Despite initial hesitation, outsourcing customer care has been the right move for Denmark’s largest telecommunications company TDC.
The telco has recently announced the success of its new hybrid model of in-sourcing and near-sourcing after its customer care and support was taken over by the Danish arm of American service provider Sitel in August 2014.
"Our figures demonstrate significantly higher customer satisfaction,” said TDC channels senior executive vice-president Jens Aaløse. “Even though we still have too many calls coming into billing and support lines, we see a significant cut in operating expenses.”
Today TDC’s customer care and support functions are run by Sitel at four sites across Denmark, formerly operated by TDC, and one site in the UK.
The challenge the two companies faced was to transfer nearly 800 TDC employees over to Sitel without losing employees or having a negative impact on TDC's 8.9 million customers in the Nordic region. The process was started with a two-month internal consultation and planning phase, which included discussions with management, unions and employees.
The final transition occurred in early October 2014 and the companies claim this was made easier by the fact that employees stayed in the same locations.
“It was important for Sitel to maintain the high quality of employees within TDC, then add our callcentre management solution and our global operating model into that working environment,” said Sitel country director for Denmark, Steffen Bagge.
“I think the in-sourcing hybrid model really enables us to work side by side with TDC instead of just having an outsource partner. We work together every single day and thereby can quickly get acquainted with all new TDC initiatives and better support their objectives.”
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Since Sitel took over, it has added 200 customer service roles in Denmark and is currently ramping up the UK operations from 100 to 150 employees. As a result of full staffing, more than 80% of calls are now answered within 20 seconds, the company said.
The need to change TDC’s existing business model was sparked by the highly competitive telecommunications market in Denmark.
The outsourcing process kicked off in late 2013 when TDC management was evaluating the company’s core businesses and sectors which could potentially be handled at a lower cost and with higher quality by an external partner.
Aaløse admitted the decision to outsource its customer service was met with some doubts, but the business recognised this wasn’t its core competence.
“Moving customer service, previously considered a core part of the business, to an external partner was a big step,” said Aaløse.
"The internal challenge was to convince the whole organisation from board members to union representatives that outsourcing is not a negative term. We now know it was the right decision from the customer perspective and also internally from TDC perspective,” he concluded.