Gauteng Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  08 Nov 2011

CONTACT CENTRES: Contact Centre Expertise Lifts After-Sales Service Levels


Recent Gauteng Business News

The Bravo Group, which houses some of South Africa’s best-known furniture brands including Grafton Everest and Gomma Gomma, says it has seen “a major improvement” in the quality of after-sales service after appointing contact centre operator 118Contact.

“Service levels, innovations and relationships drive our business,” says Group Sales and Marketing Executive Chris Dirks. “We need to compete against cheap imports on a daily basis.” With Chinese-made furniture making ever-greater inroads into the local market, the Bravo Group identified after-sales service and repairs as a crucial source of competitive advantage.

However, says Dirks, after-sales service “was a decentralized function controlled at factory level. We realized we didn’t have accurate information about turn-around times or the quality of our service. We didn’t know whether we were good or bad, although we suspected we were just as bad as the rest of the industry.”

The Complexity of an Excellent Contact Centre

Delivering excellent service was made more complicated, adds Dirks, by the fact that “we need to make it easy for retailers to do business with us. Retailers want to sell, not be repair or service agents, so we needed to make this function as smooth as possible both for them and for end customers. We also wanted to reduce the costs involved in repairs.”

The Bravo Group approached 118Contact, who first set about understanding the Group’s business operations and challenges. “The repair process is quite complex and it takes a number of stakeholders to make it work," says 118Contact’s Roland Govender. “The customer reports a problem to the retailer who in turn logs a service request with 118 Contact. A service agent is then assigned to inspect and repair if authorised. The item is then returned to the original store for collection by the customer.118 Contact remains accountable for and facilitates the entire product repair process from start to finish.”

“Our experience in customer service helped us to identify a number of areas where we could improve processes,” says Govender. “The average time to repair was three months; we set an interim target of 18 days and will continue to strive to improve on that. We helped design a better process, trained repair agents in how to administer it and improve their service delivery, and helped to get agreement on the new targets from all stakeholders.”

Top Quality Contact Centre Comes at a Price

The results have been impressive, says Dirks: “We have seen costs come down and service levels improve. It’s difficult to quantify the costs, but so far the time to repair has come down significantly and is set to improve even further.”

118Contact has focused both on internal and external processes, says Dirks. “There is an internal focus on improving our turnaround times and service quality at our operating units, and externally 118Contact has played a huge role in improving our processes and are constantly working with the stakeholders to help improve the levels of service for our clients.

As a result of the improvements it has delivered, says Dirks, “118Contact is not just a service provider. The Group sees them as integral part of the business, and they have established themselves as an extension of the various operating units. The contact centre has assisted us in making what was a non-core function into a major focus area that we report on at board level.”

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