As a popular, fast-growing online fashion retailer headquartered in California and Australia, our client received thousands of phone, chat and email messages from customers daily. Responding to these queries, and sometimes complaints, in a timely manner was essential to their ability to attract and retain their valuable customers.
However, their customer service department was suffering from inefficiencies making it difficult to support their U.S.-based customers, and issue they knew they needed to address.
To help improve their program, they were looking for a partner that could provide a fully managed solution to allow for greater visibility into program performance and a performance management system that could help change the culture of their customer service department.
To help drive the needed change, we assigned a client engagement manager (CEM) to consult with our client on their customer support program to identify areas of inefficiency and begin forming recommendations for future enhancements.
Based on our CEM’s analysis, several critical gaps in the program were identified, including a lack of defined KPIs, quality measurement technology and a structured performance management process to address attendance issues. Due to the inadequate program set up, our client had been having to pull resources from other departments to deal with the needs of their customers.
In partnership with our client, we developed a standard operating procedure that included customized KPIs with benchmarks to track and measure program success. Our CEM scheduled monthly 1-on-1 meetings with each employee to introduce and explain the new KPI structure and provide job-specific feedback and coaching to ensure individual performance standards were consistently being met.
Our CEM also implemented a formal attendance and disciplinary policy based on a progressive action plan to address attendance issues. As a result, our team achieved program KPI targets, and overall efficiency within the program improved.
To further enhance the employee experience and boost retention, we established an employee engagement program that included birthday and holiday celebrations and team-building events and outings. Combined with a new, clearly defined path to promotions and advancements, this program and employee readiness process bolstered overall retention to a program average of two years.
To increase the clients’ visibility into the program’s performance, we provided weekly snapshot reports via Stella Connect, our client's web-based technology that helps customer service teams manage feedback, coaching and quality assurance processes on a unified platform. Screenshots were sent directly to program managers so they could quickly view any information on their consultants, including weekly customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores and volume inquiries via email, chat and talk support. This level of on-demand performance reports gave our client peace of mind, allowing them to focus on other essential tasks.
To support our employees' development and further improve retention, we implemented a performance management system, Cornerstone, to document and facilitate our formal employee review process. The platform was used to track quarterly and annual performance reviews and conduct supervisor and self-evaluations to help develop employees to be their best. We also provided employees with continuous education opportunities and career development training through our online platform, OpenSesame. This system gave employees access to targeted, career-specific training programs to help them grow, excel and take the next step in their careers.
Aston Carter’s ability to drive change within our client’s customer support program and consistently surpass their expectations enabled them to keep up with their customer service touchpoints. Under our program, customer support representatives almost doubled ticket volumes from an average of 730 to 1,200 tickets per month.
With the help of our Managed Solutions advisory team, absenteeism levels within the program also decreased, thereby creating stability and increased productivity across the program. The additional visibility through our reporting provided the client with faster access to key data intelligence, making it easier for them to recognize risks, identify areas for improvement and work with agility to quickly make changes that could otherwise have negatively impacted their CSAT scores.
With new employee accountability measures also now in place, our client can more effectively engage their customers. Program KPIs and consistent reporting measures provide a more efficient customer support program while controlling costs and increasing productivity.
Aston Carter surpassed their commitments every step of the way. Not only has our efficiency improved — we now have the visibility to know what areas of our program are performing well and what areas need improvement.
Program Operations Director, Major Online Fashion Retailer