Oakley Finds the Sunny Side of Customer Service

Customer Service
Customer Service

Sport and lifestyle brand Oakley prides itself on its line of cutting-edge products-but its customer service was practically medieval by comparison. Oakley's gear includes high-end sport performance optics, including premium sunglasses, goggles, and prescription eyewear, as well as a range of footwear, apparel, and accessories. The company has seen its products used in video games, and they were event mentioned in a chart-topping hit by rock band Weezer. That high-end image, however, wasn't translating to its service experience.

"We do a lot of seasonal sales," says Linda Ridge, manager of customer service, "with our peak season being May to September. As a result, we start staffing up in January, and go from about 65 to 100 agents. We had a system in place where we could record customers' calls, but we couldn't really push anything out that way. It was taking 30 to 40 days to review the calls with our agents."

For a company that, on average, handles 2,250 calls every day and approximately 700,000 calls per year, that practice simply wasn't working, she says. "We were finding that it was taking quite some time to bring new hires up to speed, despite a fairly rigorous two-week training program," Ridge says. "Getting out on the floor with them to help with call flow and the system itself was time consuming and, really, not getting us the results we wanted."

In late 2005 the decision was made to implement Envision's Click2Coach quality monitoring solution. And since then, Ridge says Oakley has gradually been moving more of its training sessions into the e-learning modules, integrating training content with agent evaluations along the way. In addition, Oakley continues to develop more targeted, customized instruction when and where it is needed most.

Customer service trainer Stephanie LaCourse says that Oakley now has the ability to provide its representatives with targeted feedback and coaching through e-learning clips sent directly to agents' desktops. LaCourse says she scores the calls and pushes out e-learning pieces to remind agents of what they learned in training or to provide them with the correct answers to use on calls. "The value of the resulting time savings are incalculable," she says.

Oakley has reduced new-hire training time by 25 percent and decreased escalation by 70 percent. "Both numbers that we've maintained pretty steadily since 2005," Ridge says. Agent performance and productivity has increased and the company has reduced its contact center costs as a result.

According to Ridge, those improvements could be seen almost immediately. While Oakley was careful to launch the new system during its slow season, "The following year we saw our agent training going a lot smoother, and we were able to bring new hires up to speed a lot quicker."

Although figures for customer retention are not available, Ridge says, she has "no doubt" that the impact has been significantly positive.

And while the overhaul of the contact center has gone smoothly, LaCourse says, "There's always room for improvement. The next piece for us is to identify certain trends in the contact center and look at different processes to help us further improve customer satisfaction."

Quality assurance and performance reports are among the initiatives now being rolled out, LaCourse adds.