Smart Energy International Excellence Award: Africa
Conlog has once again proven to be the world leading prepayment supplier of choice, by being awarded the 2010 Smart Energy International Excellence Award for Africa for its Technical Support Centre.
In addition, the Durban-based company was chosen as the “Best Metering Company” by the electricity supply industry, for the sixth time in eight years.
“A key focus at Conlog is on constantly striving to improve our product and service offering to our customers. These awards show that we are on the right track,” says Warren Dixon, Conlog’s projects and services director.
Conlog’s innovative Technical Support Centre and associated tools provide the mechanisms for customers everywhere in the world to access support as they need it.
“We are one of the first in the industry to offer a 24-hour Support Centre, whereby customers can contact us day or night, for assistance. For example, if I am a customer sitting on the other side of the world and my server goes down, I want it fixed immediately – not when the South African office opens. Through our Support Centre, we are able provide this service,” says Dixon.
In developing the Support Centre, Conlog understood the imperative of providing a holistic solution for customer needs, including:
- Web portal: This provides the mechanism for a customer, anywhere in the world, to be able to enter new support requests, track the status of items and even have online web conversations with the technical support teams.
- Knowledge base: The portal also includes a knowledge base where customers are able to access an extensive library of information and experience from Conlog specialists.
- Call centre: A traditional 24-hour call centre was developed, which provides telephone and email support. The centre also links into the project engineers, so that if a service agent cannot resolve an issue, it can be elevated to a technical specialist for quick resolution.
- Data collation: The various tools also provide valuable input for Conlog’s development teams, which are able to track and evaluate market requirements and trends, as experienced by customers. This has the net result of directly assisting in new product development, or enhancements to further improve existing products.
An added benefit for the sales team is that they are able to monitor the work being done with a customer, no matter where in the world they are located, as the system is completely online and accessed via the web.
Delivering superior customer service is a key ingredient to maintaining Conlog’s customer relationships. Providing support to prepayment customers throughout the world can be challenging. Conlog has invested in products and processes that optimise the support process. One of these processes is the customer web portal, which is a simple step-by-step self service tool for the customer to report an incident, from which the support team can resolve the issue more efficiently and productively.
To cover all aspects of customer satisfaction Conlog had to design a system with a holistic approach to customer service:
- Customers can use the service portal to enter new prepayment incidents and view the status of existing ones, to search the knowledge base, and to have online web conversations with the support team.
- Support engineers can use the portal to manage the incident resolution process, to build and search the knowledge base, and to have web conversations with customers about their prepayment needs.
- Development teams can use the portal to monitor new product releases for trends, and to identify any areas for future enhancements and improvements.
- Support managers can use the product to manage the support team’s workload and track performance metrics, to monitor high priority incidents, and to identify critical trends. All incidents that breach their service level agreement threshold are elevated to support managers.
- Sales account managers can utilise the portal to monitor the status of their customers and the use of the software.
Conlog receives over 1,000 support requests and customer initiated tasks per month, which is why the company regards its duty as to provide the right support tools.
Concludes Dixon: “We are one of the first organisations, if not the first, to deploy such extensive support tools for our customers. And this is just the beginning. We are constantly looking at evolving the products and services, and that includes listening to customers’ needs.”
Conlog is a specialist in the prepayment field and has been pioneering the industry for more than two decades. With an installed base of over 5 million meters and revenue management solutions operating in more than 25 countries spanning four continents, more than 70 utilities are reaping the financial benefits from the company’s solutions. Each day, more than 1,300 households have a Conlog prepaid meter in their premises.
Conlog strives for excellence always, with the aim to ensure that a Conlog experience is an experience that will last a lifetime.