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CORPORATE PROFILE

HELPING YOU MAKE CUSTOMERS FOR LIFE

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 clothes!! Arghh!!).

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 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 for them.

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 thanks to customer care!!

The author is a member of the Research & Development Team at 2B Technologies.