With: Christian Legat, CEO of CCC Dirk Wittneben, Responsible of Ardian Expansion Germany
Leading European customer care platform for business process outsourcing services
years of experience in monitoring and moderating content, up/cross-selling, complaint management and technical support
sites in 11 countries
Ardian exits CCC for a second time after digitalization and deployment of artificial intelligence accelerate growth at customer support specialist
When Ardian invested in 2017, we already knew each other very well because we did our primary buyout with them in 2009. We always got on well and they were very respectful shareholders, so we started at 100% on day one, which gave us a tremendous advantage. Our business plan was ambitious but thanks to the relationship we had built up, they trusted us to achieve what we said was possible.
It’s unusual to invest in a company twice but our history together made it easy for us to believe in the plan and trust the team. Their figures seemed aggressive, but we knew from experience that they never over-promised. They always over-delivered.
We opened four sites in three new markets soon after Ardian invested, which was our biggest expansion ever. But our aim wasn’t just to expand our footprint. Our market has been evolving constantly since CCC was founded in 1998 and this plan was also designed to broaden the range of solutions we offered, especially in areas like content moderation and content creation and management.
One of the key points for us about CCC is that they had focused early on developing higher-value services for the big tech companies, while many of their competitors were serving traditional telecoms clients that were facing huge margin pressure. This differentiated CCC in two important ways for us. First, by concentrating on sectors that are growing very strongly, CCC had an excellent opportunity to grow in step with its major clients. And by aligning itself with clients that are at the forefront of digitalization, CCC also accelerated its own digital development which created a lot of value.
“It’s unusual to invest in a company twice but our history together made it easy for us to believe in the plan and trust the team.”
Digitalization and AI allowed us to become more efficient and start offering services in areas where our cost profile meant we weren’t competitive before. But internally, they also meant that we could improve the quality of our services and find the right solutions faster. When we use AI, we always use it to make suggestions, but we let humans make the final decision. That means that you can use the answers selected by your top performing staff to train the AI to make better suggestions next time. So we leverage the expertise of our top-performing staff and make it available to everyone in the team.
The way Christian and his team executed the expansion plan and the digitalization of CCC was outstanding. After two years we had already achieved what we initially thought would take five years. We could see that CCC’s big clients were increasingly focusing on a smaller number of vendors, so we agreed it was time for CCC to combine its strength across Europe with a partner that had complementary assets in the US and Asia.
The other key issue for us was that being part of a bigger group would give us access to a bigger R&D budget to develop digital capabilities and new AI tools. We’re now in a great position to extend our client relationships into new geographies and to offer next-generation digital services with a new partner.
“The Covid-19 crisis has accelerated many trends in markets and society and has hugely increased companies’ focus on digital transformation.”