The iiNet customer service center in Cape Town, operated by Merchants as part of iiNet’s global virtual contact center, will expand to 1,000 seats by the end of 2014 as a result of continuous iiNet growth.
iiNet is Australia’s second largest DSL Internet Service Provider (ISP.) A billion-dollar company publicly listed on the ASX 200, iiNet supports over 1.7 million broadband, telephony and Internet Protocol TV (IPYV) services across Australia. It employs more than 2,500 people across three countries. Eighty percent of its employees directly service over 900,000 customers.
In addition to the Cape Town contact centre, the company has centres throughout Australia and one in New Zealand. The company’s follow-the-sun approach and Australia’s several time zones mean that the Cape Town centre enables iiNet to provide 24x7 customer service whilst allowing staff across the globe to work sociable hours.
“Merchants and iiNet share the same objectives and a company culture that focuses on differentiating through award-winning customer service,” says Merchants general manager, business development, Lisa Roos. “So, jointly over the past six years, we’ve built a powerful relationship in which we are able to resolve challenges quickly and effectively to the maximum benefit of iiNet customers.
“For instance, for the significant increase of new agents at the Cape Town centre, team leaders, senior customer service agents and trainers from iiNet’s Australian and New Zealand contact centres partnered with the Merchants team , thereby ensuring a smooth ramp up.
“Within the partnership, we contribute our strengths, such as our South African domain knowledge, a pool of great people, and a passion for looking after both our people and our customers to give iiNet’s customers exceptional service.
Roos says that the principle of looking after one’s employees translates into growth for one’s customers. “Although we source our customer service agents or representatives from among young matriculants who have had little to no work experience, our training is focused on ensuring that they not only know what good service is but have the confidence to deliver it. Inevitably, they enjoy their jobs and become invested in the brand. This translates into an inherent desire to keep the customer happy. This combined with iiNet’s clearly defined and consistent business objectives makes it simple to deliver on that desire. ”
iiNet Cape Town started in 2008 with 169 members of staff, most interfacing directly with customers. Reaching 1 000 seats in 2014 constitutes a 10-fold increase in only six years.
“The iiNet Merchants relationship is a true win-win story,” Roos says. “Cape Town delivers for iiNet and the growth of iiNet Cape Town has a direct transformational effect on the community from which we source our staff.
“In the obvious sense, this has to do with the jobs we are creating. At a more deeply enduring level, we have a policy of promoting from within whenever possible. So, young people are able to build a career within the iiNet contact centre and, as they progress, to other roles within the iiNet operation. The experience that iiNet provides coupled with an extensive range of development programmes within Merchants enables this.
“South Africa has great raw talent and passion. All one needs to do is create an environment that allows people to flourish.
“In addition, by promoting from within the ranks of customers service representatives, we are able to maintain the iiNet culture. As representatives move into positions such as customer service managers, they pass on and entrench what they have learned. Maintaining iiNet’s culture leads to more satisfied customers - and the cycle of growth continues.”