Electronics Marketer Streamlines Processes, Ups Customer Care

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Thomson Consumer Electronics, Indianapolis, a manufacturer and marketer of General Electric, RCA, and ProScan consumer electronic products has signed a multi-year contract with NorCross TeleServices to provide call center management services for the company. The contract extends an initial one-year agreement.


The original contract involved re-engineering and rebuilding of the Thomson's customer care center in Indianapolis. Thomson last year enlisted the call center management expertise and labor force of NorCross after investing heavily in infrastructure of its on-site call center.


NorCross, Boston, will continue to manage all day-to-day operations of the call center and will provide direction on process improvements to increase efficiency and improve customer service.


Since last year, overall service levels have improved markedly, said the company, while the number of calls processed at the center has also grown. Though the company would not give specific numbers, annual calls are currently in the multi-million range.


"NorCross is in our facility, utilizing our equipment and hardware, said Steve Zell, manager of consumer products and services, TCE. "We wish to maintain very close oversite, given the complexity of our programs and our focus on customer satisfaction."


TCE provides post-sale customer service and support to end-users, dealers, repair centers and business partners throughout the United States and Canada.


"We are confident that the next few years will yield better results in order to keep Thomson on the cutting-edge of call center solutions, resulting in superior customer care for buyers of our products. The call center has become a key strategic element in our product and service strategy," said Jack Nick, vice president, TCE.


During the coming year the company will focus its attention on call center automation to control costs and increase customer satisfaction levels, Zell said.


The company is investing in an upgrade to its quality monitoring system, as well as in state-of-the-art voice and data technology.


"We want to take care of calls that don't require a lot of training. To this end, the company has invested in three new digital Lucent VRUs and will consolidate programs where it makes sense.


But that is not expected to decrease the customer care focus of the company.


"Although the VRU is an integral part of our call center strategy," Zell said, "the VRU cannot answer all the calls." The role of the representative will continue to evolve around handling more trouble shooting of customer needs and other advisory functions. The company expects to maintain its current number of representatives. Training for the reps will continue at its aggressive pace, although consolidation of product training is expected.


Training never stops, Zell said. Monthly updates follow specific product training with emphasis placed on education of consumer and service philosophies. The company will be introducing six new digital products before years end.
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