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Case Studies : British Airways Global Consumer Relations Program Takes Off with Astute Solutions

#contactcenterworld, @astutesolutions

As a premier global airline, British Airways (BA) travels to 216 destinations across 94 countries, serving over 36 million people a year. In 2003, BA launched a global customer relations initiative aimed at overhauling its technology infrastructure and service processes (baggage, compensation, etc.). Astute Solutions’ ePowerCenter consumer interaction management solution was selected to accomplish BA’s expansive objectives.

The solution delivered the functionality that today fuels BA’s uncompromising service. It enabled a total view of the customer, enhanced information gathering and reporting, and significantly streamlined processes, thus playing a key role in improving BA’s service quality and effectiveness across all customer touchpoints.

The airline industry has many distinct challenges. Competition, regulation and fuel prices are examples of the uncontrollable external pressures in aviation. Many of these variables have the potential to impact the passenger experience. Yet, in the airline business, like most consumer-oriented businesses, service quality is the main brand differentiator. Understanding this reality and desiring to differentiate the BA passenger experience, British Airways partnered with Astute Solutions to overhaul and optimize its customer service recovery process and systems.

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Situation

Flying 36 million passengers annually to over 216 destinations, British Airways is the United Kingdom’s largest international scheduled airline. Customer service is at the heart of BA, and the airline takes pride in providing passengers with a world-class service experience.

Inevitably, there are occasions when service standards are compromised.To mitigate passenger dissatisfaction in these situations, BA has a network of customer relations offices, responding to passenger communications through channels such as phone, mail, email and fax. In 2003, BA completed a review of its operations across customer relations and identified a number of key issues and opportunities:

  • The existing processes were complicated and lengthy

  • Multiple customer databases were being created across the airline

  • It was not possible to report on company-wide service failures

BA’s challenges were further complicated by its non-integrated collection of technologies. For example, the company was using two separate and heavily modified applications in the UK and US, and had no formal systems in place at some of its other locations. Without an integrated view of customer interactions, BA had limited control over the effectiveness of its service recovery activities. This led to excessive customer relations expenditures due to:

  • Less efficient case handling and compensation processing

  • Multiple/duplicate claims for the same incident

  • An increase in goodwill abuse


Objectives

These findings led to a series of initiatives with the following objectives:

  • To create a single, global customer service platform connecting all customer relations sites and 350+ service representatives

  • Improve the speed and lower the cost of service recovery, by increasing operational performance and productivity

  • Provide timely and relevant feedback to the company, and become aware of service problems immediately

  • Increase operational performance and productivity

  • Improve passenger compensation procedures across 145 airport locations

Following a rigorous vendor evaluation process, BA chose ePowerCenter from Astute Solutions to help achieve these objectives. "Astute had the technology we were looking for, but their experience in our industry and organizational commitment to their customers’ success was of equal importance to us," said British Airways Global Customer Relations Manager, Richard Stabbins. "We needed to have confidence that the company we selected could successfully handle a global implementation. We had that confidence with Astute."


Solution

Astute Solutions met BA’s aggressive implementation schedule, rolling out the ePowerCenter solution across key locations within nine months. An entirely web-based application, ePowerCenter was deployed as a unified solution, running as a single application on a single, global database.

ePowerCenter replaced 11 non-integrated systems and is currently being used in more than 25 countries. The reduction in technology platforms helped BA reduce its total cost of ownership, while enabling better cost management across the organization.

The solution was designed to deliver excellent responsiveness across BA’s global wide area network (WAN). Even during peak load times with more than 230 agents processing cases concurrently, there is no degradation in performance. By capturing customer issues across all communication methods, ePowerCenter provided BA with a global view of all customer interactions and service issues at a granular level. In addition, ePowerCenter enabled BA to work with external and existing legacy information systems. Through a web-services interface, ePowerCenter was integrated with reservation systems, baggage tracking and operational customer databases, giving service representatives a complete view of customer information in real time.


Phase Two

Upon completion of the ePowerCenter case and issue tracking implementation, the next step was to add and develop a passenger compensation solution for use across the BA airport network. On the occasions when a passenger’s bag is lost or onward flight connection is missed, the airline is required to offer cash to cover the passenger’s out of pocket expenses. In partnership with Travelex, Astute developed a compensation solution that fully integrated with ePowerCenter platform, extending it from the contact centers out to BA’s airport operations.

Known for its currency services, Travelex is one of the world’s foremost issuers of pre-paid debit cards. Once issued by an airline representative, a passenger can use the card to obtain cash at an ATM or to make purchases at any point of sale.

Utilizing multiple currencies (Pounds, U.S. Dollars and Euro), the solution enables ATM cards to be activated and funds loaded in real time. Simultaneously a record of the transaction is created in ePowerCenter. The new compensation service is currently offered at over 110 airport locations, and when fully deployed, will be available at more than 140 airport locations around the world.

The impact of Astute’s work was felt immediately, as British Airways Head Global Customer Relations, Frances Taylor, explains: "Astute’s solution was the backbone of our program. We expected it to significantly impact efficiency, customer recovery and continuous improvement on a global scale. And it did. Today, the ePowerCenter solution enables our service representatives to quickly resolve customer issues, enhance recovery and continually improve our ability to measure and act on what our customers are saying. It is vital to our continuous improvement program."


Results

The British Airways strategy to improve service recovery was contingent on its ability to provide fast, efficient, and effective interactions. Astute’s solution delivered on BA’s objectives and enabled the following:

  • A unified, highly scalable solution now handles over one million interactions per year for BA - replacing its numerous, non-integrated systems

  • Claims and other complex customerrelations processes that sometimes took weeks to complete are now simplified and reduced to one hour or less - an efficiency gain exceeding 1000%

  • In place of a lengthy, manual process, BA airport teams can now issue compensation to customers on the spot when needed via a compensation card. The card is ready for use at thousands of ATM or Point of Sale (POS) locations worldwide, greatly enhancing the recovery process

  • Service quality greatly improved through the automation of workflow between departments and regions

  • BA now has the agility to allocate resources where they are needed most because it has real-time visibility into passenger experiences

  • Because ePowerCenter’s enhanced data collection and reporting capabilities provide the entire organization with an in-depth view of the passenger experience, BA can now enhance its product offering based on better information

Together, these organizations are enhancing service for millions of passengers around the world while raising the bar on what constitutes truly enhancing the customer experience.

#contactcenterworld, @astutesolutions


About Astute Solutions:
Company LogoAstute Solutions helps consumer brands drive loyalty throughout the customer journey with the world's smartest consumer engagement software. Consumers want to talk to their favorite brands like they talk to their friends, instead of being forced to communicate through stiffly structured interfaces. Astute Solutions’ blend of leading edge technologies makes this possible, eliminating friction during every customer interaction.
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Today's Tip of the Day - Make Training Fun

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Published: Monday, February 27, 2017

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2021 Buyers Guide Consultancies

 
1.) 
3D Vision Consulting

. Contact Center setup, management and transformation across all key components including Vision & Strategy, People, Technology, Quality, Processes, Communication and Facilities.
• Customer Experience strategy, design and implementation across multiple delivery channels.
• Design and implementation of full-cycle Ticket/Complaint Management Process/System.
• Develop Customer Satisfaction, Staff Satisfaction and Staff Motivation strategy and programs.
• Develop end-to-end Business Processes, efficient SOPs and well-structured SLAs.
• Build modern customer communication channels including Live Chat, AI Chat Bots, WhatsApp and Social Media Integration.
• Design Sales/Telesales structure, p...
(read more)

2.) 
Call Center Masters

Giving consulting services to call centers

3.) 
CC-CMM Certification Institute

CC-CMM Certification

4.) 
COPC

Service Journey Thinking
Service Journey Thinking is a comprehensive approach for improving the experience customers have along the service journey. It considers the service journey not only from the customer’s perspective, but it also examines the components that support the experience, including people, technology, processes and policies. By applying Service Journey Thinking, COPC Inc. helps brands promote greater efficiency, improved performance and reduced cost within their operations. For customers, this means reduced effort, improved satisfaction and enhanced loyalty.

5.) 
CTCOMM

Genesys PureConnect
Call Centers, Contact Centers and Cloud Solutions Consultancies

6.) 
Customer Support Asia

Offshoring
Customer Support Asia assures the success of service offshoring initiatives in the Philippines. Our consultancy serves both:
- clients that have service partners in the Philippines, and need to implement a major service initiative (performance/CX improvement, service change, site expansion, etc); and
- clients that desire to outsource services to the Philippines for the first time, and need expert help to qualify an an "ideal fit" partner, and manage an end-to-end service transition

We support both contact center services and "back office" BPO projects, limiting our practice to sites in the Philippines

7.) 
CX Central

Contact Centre Specialist Consulting
CX Consult provides specialist contact centre consulting with decades of experience across Australia and Asia/Pacific lead by industry expert Justin Tippett. Services include health checks, optimisation, outsourcing (local and offshore), technology upgrades, strategy and more.

Whether you have a 5 seat contact centre or a large multi-site operation we'll provide you with expert advice to ensure you can achieve your business objectives.

8.) 
ERIC YOUNG ASSOCIATES (Tele-Centre Assist Inc.)

Contact Center Consulting & Profit Improvement (Lean Six Sigma), Inside Sales, Efficiencies, Call Center Audit, Technology & vendor selection, Telephony, Recruiting, Training, Performance Management, Customer Journey Mapping, Software (CRM) Implementations

9.) 
Lieber & Associates

Contact Center Consulting
Lieber & Associates assists organizations with contact center issues.This includes management, processes, training, and technology. The firm's assessments evaluate and make recommendations for 15 call center areas ranging from call seasonalities to staffing to better use of the telephone systems. Contact center technology services range from new technology selection and implementation to problem-solving and optimization to technical trouble-shooting. Senior consultants have more than 20 years of experience each and are leaders in their discipline. Clients span most business sectors.

10.) 
Mpathy Plus

Mpathy Plus transform service, improve performance and provide operational support. We work in all areas of customer service and contact centres from initial strategy, feasibility studies, business cases, project management through to operational reviews, resource planning etc. We are independent and have vast experience of implementing, managing and changing contact centres and the customer experience.

11.) 
Outsourcing Solutions Europe

Outsourcing Solutions Europe is an advisory firm that helps companies to find the right contact center/BPO partner to serve European customers

12.) 
PCA Advisors Ltd

Contact Center Sales - growth and marketing strategies
I work with contact centers to position their companies to take advantage of opportunities that exist for them. We also work with their existing sales team to improve their communication and hunting skills. 'Growth' is our greatest ability.

13.) 
Pelorus Associates

Marketing Communications
Pelorus Associates is a market research and marketing communications company that assists developers of contact center solutions by providing in-depth market research and by authoring white papers, e-books, and blog posts.

14.) 
proceo.consulting

We can help You boost Your business results by:

- Building or developing high performing multi-channel customer care operations

- Improving metrics like Customer Satisfaction, Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Effort Score (CES), First Contact Resolution (FCR), Customer Retention rate, Inbound conversions

- Developing Your teams' skills to excel front and back-office operations and Customer relations

- Preparing and executing efficient Voice of the Customer and Customer Advocacy approach

- We will help You manage challenges and risks when changes affect people, operations and technology.

15.) 
Vads

PT VADS Indonesia provides consultancies with trainers, modules, a development programs for individuals and/or teams. Types of consultancies provided by PT VADS: Knowledge Process, Transformation Consultancy, Customer Services, Contact Center, Leadership, Interpersonal Development, Motivation, Training for Trainers and Digital Marketing.

16.) 
SCC Services Group

Contact Center Operations Performance Management
In today’s competitive business environment, contact center and marketing professionals are constantly challenged to manage a growing business, achieve superior performance levels and at times are asked to support services and products that are becoming more complex.

Faced with this reality, the consulting disciplines that SCC Services Group focuses on are operations management and service delivery excellence in the customer service, contact center and brand marketing arenas.

Our consulting practice puts emphasis on:

- Contact Center Operational Assessments
- Human Capital Management
- Organizational Structure
- Brand Marketing
- Strategic Planning
- Sales and Customer Care Tra...
(read more)

17.) 
The Taylor Reach Group

Established in 2003, The Taylor Reach Group is an award winning, call, contact centre and customer experience consulting and advisory firm. The company is based in Toronto and has offices in New York, Atlanta, Washington, Ottawa, London, Bangalore, Hong Kong and Beijing. We are vendor agnostic and do not partner with technology or outsource agencies. The only one who pays us are our clients. Each of our consultants possess a minimum of 20 years of ‘hands-on’ call/contact center operational management experience. We do not sell the pyramid, the seasoned experts you deal with through the sales process are the same people who will complete your project.
Taylor Reach has worked with contact cen...
(read more)

18.) 
Triad Services

Services Triad is a consulting firm with experience in the field of customer relations. He will celebrate his 25th professional anniversary in 2021. His facilitation skills and creativity allow him to work on many transformations related to the operational management challenges of customer contact centers.
With the support of his consulting team, he collaborates to many projects in Canada and abroad for public and private sector organizations. More than 275 consulting assignments and 150 benchmarking studies are part of his curriculum.
 

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