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Client News

At AQM we pride ourselves in the relationships we build with our clients. See below for regular updates on our clients and partners

21 September 2011

Cengage Education changes name to Open Colleges

On the 4th October 2011, Cengage Education will formally change it's name to Open Colleges. This rebrand is the culmination of our journey since joining the Open Colleges Group earlier this year and follows a number of major projects, including the development of a range of new courses, the roll out of improved learning materials across a number of our courses and the launch of our new online learning platform – OpenSpace.

We believe that changing our name to Open Colleges better reflects our position as Australia’s leading provider of distance and open learning. It also responds to students’ desire to be part of an education institution and learning community. We believe Open Colleges better achieves these objectives.

As part of this important development, we will also be launching a number of discipline-specific Open Colleges, for example the Open College of Business, Management and Marketing. At present, Cengage Education has four Faculties. The individual Open Colleges essentially replace these Faculties.

(AQM worked with Cengage Education (formerly Thomson Education, formerly Harcourts, formerly International Correspondence School) from March 2000 until July 2010 on a wide range of sales, service and improvement initiatives)


25 May 2011

Allergan Australia achieve2 13.6% growth

In the period July 2009 to June 2010, Allergan Australia achieved 13.6% growth, but was able to restrict the increase in packaging material for products sold into the Australian market to 5.1%.

The restriction was achieved through higher unit volumes per shipment to customers,resulting in secondary packaging (cardboard shippers, shrink wrap and wood pallets) growing by only 3.2%, while primary packaging (cardboard cartons, paper, foil, plastic, glass) grew in line with increased unit volume

(AQM provides a range of services to Allergan include lead management advice and marketing support)


4 March 2010

Proactiv Website Wins Hitwise Top 10 Award

Each quarter, Hitwise, the world's leading online competitive intelligence service recognises the Top Ten websites across each industry they monitor, with a Top Ten award!

From July - December 2009, was ranked #3 in the Hitwise Australia 'Health and Medical - Pharmaceutical and Medical Products' industry based on monthly average market share.

This ranking relates to Australian based users visiting Australian websites

(AQM worked on a number of projects with Guthy Renker Australia during the period 2009 -2011 to improve sales revenue, increase conversion from enquiry to sale ratio and improve customer retention)


15 February 2009

In 1999 state governments across Australia agreed to the introduction of a common set of protocols for future toll road technology.

The protocols allowed a number of toll road operators to provide electronic tolling systems that are fully interoperable with each other meaning that one tag can be used on many toll roads.

Following the agreement, Interlink Roads developed a state of the art electronic tolling system known as E-way®. 

The recent news that the Sydney Harbour Bridge would become “cash less” has brought the electronic toll devices very firmly in to the public eye and first point of call for many people that wished to acquire them or for existing customers that needed assistance would be the E-way Customer Service Call Centre.

The AQM and Interlink partnership began in 2003 with our brief being to assist the Service Call Centre in providing superior customer service to the growing customer base.

A key component of the on-going process has been to conduct regular mystery shopping exercises to assess the service skills and compliance to business and legislative process by the call centre staff.

During each project a number of calls are placed to the centre by AQM mystery shoppers during their normal operating hours.

Each call will be one of a range of scenarios engineered to reflect the variety of calls that centre personnel encounter daily from both new and existing customers.

The scores achieved by the agents reflect the thoughts and perceptions of “real people” who are real customers (we use a number of “real” account holders as part of the project) or could be and it was very encouraging to see the most recent reporting confirmed another great year in the level of consistency of service that the team has achieved over the 2008 monitoring period. 

The team consistently scored in the very high 90 percentile when measured against a stringent range of key Performance Indicators which covered a wide range of aspects such as the “meet and greet” process, product and process knowledge, compliance to regulatory aspects such as account enquiry protocols and a number of service aspects.. 

The Service Centre employs around 30 people and it was extremely pleasing to see the numbers of staff who were reported as scoring 100% on calls during the year with many scoring 100% on all calls they were measured on during several of the year’s monitors 

Additionally, the mystery shoppers were asked to comment on the ease of use and user friendliness of the E-way IVR (Integrated Voice Response) system and it was encouraging to see that feedback over the years has allowed the management team to adapt the system to balance the needs of the centre with the wants of the customer so much so that of the 7 areas of feedback that the shoppers are asked for comments on (covering ease of use, speed of response, user friendliness, presentation of the options etc.) Invariably most if not all receive full marks from the shoppers.

E-way’s Call Centre Manager commented “Our philosophy has always been to deliver the type of customer service that we ourselves expect. Our partnership with AQM through the Mystery Shop project has given us the ability to measure our performance against this philosophy as well as allow the agents a measure of pride. Being able to see how highly our customers rate us individually as service providers is not only rewarding on it’s own but also motivates us to higher achievements. It also lets us keep a “finger on the pulse” as to customers changing service expectations.”

To recognise the efforts of the Centre personnel AQM’s Managing Director explained “We implemented a reward and recognition scheme that was known as the “Golden Shopper” for each project. A random selection of the shopper scheduled to make the calls were selected (unbeknown to them) as a “golden shopper’ and if the agent scored 100% on that call they were rewarded with a gift voucher to recognise them for their efforts – We gave away a lot of vouchers in 2008 which is great as it shows that the team really value their customers and take pride in their dealings with people”


6 November 2008

We have a wealth of stories to tell and case studies of what works and of course what doesnt!

This allows us to provide some useful hints and tips picked up from many projects worked on over the years.

It’s this experience and our years of working with clients in a range of industry sectors (each facing their own unique challenges and issues)  that enables us to provide that “fresh pair of eyes” or offer new solutions.

We can never deliver a “standard” solution – each client is unique and each project is customised to their individual needs.

If pressed to give a “One size fits all”  tip then a survey amongst the AQM team reveals this one would be the preferred choice -

Avoid the “YOU” factor!
When “YOU” think - “This is what a customer would want” - it’s time to take a big step back.

How many of us as customers love IVR machines?

And how many of us as service providers use them to process customer enquiries?

Hmmm…We are guessing this will strike a chord with some of you reading this?

When “YOU’ are recruiting staff to deal with customer contact channels,
“YOU” recruit the staff,
“YOU” write the scripts,
“YOU” set the KPI’s,
And “YOU” ……monitor and critique the staff and process

As long as “YOU” are satisfied with the results then “YOU’ are happy?

One major factor missing from this equation is -

“THE CUSTOMER” – What do they think about “YOU” (and your people and your process?)

That’s why we have learned it’s vital to LISTEN to the customer. In fact it’s the number one thing we look to do when starting any project with a new client (and something we continue to do during any audit or improvement program.)

If you would like to discuss in more detail some of the key areas of “listening” to your customers please feel free to contact us.


21 November 2007

ACNT set to enter new expansion

Sydney icon ACNT is one of Australia’s best known education providers, offering courses in healthcare, beauty and fitness. ACNT also operates a popular student clinic and retail division from its extensive campus in Surry Hills, Sydney. Founded in 1982 by Frieda and Peter Bielik, this is the first time ACNT has changed hands, with the new management planning to expand the college’s offerings and introduce bachelor degrees.

For the Think: Education Group, ACNT represents the fourth acquisition in less than 12 months. Think: Education has established one of Australia’s leading private education and training groups through the acquisition, growth and development of high-quality education businesses. Over 2,500 students now study within the Think: Education Group in Sydney.

 (AQM worked with ACNT on a number of projects during 2005 and 2006 to assist the business prepare to be offered for sale)


5 November 2007

AQM client, Wineselectors, wins an international award in global food media and publishing

Australian Magazine Wins International award!

An Australian produced magazine, Selector, gained international recognition on
the weekend when it took out a Gold Ladle at the Le Cordon Bleu World Food
Media Awards. These awards highlight and award excellence in global food media
and publishing.

Held every two years and considered the “foodie” equivalent of the Oscars, the
awards acknowledge the work of food and drink professionals, writers, educators,
TV presenters and producers around the globe. The awards recognise excellence
across a range of mediums; books, magazines, newspapers, television, internet
websites, guide books and photography.

In this, the tenth anniversary year of the awards, 4000 entries were reduced to 25
overall winners.

Published by Wine Selectors, Selector was judged by an international panel of 80
jurors. To take out the award Selector beat Australian Women’s Weekly, Scoop
Magazine (Aus), NZ Life and Leisure, Angeleno Magazine (USA) and Your
Home and Garden: Dining Room (NZ).

Selector magazine won from a field of entries, predominantly coming from the
UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, Belgium, South Africa, Singapore,
Switzerland, Malaysia and Australia.

“We’re over the moon about this award!” said, Peter Hathaway, Editor of Selector.
“We’ve worked very hard to try to be unique and innovative – to better reflect the
lifestyles of Australian food and wine lovers. And, while we always thought we
were on the right track, to be recognised internationally amid such exulted
company provides us with great validation. ”

This accolade certainly puts Selector and Australia on the map as the home of one
of the world’s best magazines and is wonderful recognition of all the hard work put
in by the team.

For further information contact:

Paul Diamond
P 02 4941 3044
M 0418 192 382

Peter Hathaway
P 02 4941 3075
M 0434 561 441


29 October 2007

Mystery shopper becomes a "real customer" and confirms the accuracy of AQM's matching of mystery shoppers to client's target demographic

Lifeplan Funds Management's General Manager Strategic Development, Matt Walsh said "To find that some of these mystery shoppers have actually become converted customers is a pleasant surprise, and also confirms the accuracy of AQM's matching of mystery shoppers to our target clientele."

It was interesting (and pleasing) to hear recently that one of our regular mystery shopper's was so impressed by the products she heard about whilst working on a project for our client Lifeplan that she actually decided to become a "real" customer!

Lifeplan are a funds management company with over $1.6 billion of funds and assets under management (see

AQM mystery shopper Jessica from Melbourne in Victoria was part of a team making calls to the Lifeplan ESP (Education Savings Plan) team and on hearing what they had to offer decided to "join up".

Jessica explains “Participating in the Lifeplan project was interesting to me, as I had previously thought about starting an Education Fund for my child, but didn't know a thing about how these Funds worked. My phone call as part of the Project gave me the opportunity to find out everything that I wanted to know on a personal level while performing the mystery shop! I was so impressed with the product on offer and the service I received, that I promptly signed up.”

Lifeplan Funds Management's General Manager Strategic Development, Matt Walsh said "AQM has become a key part of our sales service delivery processes. We get detailed, timely and insightful input into the conduct of our sales force, and we've made many improvements, often subtle, that have helped grow sales in our education savings plan space."

"We also use AQM to cross-check we are adhering to our compliance obligations under the financial services reform act."
"To find that some of these mystery shoppers have actually become converted customers is a pleasant surprise, and also confirms the accuracy of AQM's matching of mystery shoppers to our target clientele."

AQM Managing Director Bob Stevenson commented "It always makes me happy to hear these stories as it confirms that the people working on the project are indicative of our client’s real demographics and as such are able to give unbiased and realistic feedback on the company, its people and their offerings."

"The fact that Jessica signed up for one of the Lifeplan funds also reflects well on the sales and service capabilities of the person that she spoke with at the company – I guess the person will get a pretty good appraisal for their efforts!”

To find out more about AQM's mystery shopping or audit services please see here or call Bob Stevenson on 0403 589 195