A struggle to communicate

Virgin Mobile Australia found their outsourced call-centres were struggling to meet customer expectations. Having previously partnered with us to redesign other customer touch-points across their business, they asked us to step in and co-design the ideal call centre experience that would add the human touch back to their customer interactions.

Virgin Mobile staff member being shadowed by Proto researcher during customer calls Virgin Mobile employee being shadowed by Proto researcher during customer calls

An opportunity to build advocacy

Virgin’s call centres were processing 500,000 interactions per year, which we saw as half a million opportunities to create new customer advocates and increase overall caller satisfaction, without affecting call-efficiency or increasing cost.

To understand what was preventing Virgin's call centre staff from delivering the perfect call centre experience we immediately realised we would need to be on the ground with them, working hand in hand with staff to resolve the problem. To facilitate that level of dialogue and interaction, we dispatched a team to Manilla, to work directly with the call centres and better understand their insights and concerns.

Virgin Mobile customers and team discussing on ideas during a workshop

Pinpointing the issue

Drawing on our experience of working with Virgin to create positive and satisfying customer journeys while redesigning a number of their other significant touch-points, we deployed a number of customer research tools, focusing on customer interactions and operational processes.

We swiftly ascertained that to add the human touch back to their call centre interactions, Virgin would need to simplify their 41 point phone call checklist. Constrained by the number of items on this mandatory checklist, staff were unable to use their initiative or use their own interpersonal skills to build a positive relationship with the customer. We also found that quality scorecards did not reward problem resolution, but instead focused on other criteria that could detract from the ideal customer experience, such as needing repeated onerous levels of verification when calls were transferred.

Virgin Mobile illustration of a customer service representative

Building human-centric guidelines to facilitate satisfying dialogue

To give Virgin's call centre staff the toolset they needed to provide the ideal call centre experience, we worked with Virgin to create five broad guidelines that would help staff craft warm, rewarding customer experiences.

These guidelines drew on our understanding of the customer journey, and the results of our in-depth research, to create a framework that guided customer interactions without impeding the staff’s initiative or their ability to connect with the customer on a personal level.

Virgin Mobile ideal day in retail customer journey map

Bringing back the human touch

To ensure full integration of the new guidelines, we developed a 6-month training program which showcased ideal call flows, introduced customer experience scorecards with grading standards and included a range of explanatory videos that communicated the benefits of the new system.

This mentoring process, coupled with the clarity of the new guidelines, created immense staff engagement and resulted in Virgin exceeding their customer service targets. Not only did our new, customer-focused solution succeed in bringing back the human touch to the customer experience, it's efficient design also drove down service costs by 20% over the next 12 months.

Virgin Mobile viewing trusted advisor tip being viewed on an ipad

“The Proto team demonstrated flexibility in their approach which made such a refreshing change. They took the time to coach and mentor each of us in a highly creative and energetic environment. Furthernore, they helped us exceed our customer satisfaction targets, all whilst stripping out in excess of 20% of our service costs in under 12 months. Proto to help us stay focussed on the customer that enabled us to win in the market.”

Matthew Anderson, Chief Operating Officer at Virgin

Delivering phenomenal outcomes


“Working with Proto was a leap of faith, but they have become a major strategic partner in our CX evolution. The work they've developed and the way we've been able to embed it in the organisation has been absolutely phenomenal, and we're getting the outcomes we want.”

Felicity Clark Customer Experience Manager

Creating empathy to deliver outstanding results


“Proto were a pleasure to work with. They were adaptive and responsive, and developed a deep empathy for both the client and their customers. The quality of their products and services was outstanding.”

Michael Storey Manager of Customer Research and Strategy at Sydney Water

Halving your customer churn


“Without the customer experience insights from the research program, we would not have been able to identify the acquisition issues that we had. Changes to the customer interactions that led up to financial protection have reduced the outflow rates by 50%.”

Felicity Rowcliff Dean Customer Centred Design Manager

Take your NPS score to the next level


“From an NPS perspective, I have gone Spinal Tap on you guys and gone to 11. I still think the work you did with us, the way you went about it and the deliverables amounted to one of the best pieces of consulting advice I’ve ever commissioned.”

Matthew Liebmann Former Chief Operating Officer

Exceptional prototyping


“The outcome of the prototyping has been exceptional and we continue to use the knowledge and expertise that Proto shared with us during their engagement. The icing on the cake for me was that Proto captured all of the insights from the customer workshops into an organisational asset that we now use as an integral part of our toolkit for training and briefing new team members.”

Sharon Nanetti Optimal Care Program Director

Prioritising what matters


“Proto’s in-depth customer research helped us to uncover underlying customer needs that wouldn’t have been possible without an ‘outside-in’ approach. The team identified the core customer problems and provided actionable insights that enabled us to remove key areas of customer friction and frustration and redesign a credit card experience like no other.”

Christian Johansson Head of Marketing, Customer Finance

Achieving a 20 point increase in NPS


“I have worked with Damian and the team at Proto for several years. In this time, they have worked collaboratively with us to build a roadmap of strategic ‘outside-in’ initiatives that ultimately resulted in a 20 point increase in NPS. They imparted a great deal of CX knowledge, approaches and tools that have been invaluable to the team and the business.”

Amanda O'Donnell Head of Customer Experience

Insight driven, customer centric ideas


“Proto revealed and captured a ton of insights, putting Gumtree in a position where we can take our experience from good to great!”

Coen Horrevoets Head of Product

Award-winning customer experiences


“We won the AFR Smart Investor SMILES award for Best Online Broker. This award is based on customer voting and I believe this was as a result of a clearer focus on our existing clients which you helped us to understand.”

Arnie Selvarajah Chief Executive Officer

Design that reduces cost to serve


“The Proto team demonstrated flexibility in their approach which made such a refreshing change. They took the time to coach and mentor each of us in a highly creative and energetic environment. Furthernore, they helped us exceed our customer satisfaction targets, all whilst stripping out in excess of 20% of our service costs in under 12 months. Proto helped us to stay focussed on the customer which enabled us to win in the market.”

Matthew Anderson Chief Operating Officer

Service innovation at scale


“We worked with Proto on an exciting & unprecedented challenge at Optus, to design the customer experience of the future. Damian & the team had high energy & together we operated as ‘one team’. Proto worked hand in hand with us to bring the internal team up to speed, & also brought in global experts to work with us to take our deliverables to another level of quality & innovation.”

Dan Sunderland Director of Customer Experience Strategy and Planning

Actionable Customer Strategies


“Proto developed a membership strategy that addressed points of friction along our members journey, identified opportunities to improve and clarified the types of engagement that our members needed at the different stages in their career. We were impressed with the depth of insight that Proto were able to bring to the project - as well as the energy and ideas that they helped to generate.”

Sarah Prescott-Thompson General Manager Shared Services

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