Magazine article Marketing

Agency of the Year: Contact Centre Agency of the Year - Garlands

Magazine article Marketing

Agency of the Year: Contact Centre Agency of the Year - Garlands

Article excerpt

Garlands has achieved huge growth this year thanks to its dedication to customer satisfaction, training and retaining staff.

This year's Marketing Contact Centre Agency of the Year has achieved 75% growth, more than double its rate in 2003, and has seen revenues rise to pounds 28m. Those achievements could see Garlands jump from 12 to seventh in Marketing's league table early next year.

In a market driven largely by technology, Garlands has always stood out for its focus on staff training and development. It holds that success comes as much from agents who are consistently helpful, friendly and informed as from state-of-art systems.

The agency has expanded its Hartlepool Marina headquarters and the Middlesbrough centre it opened in 2003, and is creating another centre at Stockton-on-Tees. That has been matched by an increase in staff by 1000 to 2600.

Remarkably, this growth has been achieved almost entirely by extending contracts with existing clients, such as Cable & Wireless, Virgin Mobile, Virgin.net and Wanadoo, having made a strategic decision to pursue this approach rather than pitch for new business.

An increasing number of companies ask for 'end-to-end' support, which Garlands provides in the form of outbound campaigns and cross- and upselling on inbound calls, as well as handling enquiries, registrations and back-office administration.

Virgin.net asked Garlands for a customer service centre to support its broadband service. Within six months, customer satisfaction levels had soared from 56% to 83%. An independent survey found that Virgin.net now boasts the highest level of satisfaction of the eight top consumer ISPs for product and service.

Cable & Wireless has increased the range of services handled by Garlands over the past four years. 'Customer satisfaction has always been inherent in its culture, and this has been demonstrated by improvements of 30% in our survey results,' says Jackie David, Cable & Wireless' head of outsource.

David praises the agency's ability to provide support at very short notice and to adapt to changed circumstances. When improved performance led to fewer service calls being made by Cable & Wireless customers, Garlands reassigned staff to chase non-payers. …

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