Aussie/SA partnership to boost Cape Town revenue by millions
Life admin is the buzz word of the year, and it's a perfect fit for all those little daily details that everybody has to do, but hates doing – buying electricity, taking out insurance, providing adequate health care cover and so on.
However, in a move set to bring millions to the shores of Cape Town, Merchants in partnership with iSelect, will be easing the life admin burden of thousands of Australians with the signing of a five-year business deal between the two southern hemisphere companies.
Established in 2000, iSelect started as a health insurance comparison website, but has recently diversified its product offering and is now selling additional services such as car and life insurance, home loans, electricity and broadband. This has resulted in significant growth for iSelect, however their challenge was to find enough talent to manage the growing rate of customer queries – a somewhat difficult task in Australia where the unemployment rate is low.
"For most companies, offshoring a contact centre is about bringing costs down and efficiencies up. However for iSelect, the offshore move was to enable it to effectively grow the business, while still providing top quality service to its already established client base," explains Darren Arnold, Strategy Director at Merchants.
"They needed a skilled and educated sales force that could deliver high quality telephonic sales driven by a desire to always get it right – no matter what 'it' may be. The products that iSelect sell are needed, but not items people would spend hours choosing. Their customers want to get what they need as quickly as possible so that they can go on with their daily lives."
With Merchants partnering with iSelect to manage the contact centre in Cape Town, their customers can experience the best in skills and technology to deliver this aspect of life admin correctly and with minimum interruption to their day or night.
In addition, all iSelect consultants are highly trained experts who assist customers in selecting and purchasing one or more of the many policies, products and plans they offer. This experience also means that South Africans working at the iSelect contact centre can diversify their own skill set and knowledge. This will help them develop a career path, improve their credibility in the work place, provide for themselves and their families and in turn assist in developing their community.
The Cape Town-based iSelect contact centre is as innovative as it is different. Merchants recognises that job satisfaction is not just about the pay check at the end of the month, it is also about what makes the job worthwhile. To this end, they use only the best in systems and technologies, tried and tested ergonomics, the most up to date workforce management and quality assurance methodologies, and some additional nice-to-haves that many contact centres don't.
"Sales can be a challenging environment, with consultants having to balance positive customer experiences with the need to close the deal," adds Arnold, "to ensure that the iSelect consultants are able to perform at their best, and get it right every time, we provide amenities such as an onsite barista for coffee on tap, a massage facility, door-to-door transport and more.
"With our 35 year history in the contact centre industry, we have come to understand that each little thing that we can do for our employees, translates into our employees being able to provide a more positive experience to the customer," says Arnold.
"Partnering with Merchants has given us the latitude to look at our product offering and to map new paths for our business," says Scott Wilson, the CEO & Managing Director of iSelect. "During our pilot project with Merchants we found that the company's culture is a great fit with ours, and that they are as diligent in providing excellent customer service as we are. The Cape Town population has also proven to be advantageous as they have a great work ethic and desire to get the job done right first time."
This partnership represents an opportunity for both businesses to grow exponentially. iSelect can rest assured that their customers will be taken care of and that when they launch new products, their consultants at home in Australia and here in Cape Town will be able to step up to the plate. And for Merchants, this partnership shows that they are able to provide solutions that go hand-in-glove with the business imperatives of its clients.