In Amiens, CCA International stands for “Call Center Attraction”
Virginie Dizière/CCA International/Interview
All call centers have not fled France; one of them is even localised in a town that has welcomed them for a long time, now known for giving birth to the French president, Emmanuel Macron. The town is also known for a movie, Merci Patron, produced by the chief editor of the Fakir magazine, which is, as well, edited in Amiens.
Made in Picardie: in Amiens, 20 years of performance
1 hour and 09 minutes away from Paris, the 700 employees of the CCA International site in Amiens are evidence, 20 years later, that the strategy to set up a contact centre in the Picardy city was a winning decision. The inspiration of Eric Dadian, then CEO Intracall Centre (now CCA International) and Gilles de Robien, then mayor of Amiens, was embodied in the work of employees like Virginie, who has been managing this site almost since it opened, but also like Joseph or Clement. Today, thanks to Virginia, Joseph, and Clement, demanding customers such as Citroën are convinced by the relevance and performance of this « made in Picardy » customer service – combining local values and international experience…
Talented women are back! Those are inspired women, passionate about customer relationship, who manage to balance a rewarding career in a large international company and a very active personal one… Virginie Dizière, director of the Amiens site of CCA International, is one of them. And she’s been following every development known by this Amiens facility since it opened… twenty years ago.
Did you imagine, when you were a student, that one day you would be part of a call center company? And is it by chance that you have this function today?
No, but I wanted to work in an industry where service excellence was really important. When I started at Intra Call Center, I immediately understood that this job would suit me, but that would require me to always strive for excellence. Customer interaction is not something iterative. You must perform right away and every time. My dissertation was about the future of branchless banking. In 1995, I had no idea that outsourced customer relationship management would become a new way of consuming. At the same time, a whole new business sector was being created, stage by stage. And throughout my career I have been fortunate to find myself working with visionaries, who have allowed the company to support the customer revolution.
In dinner parties, or with relatives, how do you present your trade, your business and what do they reply when you say what you do?
Honestly, I do not do many “dinners in town.” I prefer to spend my free time with my family, my relatives or exercising. More concretely, I explain that I work for an international group, that we are more than 4,500 employees defending the values of the brands which entrusted with the management or engagement of their customers or prospects, every day. I also explain that we work on different business areas by providing expertise in managing customer interactions. As part of these missions, we are responsible for marketing, informing, assisting, retaining a portfolio of clients and recovering their bills. Our role is also to collect and analyse data so as to recommend concrete actions.
Your best friend becomes the director or HR manager of a large call centre, what are 3 tips that you would write on a post-it note for him or her?
• Try to always be fair and exemplary
• Take your decisions by always taking into account the triptych: customers, employees, company
• Do not forget that the first strength of the company is its employees
There is much talk of the customer experience today, what are the companies that surprise you in this area?
Customer experience is not a shallow concept for me, nor is it reserved for groups who can commit significant resources. For example, when I call my electrician, I do not need to take all my history or my specified address. In a few words, my interlocutor makes me understand that he has useful information about my case, and above all, he replies effectively and very transparently to my questions. When I hang up the phone, if the advisor has done a good job, I have an answer, and I feel I can trust him. That’s what customer experience is all about for me.
Eric Schmidt, then CEO of Google, indicated that he believed that it was impossible to reconcile, in the IT sector, a successful career and a serene and happy private life … what do you think?
He is wrong! I have two children, a family and want to spend time with them. But what matters more than quantity, is the quality of the time we spend together. It is true that it’s the big picture which really matters. How one can be back home at 7PM to share a family dinner, play sports, have cultural activities with the family, enjoy the holidays, monitor your children’s homework… In our business, we must be very responsive, available, attentive, creative, so it is necessary to learn to delegate and trust.
What do you think has really transformed business since you started working?
Indeed, methods change, technologies change. There is also talk of societal developments of Generation Y. Of course, all this is relevant. Behaviours have evolved, as have the expectations of our customers, our users and our employees. The company and its management must stick with these new realities. But the goal remains the same: efficiency and trust, through service excellence.
We must adapt to this new environment. Today, we have to be faster, with handling times under four hours, and more effective because we have no second chance.
Amiens, where the story of CCA International blends in the history of the call center industry
Virginie Dizière was there when Gilles de Robien, one of those MPs (who then became a Minister) believed in the rise of “factories of the service sector”. Forced like many industrial cities to reinvent its future, the Somme prefecture thus added to his cathedral… a training school, Supmediacom. With its two heroes of the time, Eric Dadian and Gilles de Robien, the city government defined a rhetoric, an industry, and accompanied the tremendous growth of call centers through the 2000s. That was a time when call centres would grow everywhere, a trend supported by the mobile phone boom in France. In fact, the Amiens site was originally developed by Intracall to serve the needs of a telephone information service “Eric (Dadian) said,” we will create a call center here” he had faith and vision and it was really needed because it was nothing like what you can see now “, says the site director who also pilots the call center that opened in Reims as well. Directory inquiry services were followed by new missions, but the train station is still there, so close that if a candidate arrives late for a job interview, and tells that he had a bus or subway problem… you would be right to be suspicious.
“Thanks to CCA International, our recommendation rate went up 20 points in 2 years to reach over 55%”
Olivier Menuet, Responsable du Service Relations Clientèle – Citroën France
What is your assessment of the collaboration with CCA?
The result is positive. It is our customers who tell us this. The Citroën brand is associated with comfort, and more generally to automotive well-being. In the relationship with our customers, this is illustrated by our commitment to provide them a simple, easy, fluid and transparent experience. Within customer service relationships, we constantly measure the satisfaction of our customers, who come to us for inquiries or claims. In 2 years, our response time has been divided by 3: to date, more than 95% of requests for information are processed the same day and more than 50% in less than 4 hours. We also measure the recommendation rate of our customers contacting us for claims after processing their request: our recommendation rate went up 20 points in 2 years to reach over 55%. These results reflect our successful collaboration with CCA.