It has been a tough year for the contact centre industry, with renewed pressure on margins against the backdrop of a difficult economic climate.
CPM proved it could take on these challenges and turn them to its advantage. This year it posted its biggest growth figures to date and worked with a record number of new clients across a range of sectors. Its existing clients include Royal Mail, British Gas and Mercedes-Benz.
The agency helped several companies improve their return on investment year on year, by making them more efficient and increasing incremental sales.
It has also developed an interactive contact centre for one of its clients, including a call-back and live-chat website function, which has allowed the client to offer extended opening hours.
These processes required additional training and resourcing, but generated a further six-figure revenue sum for the agency.
The judges praised CPM for its levels of effectiveness and clear contribution to its clients' business success.
They were particularly impressed by its staff development programmes, which have resulted in CPM promoting an unprecedented number of people from within. This year, it launched CPM Jobs online, where vacancies are posted on a site, supported by online assessment questionnaires to gauge potential. CPM's target is to fill 50% of vacant roles through this channel in 2012.
The company has also welcomed a new finance director on board, which has ensured tighter cost controls and the introduction of smarter procurement policies.
The senior management team has a wealth of experience. Commercial director Karen Jackson, for example, has 11 years under her belt, while Andrea Georgiou, client services director, joined 14 years ago. Fleur Tannard transferred from CPM's field marketing business in 2010, bringing 10 years of experience with her, and she is now the group client service manager.
CPM's 'double it, love it' vision encapsulates its people policy: its organisation and business growth is balanced with strategic objectives to ensure the company is a place where people want to work.
In addition, CPM has been building a reputation for being a thought leader in integrated sales and customer service solutions, in effect becoming an extension of its clients' organisations.
The company is not resting on its laurels, however. It has already launched a five-year 'vision' that focuses on working with even more clients across more sectors and geographical markets, while recruiting and retaining the best talent in the contact centre industry.
FOCUS ON CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
As well as corporate initiatives to support the environment and community, CPM's employees are encouraged to contribute either individually or as part of a broader team to a cause that means something to them. Some of its staff have, for example, been working on a garden project at a school for children with special educational needs as well as co-ordinating collections of donated towels, socks and toiletries for a homeless shelter in Oxford.
Back in the office, since 2010, the company has achieved a 10% reduction in paper use by replacing desktop printers with centralised photocopiers. It is working toward a paperless working environment, with all briefs, processes and product data provided to teams online. To further reduce its carbon footprint, it recruits people who live locally wherever possible.
BEST OF THE REST
Runner-up Vertex was praised by the judges for its effectiveness and the impact it has had on client business, where it has contributed a clear return on marketing investment.
Its work for the National Trust is an apt case study. Vertex handles 650,000 incoming telephone calls, 100,000 emails and 250,000 letters each year as part of its work for the charity and the rate of customer satisfaction with the centre among National Trust customers is 91%.
It initiated a data-gathering exercise to align with the charity's investment in e-business, resulting in an increase in the number of email addresses collected from members by an impressive 24%. Vertex also ran an outbound campaign to reactivate cancelled memberships; in one month, it delivered more than £80,000 in income as a result of the calls.
Internally Vertex has made a significant investment in staff training, using online and face-to-face methods as well as individual and group-learning.
Arvato was also commended.
Its contact centre business revenues have increased by more than 65% in the past four years. Through improvements to customer services and other measures, Arvato saved Renault more than £1.7m a year, while increasing demonstrator-vehicle bookings by 12% in six months.
It also supported a 30% improvement in Land Rover UK's Range Rover sales in a single four-week period, which made it the car manufacturer's best-ever month for sales. Its work included a reduction in the time that it takes to deliver leads to the dealer network from 24 hours to just 15 minutes.
HEROtsc increased its turnover by £15m to £62m in 2011, on the back of new-business wins from blue-chip clients and the agreement of a six-year partnership with an existing client. It also developed its own methodology, HEROtsc Call Track, to help it pinpoint the main reasons that customers make contact.
To maintain employee job satisfaction, it implemented a 'flex-team' approach to work, using a pool of staff prepared to work more flexible hours in return for greater rewards.
This has allowed the business to accommodate more than 80% of its staff's preferred working hours.
Organic growth and new-business wins have contributed to a strong year for last year's winner Teleperformance, which provides six key lines of business and has 1000 people permanently at one of its sites.
In June this year, technology brand HP announced the establishment of a major UK customer support and operations centre in Gateshead, run by Teleperformance. The company has also developed a product to allow brands to monitor social-media channels as part of their customer service.
2008: The Listening Company
2007: The Listening Company