Creating a Partnership
Building an Enduring Connection
Enterprise-Level Customer Care & Back-Office Solutions
Voice for Customer Care
The goal of an outsourcing relationship is not to be a vendor who provides a service but rather a partner who delivers lasting value. And that’s what we have done in supporting a SaaS company, creating a case study on building an enduring connection. One thing that separates this engagement from the norm is the level of client involvement. Client representatives make regular site visits, and the leadership team has forged personal relationships with agents and supervisors, to the point of knowing many of them by name. That’s not typical.
The client has also enacted a rewards and recognition program for our personnel, treating them as an extension of the business. While the GlowTouch philosophy is that our agents will work as ambassadors of your brand, clients do not always embrace that reciprocally, at least not to this extent. Our supervisors talk with their supervisors weekly. Likewise, our program and operations managers are on a regular communications cadence with client personnel.
Six new lines of business have been added to our scope of work, so if that initial period was a test, we passed.
Delivering Lasting Value
01 The Challenge
This partnership originated from a backlog of work that had stretched the client’s internal support team past its limit.
02 The Solution
We began by managing tier-1 service calls, a triage function to route work orders to the right people, and a modest back-office team working on issues.
03 The Results
Quality scores began in the 80s and are now in the target range of the mid-90s. Scores for CSAT, same-day issue resolution, and schedule adherence are also trending upward.
01 The Challenge
This program began a bit more than a year ago with agents split between our locations in Manila, Philippines, and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. This partnership originated from a backlog of work that had stretched the client’s internal support team past its limit. Our tasks involved some back-office duties along with the over-the-phone customer support that is common when working with SaaS clients.
We began by managing tier-1 service calls, a triage function to route work orders to the right people, and a modest back-office team working on issues that were not well-suited to resolution by phone. Work also started during the client’s peak season, meaning it would be quickly evident if we were up to the job or not.
Six new lines of business have been added to our scope of work, so if that initial period was a test, we passed. In simplest terms, we have taken ownership of specific processes the client would rather not own. And this has happened with teams in the Dominican Republic and the Philippines whose work involves the nuances of American state, federal, and unemployment taxes, which are literally foreign to them.
02 The Solution
This client is far more interested in the balance between people and results instead of focusing solely on outcomes. KPIs matter; don’t misunderstand, but they are not the only metrics that define success. The company is actively interested in the people behind the numbers and openly treats our associates as their own. There is a level of embeddedness that is unique in outsourcing, but it is also appropriate given the intricacies that are involved.
Working with HR and payroll officers is a unique dynamic in that of every 30 contacts, 25 will be different in subject or scope. Even with typical SaaS clients, that is unusual within call centers where product or service issues typically fall within specific predefined parameters. With this program, one call can be about standard deductions, another will dive into questions about child support, and a third involves individuals who worked in multiple states during the same tax year.
That requires agents who are comfortable with complexity. This level of depth requires a different agent mindset, which led us to revise the hiring profile and adjust the wage structure. The ability to handle a steady traffic flow with maximum accuracy is critical. The margin for error is very slim. Something as minor as transposing the digits on an account number or mistyping an email address has a multiplier effect in bogging down production. We cannot afford slowdowns, not since the genesis of this relationship was based on reducing a backlog of work.
03 The Results
Ask ten therapists to identify the most critical factor in a successful relationship, and at least nine will say communication. The client had a list of expectations for the program. They all do. Headcounts, duties, and metrics were all spelled out. But those were just the building blocks, like expecting a partner to be honest, trustworthy, and understanding. Expectations are not realized just because they exist; it takes time and effort to engrain and fine-tune them. There will be some back-and-forth in creating a mutual comfort zone, and issues that arise must be discussed.
A client who makes multiple site visits a year, including the long-haul flight to Asia-Pacific, is one who is invested in program success and understands that customer service is a people-driven enterprise. If there is a question, it gets asked. If there is an idea, it is presented. If there is a concern, it is raised. Initiatives such as a client-sponsored rewards program dovetail with what we often say about treating your customers as if they are ours. The company does not see in-house vs. outsourced teams, but instead, a team of service personnel creates a positive feedback loop.
Behind this case study in partnership development are the operational successes that make it possible. Adding new lines of business means adding new people, and the program has doubled since its inception. The scorecard has improved, quarter by quarter. Quality scores began in the 80s and are now in the target range of the mid-90s. Scores for CSAT, same-day issue resolution, and schedule adherence are also trending upward. The biggest indicator of this being a win is the new responsibilities awarded to us. Being given more business is perhaps the best endorsement a service provider can receive from a client, and more of that is anticipated.