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Handing the reins to frontline agents – the Quebec connection


Seven years ago, TELUS made a commitment to put customers first and we have proven year over year that it was the right move. We have stayed true to our commitment by listening and acting upon customer feedback, empowering our team members and giving them the tools and resources they need to deliver a superior customer experience – every time. Our TELUS Personal Representatives are a prime example of this. The principle is simple: a dedicated Contact Centre agent is assigned to each customer, providing end-to-end service. No more transfers. No more repeating your story to multiple agents, multiple times.

But did you know that the TELUS Rimouski team played a key role in this new approach? The shift began in Quebec in 2011 and now the team’s learnings and best practices are being utilized by our Contact Centre teams across the country. Here’s how this fresh, new approach came to life…

The challenge of minimizing transfers

Joane Lévesque, Director of Planning and Optimization at TELUS Quebec, had a vision. She was convinced that improving customer service at TELUS would start with an engaged frontline team empowered to make decisions. Her idea was to make frontline agents multidisciplinary so they could meet all customer needs, from providing information to processing repairs and renewals, from the beginning to the very end of a call.

It was a tall order and in 2011, this meant changing longstanding industry practices across all of our contact centres where employee efficiency was measured based on call length rather than resolution rates.

“At the time, our Contact Centre teams specialized in one of three areas: telephony, Internet or technical support,” notes Joane. “It was frustrating for customers, who had to speak with three or four different agents during a single call, and for our team members too, who frequently had to ask their supervisors for help.”

The virtuous circle

TELUS Quebec embarked on a major project to review its contact centre practices in Rimouski and Sainte-Marie-de-Beauce. Hundreds of agents, who previously specialized in one area, were now undertaking multidisciplinary training. TELUS then built a new Contact Centre in Rimouski and hired more than 250 new agents.

“Beyond the many system and process adjustments, I firmly believe that the biggest change was giving our team the tools to meet customer needs from the start to the very end of a call,” adds Joane. “Our employees have been highly motivated and engaged ever since, which has had a positive impact on customer satisfaction. At TELUS, that’s what we call a virtuous circle.”

Since this major transformation, Kevin Dumont, a Contact Centre supervisor, says he can’t even remember the last time a customer asked to speak to a supervisor. “I am very methodical and detail-oriented, and I like getting to the bottom of things. Taking the time to resolve a request and following up with customers is not only strongly encouraged, but we also encourage our agents to solve problems proactively before customers even communicate with us.”

Kevin further explained that his team now looks into all of a customer’s needs before hanging up, and emphasizes that those few extra minutes prevent customers from having to call back about a future issue.

In just three years, the results were noticeable:

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This new approach at TELUS even drew attention from the Federated Press CCC, which presented Joane with an Award of Excellence at the 2015 customer contact centre industry conference (CLICCC – Congrès de l’industrie du Centre Contact Clientèle 2015). This distinction recognizes leaders who have made an outstanding contribution to the development of contact centres in Quebec. Way to go, Joane!

Where we are going

We’ve made huge strides, but this is a journey. Going forward, we will update our online services to give customers a better experience through chat tools and constant service quality monitoring. We are also taking advantage of Optik TV and Internet installer visits to customers’ homes to demonstrate our products and services too – and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

There’s always more to be done, but one thing is for sure: our commitment to customer service is an ongoing quest for excellence. Every day, more than 27,000 engaged and passionate team members listen to the real needs of our customers and continually find ways to improve their experience and that commitment is what truly sets us apart.