Knowledge: Case Studies

When mobile phone operator Three wanted to improve its struggling customer perception scores its contact centre team dialled up the solution.

Watching commuters hunched over their smartphones giggling at a new picture on social media, eagerly typing a response to a post or keeping up to date with the football scores you would think that there was no greater love than mobiles. That may well be the case for some but according to Barry Shields, partner manager at Three UK, that love and loyalty isn’t always extended to mobile phone operators.

“People love their phones but hate phone companies,” he says succinctly. “In some recent research it was shown that phone firms were trusted less than banks. That really hurts because they are providing ISAs and balance checks and we are providing access to Instagram and free roaming!”

This situation was compounded by Three being the lowest ranked mobile phone network operator in terms of brand consideration.

“How did we get here?” asks Shields. “We began in 2003 as a challenger brand, disrupting the norm and being an alternative to the Big Four providers. We were the first to launch video calling and all you can eat data plans. Our goal was and is to be the best loved brand and free the fun, but we were somehow the lowest ranked.”

Shields explains that Three’s marketing department was at the fore of trying to turnaround this position, but he believed strongly that the contact centre – particularly its commercial operations – could also support the transformation primarily in the retention of customers and new sales.

“We wanted to use insight to understand why our attraction as a network was so low. As part of this we looked at industry research and commissioned a leavers report which surveys 3000 people every month. We asked them why they had left and their experience of that leaving journey,” he explains. “As part of our expansion of our Voice of the Customer programme last year we, within the contact centre, also contacted all of our detractors to understand their pain points and how we can change their experience. We also wanted to look at our policies and process gaps in the business and help fix them as well.”

Case study – Three UK, Barry Shields

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