Case Study: ClientLogic and Logitech
Utilizing a powerful established customer care service provider with vast related competencies has proven to be the winning formula for PC accessories manufacturer Logitech.
Utilizing a powerful established customer care service provider with vast related competencies has proven to be the winning formula for Logitech of Fremont, California, a manufacturer of PC accessories. With limited expertise in customer care and the related technologies, Logitech chose to outsource the processes involved to ClientLogic of Nashville, Tennessee in 1997.
Since then, as the knowledge of processes and understanding of technology grew, some processes were brought back in-house while more advanced processes and technologies were subsequently implemented by the outsource provider. Along with producing a fine product line, the strategy has yielded double-digit growth with increased customer satisfaction and reduced costs proving that a winning formula can produce results even in repressed economic times.
Shoring Up Shortcomings
Michael Doyle, director of customer support for Americas region at Logitech, recalls the circumstances that led to the decision in October 1997 to outsource ClientLogic. "We had an internal help center with technical support being a separate entity from customer service. It was myself and another guy trying to figure stuff out that had already been solved before and it didn't make a lot of sense. We were not set up to work on a large call center. We were growing quickly and have seasonal fluctuations, which makes staffing a challenge. We needed to do a better job in flexibility and data collection."
Doyle relates that there were additional considerations. "Infrastructure was the big motivator. We had a homegrown call tracking system that we barely used. We weren't tied too much to technology at that point. We could take advantage of the systems and processes that they have in place."
Ramping up the processes was unconventional and would prove to be effective for Doyle. "We went about it in a backwards way compared to many folks, as we gave everything to them, then figured out what we needed to do internally instead over time as we gained expertise and understanding. We didn't specify a lot on our end as we felt that those guys were the experts on these things. Frankly, at the time, our knowledge on those kinds of things was pretty limited. Initially, we pretty much dumped everything on them; IVR, knowledge base, everything, to use their existing systems."
Brian Bingham, program manager for CRM and customer care services for IDC of Framingham, Massachusetts explains the upside in this approach. "The biggest challenges are always managing the resources and the capital expenses associated with the infrastructure, personnel and facilities. With any technology investment the decision always carries along the opportunity cost in investing in some other area. What is the true effect of how the technology will enhance the business process and is it really applicable to the industry that the company is competing in. Then there are the challenges that arise in which systems for the organization to use and how do they implement them to optimize the existing customer facing processes."
Bingham specifically cites the diverse competencies offered by ClientLogic that make them an ideal fit for the needs of a firm like Logitech. "ClientLogic is within the top ten service providers in the world. They are clearly differentiated from some of their competitors in that they can provide customer interaction services, sales/marketing, and customer service/support. They are also tie that in with analytic services, customer value analysis, and customer value optimization that can be integrated into a logistics fulfillment offering."
The Call Center and Assimilating the Agents Into the Logitech Culture
ClientLogic operates call centers in Las Vegas, Nevada and Dublin, Ireland for Logitech consumers with inbound customer service and technical support in English, French, and Spanish. The call center and the personnel interacting with the consumer are the bedrock of customer care. The call center was the first phase to be implemented. Amit Shankardass, solution planning officer for ClientLogic, explains the processes in accomplishing a successful ramp up of a call center. "Start up is one of the most challenging things in an outsourcing relationship. The ramp up process becomes a very key piece with issues around culture, training, and hiring."
"There are three parts of training. One is the general CSR training. Then we go to client specific product training. They need to think like a customer. We immerse them in the client's product and the experience of the customer. You cannot do that by putting an instructor in front of a classroom. You have to take the agent into the product environment. The third part is the culture of the client so they not only understand the customer experience but also the persona of the organization that they are representing."
Doyle relates to these tenets. "We went over there a lot to train the agents on our policies and procedures. We try to keep close ties with the agents to make them feel like part of our company. All of the agents have Logitech mice and digital cameras in their workplace and at home. We are big within our company and our partners to make our products available to them as it solidifies the relationship and enhances product knowledge. The agents feel like they are Logitech employees as much as they are ClientLogic employees. We both try to foster this."