How data insight drove significant NPS improvement at Vodafone.
Vodafone is one of the leading providers of broadband and associated services in Ireland. They are regularly processing around 3-4,000 orders at any one time, with around 10,000 orders for new services placed each month. On closer examination of their delivery figures, the team soon realised they had an issue as there was a significant drop out between sales and order completion, with many failed installation appointments. This was not only costing Vodafone money, but was also impacting negatively on customer experience – with the Net Promoter Score for this part of the business at -3%.
Vodafone approached their partner Arise to help them understand some of the reasons that they were losing so many new sales. Arise instantly turned to their data and insights team, to analyse the pain points in the process and where customers were dropping out.
The initial failure point they examined was that of the first installation appointment. The failure rate for engineer visits were high at around 30% of all appointments– with customers often not in when an engineer called. By examining the process, and examining the customer verbatims that came through the feedback channels, the team realised that customers weren’t able to organise an installation appointment time and instead were reliant on the system automatically generating an appointment – which was often not convenient and, subsequently, a source of significant frustration for the customer.
Arise suggested carrying out a pilot study on selected appointments to identify whether or not proactively engaging with the customer prior to the initial appointment increased appointment success rates. This additional contact point also allowed call agents to check that the customer had ordered the correct service for their requirements – so that they weren’t disappointed when the service was delivered. Sometimes the customer expectation differed from what was scheduled on the system so this intervention allowed skilled agents to correct any issues, sell upgrades to customers where appropriate, and make sure that the engineers were primed to install the correct service.
The pilot proved to be hugely successful in identifying customer preference to change appointments to a more convenient time, as well as clarifying or updating their initial order, and achieved a contact rate of 94% in a controlled ‘lab’ environment. The study was then widened to encompass all orders requiring an installation appointment, and the team designed a workflow management and reporting system to formalise the processes identified in the pilot. They set a target to reduce failed engineer visits by around 10% as a key part of the business case.
As part of the installation process was outsourced to third party suppliers, the detailed data and analysis provided by Arise highlighted which part of the process was failing, allowed Vodafone to push back on suppliers – challenging them to improve their teams. They could then put targeted cost impacts on supplier businesses if they didn’t improve their processes, which of course helped incentivise them to tighten up delivery.
A secondary issue was then identified in that the process meant failed installation visits were automatically rescheduled without talking to the customer, leading to further unsuccessful engineer visits, and compounding the poor customer experience. The Arise team was able to examine the data around multiple failed visits and suggested that appointments should only be rescheduled once an agent had spoken to a customer. This step instantly reduced the ‘customer not available’ visits by 70%, significantly reducing costs while delivering improved the customer experience.
A key part of the success of this programme of work was Arise’ ability to actually engage with the customer. Arise set an 80% customer contact target, higher than industry average, and this was critical as the programme would succeed by reaching as many customers as possible. Arise trialled a series of measures to ensure that had contact with customers – splitting outbound calls between the morning and afternoon, leaving messages, providing a specific inbound contact line and giving the option for customers to respond via SMS with when they were available to take a call.
The Arise team exceeded their targets for reducing failed installation visits and critically, NPS improved from the worrying -3% to an industry leading +42% – at least 14% ahead of the nearest competition.
Sylvia Hanley, Business Care and Support Manager at Vodafone comments: “The data insight team at Arise were absolutely brilliant in helping us to understand the issues with the sales channel. When we started the project, we didn’t understand the level of reporting we needed to start to fix some of the problems. Arise gave us what we needed to not only put in place measures to correct some of the initial issues, but also allowed us to challenge our suppliers to improve their own processes and systems so that could avoid many of the issues at source. We were also able to improve the training we gave our sales channels, so they could ‘fault find’ before customers got ‘stuck’ in the system.”
“This was a massive programme of work, and never before had we had the level of support and insight that enabled us to drive improvements from first customer touchpoint to service delivery – Arise enabled us to deliver significant cost savings and customer experience improvements and were a true partner throughout the process”.
“We very much treat Arise as a partner, and at the beginning of the year came to them with some very stretching objectives. Arise accepted the challenge, and by the end of the year had establish a monthly run rate reduction in calls of 19%, all whilst continuing to improve our NPS score.
Arise took an extremely proactive approach to the target we set, and all the improvements that we saw across the business were driven by their insights and actions. Their Data Insights team is the best I’ve ever worked with – their understanding of the granularity of the data meant that we were able to pick off all the low hanging fruit that other businesses might have lived with, as well as dealing with some of the bigger issues.
The work that they’ve done as part of this project meant that we smashed our NPS improvement target and far outperform our competitors – setting Vodafone up for success in a highly competitive marketplace. It’s a truly collaborative relationship that has delivered cost reduction across the business at the same time as creating happier customers. We couldn’t be more pleased with the results.”
Brian Kedney, Vodafone’s Customer Care Manager