However, the organisation’s sales are very seasonal (approximately 50% occur over Christmas) which means that PhotoBox has to deal with extreme levels of volatility in customer demand. And when the group launched operations in Australia, New Zealand and Canada, there was the added complication of matching fluctuating resource requirements to a number of different time zones.
"Our customers buy unique, personalised and emotional products and often require a fair degree of support — at a time that suits them, whatever their time zone. While it’s impossible to generalise our customers and their customer service needs, each and every customer deserves a great customer experience from PhotoBox," explains Helen Ellis, Head of Global Customer Services.
After a careful review of the business requirements, it became clear that homeworking was the best solution for PhotoBox and we were appointed as its specialist outsourcing partner.
By bringing in demographically aligned advisors to serve PhotoBox customers, we are able to provide high levels of technical support as well as great customer care.
PhotoBox has always provided good customer service, but in 2011, the group decided that it must deliver consistently ‘great’ customer service to maintain its market leadership position. Part of this exercise was to rationalise its supplier base — a move which saw PhotoBox consolidate its external service partner numbers from 5 to 2.
As a part of this and in addition improving the quality of phone and email interactions, PhotoBox asked us to deliver extended opening hours to serve its domestic and growing, international customer base. Today, PhotoBox provides multi-lingual phone, email and live chat support from 7am until 11pm – 7 days a week for Europe.
Building on their already established relationship, we quickly helped PhotoBox to gear up quality, channel availability and geographic reach. PhotoBox benefitted from our specialist homeworking technology — as well as their excellent people and processes — which is was closely aligned to PhotoBox’s needs, and gave them the requisite levels of control, security and visibility of operations.
"Quality interactions — irrespective of the channel used — are vitally important to our business and Sensée shares our commitment in this area. They’re unwavering in their commitment to us as a business and utterly proactive — if ever they suspect there may be an issue in our operation or an area for improvement they let us know straight away. This behaviour has earned our trust and respect," says Helen.
The partnership has certainly paid off. In February 2013, PhotoBox increased its quality score, achieving over 90%, and later that year enjoyed industry recognition for the quality of service it delivers.
"Exceeding our CSAT goal was a really big deal to us — particularly given the fact our volatility is so extreme. We were delighted when we won the coveted top spot in the ‘Top 50’ for customer service and the whole team feels that Sensée contributed heavily to that achievement," continues Helen.
The benefits have been compelling on all fronts. First of all, our advisors often outperform the in-house team and PhotoBox believes that this is down to the fact that the dedicated home agents are very experienced, with lots of life experiences that enable them to really empathise with its customer base across multiple channels.
In addition, single digit attrition means that valuable acquired skills are retained, with some of our advisors having served PhotoBox’s customers for over 7 years. PhotoBox’s business is an enriching environment for our advisors and this has led to strong agent commitment and loyalty. In turn, this delivers increased employee engagement and extremely low staff attrition. And means that in emergency, or for seasonal peaks, PhotoBox has a huge ready to go resource if needed.
"To conclude, I’d just like say that Sensée is so incredibly flexible, I’ve never seen anything like it. But equally importantly, they set themselves very high standards and do everything in their power to meet them. The team has given us so much confidence — mainly due to a practically palpable focus and commitment — that we trust them to deliver for us, with never any need to micro-manage. They are part of our team, there really is no ‘them and us’. It’s a great partnership — we really couldn’t have asked for anything better," concludes Helen.