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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
student

Thanks GiffGaff - Vincent & Robbie maybe we can replace you with some indian? NOT HAPPY - I dont understand that with the greater number of users does that not mean more income? Or is that getting creamed off by the board? Seems all your speil is about bluring the facts!

enigma

I don't think it's fair to say the customer support will decline as a result of hiring staff in India. I have complete confidence in the employees giffgaff choose to hire, I look forward to hearing more about our new Indian Agents. My only concern is that the UK is loosing out here.

cicerone
@oscillik.

Giffgaff is hiring numerous UK based people as well (I've had the pleasure of meeting some of them); much more than the small amount of people based in India they're currently hiring to deal with the volume of port-in requests.

Beyond this, as stated; their remit MAY expand by the end of the year. In regards to respect, I've had to put up with British based agents that are completely incompetent and rude (the original Virgin Media centers, Lloyds, e.t.c); so, should I be entitled to be concerned about UK based agents as well? Another factor to take in to account is that in what way is your customer experience about to decline? As part of their initial remit, as an existing customer, you will not talk to them, they will have no impact on your service. Why not just give them a chance? I'm sure they're talented people. As well as this, the UK based team is expanding their hours. If anything, your customer experience is about to improve.

@coolkeith.

To be very blunt, do you consider it okay to be racist like that?

@jamesdn.

More UK staff are being hired; on top of this, I'm glad for the wider range of hours we'll have access to agents. In order to provide this wider range using solely UK based staff; I imagine giffgaff would actually have to lay some people off to make up the costs. Using an existing infrastructure (by the same company that actually provides the Derry team, I think?) means this doesn't have to be done, it allows giffgaff to continue to pump money in to the company and improve customer experience.

So, in the long run - how is the UK losing out? They're not, this action allows giffgaff to pump more money directly in to the UK economy as well.
consultant

I don't have a problem with idean call centres/agents as long as thay know what there talking about or in this case writting about putting a team of agents to just deal with the number of ports sounds like fair enough as well as increesing the number of agants as a whole is a good idea couse as has been said allready the numbers are growing and from what I have seen on this forum thay are growing fast. as for extending customer support till 10.00pm good move couse answering questions on the forums I have spoted that there is a larger number of questions on the forums in the evernings then during the day.

enigma

Without being harsh akisoft, if giffgaff felt the need to lay off existing workers in order to make way for some new UK agents to handle port requests, would those members of staff they would lay off really be that important to the company if they can just make them redundant over something like this.

 

I find this incredibly ironic:

 

"I have personally visited the team in India"

 

" As a low cost business giffgaff needs to keep its operating costs low"

 

Am I right to assume giffgaff paid for their staff to jet off across the world?

 

 

cicerone
@jamesdn.

It was an example of economics in regards to how that the expansion in agent hours, the additional UK staff, e.t.c; was possibly (only possibly) made possible through the outsourcing of port-in requests to an Indian based team.
phenomenon

thanks for keeping us informed. I'm not that fussed to be honest, though I suppose I might think about it further in the future if the remit of the new Indian staff was extended. gg is still a good deal for me and I still agree with the main principles behind it

motivator

hmm the problem i find [offensive content removed] .  they seem to have set scrpts that just will not deviate from, i get why but there in nothing more annoying than getting some disingenuous stock responce.

Hmm. I've got to say I'm torn here folks. I've lost my job to Indian workers 3 times now but I work in IT and it's just how it is these days. I personally take my business elsewhere when I find a company I use uses overseas callcenters. British Jobs for British Workers is a big thing for me. I've moved my broadband, my car insurance and my bank account because of Indian Callcenters.

 

giffgaff are really good value but now I'm conflicted. Just look at the support you get from 3 with their all Indian call centers. Alas, I see this the same way as the first company I worked for that I lost my job to Indian workers. First they'll do this little thing. It'll be seen as a success, then they will move more and more and they know they will lose customers but the loss in revenue of the few customers is nowhere near as much as the reduction in staff costs as the loss in revenue.

 

I really do know I sound like a hipocrite here, I want good value but I don't want it to be at the detriment of UK workers.

 

Sorry giffgaff but I can no longer recommend you, I'm going to look around for another option. Smiley Surprised(

rookie

 

@akisoft - i have NEVER ever had a UK based call centre operative hang up on me. the only call centre operatives that have ever hung up on me have been indian call centre staff. i am 27 years old and have had to deal with MANY call centres in my life (having been with Orange Broadband, Virgin Media, O2, T-Mobile, one2one, Orange, Three, various music equipment call centres, various mobile phone suppliers call centres, various computer equipment call centres) and again i point out that i have never had rudeness to the extremes as what i have experienced with indian call centres.
and with regards to your statement "as an existing customer, you will not talk to them, they will have no impact on your service." yes they will impact on my service, when giffgaff implements more duties into their workload, as has already been hinted at by giffgaff themselves.