One of the insightful things that has been said to me recently came from an independent consultant working at a major FMCG client. He said: “The problem here is that we have some people who are world-class at marketing to the masses, but they haven’t got a clue about how to speak to a customer.”
Advertising and marketing consultancy giant, Publicis, says its decision to roll out an Australian cloud-based technology across its national contact centres has given the company a competitive edge.
Publicis owns a host of agency brands globally including Leo Burnett, Saatchi and Saatchi, Zenith Optimedia, Razorfish and Mojo, as well as Publicis Loyalty/Solutions, a contact centre business with back offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane and 350 staff. The division provides customer relationship management and customer support service programs for leading brands including airlines, government agencies and insurance companies.
Publicis’ Australian contact centres were previously powered by an on-premise solution, but managing partner, Richard Switzky, said it was both costly to use, as well as onerous to run. User licences were only available in bundles on 10, and required a capital outlay of about $50,000.
Implementation and professional services costs were also high, and any ongoing changes to the technology or client campaigns had to be made by a third-party company, which further increased costs and caused time delays.
“To be competitive in the market place, we had to have an industry standard product with functionality and stability,” Switzky told CMO. “We went with a Genesys solution, which proved to be a very expensive product and which wasn’t very integrated.”
After a couple of frustrated years, Publicis changed tack and adopted a cloud-based contact centre management solution from Australian provider, IPscape. The product has been rolled out on a pay-as-you-go (PAYG) basis, immediately bringing more flexibility into licensing management.
Switzky said first adopted the cloud offering 12 months ago on a new customer contract using 20 call centre seats, as a way of testing out the offering without having to worry about transitioning over existing infrastructure. Publicis has now switched all of its contact centres across to IPscape.
“IPscape’s public cloud solution has given us greater control over our contact centre and campaigns, which translates into competitive advantage for us and for our clients,” Switzky said.
He cited a host of benefits, one of which is the move from capital to operational expenditure. Previously, any capital outlay would have to be approved by the team at its Paris headquarters, whereas operational expenditure is more easily allocated, he said.
In addition, PAYG allows Publicis to dynamically scale seats up and down within hours, allowing it to better respond to client requirements and day-to-day workloads. Changes to campaign scripts, agent allocations or IVR flows can be made in-house and in minutes, resulting in a substantial reduction in overall operational costs per annum. Campaigns are also more agile as Publicis can track performance minute by minute and scale operations seamlessly during high call volume peaks.
“I couldn’t believe that for the price, you get much more functionality,” Switzky continued. “First call recording was a pain in the neck previously, whereas with IPscape we have both call recording and predictive dialler integrated into the product.”
Being cloud-based also means business continuity planning has become much simpler because the solution can be delivered anywhere, Switzky said.
Being cautious about using unproven technology, Switzky said IPscape’s significant backers, which include Telstra and Macquarie Bank, made it a low-risk solution for Publicis to adopt. Initial concerns about the quality of VoIP calls also proved unfounded.
However, it was IPscape’s responsiveness that put the icing on the cake, Switzky said.
“I know when I call that the CEO, Simon Burke, is very hands on and the company values our relationship,” he added. “Responsiveness has been excellent.”
IPscape was founded in 2005 and operates in 17 countries. Customers include Telstra Global, AAPT, Smartsalary, Teleperformance, MYOB and British Telecommunications.