Insights CharityeCommerce

A spotlight on Elovate’s Contact Centre

At Elovate, we pride ourselves on providing a wide range of quality services to charities and eCommerce clients operating within a variety of sectors.

Here, we talk to Carly McGrain, Elovate’s Head of Service Delivery, who gives an insight into the valuable work of our Contact Centre.

Can you describe the primary responsibilities and day-to-day activities of the Contact Centre? 

Our main current activities involve handling inbound calls and emails for a variety of charity and eCommerce clients.  We not only take calls from people that may want to give a donation or place an order, but we also deal with a wide range of customer service queries, returns and refunds, direct debits and subscriptions, product enquiries and general enquiries about the company or charity – these can be via calls or emails. 

Overall, the Contact Centre plays a crucial role in maintaining positive customer relationships, addressing inquiries and concerns, and contributing to the overall success of each charity or company by embodying their individual needs and values.  If someone phones a charity number, for example, it is our job to seamlessly portray that they are calling that charity directly and that goes for every single call, so our Contact Centre team has many hats to wear!

How many team members work in the Contact Centre?

The Contact Centre team is currently 24-strong and growing; managing calls and emails across various clients.  We have a mix of dedicated resources (i.e., a charity may have a dedicated Elovate team that works solely for that charity) and our general team that looks after around multiple clients.

How does the work of the Contact Centre align with the overall values of the company?

Following our rebrand last year, the Contact Centre team has been integral in embedding our company values into everything we do.  There is a real desire to make every interaction the best it can be, and the team is vital in making this happen:

  • Team Player:  The Contact Centre aims for a culture of collaboration and teamwork among the team. Agents work together to address customer inquiries, issues, and feedback effectively. Cross-functional communication and cooperation are always encouraged, ensuring that information flows smoothly between different departments to provide comprehensive support to customers and supporters quickly and efficiently.
  • Transparency & Integrity: Transparency is maintained within the Contact Centre by ensuring that agents are honest and forthcoming in their interactions with customers.  Agents are trained to provide accurate information and to address customer concerns with integrity/empathy, ensuring that customers feel confident in the information they receive.
  • Love What We Do: The Contact Centre embodies each client’s passion for its products or services by ensuring that agents are enthusiastic and dedicated to helping customers. Agents are trained to approach each interaction with positivity and a genuine desire to assist, creating a positive customer experience that reflects each company or charity’s passion for what it offers. We’re always mindful of the fact that even though we interact with 100s of different people every day, each one of those calls, for the person on the other end of the phone, may be the only conversation they have that day so every call needs 100% effort and care.
  • Deliver Excellence: The Contact Centre strives for excellence in every customer interaction by setting high standards for service quality and efficiency. Agents are equipped with the necessary tools, training, and support to consistently meet or exceed customer expectations, thereby upholding the company’s commitment to excellence in all aspects of its operations.  By embodying these values and goals, the Contact Centre becomes a central hub for customer engagement that not only resolves issues and inquiries but also reinforces the company’s brand identity and commitment to its customers.
What are the current projects and initiatives that the Contact Centre is focusing on?

Last year we installed our new omni-channel system.  We’re now in phase 3 of this project and working on social media management going live – this will expand our ability to manage all of customers’ social media interactions in one place.

We are also working on enhancements to our webchat and building more AI into the chatbot function so that customer information can be collected and passed onto each agent to streamline the interactions. Alongside this, we’re developing a Smart Chatbot, with the capability to upsell opportunities without even needing to interact with an agent. This will offer customers relevant products and services based on their digital behaviours and values. It can even offer a discount when needed to complete a sale, dramatically reducing cart abandonment. 

Another feature we have just made live is ‘call capture’ which allows us to select (or tag) the reason for each call directly after it. This provides amazing insight into each call for the charity/company and may highlight areas of concern that need to be addressed. This is proving a very popular feature, and being able to give each client further insight into their customer base is brilliant!

How does the Contact Centre measure success? What metrics or KPIs do you use?

There are a number of ways in which we measure the success of what we do:

  • Average Handling Time (AHT): We monitor the average time taken by agents to handle a customer interaction, including call duration, time spent on resolving issues, and any after-call work. Lower AHT often indicates higher efficiency, but this isn’t always the case, especially with charity clients, some of which don’t mind how long it takes as long as there is a positive outcome to the call.
  • First Call Resolution (FCR): This measures the percentage of customer inquiries or issues resolved during the initial contact with the Contact Centre, without requiring follow-up calls or escalations. This is something that we are working on just now as the new system allows us to analyse this more closely.
  • Service Level Agreement (SLA) Compliance: Our clients have various SLAs in place and we actively monitor these daily across our dedicated and group teams.
  • Agent Utilisation and Occupancy: This measures the percentage of time agents spend handling customer interactions, compared to their available working time. Occupancy measures the percentage of time agents are actively engaged in handling calls or tasks. Higher utilisation and occupancy rates indicate higher efficiency/productivity.
Can you tell us about any recent achievements or milestones that the Contact Centre has reached?

The implementation of our new system has had a massive positive impact on the Contact Centre, especially with the amount of data and insights we can now access, which is helping us improve both agent and customer experience.  This will only grow from strength to strength as we continue our developments in this area.

As part of our focus on dedicated centre of excellence ‘Hubs’ across our four UK locations, we have recently moved all of our Contact Centre clients from Slough to York, a move which has gone extremely well, with no interruption to service delivery. Another area of particular success is our call-back function, which has saved thousands of calls that may have otherwise been abandoned and importantly boosted caller satisfaction.

“It has been great working with the Contact Centre and seeing their friendly and customer focused approach to supporting our customers. Their willingness to go above and beyond to support a customer is much appreciated!”

Roseanne Hayter, Volunteer Experience Manager, RNLI

If you are interested to learn more about the work and capabilities of our Contact Centre, please click here.

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