If you have a mobile phone today or have purchased a digital device at a big-box retail store, chances are you are an Asurion customer. Asurion’s innovation and dedication to delighting customers for more than 20 years makes them the preferred provider of technology protection to the world‘s largest wireless carriers, trusted retailers and popular device manufacturers. The company’s solutions include premier digital device and product support; applications to protect privacy and provide security; and rapid replacement (usually overnight) of lost, stolen, damaged, or malfunctioning devices.
Asurion solves customers’ problems with multichannel support and processes across a complex contact center infrastructure, with more than 10,000 agents operating in multiple centers 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The organization often experiences planned and unplanned external events that generate higher call volumes and create forecasting challenges – events such as new product launches, software upgrades, the holiday buying season, and during summer travel, when people need help with replacing lost, damaged, or stolen devices. The company also sees fluctuations in agent availability due to weather-related absenteeism and the like.
In early 2015, Asurion began searching for a software solution that would help the company manage peaks in call volume, and mitigate fluctuations in agent staffing levels. Also, the organization was fast approaching the busy summer season and required a solution that could quickly and easily integrate into its multivendor environment.
Asurion customers have the choice of getting assistance on the web and by phone to reach desired outcomes. A customer may start an online, self-serve process to replace a phone, need to speak to an agent in the retail or warranty department, and then require assistance from tech support. “Our goal is to provide choice and consistency across channels,” says Tracey Strassner, senior director of customer solutions technology and planning at Asurion. “We want our customers to be able to choose the channel that works for them, and when they need to transition to another channel, there is consistency.”
In the summer of 2015 Asurion implemented VHT Callback, which gives callers the estimated wait time and the option to receive a callback rather than wait on hold. Callers also have the option to schedule a callback at a time that is more convenient for them. The company is also implementing additional VHT solutions that will allow customers the option to request a callback through the web. Agents will also be empowered to offer and schedule callbacks for follow-up calls, or offer the option of a callback for customers who need to transfer to a second agent in queues with long hold times.
“We initially rolled out VHT Callback for two clients in our mobility handset protection business and were happy with the results. We continue to put the solution into production across mobility, retail and tech support lines of business,” says David Lenahan, senior manager of customer solutions in the strategic initiatives and technology planning division of Asurion.
Asurion will implement the ability for agents to offer and schedule callbacks in 2016. “We send customers replacement phones within the next business day. We want these agents to be able to offer and set up callbacks for customer in the next couple of days after they have received their new phones and may need to speak to tech support to set up their devices,” says Strassner. “This blends our lines of business and provides a smooth transition for customers.”
“We are a heavy Net Promoter Score (NPS) company with a focus on customer experience,” says Strassner. “Anything we implement from a technology perspective has to improve the customer experience and at a minimum, maintain NPS. When deciding to go with VHT, we definitely thought it would help us reduce talk time, improve service levels and protect NPS. The take rate, the number of people choosing a callback, is actually higher than we thought,” Strassner says.
“Talk time is shorter than the normal call in queue because callers don’t spend time up front complaining about long hold times. Our customers are recognizing that we value their time, and this perception shows up with higher NPS. We’ve have a very positive experience with VHT, and the solutions integrate within our environment very easily,” says Strassner.
The Asurion environment is a combination of Cisco and Avaya infrastructure, says Fuzail Khan, principal contact center architect for Asurion. “It was clear to us that VHT is a fully accomplished technical solution, and from day one we realized VHT could quickly integrate with our hybrid environment.” Lenahan concurs. “We immediately recognized that VHT had people who were experts in all of the fields where we needed expertise. Whereas, when we evaluated other vendors, they knew only their environments, and they couldn’t help us with our multivendor environment,” Lenahan says.
The VHT integration has gone smoothly, but Lenahan admits some members on his team were skeptical at first about the impact callback would actually have on service. “In one of the many detailed performance reports we get, there is accountability and we can show the service level with VHT and the service level without VHT. When our team saw those comparisons and the impact of callback, they stopped asking questions,” Lenahan says.
“Actually, our teams have grown dependent on VHT.…They greatly prefer the automation to manual processes,” says Strassner. “[Using VHT] comes down to the ability to offer customers their channels of choice, so I can offer customers a callback if they are on the web or in the IVR. I can even empower my agents to offer callbacks. This multifaceted aspect of VHT gives our customers ease of communication, choice, and a consistent experience.”
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