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Date : 02/24/2010

Republic Manages Largest Ever Christmas Customer Service Peak With Eptica

Only 6.7% of Web self-service users send email and email first contact resolution increases to 90%

Republic, the leading multi-brand fashion retailer, has chosen online customer service technology from Eptica, European provider of multichannel customer interaction software (www.eptica.com) to manage increasing demand as a consequence of its record breaking ecommerce growth. Despite coinciding with a Christmas surge in enquiries, Republic’s investment in improving online service for its customers has enabled the retailer to provide faster responses and increase First Contact Resolution through its email channel to 90%.

Republic.co.uk has adopted a self-service approach on its Top 10 Hitwise ecommerce site to provide visitors with immediate online answers to their questions. To date, just 6.7% of customers using Eptica Self-service go on to submit an enquiry by email, thereby dramatically reducing the volume of incoming enquiries requiring a response.

The website's customer self-service is seamlessly integrated with Eptica Email Management and both share an advanced ‘meaning based’ search engine and centralised self-learning knowledgebase. The technology accurately analyses the text of an inbound email customer enquiry to provide the customer services agent with the ‘best answer’.

Consequently, Republic’s agents have been able to reply to customers faster and more effectively. Sharon Biltcliffe, Customer Service Manager at Republic, commented: “We experienced a huge customer service peak in December ‘08 and it became apparent that systems were not going to support business growth. One of the reasons we selected Eptica was the simplicity of the system from a user perspective, once we’d decided to go ahead it was up and running within 5 weeks. The contrast before and after implementing Eptica was extraordinary – we couldn’t have handled the Christmas peak this year without it.”

Eptica’s software also enables the contact centre to take an active part in controlling inbound enquiries. As agents encounter new questions they can use a ‘one-click’ action to flag them as needing an answer to be quickly added to the system’s knowledge base and made available to customers via online self-service. Similarly, when the contact centre experiences an influx of questions about the same issue such as delivery times at Christmas, the information can be reprioritised and pushed to the top of self-service pages so that customers can find it faster and therefore not need to email.

Sharon Biltcliffe, Customer Service Manager at Republic, adds: “We also use the system’s knowledge base to train new agents which has cut training time by at least half. We can take on temporary staff to help us with busy periods and in a couple of hours they can be ready to handle specific types of questions.”

Since the business launched in 2007, the number of email enquiries received by Republic’s customer services team had grown month-on-month. Consequently Republic sought to implement a specialist customer self-service and email management system to increase efficiency and maximise the knowledge available to customers during each first contact.

Dee Roche, European Marketing Director at Eptica, added: “Republic is a high growth, dynamic business and its success could have outstripped its capacity to manage customer interactions on a one-to-one basis. Moreover, this approach is simply no longer necessary as so many customer service enquiries can be managed through a fully-integrated approach to customer self-service. Republic has proven that investing in service delivery through a system that evolves with every interaction will increase both business efficiency and revenue performance.”

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About Eptica:
Eptica is the leading European multilingual solution for Customer Interaction Management including Web Self-service, Email Management, Chat, Fax-Letter- SMS and Knowledge management for Customer Service. Available on premise or Saas, Eptica software enables website and customer service channels to work together to improve quality of service, resolve enquiries faster, reduce costs and maximize every sales opportunity. Today more than 280 customers, including some of the world’s largest, in 14 countries, use Eptica solutions to deliver excellent customer service at much lower cost. Eptica’s customers include: Confused.com, Go Compare.com, Fortis Insurance, Hotels.com, La Redoute, Republic, Brent Council, DatingDirect.com, Capita, Société Générale, South East Water, ING and Barclays.

Eptica is based in the UK, France, Spain and Singapore and operates worldwide through its network of partners. Eptica was awarded the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 EMEA in 2009 for the third consecutive year.