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Service at Sunrise: Customised solutions for a better customer experience

Sunrise Communications is the second largest telecommunications provider in Switzerland, delivering mobile, TV, landline phone and internet services to almost three million customers across different brands and countries. This already huge customer base is growing steadily – and so is Sunrise’s support team.

Sunrise Communications AG
“Whatever we decide to do in the future, we are glad to have joined forces with Appamondo and Zendesk. We look forward to continuing working with them to further decrease the workload for our agents and increase the share of happy Sunrise customers”

Abide Yalvac

Head of Customer Contact & Operations at Sunrise Communications AG

Number of agents

80+

Number of tickets per month

> 20.000

90%

CSAT score

93.7%

Share of one-touch tickets

3.7%

Share of two-touch tickets

Sunrise Communications is the second largest telecommunications provider in Switzerland, delivering mobile, TV, landline phone and internet services to almost three million customers across different brands and countries. This already huge customer base is growing steadily – and so is Sunrise’s support team.

Reviewing its systems and IT infrastructure on a regular basis, Sunrise recognised back in 2019 that its old customer support system did not meet its requirements anymore. The sheer quantity of tickets was too much to handle, the chat system – heavily used by Sunrise’s customers – was buggy and multiple people managing e-mail inboxes made it impossible for agents and management alike to get a clear view of the customer.

Sunrise’s subsidiaries yallo, Lebara and 123Mobile all had different processes in place, making it impossible to move agents between brands. The need for a single, flexible and scalable, yet easy-to-use solution led to the decision to outsource this project to the experts of Appamondo, a technology service provider and Zendesk Master Partner. The mission: develop a powerful, centralised support system that would provide a single view of the customer, deflect tickets, streamline workflows and increase customer satisfaction across four different brands and languages.

“When we first contacted Appamondo, we were initially only looking for a more efficient e-mail system”, Abide Yalvac, Head of Customer Contact & Operations at Sunrise (looking after the yallo, Lebara, 123mobile and yallo swype brands), recalls. “We sat down together and worked through each step of the customer journey, however, and it quickly became clear there were more areas where we could improve customer experience and make life for our agents easier.”

After an in-depth analysis of Sunrise’s current structure, Appamondo began developing and implementing two different builds:

  1. a customised multi-brand platform for yallo, Lebara and 123Mobile (later also yallo swype, which launched in December 2019) and

  2. a custom-built application focused on WhatsApp

For the multi-brand build, three main channels that needed to be in place from go-live had been identified: e-mail, webform and chat.

Sunrise Store

Sunrise Store

Build for multi-brand

Regarding e-mail, Sunrise now has a single address through which all requests come in and are being prioritised automatically. Time-critical tickets or tickets with pre-defined keywords escalate to the top of the view in Zendesk Support, making sure a specialised agent or management deals with them in due time. This not only makes it simpler for agents to work through tickets but also ensures management always maintains a complete overview.

As for the yallo brand, the webform is crucial to its structure as it is the main point of contact for customers. Correspondingly, its help centre, in a subsection of which the webforms sit, needed to be well thought out. Apart from a generic form for more general requests, Appamondo implemented a very customised invoice information request form as well as a refund request form.

The third key component of the multi-brand platform is chat. The number of tickets coming in through this channel is by far the highest (as of May 2020: 181.357 in total vs. 25.407 for webform, the second highest number of tickets) across all brands, making it the biggest part of the implementation. One major challenge for the customisation of chat was figuring out a way to ensure tickets were assigned to the correct language, which the system initially failed to do on occasions.

“Being a Swiss brand, our chat system needed to be able to deal with not only English but also German, French and Italian”, Yalvac explains. “When a customer began his request with an English term but continued in German, for example, the system mistakenly assigned the ticket to an English-language agent. This, of course, was not appropriate, unnecessarily tied resources and negatively impacted customer experience. Thankfully, Appamondo quickly found a workaround for this issue!” The solution is as straightforward as it is clever: the chat widget now bases its decision on the country-specific prefix in the customer’s URL.

All of these parts are now implemented in one single solution, providing the agents with multiple views so they can also see each other in the system. As part of Sunrise’s support team works from Istanbul and other agents are based in Switzerland, this makes collaboration between the two spatially separated teams a lot simpler and faster. With the new chat system integrated into the platform, the majority of issues coming in through this channel can be resolved quickly and without agents having to ask for additional customer details like account keys. The platform allows for a much higher degree of flexibility and efficiency of agents. They can move between brands and always have the right resources in the right place. For each of Sunrise’s brands, Appamondo adapted the multi-brand platform’s features and functions to their distinct requirements and rolled the system out in stages.

From WhatsApp to KillBill

The second build Appamondo developed and implemented for Sunrise is a customised application that has its origin in Sunrise’s need to correspond with its customers via WhatsApp. Above that, the app also needed to be able to sync with Sunrise’s invoicing and refund tool called “KillBill”. The app was built in a separate Zendesk instance for one brand first to make it easier to set up and manage it before possibly implementing it with other brands at a later point in time.

Within the KillBill app, agents can carry out full or partial customer refunds based on purchases within a user profile and a ticket sidebar. It utilises the APIs provided by webtiser to display the six most recent invoices and payments made by the customer in the app. If a customer has, for example, several contracts with Sunrise, the agent can also search for data from an unlimited time frame to find the relevant invoice. For a better overview, the app uses a colour scheme to indicate no refund (green), complete refund (red) and partial refund (yellow).

Sunrise Store

Sunrise Store

Continuous improvement

"Our business is changing rapidly, so we need and value partners like Appamondo, who are able to keep up with this pace."Abide Yalvac, Head of Customer Contact & Operations at Sunrise Communications AG Each of the components have been carefully prepared, tested and implemented and agents as well as management have received comprehensive training sessions from Appamondo. Yalvac is happy to have found a reliable partner in them: “They really did a great job in understanding our business and requirements, finding the right solutions for us and putting them into practice at an amazing speed. Our business is changing rapidly, so we need and value partners like Appamondo, who are able to keep up with this pace. I know I can always call them when a new situation arises. They will always support us and come up with a solution.”

To Yalvac, customer retention is all about quality of service, not the contractual status of customers. In her view, telecommunications providers have rested on the supposed protection of their contracts for too long. She is convinced that businesses can only thrive in the long run by always delivering the best possible service that will turn customers into loyal brand ambassadors. This is why Appamondo set up a continuous improvement program for the Zendesk installation, regularly reviews Sunrise’s systems and proactively supports them in finding new ways to enhance its customer experience. A look at yallo’s metrics for the first quarter of 2020 proves the continuous improvement program right: yallo had a share of 94.6% one-touch-tickets, which is even higher than Sunrise’s overall average one-touch-ratio.

Now that the system has been built and implemented, the key to being able to meaningfully review and continuously improve is having the right reporting tools in place. For the management to ensure that KPIs are being met, the dashboard displays metrics regarding the SLAs (Service Level Agreements) and how they have been matched, how many tickets are being received and what channel they are coming from as well as how many chat tickets have been missed. Appamondo is customising and enhancing the reports for Sunrise on an ongoing basis.

Most recently, just like many other companies, Sunrise faced the challenge to have their support teams work from home during the Coronavirus Pandemic. To understand how the agents’ productivity may be affected by this, especially when tickets are passed between different agents and teams, Appamondo added time-tracking and reporting tools. This helps Sunrise to identify how it can support its employees in dealing with the new situation and, at the same time, maintain a high level of customer satisfaction under these exceptional circumstances.

Looking ahead, Sunrise is considering various enhancements for its platform, such as implementing AI in the chat system or including additional channels like AppleChat. Additionally, it is looking into various options to make the use of the platform even easier for the agents. Since the vast majority of tickets are coming in through chat, this could free up some agents, who exclusively work with Zendesk Support right now, to manage Chat as well.

Sunrise is also examining if more teams could get involved in the Zendesk world to further break free from individual (data) silos and thus increase efficiency across the company and its subsidiaries. “Whatever we decide to do in the future, we are glad to have joined forces with Appamondo and Zendesk. We look forward to continuing working with them to further decrease the workload for our agents and increase the share of happy Sunrise customers”, Yalvac concludes.

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