Preparing for a fourth-quarter onslaught of new subscribers, California-based ConexOne Wireless Communications has upgraded call center services with credit approval software and a new phone system to expedite the credit application and air time activation process.
“Our business has been around for six years but in the last 18 months we have grown five-fold” said Ruben Garcia, chief operating officer, for the Pasadena-based re-seller of wireless products and services. “Our focus is based on organic growth by signing up new subscribers.” With a boost in subscriptions comes a boost in call volume and the operations overhaul was required to meet demand changes.
“We can create demand but the question is can we handle it,” Garcia said.
Last year during its busiest season, the company discovered the answer was no. “We were averaging more than 20,000 calls into center per month, there was blockage in the system because our activation platform was not set up to handle that capacity. In our business it is very seasonal. Most of our customer sign up in the fourth quarter with up to 50 percent of the business done during that time. That places a great demand on manpower and systems.” Garcia said he expects call volume to reach about 60,000 calls monthly to its 800-887-8677 number in the fourth quarter this year.
“The demand is a function of much greater brand awareness in the Los Angeles market and our marketing budget. We will beef it up to about $1 million for the quarter,” Garcia said.
The projected demand surge spawned the operations overhaul which included almost doubling its agency roster to 50 throughout its call centers; the installation of a Lucent system; and the use of Telesto software for service agents by Lightbridge, Inc., Burlington, MA. Lightbridge is a provider of customer acquisition and retention software.
“The Lucent system is a much more efficient way of handling inbound calls,” Garcia said. “We have more capacity, more work stations, greater queuing capacity and overflow capability.”
Aiding the system is the software by Lightbridge, according to Garcia. “We worked with Lightbridge on the front end for the activation platform,” he said. “With the old way we took the application and made a call back after reviewing the credit application. A yes or no approval would take two to three days. With Lightbridge what we are able to do is input essential customer credit information and get a response in 20 seconds. The system expedites the approval process from days to minutes.”
ConexOne teleservice agents tap into the software which features Fraud Detect, a multi-faceted fraud detection tool that will help ConexOne identify subscription fraud at the point of sale. The primary feature in the Telesto software suite that expedites the application and activation process is Point of Purchase System (POPS).
“What POPS allows is flexible access into core transaction processing systems,” said Bill Brown, executive vice president, business development. “The benefit for the call center is that the software allows for the universal activation of service from any from any of its distribution channels.”
Other Telesto elements include InSight, a proprietary database that maintains information on and evaluates existing subscribers who apply for additional services, and monitors previous applicants; and Customer Acquisition Systems, CAS, a software-based service that includes on-line, real time transaction processing for the qualification and acquisition of applicants.
Brown said Telesto can handle multiple rate plans for activation and various functions for ConexOne service. “Whether a program has a certain rate plan or some features or functionality like voice requires that it be marketed through a certain distribution strategy. Our system comes back to say whether it is a valid rate plan and whether certain features or functions are included.”
“ConexOne also elected to receive Fraud Detect. This is an industry that is notorious for fraudulent applications,” Brown said. “The system pulls a number of features about the application and determines whether it is providing accurate information and whether information such as the address and phone number match.”
Lightbridge handles 76 accounts in the wireless services industry with its teleservices software and houses 200 agents to provide outsourced call centers agents for some of its clients. On average its centers feature a 20-second answer time for more than 200,000 calls monthly.
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