in consumer complaints. This, in turn, overstretched the company’s customer welfare desk, leading to long hold times and request backlogs.
Understaffed and struggling to meet customer demands, the Client decided to farm out part of their customer care operations to a local contact center, which handled phone-based customer care, billing follow-up, and notification campaigns.
But nine months into the outsourcing program, results showed only a minimal performance improvement in terms of resolution rates, ticket backlogs, and satisfaction scores.
Further review of the Client’s customer service processes revealed that it needed to overhaul many of its inbound and admin workflows. Customers were reaching out to the company through other channels than phone, but the Client has yet to adequately cover those other touch points.
The Client also understood the need for having a unified view of each customer for better reporting and case management, since customers often found themselves repeating the same requests and complaints to different customer service reps, while reps persistently experienced difficulties in updating and retrieving customer information.
It was clear that the company’s outsourcing requirements went beyond processing inbound customer calls.
• Provided back office and administrative support for utility customer service desk through phone, email, and chat
• Streamlined key steps in customer service workflow through process management
• Enabled seamless CRM integration and (later) migration to client’s internal system
THE CALLBOX SOLUTION
In 2014, the Client switched providers and entered into a two-year outsourcing contract with Callbox, having chosen the latter for its multi-channel customer service capabilities, broad range of outsourced back office solutions, and comprehensive process management tools. The contract was renewed in 2016, in which the Client doubled the number of Callbox agents handling the project.
Upon signup, Callbox then closely collaborated with PECO to evaluate and recommend improvements to many of the key inbound activities in its customer service desk, including:
- Customer Care and Support
- Billing and Payment
- Complaint Resolution
- Hotline and Dispatching Services
- Notification Campaigns
- Outage and Emergency Reporting, and internal coordination with the Switchboard and Field Trouble Shooting Teams
- Customer and Market Research
To carry out these roles, Callbox had originally assigned a dedicated six-person team consisting of five full-time specialists and a support staff. This was later increased to 12 agents during contract renewal in response to a growing customer base and largely positive results in the initial two years.
Some of the team’s main responsibilities include back office and administrative tasks such as:
- Answering email and chat inquiries
- Assisting with inbound and outbound calls
- Documenting and routing complaints to the appropriate departments
- Processing account inquiries and billing disputes
- Following up on bills and late payment notifications
- Accessing and updating customer records in CRM
Throughout much of the outsourcing program, Callbox provided the CRM platform and ensured seamless integration with the Client’s internal system. In August 2018, data from back office and administrative activities handled by Callbox have been migrated to the Client’s own CRM without disrupting any customer service process.
The Client’s outsourcing program with Callbox is now in its fourth year, and Callbox remains a key strategic partner for the company.
By transferring much of the back office and administrative workload to the Callbox team (plus leveraging its omni-channel and process management capabilities), the company’s customer welfare desk has been able to focus on core activities that resulted in:
- 85% rep occupancy rate (up from 62%)
- 27% Reduction in average case handling time
- 32% increase in daily case resolution rate
- 19% improvement in median case quality scores