Customer Service agent in an office with laptop

More service providers recognise need for all-round CRM and customer interaction

By Charles F. Moreira

With a large and growing number of highly sophisticated and tech-savvy users of mobile applications and social media in Malaysia today, there is growing awareness especially amongst telcos, financial services providers, small to medium enterprises (SMEs) and other service providers of the importance of being able to communicate and interact with and respond to their customers over multiple channels besides voice.

Servion Abhijit Banerjee

Abhijit Banerjee

“This decade is a decade of customer service and we work with our customers to provide them with a technology blueprint for customer service”, said Abhijit Banerjee, Servion Global Solutions Vice-President and Regional Head, Asia Pacific who was in Kuala Lumpur on 30th July 2015.

Servion integrates technologies, platforms and services from several of its well known partners to provide its customers with an end-to-end customer relationship and interaction management system, aided by the use of data analytics to achieve the required outcomes.

Where required, Servion’s consultancy unit studies the customer’s brand promise and designs the customer experience accordingly and it also advises the customer on the strategy to implement the customer experience system based upon all perspectives including customer expectation.

“For example, customers flying on a full-service airline have much higher expectations of service and treatment than those of a budget airline,” said Abhijit. “Our system can also provide callers with the option to leave their number and call them back when an agent is available, whilst it can also inform callers on our customer’s website of the off-peak periods when they can get to talk to an agent sooner”.

Eighteen years ago, Servion provided automated call distribution (ACD) and other equipment and systems related to voice communication with contact centre agents.

It later added an interactive voice response (IVR) system which took the call and based upon the caller’s responses, would route the more mundane ones to automated voice recordings of answers to common enquiries, whilst it would route calls which required more detailed or complex responses to more expensive human agents.

“However, it was found that customers hate having to interact with an IVR, so we came out with a predictive IVR which learns and adapts to each customer’s interaction and which can also obtain the background regarding the possible purpose for each customer’s call so it can avoid redundant steps of pushing different buttons,” said Abhijit.

Such a system used in a customer service centre would know that a particular caller had brought in an item for repair and would ask the caller to say press 1 for an update on the status of the repair or to press 2 for other matters.

Servion also helps customers protect their earlier investments by integrating new platforms and systems with the customer’s existing traditional systems and platforms.

Different expectations of different generations

Customers of different ages expect to be able to interact with their service providers in different ways through different channels and more service providers in Malaysia realise the importance of catering to this demand and are willing to spend to upgrade and enhance their modes of customer relationship and interaction, and also to enhance their customer experience to remain competitive.

For example, Gen Y and Millennial people prefer to interact with their service provider digitally online instead of talking to an agent and especially telcos tend to be behind in deploying digital channels and in integrating them with their more traditional channels to provide multi-modal choices for customer interaction.

In a study by Frost and Sullivan, many respondents said that they were put off by lack of transparency in service pricing and packaging by their telco, thus resulting in a 55% churn rate.

“And, unsatisfactory customer experience is a major reason why people switch their telco or bank and over 80% of people in Malaysia switch service provider due to bad customer experience,”Abhijit added.

One of Servion’s recent customers is a large regional bank in Thailand which found that their call centre’s average call handling time was greater than the industry average, so Servion tweaked their processes and managed to reduce the bank’s handling time by 30% and they are now in discussion to transform the bank’s call centre with newer technology platforms and data analysis tools.

“In Malaysia, we currently are in the advanced stage of discussions on a partnership with two telcos to provide contact centre as a service (CCAS) to their customers, especially small to medium enterprises (SMEs) and we expect the hosted model to grow in Malaysia”, said Abhijit.

Types of service provider

Servion sees three kinds of service providers in Malaysia which will use different types of systems.

First are banks and financial service providers, typically with large, on-premises call centres of 250 seats or more which interact with customers through voice and digital channels and which employ predictive analytics to help it better serve their retail customers.

Second are telcos with large on-premises call centres which also provide business process outsourcing (BPO) services, such as call centre as a service (CCAS) to SMEs which subscribe to the service without having to worry about having to purchase and maintain any equipment and systems. Such services can also be charged as operational rather than a capital expense for tax purposes which makes it more attractive.

Third are pure-play BPO providers which provide CCAS to domestic and offshore customers.


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