giffgaff Blog

Member Service improvements

by robbie28 on ‎25-03-2011 10:04 - last edited on ‎20-11-2012 21:40 by ayla_15


giffgaff is growing... very fast, which is fantastic news. I wish I could share with you exactly how well we're doing but as we've said before it's too commerically sensitive to reveal our exact numbers. Suffice to say we are well ahead of where we thought we'd be at this stage.

However success does bring with it its own set of problems. One of those is that in last 3 months we have seen a very large increase in the volume of account related queries, and port in requests - due to all those new members coming on board.

Port in requests in particular are very manual and time-consuming to process. This has put a lot of pressure on our valiant Member Service agents - who deal with both queries and ports.

In addition, new Ofcom regulations are about to come in (from April 11th) which require all mobile companies to process port in and port out requests twice as fast as they do currently. Again, this is great news for giffgaff (anything that makes it easier and faster for customers to leave mobile compnaies that are failing them is all right with us). But it does mean we have to make sure we can deliver against these timelines.

So to maintain service levels, and fulfil our obligations to Ofcom we are making some improvements to our Member Support operation.

1) Port in process improvements. From April 11th new Ofcom regulations  mean that port in requests must be completed within 1 working day (currently it is 2 working days).

In order to make sure we can do this we are bringing on a small team of new agents who will focus exclusively on ports.The new thing for us is that these agents will be based in India. Both the India and the Derry based agents are provided by the same supplier. So we have complete consistency in approach and management between the two sites. I have personally visited the team in India and can absolutely vouch for their commitment to customer service and professionalism, I look forward to having them join our extended team.

The main reason for locating these porting agents in India is cost. As a low cost business giffgaff needs to keep its operating costs low, and India is a cheaper location than Derry. However we also get a potential benefit from the time difference. India is 5 and a half hours ahead of the UK, so as a unified team it means we have the option of having a working day that starts at 4am UK time. This means we have greater flexibility to turn ports around in the required timeframe.

Having the Indian team focus exclusively on ports also means that the Derry team can focus on account queries - which are typically more complex individual cases which require a deeper understanding of giffgaff operations. To head off a question that I'm sure some will ask... this does not mean that we are looking to move the entire support operation to India in the future. We may expand their remit beyond ports by the end of this year, but we will always keep the Derry team as we recognise that service is not all about cost. There is a benefit for members in having agents who are closer to the core business, and that will not be compromised.

We are currently setting up and training the Indian team on the port process. The first day of porting being handled by the Indian team will be April 4th. Once they are all up and running I will introduce our extended team in the same kind of way we did last year.


2) More agents in Derry. Since we introduced the agent team to the communuity at the end of last year we have increased the Derry team by 30%. Given the recent continued increase in our customer numbers we are going to increase the team again by another 20%. Our new recruits will start in the first weeks of April, and I'll introduce them when they are on board.

3) Longer 'opening times' for agents. We have looked at the trends of when account queries are submitted and are changing our shift patterns for Derry agents, to better cover the periods of peak demand. This also means that we can be more efficient - which in turn means we can extend the overall the time the agents are online.

From Saturday 26th March Derry based agents will be available until 10pm seven days a week (currently they finish at 7 pm).

These changes will mean that we can keep giving members a brilliant personal service even as we grow rapidly as a business.

Thanks

Comments
by mba_263 on ‎25-03-2011 10:09

A lot of people will be happy about the longer opening hours

by protectandsurvive on ‎25-03-2011 10:13
One of the reasons I left Virgin was the lack of empathy and flexibility of Indian call centre staff. However I understand keeping costs down is how you stay competitive and I find most of my queries are easily fielded on the community. Shame a few jobs weren't created here in the UK. Never mind. You know what you're doing.
by aandms on ‎25-03-2011 10:13
Nice to see giffgaff doing their bit to help the british economy grow.
by protectandsurvive on ‎25-03-2011 10:17
This is an effort to keep up with the growth of the company. I'm glad to see giffgaff grow.
by jamesdn on ‎25-03-2011 10:24

A step in the right direction. Personally I'd also like to see more agents get active on the community. There's quite a few of them, but only 2 or 3 ever post :smileysad: Don't the rest of them like us :smileysad:

by aandms on ‎25-03-2011 10:30
@james i see it as a step towards becoming another network, a team based in india now, might aswell pay them the same and get them to answer a few phones while they are at it.
by jamesdn on ‎25-03-2011 10:32

I agree it is a shame not to be supporting more British jobs, India is fast become the world's economic superpower (after China) as it is, they don't need the money.

by scott1984 on ‎25-03-2011 10:37

Well As Long As The Indian Call Centre Staff Don't Attempt To Lie/Pretend They Are From The Uk, When They Are Not & They Admit When They Can't Help, They Should Just Say So.

 

If GiffGaff.Com Ever Goes Customer Services By Phone & Remain Outside The Uk, Then I'd Probably Leave, As Indian Call Centres Often Lie Or Have No Understanding Or Power To Deal With Problems Or Enquiries :/

 

Lets Hope The Indian PAC Code Staff Can Do There Jobs & Deal With Both People Who Join From Other Mobile Companies Giving There PAC Codes To There Customers For GiffGaff.Com & PAC Codes For Those Choosing/Wishing To Possible Leave GiffGaff.Com.

by adsyrah on ‎25-03-2011 10:43

Sounds like a very good plan. As much as people would rather all the agents be in the UK, the porting is a task that doesn't need to be done here and keeping costs down is paramount to something that doesn't require much in terms of customer interaction. The 4am start to the working day is brilliant too.

 

Something that I was confused about - are the Derry team no longer doing ports at all now and only dealing with other agent queries?

by magicroundabout on ‎25-03-2011 10:43

Crikey, you lot do want it both ways eh? Cheap phone tarriffs but with UK-based agents. Business says you can't have both. And, actually, farming off a reasonably well-defined process like porting to India is a really good idea - offshoring is great for simple, repeatable, well-defined processes - it's not great for difficult questions and this move will free up agents from having to do porting to deal with more complex account queries...and maybe posting in the community too?

 

It is a shame for UK jobs too, but I think it's good move for GiffGaff and its customers.

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