2009 Gartner & 1to1 Customer Awards: Customer Service Optimization

Customer Service
Customer Service
Gold: Motorola | Silver: Black & Decker | Bronze: Bath & Body Works

Motorola Centralizes Service

Motorola's vision is "Great support experiences today: accelerating innovation tomorrow." An exceptional customer experience is critical in delivering on this slogan, but the company faced some challenges in its customer support organization that prevented it from realizing its vision.

With 28 contact centers spread across the globe using 22 agent desktop systems, Motorola had no common contact record, an inability to bridge customer conversations, 23 separate voice menus, difficulty in measuring contact center performance, and as a result an inconsistent customer experience.

"Motorola launches something like 20 odd products every quarter. Without a centralized knowledgebasewe weren't leveraging our resources, processes, and the best solutions we could find," says Dacia Hurter, senior director of worldwide customer care for Motorola.

In 2007 the company went live with a global CRM platform from RightNow Technologies and rolled the technology across each global office in 2007 and 2008. Prior to deployment, the global technology team worked with various departments to standardize global processes and train them on the new system.

The company has consolidated its 28 contact centers to 10, with single centers now supporting several countries. Global processes have been standardized and streamlined and disparate processes connected. Agents now share a unified view of each customer's interaction history across channels and an agent knowledgebase serves as a global hub for product information to ensure customers receive consistent answers. The technology has improved call center routing, and voice of the customer data is collected in each region in a standard format. Hurter says that the consistent format is critical for the company's ability to share voice of the customer data across the globe. That data is sent in weekly reports to executives and discussed in weekly voice of the customer meetings.

The data allows customer support to identify opportunities to improve agent training, to proactively send communications to customers, and to better understand product features. In addition, agents have become more adept at solving complex customer issues, and in turn, customers can easily find what they're looking for on the website regardless of country or language. "I think self-sufficiency is a good thing," Hurter says. "Some companies have been afraid to push too far in that space. Consumers want to solve their problems how they want to solve them, and when they want to solve them."

Motorola's results are impressive. Since deployment, the company has seen a 15 percent increase in customer satisfaction, a 13 percent increase in first-call resolution, a 66 percent improvement in email deflection, and a 29 percent improvement in phone deflection. Cost per contact has decreased 25 percent, and overall customer support costs have been reduced by $10 million to $15 million per year.

For Motorola, the support operation is easier to manage and the company is providing a consistent experience across all channels. Hurter says the success boiled down to her team executing on the strategy. "It's one thing to pick a strategy, it's another thing to execute on it," she says. "You can get there, but actually getting it done is another story."

Black & Decker Nails Customer Service

Plagued with long hold times, escalating costs, and inaccurate data, Black & Decker set out on a two-year customer service transformation. The overhaul began after executives realized that low customer satisfaction scores would ultimately affect business. Black & Decker had two key objectives: improve the customer experience and curb escalating costs.

The first step was overhauling the customer service technology. This included moving to a single Web-based system from RightNow Technologies that included Web and voice self-service. The com-pany also integrated its contact channels and created a unified view of the customer. Next it launched a knowledgebase, added new customer feedback processes, and deployed reporting and analytics.

Today the agents share a unified view of the customers' history, "pencil and paper" reporting has been replaced with automated reporting that incorporates customer interactions, and a knowledgebase offers a standard set of answers. "We believe we have the tools in place to maximize our customer retention efforts," says Chuck Udzinski, manager of end user service for Black & Decker.

The newly engineered service process captures feedback through surveys administered after phone calls. Udzinski turns the highlights of the resulting reports into a Voice of the Customer newsletter, which is sent monthly across the enterprise. Engineers use this information to target customers for product input, and marketing drives campaigns based on customers' interactions. And if customers are dissatisfied? "We call them back immediately and find out what the problem is," Udzinski says.

That level of care is paying off. Customer satisfaction is at 89 percent and improving 6 percentage points per year; email response time fell to one business day, down from weeks-long response times; call wait time totals 45 seconds, a 62 percent improvement; first-call resolution increased 10 percent to 95 percent; Web self-service usage soared to 94 percent; and average handle time totals five minutes, a 20 percent improvement. In addition, Black & Decker is designing products with the customer in mind and marketing more effectively. "We are definitely part of the overall strategic plan to improve the customer experience," Udzinski says, "and take the cost out of the business."

Bath & Body Works Wows Its Customers

At Bath & Body Works, the operations center rallies around a singular concept: surprise and delight the customer. In fact, the company's mission is to deliver "wow" experiences at every touchpoint and customer service reps (CSRs) are trained to ensure exceptional service delivery. So when the company began to lose confidence in its knowledge management system for not quickly providing CSRs with the exact information they needed to best serve customers, Bath & Body Works set on a course to resolve the issue.

According to Pati Crowley, senior director of customer experience, the knowledgebase prohibited the CSRs from effectively delivering exceptional service because they were tasked with sorting through long lists and drilling down through numerous links to locate relevant information. "The original solution was counterintuitive for the CSRs, which resulted in limited use," she says.

Bath & Body Works implemented Astute Solutions' RealDialog in 2007, and over 2008 and early 2009 the technology was rolled out to the CSRs, as well as to the company's Field Assist, Voice of the Associate, and Voice of the Brand programs. The company used "RealDialog Bingo" to encourage user adoption. Each team member received a bingo card with artwork depicting products. As the agents found the information in the system, they marked off each one until they had Bingo.

Crowley says the implementation has had a tremendous impact on the service experience because the data is accessed through a single user interface so the CSRs' attention is not diverted away from the customers. The results speak volumes: an 86 percent reduction in hold times, a 33 percent drop in average handle time, and 49 percent fewer escalations-all improvements that impact the customer experience. "The real tipping point has been the fact that our interaction time with our customers can now be focused on engagement versus navigation," Crowley says. "This is what creates the emotional connection we have with our customers and has, in my opinion, the greatest ROI because this influences loyalty and word of mouth."