Founded in 1987 by Fran Cotton and Steve Smith, Cotton Traders is a multi-channel retailer and mail order company, specialising in clothing that provides comfort and durability in contemporary casual styles. The company employs over 1000 staff and has over 125 shops throughout the UK, providing an annual turnover in excess of £75 million.
With a mission statement that integrates ‘a grounded team philosophy, we listen to you, our customers’, it means that Cotton Traders must ensure that they are able to implement these standards throughout their entire business infrastructure, particularly within their Contact Centre.
Being a multi-channel retailer, Cotton Traders contact centre must be flexible in its management and workflow, in order to achieve its customer centric focus. Cotton Trader sell mainly through mail order catalogues and the web, using TV adverts that generate customer demand spikes.
The customer base demographic is predominantly over 40 and mainly retired professionals. For this reason, the Contact Centre still handles a large majority of the orders. In order to do this efficiently and to meet the required standards, the contact centre must have a system which is quick and easy to navigate around. Also, statistical analysis tools allow for management to ensure that agents and their time can be utilised to the most efficient and effective manner.
The Contact Centre technology, previously provided by Aspect Rockwell, became the subject of analysis due in part to it being end of life. Cotton Traders also felt that it was not allowing them to improve on the stringent demands that they set themselves for customer excellence and providing the business with a flexible technology environment that would allow easier response to business change and need. As a result, they concluded that they would approach the market to evaluate the current technology on offer.
During the analysis, it became apparent that ctalk’s system stood out from other providers due to its simplicity and feature rich offering. This meant that there weren’t any elements or business needs that the system could not provide.
Because ctalk provide a concurrent license model, due time and attention was taken to ensure that the product offering included all the necessary components required to enable Cotton Traders a seamless upgrading of customer operations within their Contact Centre. Because ctalk provide a concurrent license model, due time and attention was taken to ensure that the product offering included all the necessary components required to enable Cotton Traders a seamless upgrading of customer operations within their Contact Centre.
On 1st April 2010, Cotton Traders successfully swapped over to ctalk’s system. The swap over happened at 10pm on the 31st March. The Contact Centre was live and tested by 11pm. When the agents arrived at 8am the next day they had a fully functional system and have had no down time since. Through the ease of navigation and configuration of the platform, Cotton Traders were able to self-manage the switchover alongside the training and support provided by ctalk, for a successful ‘Go-Live’ day.
Once implemented, the true benefits of the ctalk system were realised. One element that particularly stood out to Gail Jones is the ‘flexibility to change workflow without requiring a technical background’.
The simplicity of the system means that Cotton Traders are able to experiment with workflow and change elements in a test environment before simply switching it live. This allows for a quicker reaction to changes in workflow demand.
Ctalk implemented a system which allows for a much smoother flow of operations and greater speed of response within the Cotton Traders Contact Centre. With ctalk’s solution they get instant feedback on campaign success with real time management and analysis at their fingertips together with a suite of reporting tools that allow them the management information, informing on the response to their TV campaigns, allowing impacting and insightful business decisions which are utilised holistically through the business.
Ctalk’s system provides Cotton Traders with far more information about why the customer is calling, and, as a consequence, they have been able to reduce costs and improve efficiency. The agent is provided with supporting information about the customer, ensuring the customer is identified and feels valued.
With ctalk’s system in place, Cotton Traders saw immediate benefits in their ability to be able to look after their customer needs and preferences, with an operational system in the contact centre that is a true reflection of the vision that they wanted for the company.