Optus Small Business Contact Centre Transformation

  • 2020

  • Service
    Commercial Services

Designed In:


The SoHo Micro contact centre sought to improve customer experience, enabling better service continuity, shortening wait times, improving resolution timeframes, minimising transfers and reducing reliance on complex Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems. Leaders recognised the opportunity for something new and sought to redesign their operating model with a customer-first lens.

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  • The customer contact division set about reimagining the contact experience with a design challenge known as “one-to-one-to-one” – one customer request managed by one team member in one day – in the majority of cases (>90%). The outcomes sought were: • delivering an outstanding customer experience • simplifying customer interactions with a one-step (or eliminated) IVR • improving end-to-end segment ownership and accountability for customer outcomes • boosting contact centre agility and adaptability.

  • Organisations generally have multiple contact centre teams that hold expertise in a specific field (product, service or channel). To transform the experience, a new operating model was designed, tested, iterated and scaled across onshore and offshore teams. The new model involves co-located ‘teams of experts’ in pods. Small business customers are automatically routed to industry pods, driving segment ownership for the business and industry ownership for teams. Simple requests can be handled by any pod team member and those fielding requests outside their expertise collaborate with experts within their pod. Only highly complex queries are transferred – a small minority.

  • This solution improved the customer experience, operational efficiency and the employee experience through the prototype phase, and the model has now been implemented across all SoHo Micro contact centres. The prototype results included: Customer: Abandonment rates dropped by 44%, first call resolution improved by 14% and Net Promoter Score (NPS) increased by an incredible 18 points (from 22 to 40) Operations: Transfers reduced by 48% and occupancy improved Employees: Employee satisfaction showed significant improvement as a result of real ownership of customer outcomes and ability to collaborate with team members to get to a solution quickly.

  • The design team was highly collaborative, integrating both Deloitte and Optus teams. Optus leadership support was vital and unwavering. The design challenge was complicated by the multi-office and multi-geographical spread of the service team, with members distributed across sites in three Australian States and two other countries. The pods combined experts from four knowledge domains, with the ratio of individuals selected based on analysis of call volume and complexity. Pods were led by a coach, who did not perform a command and control role, but served as an enabler for collaboration and learning among team members. The pod leader was not expected to be a technical expert, representing a significant cultural shift. Ways of working were designed with influence from agile approaches. A bi-weekly cadence was established with opportunities for the pod to plan, sync, and reflect. This rhythm offered both an internal and external feedback and development loop; lessons learned by team members through the week were captured and cemented or highlighted for ongoing continuous improvement. Pod alignment to industry sectors was intended to support the organic development of industry-specific knowledge over time, improving the extent of support the team member could offer customers, while enabling better sales conversations.