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Member Service improvements

aspirant


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

338 Comments
steward
Thats me leaving shortly then !!!!!! There is no excuse for work being sent outside UK. I dont want my details being dealt with in india. Think we'll see the end of Derry shortly. Companies have got to start realising if they outsource then who the hell is gonna have any jobs in this country and earnmoney to buy their products. Can we stop our details going abroad under the Data Protection Act? Not happy other this at all. Richard
phenomenon
@rhino no because they are part of giffgaff, doesnt make a difference really though its already in the t&c's you give permission for them to pass your details to a 3rd party by using the service.
steward
Thanks @aandms . I would rather they cut back on the payback and keep the jobs here. How soon will it be before they decide actually lets get rid of Derry completely and do what 3 do and have virtually everything in India as cost savings will behuge. The more people say NO to outsourcing the better. There are too many problems when companies do this and heard too many horror stories over bank andcard details being sold from outsourced call centres. Richard
phenomenon
steward
I left BT when had nightmare problems with there sri lankan call centre. Always ask to be transferred to UK call centre now when get the foreign centres at Sky or Virgin Media. Richard
phenomenon
@vincent or robbie how many people will be based at giffgaff india?
aspirant

@aandms I like your idea of finding out more about Indian agents, we could maybe do a Q&A with them like we did with the Derry agents. There will be 5 of them, and there will be 12 Derry agents. The numbers reflect the proportion of ports to other queries.

cicerone
To the people complaining about their data being sent abroad e.t.c; to start, the team will be dealing with port-ins. You're already a customer, you will not have to deal with them. If they are capable of doing more than this at a later stage; and this frees up money for the company as a whole to improve quality of service, I can only see this being a good thing.

It does seem that some people complain for the sake of complaining, at every opportunity. Accusing Giffgaff of using slave labour with no actual justification would be construed as libel by some people. Beyond this, the general prejudiced attitude towards people in Indian call centers isn't what I would call merited. Firstly, they are not taking calls; they are taking emails (there is a difference in delivery between the two on numerous levels). I have had problems with people in remote call centers, I have had just as many problems with call centers based in this country as well (if not even more; let's take Lloyds as an example of a UK based organisation with absolutely abysmal phone based support).

Now, as Robbie said earlier on - giffgaff is expanding their UK team as well, as well as constantly giving back to UK based customers and helping UK based charities. For this response to be given as a result of an additional increase in the support workforce is ridiculous, in my personal opinion. On top of this, show this new team some respect instead of calling them slaves and essentially insinuating that they are worth less than you as a person.

@rhinosrich. Those horror stories applies to call centers in a number of locations, including the United Kingdom. It's not an issue limited to outsourced call centers.

Hear Hear! Fantastic News :)

rookie

it's all well and good trying to cover up your decision with corporate speak such as "So my view is that giffgaff existing and succeeding has got to be better for the UK econony than us not being here, or not succeeding." but the fact remains that the UK is still suffering from massive recession, and it is absolutely without a doubt added to by these kind of actions by companies.

 

as has already been rightly said, these jobs should be going to UK based staff. This is a UK-only network. And before someone chimes in again to say "but it's just port-ins that they're working on" - please re-read the statement. it clearly says "We may expand their remit beyond ports by the end of this year". also it has already been hilighted that call-centre staff still get paid as much (and in some cases actually MORE) than UK based staff doing the same job.

 

and as for giving respect, i think we as customers who have time and time again had to put up with call centre agents that are completely incompetent and rude (Virgin Broadband customer support, Three UK customer support, etc etc) i think we are entitled to be concerned that our customer experience on giffgaff is about to decline.