TAKEALOT.com takes customer service to next level with Connection Telecom analytics

TAKEALOT.com has again improved on its response times – without spending a cent on growing its agent pool.

December 6, 2012

TAKEALOT.com, a South African retailer known for its standard-setting customer service, has again improved on its response times – without spending a cent on growing its agent pool.

The company credits a call centre analytics solution from leading alternative telco Connection Telecom, which allowed it to make subtle resourcing shifts within its agent pool.

Running blind
Barbara Nash, customer service executive at the brand that gave its customers same-day delivery on orders before 1pm, says TAKEALOT has always managed its call centre with efficiency in mind.

“Historic data showed we were averaging 98% calls answered, and it might have been possible to still improve on that, but in truth we were running blind. There was no live data telling us how many calls were dropped or holding at any given point,” she says.

Analytic opportunity
To find out, TAKEALOT went looking for an analytics system that could harvest intelligence on the fly from the call centre application, reveal any shortfalls and allow the company to remedy them in good time. After extensive research it decided on QueueMetrics from Connection Telecom.

Nash reveals that Connection Telecom had a year before helped TAKEALOT implement a cloud-based PBX and call centre. “They were giving us very good support, and their base solution offered quick and cost-efficient scaling of our call centre, as well as sophisticated manageability, advanced user features and the ability to add unified communications modules at will.”

Powerful analytics
Rob Lith, business development director at Connection Telecom, says QueueMetrics has been equally successful at TAKEALOT, with extensive reports revealing many hidden opportunities and gaps in the call centre’s capacity and workflow planning.

“QueueMetrics reports on 150 metrics, providing easy-to-read dashboards of complex variables like performance, which are affected not just by the number of calls handled but also by the time spent on calls and waiting time. TAKEALOT’s dashboards combine all those dimensions and more to get to the true state of a call centre’s delivery against SLAs.”

Effective planning
QueueMetrics also offers live viewing of call queues and caller IDs. “Our previous tool only gave twice-daily reports – now we can see if a call goes unanswered and call back immediately. That alone has enormous benefit for our brand,” says Nash.

She says live monitoring gives the business a thorough understanding of the peaks and troughs of traffic, which gives a call centre greater influence over resource planning. Before QueueMetrics, TAKEALOT averaged 250 to 300 calls per day with a small 10-person call centre. As a result of workflow optimisation, call centre management has been able to confidently devote just enough resources at peak times, and still managed a new record for most calls in a day at the recent Black Friday sale (600).

Other smart resourcing decisions followed – for example rerouting some agents to answer e-mails rather than unnecessarily manning phones. Thus email response times have come down from two or three hours to one since implementation of the system.

Monitoring also allows quality assessments, with reports feeding into KPIs.

All-round benefit
Connection Telecom’s growing presence in TAKEALOT’s business has had all-round beneficial effects on its performance and service, says Nash. “It is a vital tool for any company using telephony to generate revenue. We have had to iron out a few technical problems, but have always been able to address things with them. With a few more minor tweaks, it has definitely been worth the investment.”