9/3/2009 12:50:00 PM
3’s call centre changes: good for brand and will please regulator
There appeared to be O2 blood still flowing through Amanda Lambert’s veins this week, in the manner that 3’s sales director made the sweeping changes to how third-party call centres sell 3.
She stressed the importance of ‘customer experience’, ‘brand’ and ‘lifetime value’ – areas that would be on the first page of an O2 ‘how to run a network’ manual, if it existed. Lambert has applied some of that in her first few months at a network that is in the latter stages of cleansing its more unsavoury routes to market, after the cashbacks and mis-selling that blighted its brand so severely in previous years.
3 is now taking the same line with call centres. High volume cashback dealers, and more recently call centres, were like steroids that the network became hooked on for its growth. But it has now moved to slower yet more ‘natural’ and sustainable means of growing its base.
It is a brave thing for 3 to do when telesales accounted for an estimated 60% of all its contract sales four years ago. Swallowing a medium-term dip in sales will be tough, but calling time on the ‘route one’ practices of many indirect partners should have been done a long time ago. They have been expensive for 3 and have (perhaps at even greater cost) undermined consumer trust towards the network.
It also coincides with Ofcom’s ‘general condition’, which threatens to hit any network with a fine of up to 10% of its turnover if there are excessive complaints on the sales process. 3 now has greater control of how its services are sold. It is both the right thing to do for the brand, and to keep the regulator off its coffers.