Esther Ching Case
In May 2009, Esther Ching is three months into her role as manager of the complaints section of a call centre, located in India. The call centre is owned and run by M-Tel, a Malaysian telco company. Her section handles all billing complaints and service difficulties. The main products are landlines, mobile telephones and internet access.
She is required to present a report about the performance of her section, as part of the regular performance review. In the original job description her role was to
“control the total costs of the complaints section while maintaining an excellent level of service to our customers likely to ensure long term return business.”
The main cost is the hourly labour costs of the over 300 consultants employed in her sections. The consultants range in experience from a few months to three years. To a very large extent, consultants can be rostered on and off to match the busiest periods of incoming calls, in three hour blocks. There are roughly equally numbers of males and females, though nearly all consultants are between 20 and 40 years of age.
Esther wants to obtain a snapshot of how customers react to their experience with the complaints centre as well as the efficiency of the consultants in dealing with complaints.
The complaints section of the call centre has been operation since late 2006. Prior to that date, this function was outsourced and the call centre only handled sales.
Customers are often confused about the details of their M-Tel bills, especially during the first few months of their contracts. The level of confusion is not helped by the high turnover of sales staff who sometimes fail to properly explain the terms of a new contract and can send customers to inappropriate contracts for their specific needs.
Customers reach the complaints section of the call centre of M-Tel through an electronic management system (EMS) that sorts the customers problem into several categories. The EMS is also able to have the consultant record some basic data about each customer call as well as detect data input by the customer.
Three time stamps are automatically recorded by the EMS. First, the time that the customer joins the complaint centre queue. Second, it records the time that the call is answered by a human operator. Third, it records the time the call is completed. All times are recorded to the nearest second. So it is possible to calculate how long each customer waited before being answered and how long the centre spent dealing with the customer complaint, all to the nearest second.
Some customers hang up before reaching a consultant. Every thirty seconds, they are advised of the likely remaining wit time so many will hang up if the quoted time is too long. Others will initially hold and then hand up if the