Elephant Communication International (Pty) Ltd
Friday, 18 May 2018
Posted by: Rowena Quinan
Elephant Communication International was founded in 2016 and started as a small operation that developed and managed websites, as well as offered some BI services. The symbolic meaning of our brand is an embodiment of strength, wisdom and loyalty, combined with precision, reliability and quality of our company’s heritage.
Over the last 2 years our portfolio of sales support activities for our clients, who have mostly customers from German speaking countries in Europe, expanded dramatically. As we were able to listen to the needs of the market, we transitioned into an outsourced contact centre service provider who offers flexible outsourcing services to clients across various business segments. Our sales support services include various means to provide relevant strategic information to the sales teams of our clients, hereby utilising various channels, such as telephonic research, managing the respective clients’ website, social media campaigns, email campaigns and data mining, all in all allowing us to compile customer insights that are invaluable to our clients. We utilise the advantages of our location in South Africa to service our clients that are in the same or similar time zone as we are.
Besides the quality of our services, the cost efficiencies achieved and maintained here in South Africa are passed through to our clients who appreciate our price-competitive, high quality services, that are provided in their preferred language, namely German. Over the last two years we have grown from two to ten employees with predictions indicating the doubling of staff compliment over the next 2 years. We make a conscious decision not to become too big, as we believe in “staying small enough to care”. Even though productivity is a crucial element of any business, our focus is to balance it against our commitment to quality. Our vision is to humanise the call centre industry by putting the individual, as the customer as well as the employee, first. We have developed a unique human-centred and needs-based methodology that is able to serve both equally well.
The uniqueness of our services portfolio is that it is an integrated complete sales-support solution. However, our clients can also choose to utilise only individual service components, add new ones on a later stage or take out service components that are not desired anymore, without compromising the qualitative output of any individual component.
Telephonic marketing and research
We make a strong distinction between telephonic sales and telephonic marketing and specialise in the latter. We believe that it requires a different skills-set and a distinct manner how to market our clients’ products and services. Our telephonic marketing services improve time and costs of finding new customers and create awareness of our clients’ brand, products and services, which creates great lead potential for our clients’ sales teams. We do not believe in buying large scale data, but in creating our own reliable sources of data for our clients by using our unique human-centred and needs-based approach. This approach has proven itself to remove the need for large periods of cold calling.
We are managing our clients’ websites to the extend they require. From creating full turn-key solutions that incorporate even the design and set-up of websites to individual components such as live chat monitor and response, we are here to serve and support, and through that generate leads for our clients’ sales teams.
Email & Social Media campaigns
Our Email & Social media campaigns for our clients intend to engage, inform and educate their target market and through that, narrow down potential leads for their sales teams to generate conversations. To create authentic and compelling content, we engage extensively with our clients’ brand, internalise their unique selling points, and make sure that the campaigns fit into their overall marketing mix. Our follow-ups with email respondents enable us to narrow down concrete sales leads for our clients’ sales teams.
Our data mining services aim to establish the link between external factors, such as demographics, competitors, industry trends, and internal factors of our clients, such as positioning of products and price settings, hereby not only supporting target market segmentation of our clients, but also narrowing down of potential customers profiles for our clients. For that, we are collecting information from different sources, gathering financial information, analysing pricing strategies and product listings (including availability and delivery times). This information allows us to identify main patterns in current and potential market trends which we offer directly to our clients, and/or utilise for our sales support services to generate concrete sales leads.
What were some of the biggest challenges and hurdles you faced in getting to where you are now and how did you overcome them?
The biggest challenge was (and is) to get the right people on board who share the same vision beyond the need to make a quick bug. It is only through perseverance and continuing to believe that there are people out there who share the same sentiments.
Do you have advice for start-up contact centres to grow their business?
Contrary to common believe that specialisation is the key, especially for small companies, I do recommend diversifying your service portfolio as well as target market as soon as possible. By doing so you are also diversifying/ spreading your risk. This is similar to the idea of an investment portfolio, where the temporary underperformance of one service component can be compensated through the other components. However, aim to consolidate your services portfolio into one integrated solution, that can either be offered as a whole, or as individual components.
What are the basic foundations in building a world-class contact centre in your mind?
Establish your target markets and be open to change them any given time. Keep your internal processes as simple and flexible as possible, so you can change them instantaneously. Hire people who have the same flexibility of mind as the markets require, and who can read the signals and feed them back into your organisation. Do not believe that your world (industry, customer needs, etc) will never or only slowly change. That is an illusion. It happens all the time. And lastly, get out of the way of your employees and let them do their job. We do not believe in micromanagement.
What do you think are the most significant lessons you’ve learned in the industry?
In the short period of time we have been in this industry, the biggest lesson we have learnt is never to believe that you know it all. Curiosity about what your clients, the markets, your employees etc. need and to learn how to integrate them into your business is what made us so far successful. Industry trends will change, delivery models will change. The only thing that can weather these constant changes is an inquisitive mind and the believe that we can adapt, as long as we remain in a spirit of enquiry.
What are some of the specific actions you take in your organisation to influence people in your company?
Our employees enjoy a lot freedom and we want to keep it like that, as long as they can answer a specific question of how their approach to their work keeps the human in the centre of their focus, and what needs, other than ours, are satisfied in this process. It is a constant check against our core beliefs and our unique methodology how we do things. The “what” is free of restrictions as long as it is aligned with the “how” and the “why”. I don’t like the word influencing, since it has an aftertaste of manipulation. People are smart if we allow them to be smart. They don’t need some sort of influence. I would rather call it “reminding” them of why we exist and how we want to do things.