Month: December 2021

Customer Service operators

An initial training period will be followed by constant updates, with opportunities for professional growth within the team. Skills and requirements:

• Good knowledge of Italian;

• Good interpersonal relations and communications skills;

• Demonstrable PC skills;

• Team spirit and the ability to adapt in new situations;

• Willingness to work shifts;

• Residence/Domicile in the provinces of Caserta/Naples.

The ideal candidate will already have work experience as a contact centre operator. We are looking for candidates of both genders. Interested persons are invited to read our information on the processing of personal data pursuant to the applicable legislation and, in particular, art. 13 of Regulation (EU) 2016/679 (GDPR).

Credit management as new tool for business expansion

Cantine Paololeo srl, a fifth generation family business, has produced wines since the early 1900s at Masseria Monticello, in the heart of the Negroamaro Park. Production has increased by 40% over the past three years, from 3 million bottles to about 4.2 million. The vineyards have a total area of around 24,000 sq.m. The first is located in central Salice Salentino DOC (San Donaci). The second, inaugurated in August 2020, is situated in Monteparano next to Primitivo di Manduria DOC. The facilities comprise extremely modern wine-making equipment, large cellars and an advanced bottling line capable of filling 7,000 bottles an hour. In recent years, Paololeo has reinvested part of the profits earned in R&D and innovative solutions that have modernised, with advance technology, the processing plant and equipment used. This strategy has enable the business to improve steadily the organoleptic properties and qualitative characteristics of the products put on the market. Sagres and Paololeo have collaborated successfully since 2014.

The Solution

The objective of the project devised by Sagres was to structure the new business plans of the company, monitoring and making best use of the costs incurred by the client. Working with Sagres, Paololeo has maximised cash flows and managed to dedicate financial resources to new investments. In 2018, the Sagres team developed a strategic plan for improving the ORDER to CASH process, with a view to making best use of the internal resources available and outsource low value-added activities. Together with management, Sagres prepared essential guidelines for a steady reduction in the level of DSO, seeking to enhance:

  • the loyalty of sales agents, making them central to the project and providing them with all the support needed to obtain an in-depth understanding of the customers in their territories,
  • their reliability and the payment terms generally practised with other suppliers.

This project included constant analysis of the entire customer portfolio. These dynamics were designed and implemented in order to ensure appropriate customer turnover, with the arrival of more reliable partners with respect to those with chronic payment delays. Sagres professionals also developed a service intended to establish direct relations between Paololeo and its sales network, thus obtaining constant updates on the daily activities of its agents. Over time, the partnership was able to identify specific, delicate cases of potential insolvency, activating internal processes for negotiating and accelerating collections without recourse to the courts. Sagres has devised a dashboard for Paololeo, enabling the Board to have an overview of the activities and cash flows of the business, as a necessary and strategic step in the processes of introducing new productive activities and planning future investments.

Objectives achieved, as measured in 2019

Financially sound increase in HoReCa sales of 15.47%. Increased cash flow and optimisation of financial charges. +21.71% (2019>2018) Thanks to Sagres, Paololeo achieved a 96% collection record without any recourse to legal action, by focusing on careful credit management. Compared with 2018, DSO in 2019 fell by an additional 12.4%. Taken together, these results have enabled the client to source the funds needed to install a new bottling line, modernise the existing winery and acquire the Monteparano production hub.

Help Desk Technician – PBX systems

Sagres, a leader in business consultancy and the management of trade debtors, financing/bank loans and CC services, seeks a HELP DESK TECHNICIAN – PBX SYSTEMS to strengthen its workforce and manage the applications used by telephone switchboards. The recruit will work in a very young, highly results-oriented environment focused on continuous improvement. Essential requirements:

  • Administration of PBX systems. At least 2/3 years of experience with Asterisk. Optionally, knowledge of FreePBX and/or Issabel would be useful;
  • In-depth knowledge of Linux (Debian/Ubuntu and Centos/RedHat, LAMP stack, firewalls);

The ideal candidate will also have the following hard skills:

  • Work on LINUX / WINDOWS platforms;
  • Installation, configuration and operational administration of SW and HW;
  • Management of CRM call centre systems;
  • Management of voice/data systems;
  • Web design (PHP-Mysql-Jquery);
  • Help desk and IT maintenance activities.

The ideal candidate sought by us also possesses the following soft skills and knowledge:

  • At least 2/3 years of experience in the sector;
  • Good teamwork skills;
  • Good stress management abilities;
  • Problem-solving ability and spirit of initiative;
  • Graduate preferred (three-year degree or longer, Computer Studies / Computer Engineer);
  • DBA skills using MS SQL Server;
  • Knowledge of Shell scripting, PHP, Mysql and Javascript;
  • Knowledge of IT infrastructure (servers, networking and VoIP);
  • Call centre experience (ACD, IVR, CTI System etc).

Permanent position with remuneration linked to the technical skills demonstrated by the candidate at the interview stage. We are looking for candidates of both genders. Interested persons are invited to read our information on the processing of personal data pursuant to the applicable legislation and, in particular, art. 13 of Regulation (EU) 2016/679 (GDPR).

Sagres supports the Study Grants promoted by Caserta Confindustria

Study grants have been awarded to the 32 most deserving students in the province of Caserta. The ceremony, at the offices of Coca-Cola HBC Italia in Marcianise, was attended by the Finance Director of Sagres Srl, Angelo Morrone. Sagres has always shown interest in the social and cultural development of the territory. As such, it was a natural choice to join with Coca-Cola HBC to strengthen this Confindustria project that recognises the importance of education and training. Find out more about the initiative:

Another NPS Bad Practice spotted in Milan

I took this photo in a Milan electronics superstore. “You will receive an e-mail containing our satisfaction survey about your buying experience: if you are satisfied, remember that – for us – ACCEPTABLE is a score greater than 9”. Why do businesses do these things and what consequences do they bring?

NPS wrong Apparently they have forgotten the main reason for these surveys, which should be to listen to the sincere “Voice of the Customer”, as a way to improve the Customer Experience, not to obtain high scores. This usually happens when customer-facing employees are given economic incentives linked to the NPS results. Such conduct is extremely dangerous, because the entire organisation will start to beg for top scores, pressing customers for a 9 or a 10 since anything lower would be considered a failure. The use of colours or faces transforms a scale of 11 into a scale of 3 and suggests how customers should respond. These are ways to “trick” the system. Customers will be induced not to give a 6 (which they might have done without being pushed) in order to avoid damaging the employee they met, giving instead a higher score. The main objective of this poor practice is to inflate the score artificially. The danger is to give useless and misleading data to management, that will be used to make strategic decisions. In itself, the score is unimportant! What really matters is the REASON hidden behind the score. Understanding WHY is the only way to learn how to organise, opening the path towards real improvements in the Customer Experience. Sagres adopts proper methodologies and the best AI-based technologies to measure and analyse the CX, identifying the real reasons behind customer perceptions of their experience with your business.   Understanding, improving and/or correcting the Customer Experience are the best ways to generate healthy and lasting profitability.

Customer Experience (CX) in Italian utilities: future drivers for success

The KPMG Customer Experience Excellence Report 2021, addressing the state of CX (Customer eXperience) in Italy, has been released.

UtilitiesTalking about utilities (businesses focused on the production, management and distribution of such services as electricity, gas and water), a sector that Sagres knows very well after working for over a decade with various European market leaders, the report states that they can no longer “… compete for customers based solely on price, but must rethink their brand identities from the ground up (the way they appeal to consumers via their name, logo, mission, know-how and actions, products and services, prices, advertising and relations with the parties directly and indirectly involved in their activities). It is necessary to revolutionise the way they reach potential customers and, above all, how they interact with them after conversion. The principal sector operators are orchestrating their revitalisation around such key words as innovation, care for the environment and sustainability, customer centricity”. Download here the Customer Experience Excellence Report 2021 – KPMG Italia #CX #utilities #brandidentity #customercentricity #cxdrivers

Contact centre or call centre?


Contact centres and call centres both provide customer services and the terms are often used interchangeably. That said, the principal difference between the two is that call centres only handle inbound or outbound calls, while contact centres provide multi-channel customer support via, for example, e-mail, chat, Voice over IP (VoIP) and the web. The key characteristics of a contact centre include: Advanced distribution of calls, enabling us to maximise the number of calls managed while ensuring a positive customer experience; Reports in real time via the various channels used, so that clients can quickly observe and analyse our performance with respect to the objectives and the satisfaction of end users; Contact scripts, created together with our clients considering their specialisations and unique characteristics, that enable us to deliver a customised service and a warmth that provides both effective support and opportunities to generate new sales or increased loyalty; Interchangeable roles, given that all our operators share the same contacts and objectives, enabling them to work as part of a synchronised team at all times. The modular infrastructure of the contact centre also allows managers to maximise team efficiency, while also benefiting from enhanced security, better data protection and increased flexibility. Both contact centres and call centres have multiple functions and process enormous volumes of telephone interactions. Like contact centres, call centres generally provide customer service and technical support or assist with sales interactions. They can also be used for telemarketing, information gathering, credit or payment collection and fraud prevention. Both contact centres and call centres provide self-service opportunities for customers to report and resolve their problems, with bidirectional instant messaging, guided by key words and text messages, or interaction with a chatbot. This self-service facility cuts the time spent by agents on calls, thus reducing customer waiting times and lowering overall costs. Contact centres also improve the profiling of customers. Whenever customers interact with call centres or contact centres, they share information about their preferences and personal behaviours, which are collected and used to improve their experience in future exchanges. While call centre agents are able collect some data via their calls, the digital channels used by contact centres make the process even simpler and more effective. The contact centre software collects customer data from all the channels used and pulls it together into a single profile. Since most contact centre customers interact using several channels, more data is collected. This improves the ability of the contact centre to adapt its CX for the benefit of individual callers, thus processing better their calls and other inbound communications.

The difference between credit collection and credit management

The need

Many clients initially use our services just to collect cash. This fundamental activity is often not fully understood to be “core”, in the context of their technical and commercial know-how and focus. Almost always, Sagres is identified and chosen because of our greatly different approach to this crucial service. In particular, we always try to customise our services, tailoring them to the characteristics and special needs of each business. We develop an ad hoc project for each client by “taking the measurements before cutting the cloth”. Sagres professionals are the tailors of “credit management”, not “just” cash collectors. As such, the first step is always to analyse the types and characteristics of the services/products sold, profiling the end customer and the past-due amounts accumulated over time. We need to put ourselves in the position of our clients, and are happy to do so, whether they are utilities delivering power/electricity/gas, wineries, manufacturers, installers or maintenance providers. This is because each business has specific features, organisational flows and end customers with their own special characteristics. As a consequence, we seek to bring together two forces that often seem to be in conflict: Finance and Sales. Our mission since the very beginning, has been to minimise the dissatisfaction of debtor customers while achieving the financial objectives of the business. This means finding the perfect mix among the relevant balance sheet indicators: from the Bad Debts Allowance to Net Working Capital

The solution

Starting from the precept that, as an objective, the end-customer risks faced by our clients must be mirrored by those accepted by Sagres, the key move is to listen very carefully to the debtors that do not pay, understanding their reasons and seeking to break deadlocks that could lead to long and costly legal disputes. This approach, the work flows designed and the resulting operational phases result, in 76% of our cases, in saving the relationship between our clients and their customers, creating increased mutual satisfaction after an initial period of tension. Sagres initially works with clients to achieve the agreed credit collection objectives, but the real added-value perceived comes from the close teamwork between our people and theirs. Accordingly, in order to establish pro-active credit management right from the time of invoicing, we always dedicate much care and attention to “customer education” in the area of payments. Supported by telephone calls and other messages, they feel supported by someone ready to listen and help with the resolution of their payment difficulties. Efforts range from the re-issue of mislaid invoices to the management of repayment plans. Legal collectors also play an important role in this solution, primarily by adopting a pragmatic approach to collections that privileges effective dialogue and the resolution of technical and/or administrative issues, while retaining legal action against the debtor as a last resort. Supported by our vocation to serve business partners, the Sagres solution results, in 63% of cases, in full integration of the two organisations: our operators collaborate in every respect with their front office “colleagues”, as if working for the same firm, in order to ensure the successful outcome of the credit management project, firstly from an organisational standpoint and then financially and economically. It is crystal clear that sharing the same business objectives and related risks rests at the heart of the client relationship, leading very often to virtuous, two-way OTJ training between Sagres operators, specialised in listening to debtors and the commercial and/or technical personnel of our clients. This symbiosis results in improved operations and increased customer satisfaction, as confirmed by achievement of the collection objectives to which the Sagres performance bonuses are tied by contract.

The results

In Italy, this represents a total reversal of the trend compared to ordinary credit collection services. In 2020, the collection performance of Sagres frequently came close to equalling the value of annual sales, thus even managing to recover problem amounts that became past due in prior years. Even more surprising is the drastic reduction in legal expenses, with less frequent recourse to court action that, in some cases, has been limited to less than 5% of the total outstanding debtor balance. This approach, based on the co-creation of solutions over the years and the continuous achievement of results, has of course strengthened relationships and increased the range of services provided. Sagres is a privileged strategic partner for most of our clients, which have relied on us continually over the past 10 years, renewing their trust or assigning us new projects related to managing or consolidating the loyalty of their customer base.

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