By RIZWAN HUSSAIN
May 20 -June 02, 2002
The everyday bickering continues as I wake up to
find the maid complaining (more like shouting at the top of her lungs)
that we are out of detergent (As if I care!! As if I wanna wear washed
Well, the normal routine continues (fingers
pointing, tempers spilling) and then blah blah blah (to avoid sounding
like the maid - no offense to anyone)... and then my mom noticed a
telephone number on the empty detergent bag (mommy dear, savior of the
day and my sleep!!).
And so as the story goes, like every housewife who
wants to take a well-deserved break from everything, mom called up the
number only to discover to her dismay that the detergent company don't
deliver at home (I didn't want to get up and go to the market, you
see). However, my mom's expression soon changed and I could see her
face lighten up. In no time at all, she was talking to someone on the
phone as if it was an old mate. The anger disappeared and all I could
hear was giggles like she was enjoying her chat. Moreover do you know,
even the maid stood there grinning widely, pleased that she was no
longer being targeted for wasting too much detergent!!
To bring everyone at par, the number my mom noticed
was that of Lever Raabta, the most popular customer care Call Center
in Pakistan. A couple of months back, Lever Brothers Pakistan Limited
envisioned reaching the masses directly through some medium ñ and by
directly I really mean directly from the corporate office in Karachi
to the consumers homes. After looking at their options, they reached
an agreement with 2B Technologies, the plan being to reach people in
the remotest areas of Pakistan and serve them, or in other words, care
A Call Center is a massive project and so are its
effects on customers. It involves integration of computer and
telephone technologies, and goes to the extent of having fax-back,
fax-on-demand, voice messages, emails, integration of Customer
Relationship Managers (CRM) - in fact, the possibilities are endless!!
And what is it about a Call Center that equips
organizations with the tools for caring... of giving you that special
treatment... of being there for you...? The first chapter (out of
many) is the Interactive Voice Response unit or IVR. An IVR can vary
from being as simple as a greeting to confronting the caller with a
set of easy-to-traverse menus. Yes, I am talking about the voice at
the other end of the line that greets you and walks you through a few
options, and since it is completely automated, there is no question of
bad attitude (no wonder it caught my mom's attention and even more,
put a smile on her face).
If the caller wants extensive help, that is where
agents come in. The courtesy of the agents is a treat for the troubled
customer. Their kind words, caring tone, and timely advice is all that
the customers are looking for at that point. All in all, at the end of
a conversation, the caller leaves with a feeling that the world is not
such a bad place after all and there is someone out there who cares.
There you go, you've hit the nail on the head (ouch?!), it is this
feeling that makes in-roads towards customers and this is achieved
through a Call Center.
One should remember, that at the end of the day,
the aim is to sell the product. But it is the way you do it that
decides whether you can beat competition. It takes ages to make a
customer and seconds to lose one; and customer care ensures that you
stay ahead of competition.
Customer care is not only about setting up
call-centers. Today it might be one of the best ways to make
customers, tomorrow who knows. However, one thing is for sure, if
there is anyone who can help you in making and keeping customers, 2B
Technologies will always be at the forefront in providing a solution.
After all, our vision says, "We help our customers make customers
for life; and set up a culture of customer service".
On a closing (and irrelevant) note, the "mom
and maid feud: ended on a happy note, at least for the moment ñ
thanks to customer care!!
The author is a member of the Research &
Development Team at 2B Technologies.