Critical Metrics: Managing a Business, Retaining Customers in a Pandemic

Rob Scott

We talk with Tony Martino of Tollring

Critical Metrics: Managing a Business, Retaining Customers in a Pandemic

With the prospect that many will be working from home for some time to come, I wanted to look at how leading technology firms are confronting this challenge, with a specific look at the role of analytics in managing teams and customer engagement.

Tony Martino, CEO of Tollring (pictured, above), heads up a global operation of nearly 100 people delivering call analytics and call recording via iCall Suite, its cloud solution. With its international operations, his company already has experience in managing remote teams but has certainly had to adapt the business to cope with the current situation.

According to Tony, “If you have the right tools, you can understand how to handle any changes that come your way. With real-time analytics, you see immediate insights to help make the right decisions, improve operational efficiency and deliver a more structured way of managing customers. This also requires everyone to be flexible and agile enough to act on that information to deliver the best internal performance and external experiences.”

Tollring has navigated its way through the current situation using a combination of its own iCall Suite and Microsoft Teams to ensure its people can manage effectively and in turn, deliver a good service to customers.

Tony stresses the point that customer support has been the company’s primary focus.

“With such a massive upheaval as we’ve all experienced, you need to give customers’ full confidence that whilst everything has changed, you can still deliver the high quality of services that they expect”

“We receive incoming queries across all of our different systems. The make-up of these enquiries has been much the same as it was pre-lockdown – just as many support renewals, new sales enquiries and support calls as before – but admittedly fewer new on-prem sales for some industries. Our partners are either inundated or very quiet, depending on their end customer core verticals.”

Unsurprisingly, Tony reports that they’ve been dealing with lots of questions relating to end users working from home for the first time, and how analytics can help them do that. His advice, particularly for those with a supervisory role, is that analytics and monitoring is absolutely critical.

Using call analytics and recordings

Using its own iCall Suite tools, Tollring can ensure its teams are coping and delivering a high level of service to customers. The analytics are used to understand call flows, to identify any changes or fluctuations due to Covid-19 and enable the company to allocate resources accordingly.

Tony explains, “Our support team spends much of the day speaking to customers over the phone, so we need to ensure we have the right people available at the right time to handle any changes in call volumes. Managers are able to monitor business performance and can quickly identify any trends or issues. They can also ensure the right processes are in place to deal with customers’ needs, ensuing calls are answered in time and if necessary, directing VIP customers to higher level call handlers. And, as the situation evolves, they can monitor it closely and make changes that put them in the best position to succeed when we move closer to business as usual.”

With the move to home working for more staff, Tollring also wanted to be sure that the quality of phone lines and the over-the-phone experience received by customers was acceptable. The call recording element within iCall Suite helps with this. Managers can listen to the recordings to check the quality of phone lines and ensure customers are getting the responses they need.

Making the most of Microsoft Teams

For Tollring’s wider team, being at home meant only a minor disruption to their working days as they continued to use Microsoft Teams with overseas colleagues. However, those in the company’s predominantly office-based delivery and service teams were faced with the new challenge of remote working.

“Remote working was a totally new experience for some of our team, so we needed to ensure that everyone could still work with each other remotely without feeling isolated or not knowing what others are up to. To achieve this, we created different channels on Teams to cover common office work scenarios that can be used on a daily basis. The channels also provide a space for everyone to stay updated on exactly what is happening across the different teams. And from a management point of view, we have visibility of what everyone is doing and can assign individual tasks.”

The company has also integrated Zoho Desk with Microsoft Teams, so when a new ticket comes in, they get a direct notification on Teams. Notifications are also sent if a ticket is about to be escalated. This ensures nothing is missed. And when people go on breaks, they can notify each other so other members can continue to work on tickets. As Tony explains,

“Going forward, customer habits will continue to change and we need to monitor and change to meet their evolving needs. Customer experience is already a major differentiator and will continue to become even more important”

“This means helping everyone in a company to perform to the best of their ability whether they are working remotely or not, and thus ensure a smooth and successful journey for the customer.”

Analytics is one of the keys to being successful in today’s unpredicatble world, with Microsoft Teams playing a massive role in keeping everyone connected. Tony let slip that due to Tollring’s own success with Teams, they are now looking to maximise their own products and services within the application to help customers to leverage analytics as easily and efficiently as possible from within the ecosystem. I look forward to seeing how that develops.


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