Adam Spence, Head of Customer Care at Vodafone Qatar highlights how his company trains and empowers the frontline staff in complaint resolution. He also speaks about the exclusive Vodafone Red Customer Care team which visits customers to answer all their questions.
For Telecom companies in the region, what is the importance and need of focusing on customer service?
Adam Spence: Service is a differentiator and has such a lasting impression on any consumer or enterprise customer on the brand that they have chosen to purchase or partner with. Customers in the region have fast adoption to telecommunication services and rely on them for staying connected 24X7 whether for business or for keeping in touch with family and friends. Customers use service channels to keep their chosen services up to date and to leverage the right products, value added services, promotions and for general enquiries it is critical.
What kind of trainings do you provide to your Customer Support Staff and how much of an emphasis is placed on it?
Adam Spence: A lot of time is invested in conducting professionally developed training programs for all our frontline staff. At Vodafone we place a high emphasis on our training programs and on the development of our people. This is key to our organization.
Each of our staff attends a three week training course upon joining the Vodafone Care Team. We also train staff on working in ‘The Vodafone Way’ which is based on speed, trust and simplicity. This training ensures consistency in how we work together as a team and also how we deal with our customers. We have also run training for Becoming a Leader, Harvard Manage Mentor Training, Meyers Briggs Workshops and many more. We use ‘instructor led’ and ‘web based training’ to suit both the trainee and the type of training. I believe that training needs to be an ongoing journey which doesn’t stop when you start answering the phone- that’s just the beginning!
What modern technological innovations has Vodafone introduced to improve the customer experience?
Adam Spence: Vodafone has had running for some time now a touch point NPS system that randomly selects customers to respond to surveys on their experience after they have received service from many of our touch-points such as retail, website and contact center. This allows our team to continually improve the experience on each of these channels and introduce new and innovative solutions accordingly that ensure worry-free experiences to our customers.
What are your processes for resolving customer complaints and in what order of priority are they resolved? Is there a specific timeframe set in which a customer issue has to be resolved?
Adam Spence: All our frontline agents are empowered to make changes to the Customer’s Account to resolve issues. They are also trained in technical support which means that we can offer technical/handset support without transferring calls. When our frontline team needs to manage any incoming query with Customer Care management team, they use a problem management system which ensures effective and timely communication. Priority is worked out on a matrix – dependent on the severity of the effect of the issue on factors such as our Customer Base, Customer Segment. Timeframes for resolutions are conveyed to the customer after initial investigation if this issue is not already resolved at that point.
What nature of complaints do you normally receive?
Adam Spence: Similar to all other telecom operators, our customers contact us to understand billing charges including data and roaming charges. They also contact us to understand more about our networks plans.
Are there any special services you have available for disabled customers?
Adam Spence: We are now in the process of making our website certified by MADA which is Qatar Assistive Technology Centre. This will turn some of our online care channels into highly accessible platforms.
What ongoing rewards and promotions are you currently running to attract new customers?
Adam Spence: We regularly run promotions across all our service offerings to attract new and delight existing customers. These change on a regular basis throughout the year. On a product & services front though, we also ensure to launch in market propositions that are truly second to none in order to attract and retain our customers. Our Vodafone Red Postpaid plans, for example, aim to enhance both the lifestyle and telecom experience of our customers who are looking for unmatched services and offerings from their operator of choice. Our Vodafone Falla Postpaid & Prepaid plans, similarly, offer a number of unique services to our younger audience. We have also recently launched Qatar’s newest 4G network, Vodafone 4G, allowing customers to enjoy outstanding content experience with plenty of music and movies and series via Anghami+ and Go by OSN.
What service features make you different or give you an edge over your competitors?
Adam Spence: At Vodafone Qatar, we make every effort to offer our customers experiences that are second to none. This lies at the core of what we do and this is the essence that drives us to invest continuously in identifying innovative ways we can better serve our customers. All of our care touch-points, be it in-store, call center, online care and self-care platforms are geared towards providing each and every one of our customers with a great experience. These include: 24/7 customer service in 4 languages both onshore and offshore; a dedicated Qatari call center team for our local customers; an award-winning call center with 35 awards in the past 4 years including Best Call Centre in the ME for two years; and a quality-focused approach with over 90% of customer enquiries answered on a first call basis. Additionally, we have an exclusive Vodafone Red Customer Care team that visits our customers anytime, anywhere to answer any queries they might have. This is one in many other examples of how we ensure worry-free experiences to our customers.
Having an international presence in 22 countries, can a Vodafone user in Qatar access the same Vodafone service if he/she is visiting any of the 22 countries that the company provides services in?
Adam Spence: Vodafone Qatar Customers can roam in almost any country in the world. Roaming is available on all plans and our rates stay the same at any time of the day or night regardless of the network you choose. Vodafone Customers have access to the same customer services such as balance check, voicemail check and free calls to our call center 24/7, to ensure their experience abroad is as seamless as possible. Due to our large global footprint; our customers can also enjoy special passport rates while roaming in 26 countries including the UAE.
In terms of queries, do you feel that customers prefer to communicate traditionally by phone or are you seeing more of a shift towards online channels of communication?
Adam Spence: Online and digital channels are becoming more and more popular everyday, as more and more customers prefer the immediacy of these experiences.
Do you face any challenges in providing service to an immensely diverse population of people in Qatar? And what benefits do you find in catering to such a diverse consumer base?
Adam Spence: It is exciting working with such a diverse customer base and also very exciting to develop strategies and channels to serve each of these segments. The more diverse your target audience is the more it helps you design products, services and processes that are truly world-class and innovative.
What are your future plans to enhance the Vodafone Customer Experience?
Adam Spence: We are continuously looking for ways to enhance our customer experience and we shall certainly disclose these in due course.
About Adam Spence:
Adam Spence spent the first 14 years of his career with Vodafone where he drove the implementation of many leading network infrastructure and desktop deployments, leading technology implementation teams within their Australian operation.
Adam then created and drove the implementation of a number of call centre initiatives which include Genesys Virtual Call Centre’s, Voice Recording, Outbound dialers and then created the world acclaimed and award winning “Lara” speech application for Vodafone Australia.
Adam then joined Vodafone’s Global Customer management group where he assisted other Vodafone markets with implementations of speech recognition and then recently drove the trials and implementation of Vodafone’s Handset Self Care Strategy and implementation leveraging Nuance Mobile Care.Adam joined Nuance as Asia Pacific Director for Mobile Care in September 2009 based in Sydney Australia.
In August of this year Adam rejoined Vodafone, this time in Qatar heading up Customer Care and Experience and is looking forward to his first role working in this region.
Outside the office Adam has an interest in running and racing with his own car race team.