By Stuart Lauchlan, news and analysis editor
The World Society for Protection of Animals (WSPA) UK, has deployed RightNow Technologies CRM in its supporter services team and across its website to improve their supporters’ experience.
WSPA UK is the world’s largest alliance of animal welfare societies and has been promoting animal welfare for more than 25 years. The organisation’s mission is to build a united global animal welfare movement and concentrates its efforts in the regions of the world where few, if any measures exist to protect animals.
All knowledge relating to individual animal welfare incidents and information about the charity had been saved in a shared computer file on an internal database only accessible to WSPA UK employees. The volume of information was cumbersome to manage and quickly became dated. The fact that the information was not shared externally also produced repetitive enquiries from supporters, for example, there were several hundred cruelty reports about an individual bear in Bulgaria, as people were not aware that the incident had already been reported and was being dealt with.
Now all WSPA UK employees are able to submit information to the WSPA website via the RightNow knowledge foundation, which has resulted in a reduction of repetitive emails, especially in cases such as the bear in Bulgaria. The submitted information is approved by animal welfare experts before being uploaded so that everyone, including contact centre agents, supporters and the general public can access relevant and consistent data.
“Our main goal is to save animals from cruelty and our supporters are people who have given time and money to help us. We want to ensure that this dedication is met with a good experience so that people keep supporting us and the mistreatment of animals is reduced,” explains Christopher Stransom, supporter services manager WSPA UK. “By using technology we can ensure that this dedication is met with a good experience so that people keep supporting us and the mistreatment of animals is reduced.
“What is often lost by both charities and enterprises is the balance between technology intervention and when access to a human is required. It is not feasible, with a world-wide supporter base and global animal welfare movement to have an agent available per supporter. So the personal touch is made a reality with an intelligent and subtle use of technology to deliver a friendly and flexible relationship.
“It has been done at the right level though. Over-use of technology can be infuriating, such as endless options on telephone systems. But, on the other hand, under-use of technology can lead to inefficiencies, such as vastly delayed responses to customer enquiries, or worse still, no response at all. In both these cases, over or under use of technology miss the customer’s expectations of a good service.”
WSPA UK agents now have access to a single contact history, enabling them to engage in more personalised interactions with supporters. Whilst the supporter is on the phone agents will be able to gain immediate access to all relevant details, including information on the individual’s recent contact with WSPA UK. This knowledge of the individual will help to ensure that agents are empowered to give the personal touch to each supporter.
Members of the public, supporters and member societies visiting WSPA UK’s website also receive an enhanced customer experience as they will now be able to find information about the charity and its projects, including WSPA UK action on its website. The improvement has already delivered a 40% reduction in repetitive emails into WSPA UK’s supporter services team.
Stransom comments: “Our investment in RightNow CRM is important to us as it provides more information and opportunities to our existing and potential supporters, in a way that is very interactive. RightNow also makes the processing of customer enquiries, the understanding of their expectations and development of those relationships, more efficient and consistent.
“So far, we have seen 40% of in-bound support enquiries being resolved by RightNow’s knowledge foundation. So, despite the number of email enquiries more than doubling over the last 12 months, our Supporter Services team in the contact centre has remained the same size. Our peak-time backlog is less than half what it was for the same period last year and more information is available to both staff and customers.
“In order to provide an excellent customer experience, it’s vital to consider customer relations as a part of the product the customer is paying for, not an added extra,” he concludes.