Although consumers are sharing insights and asking questions via email and social networks, the call center remains the hub of all retail service, according to research from American Express. The report, titled: 2011 Global Customer Service Barometer, indicated that 90% of U.S. respondents preferred to “speak with a real person on the phone.”
To improve productivity among customer service team members and maximize customer loyalty, Red Wing Shoes has adopted the AltiGen MaxACD call center solution for Microsoft Lync Server 2010. In addition, Red Wing is integrating a new CRM system into the call center to enable a 360-degree view of clients, Mike Cleary, Director of IT at Red Wing Shoes, told Retail TouchPoints in an interview.
These technology implementations are part of the “Customer Wow Initiative,” which Red Wing developed as a company-wide, internal plan to improve three key areas: customer service, e-Commerce and general retail strategies. The plan extends to the four brands provided by the manufacturer: Heritage Collection, Irish Setter, Vasque and WORX.
“Our goal with ‘Customer Wow’ is to focus on providing our customer service group with the tools and technologies they need to be more flexible and better address questions and concerns,” Cleary said.
Red Wing Shoes representatives participate in approximately 1,000 calls a day with distributors, retail stores and consumers who either want to place an order, have questions or want to report a complaint. Using MaxACD, representatives can manage and distribute these calls more quickly and efficiently.
For example, if one employee has experience working with a specific customer, the solution allows Red Wing to capture direct-inward-dialing information to route the call to that agent. The CRM application will capture call information from MaxACD so employees can add notes and track order history and past complaints.
Prior to leveraging MaxACD for Lync, customer service agents, “literally were collecting call information using pencils and paper,” Cleary reported. “We had no way of tracking information or keeping customer history that allowed us to see how we were performing.”
Team members also are equipped with wireless Plantronics headsets, which allow employees to have more flexibility while taking phone calls.
Pinpointing Performance Data
To ensure the call center is providing high-level service, Red Wing taps into the MaxReports feature within the MaxACD platform for in-depth statistics on agent performance. This data includes number of calls completed within a day as well as the amount of time it took to resolve customer issues. Armed with these insights, managers and agents can track productivity and pinpoint high-performing employees, as well as any necessary improvements that need to be addressed.
“The reports we have are detailed and flexible,” Cleary said, “We have various viewpoints of information about our supervisors, agents, call volumes, response times and more. All of this data helps us build a better service operation. Call center managers definitely have seen an increase in productivity.
As of November 2012, more than 200 Red Wing customer service and IT help desk employees are using Lync Enterprise Voice capabilities. In addition, approximately 800 corporate employees currently are utilizing Lync to share desktops, IM colleagues and hold videoconferencing sessions, Cleary reported. The retailer plans to extend the technology to its remaining 2,100 employees by mid-2013.
“Right now, we’re focusing on improving the integration between our phone system and CRM platform,” Cleary said. Red Wing also plans to determine how Interactive voice response capabilities available within the MaxACD platform will further improve call center performance.