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EDITOR’S BLOG 040517 Customer service – the new name of the PRS game

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Back in the day, much of the technology that underpins the telemedia industry was used to run customer service call centres. Now we have come full circle, with the industry turning to customer service as not only its next big thing, but also a way to boost the industry.

One of the biggest hurdles to PRS growth in the UK has been the proportion of complaints generated by telemedia services based on the revenue created. MNOs and L1s have baulked at how often they get a bill shocked customer or someone denying all knowledge of what they have signed up for and paid for.

Indeed one of the many recommendations to come out of Project Slimline and Project 30 was the suggestion of setting up an independent customer service handling company that could handle all the issues PRS generated without dragging operators into the mix.

And lo, it came to pass that the good people at Cute Media have done just that. They have set up COCASE (Consumer Care Service), to handle the calls and emails from people who think they have a problem with PRS services.

The company has already handled more than a million complaints on more than 15million pieces of content over the years and through that experience it has consolidated all that knowledge to create COCASE. The company has also created the Xaps platform, a proprietary, bespoke technology suite, which is cloud based and uses state of the art call queueing and routing tech, bespoke IVR and automated opt outs and reporting.

The service also pays refunds so that the caller is dealt with swiftly so their ire doesn’t fester and escalate and it also analyses where the calls are being generated from so that service providers can tweak what they do to make things better.

The move is a canny one. It stops operators and the PSA getting involved with minor cases and can also allow any problems to be dealt with swiftly. In short it should make things a lot more straightforward in the PRS world.

Of course, many aggregators and service providers pride themselves on not getting involved any more in “that end” of the telemedia industry, but with any service there are always going to be issues and some complaints. The increasing use of affiliate marketing also potentially can generate issues, even for those trying to play a straight bat. Handling them this way makes great sense.

There will still be some massive scams that do need regulatory attention, but something like COCASE can potentially flag these up much more rapidly to the PSA. Issues with rogue affiliates, for instance, would become apparent very quickly as COCASE’s analysis of calls and emails coming in would spot the trend.

While this does much for the industry, it also helps the consumer. It is a first line of defence against things going wrong, and a first port of call where often the customer can be talked down calmly and no refunds are necessary.

This line of policing seems to me the sensible way to go. People like using PRS services, and handled like this they become inherently more safe to use. It is a classic win-win. Let’s hope it takes off.

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Editor and content creator for Telemedia – for 18 years and counting

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