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HGS’ London Center Focused on Broad Language Coverage & Bespoke Customer Support Services

During a recent visit to London I had the opportunity to visit the HGS contact center in Chiswick. The 500-seat center is focused on supporting accounts with broad language capability needs and it also provides specialist client programs beyond traditional customer care support. The industry sectors supported from the center include automotive, consumer packaged goods (CPG), government, and healthcare. The Chiswick location is part of the HGS European Division, which grew 20% in 2014 under the leadership of European CEO Matthew Vallance.

In total, 24 languages are supported, and the center is able to draw upon London’s rich cultural mix to recruit students and recent college graduates with broad language capabilities.

In the government sector, HGS runs a multi-channel helpline for the U.K. Visas & Immigration department, supporting people in 222 countries in 21 languages through voice, e-mail, webchat, and self-service. It provides customer care as well as market insight and reporting for this client.

In the automotive sector, HGS agents utilize video chat in addition to traditional channel support such as voice, e-mail, webchat, and social media, to provide sales and road-side assistance to the European and Middle Eastern divisions of a luxury automotive client. HGS has found that customers consider webchat to be impersonal, and is planning to extend the use of video chat beyond the client’s U.K. customers to Europe over the next year.

The Chiswick center supports several bespoke client programs that go beyond traditional customer care. For example, HGS is conducting on-site product testing as part of complaint handling for a global client in the CPG sector. In a recent instance, HGS tested one of the client’s consumer products (bottled bleach) in order to determine whether the product cap was defective as part of a customer complaint; on this occasion it was able to establish that the product was not defective, though tests on other similar products have necessitated changes to product packaging in the past. HGS is at liberty to recommend product changes, replace damaged items for the client’s customers where warranted, and send the customer complimentary products based on inconvenience caused.

HGS is supporting Danone U.K., a provider of early life nutrition, water, and fresh dairy products, with customer care by providing nutrition and health information to new parents. The care is provided through voice, email, and webchat, with plans to provide video chat support within a year. HGS supports this client through a 30-strong agent team which includes five qualified midwives and nutritionists. It also has a group of agents with experience caring for children, handling complaints, and providing out-of-hours support for the early life nutrition line.

In the healthcare sector, HGS is supporting a healthcare provider, Virgin Health, that offers parents the ability to have their babies’ stem cells collected at birth and stored, preserving them for research and potential treatment of serious illnesses. HGS is involved in the entire process, from initial inquiry to stem cell collection to the final checks which take place six months after the birth of the child. HGS coordinates the work of medical professionals, arranges the distribution of the collection kits to hospitals, and organizes the delivery of collected samples to the storage unit. This program has multi-lingual capabilities as it supports customers in the U.K and the Middle East.

The HGS Chiswick center is a good example of a vendor effectively leveraging the language diversity and high education standards of a location to offer strong multi-language, multi-country, and multi-channel support, and to develop bespoke support programs that add value to the customer relationship.

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