How nearshore Callzilla outperformed 3 U.S. contact centers.
A direct-to-consumer health and beauty products firm was using three contact centers in the United States—one of them in-house and the other two outsourced. Reports showed that, especially when their contact centers interacted with U.S. Hispanic customers, performance was poor. Call abandons hovered around 50%, and they had low save rates, low conversions, and low average order value.
The company hired a senior customer experience management expert to take a fresh look at customer care and direct response—both English and Spanish—going forward. He called us.
1. Asking uncomfortable questions
Our client needed answers and guidance, quick. And, generally speaking, we are in the business of providing them. But we resisted the impulse to launch into making recommendations right away. Instead we asked questions: What was being measured and how? Which callers were turned on/off by what? How often was language an issue?
2. Profiling the perfect agent
Just because an important segment of customers were of Hispanic heritage didn’t necessarily mean they spoke Spanish as their first language. In fact, one of the problems with the incumbent contact centers was that their agents didn’t speak either language well enough. Among many other things, the agents we selected had to be fluent in both English and Spanish.
3. Becoming true believers
Representatives needed more than product facts, return/refund/exchange policy details and the like; they needed first-hand experience. Agents and supervisors tried the products we would be selling. Some took advantage of programs—not directly related to repping the products—designed to improve customers’ overall well-being. That led to embracing the client’s brand identity, mission, and values. Which meant representatives could relate to customers.
4. Measuring the hard way
It’s easy to reward agents for answering more calls and/or keeping time per call low. It’s harder to reward them for hitting specific Customer Satisfaction targets. But that’s the approach that works. For every agent and supervisor we tailored a target Customer Satisfaction and First Call Resolution score for a specific time interval. They won prizes and recognition when they hit their goals.
5. Scoring with extreme granularity
Each mission-critical 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.
6. Keeping it fresh
We integrated e-learning and gamification into the client’s solution to enhance agent engagement. The shared vision was to reinforce team and individual engagement and speed to competency through social collaboration, support from a gamiﬁed platform, and ensuring a feeling of recognition.
7. Rehearsing for closing, upselling, saving and more
Our teams practiced spotting appropriate opportunities for closing sales, upselling, and account saves in diverse types of interactions. By practicing these kinds of scenarios, we eliminated the need for scripts. The goal: empower agents to have natural conversations with customers and potential buyers about their options.
Boarding all rows
Let’s review. At this point we’d asked alot of questions about past challenges; selected and hired for a specific skills set and ‘phone presence”; gone beyond product facts and figures to get into the spirit of our client’s vision; translated campaign KPIs into meaningful incentives for agents and supervisors; prepared for granular scoring of… just about everything; integrated e-learning and gamification to keep our team feeling as motivated several weeks in as on launch day; and practiced spotting crucial openings in conversations with buyers.
We began handling customer care and direct response calls in both Spanish and English, frequently discussing with our client contacts how to finetune customer interactions. After about 8 weeks, retention had lept up; call conversions had substantially improved; and average order value had risen by about 200%, due in part to a rise in upsells. At the same time, average Customer Satisfaction scores were steadily increasing.
A better fit
Callzilla is this client’s primary contact center now. Their in-house center consists of three people in a U.S. office. One of their two outside centers has been dropped entirely. And the volume of the other outside center has been reduced to 15 percent of the total call volume.
Solution in context
The solution requires the right context to work. For example, coming into the engagement, Callzilla had a robust quality management system certified to ISO 9001:2008 standards. A strong talent acquisition and retention program here yields 3x longer employee tenure than average contact centers. Our proprietary technology system is engineered to intelligently route and support interactions, running on infrastructure protected in a secure Miami-area data center.
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