Providing In-House Support vs. Outsourcing Your Customer Care
Most e-commerce, or online shoppers, as they are more commonly referred never pick up the phone to reach out to an online retailer. Despite many of these consumers feeling the need to know—even if subconsciously— they could reach a real person. If an e-commerce customer lacks that confidence, or they have a bad experience with trying to contact customer care, they may not only abandon their shopping cart or email subscription but also spread their negative impression via popular social media channels.
This scenario was all too familiar for the company featured in this case study as they approached Callzilla. They had an in-house support group handling their customer care and sales for one of its most popular product lines, but the in-house group could not keep up. An executive at the company suggested bringing in customer experience experts in order to scale their operations and meet their heightened demand for e-commerce customer support.
This idea was met with resistance as some of his colleagues were skeptical that an outside call center could or would provide the kind of high quality interactions that an in-house team provides. Fortunately, the executive in favor of an outsourcing solution pointed out that customer satisfaction was not being measured, so the organization was essentially operating on a hunch regarding their own customer perceptions.
Focus on Customer Experience and Support Quality
If support quality was a top priority, he argued, they needed to get serious about measuring it.
If quality was a top priority, he argued, they needed to get serious about measuring it.
They needed to pair with the right customer service outsourcing partner with a firm grasp on support quality. The agreement that ensued would be the first time that an outside contact support center would be handling customer care for the act’s music downloads, CDs, DVDs, subscriptions and merchandise.
E-Commerce Support Project Briefs Provide Actionable Roadmaps
The client received a detailed Project Brief from their new Callzilla team, containing specifics on how to benchmark and continuously improve customer satisfaction. Elements of this brief included:
- Specifics on Callzilla phone coverage for any issues with account management, billing support, product returns, customer retention, and order fulfillment
- Details on the unique skill set we would be selecting for among hundreds of Callzilla agents
- Access and coordination we needed in order to integrate systems and do testing
- Step by step planning on how we’d structure training and communications to prepare the reps, their supervisors, the contact center manager, and the client services team
- Particulars of an incentive program that aligned incentives with the client’s customer satisfaction improvement goals
- Example reports, and expectations for when and how we would closely collaborate on reviewing results and performance data to ensure Callzilla services met the client’s needs
Deploying the Support of an E-Commerce Outsourcing Partner
The very first step was to implement customer satisfaction surveys is to establish a baseline, report meaningful results after launch, and continuously use these baseline results to fine tune customer interactions.
Choosing the Right Contact Center KPIs
Considering the goals of this partnership, Callzilla focused on resolution-per-contact, cost-per-resolved contact, and cost-per-satisfied contact. These contact center metrics put a premium on the customer’s actual experience instead of minutes and seconds.
Each mission-critical task had its own line item and was scored individually.
In addition, every agent and supervisor had target Customer Satisfaction and First Call Resolution scores, and received prizes and recognition when they hit their goals.
Matching Agent Talents with Client Needs
No two clients are exactly alike, and the same goes for contact center agents. We refined the requirements for agents on this account. Among many other things, the agents we selected had to be fluent in both English and Spanish, have clear written expression, a high degree of empathy, and experience interacting via a variety of support channels with this group of tech-savvy customers.
Building a Foundation in Agent Training and Motivation
Agents practiced and role-played various scenarios, familiarizing with common e-commerce support issues they were likely to face, how and where to escalate in cases they couldn’t resolve themselves, the features of our client’s offering, and more. We also integrated e-learning and gamification into the client’s customer support solution to enhance agent engagement. The shared vision was to reinforce team and individual engagement and ensure positive feedback through social collaboration, support from a gamiﬁed platform, and a feeling of recognition.
Meticulous Scoring for Sound Insights
Each e-commerce support task had its own line item and was scored individually. Our evaluations were performed on an individual call level basis, agent basis, shift (time of day) basis, program/campaign basis and other variables. This approach allowed us to take data samples and benchmark our performance against the criteria and standards that we agreed on with the client.
Today Callzilla provides phone coverage for any issues with account management, billing support, product returns, customer retention, and order fulfillment.
- Callzilla answers 90 percent of calls in 10 seconds or less
- Customer satisfaction has increased to an impressive 95 percent
- Agents are able to resolve 93 percent of e-commerce customer support issues on first contact
- Impressed with Callzillas handling of phone coverage in the first 90 days, the client plans to add email outsourcing and live chat support channels
“Over the years, having dealt with all types of customer service issues with the utilization of call centers, I can easily state that the above situation was resolved to my utmost satisfaction and the process in obtaining my replacement order was seamless.”