Even Contact Centers Have Room for Improvement

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Acommon misperception holds that successful companies don�t need to change any aspect of operations because -- well, everything�s going wonderfully. When that mindset seeps into the heads of upper management, it can lead to stagnation -- and operational disaster.

This malaise could have easily crept into Groupe b2s, the No. 2 contact center and customer relationship services company in France. With 3,000 workers acoss seven sites in France and three in Morocco, b2s supports more than 200 active customers. Maxime Didier, the chief executive officer who founded b2s 11 years ago, says that, while business was booming, problems lay beneath the surface. Starting in 2003, various acquisitions brought b2s more opportunities for revenue; the moves also brought baggage: different systems.

�We had various types of technology that different businesses we acquired were using [beforehand],� Didier explains, including Internet Protocol (IP) telephony software from its acquisition of a French bank. �This technology was running very smoothly without any problems,� he begins. �On the other hand, we had several concerns about the service maintenance.�

Service maintenance has been a sticking point as b2s sought an outbound-calling solution, including, as Didier says, �at least three different technologies, and each time it had been a nightmare.� So b2s sought unified software with high-quality support. �We wanted a strong, very stable technology as well as a good level of maintenance from the provider,� Didier adds.

After testing the market, Didier says b2s went with an IP-based solution from Altitude Software, a contact center vendor with offices in Portugal. This included both the Altitude uCI multichannel contact center management suite and the Altitude vBox IP communications platform. Altitude�s French deployments are handled by Easyphone France, a company it owns -- and Didier says he knew right away that he�d made the correct decision. �We had the right level of help from [Easyphone France] to help us move from what we had to Altitude technology, which was very important for us,� he says.

Didier says the implementation took six months�and two months after that, results started coming in. Agent productivity in outbound campaigns made significant gains, as the agent-occupation rate -- the amount of time spent making calls -- rose from 40 minutes per hour to 50 minutes, and list penetration -- being able to utilize the client-provided contact information for outbound calls�has increased more than 25 percent. The software that b2s agents use is also now more stable than ever, with a 99.9 percent systems-availability rate since the Altitude implementation -- which directly impacts their wallets. �When the tool is down, [agents] can�t get their incentive bonuses, so they�re happy now that the software is running well,� Didier says.

Now that b2s has found a vendor it can trust, Didier says Altitude will be integrated into the rest of b2s� business, in addition to outbound calling. That trust, Didier says, is crucial. �The important thing to focus on is the great job and great team [Easyphone France] provided for our support as we had been missing this a lot from the previous providers we had,� he insists. �That is something that�s very noticeable. We are a happy customer."

With Altitude Software, Groupe b2s was able to:

  • increase talk time per agent from 40 minutes per hour to 50 minutes;
  • increase list penetration by 25 percent; and
  • improve system availability to 99.9 percent.

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