Money Moves

Unified messaging to upgrade customer service

by Ella Lee

Carmen Yeung, vice president of Emperor International Exchange (Hong Kong) Co Ltd
Photo: Tony Yu

Companies with a large customer base have traditionally relied on call centres to provide information, answer enquiries and offer customer service support. Now, though, with diverse communication channels available, it is possible to go well beyond offering basic telephone contact with clients to provide something much more comprehensive.

Carmen Yeung, vice president of Emperor International Exchange (Hong Kong) Co Ltd, says the company has been one of the pioneers of "unified messaging" by making full use of Internet technology and mobile phone functions. Besides creating an informative website, the company's financial consultants use instant messaging to "chat" with customers online, and important news is sent out by SMS to mobile phone numbers.

Ms Yeung points out that this has increased efficiency in dealing with clients and ensures updates are delivered without delay. Timing is critical for investment decisions and the use of new technology means that all customers are sent the same information more or less simultaneously. "No matter whether clients are large or small, new or long-established, they all get the news at the same time," she says.

Since most customers have Internet access, there are plans to include further useful information and investment advice on the website. It already includes the latest financial news and analysis, complete with charts and tables. There is also a discussion board for the exchange of opinions between financial consultants and customers, as well as to encourage comment from other investors. Online polls have been conducted on topics such as the respective strength of currencies and what customer see as the major buying and selling trends affecting the market.

The innovative online instant messaging application was introduced more than a year ago. "When customers browse our website to check prices and market information, they may have questions," Ms Yeung explains. "Therefore, it is very convenient for them if they can 'talk' to us immediately just by clicking a button."

She adds that, while the Internet has helped to gain new and younger customers and in handling general enquiries, customers still have to pick up the phone for detailed discussions and to confirm transactions.

The company has five staff dedicated to administering the investors' website. The content is updated whenever news comes in and service is provided on a round-the-clock basis. Meanwhile, the team of consultants is responsible for dealing with other phone, Internet or instant messaging enquiries.

To improve the website, more historical data will be added for long-term review and there will be instantly updated charts and tables to assist market analysis. Both of these changes were suggested by customers.

Taken from Career Times 26 May 2006, p. A7
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