Skylight was a medium size, payroll card provider to large corporations such as McDonalds, Kohls, Macys, Walmart and more. Primarily companies with a large, hourly employee bases.
Call volume delivery was very erratic with huge % spikes on payroll Fridays, holidays and at night. The Skylight call center had average HOLD times in the 20 minute range, Customer Satisfaction scores at 41% (90% was target), annualized employee attrition at 250% plus and a cost structure that was literally draining Skylight’s balance sheet. The call center staff was almost 70% of the staff in the company.
We went in and quickly assessed the major issues with the operation and worked with company’s leadership team to plan for and attack these issues. We implemented a workforce management methodologies, workforce scheduling software and built a capacity planning model the team could use to forecast volume and use the data to accurately deploy their human capital to the workload. We also looked at their employee sourcing and hiring practices. We stopped the more expensive and ineffective applicant advertising (ie. Newspapers) and went to an online model. We also re designed the job descriptions and applicant requirements to be more selective in our hiring. We determined that salaries were not competitive to other local call centers in this industry and implemented a pay for performance plan. We did financial modeling on these, compensation changed, and determined that if we hit the goals we hit for attrition, CSAT/Customer Retention, staff reduction due to improvement in performance, etc, we would more than make up the difference.
We rewrote the training program and upgraded the training staff and delivery methods to make the training more effective. We designed and built job aides and an online reference tool for the agents to minimize off phone time looking for answers. We interviewed the entire staff against the new job requirements made some staffing changes to move the people out of the organization who did not fit what we were trying to accomplish; this included some Supervisors and Managers. We hired new Supervisors and Managers to match the new, upgraded criteria.
We also redesigned the IVR front end to encourage self-service and to direct calls to the appropriate resources. We also implemented a series of individual rep metrics and organization level metric and held everyone on the team accountable to their respective performance goals. We also implemented a host of reporting, coaching tools and call monitoring processes to support the change we were going for. We also worked on the culture of the center by establishing a Culture Committee, consisting of the employees in the center and through that group, we made significant change to the culture and environment of the center. We also turned the call center into a profit center by injecting value added services to sell like fraud protection, preferred ACH deposit (pay a fee to get paid 2 days earlier), etc.
The results were staggering. Over the course of 6 months, the center’s service levels came down an 80% handled in less than 30 seconds. AHT’s were cut in half. Unproductive agent time such as ACW and AUX were all but eliminated. Rep occupancy went from 33% up to 75%. As a result of the agent performance and IVR improvements, we were able to reduce staff by over 30% while achieving the much improved performance. Our CSAT scores came up to 95 + % and held there. Annualized employee attrition came down to 40% and we were actually selling over $100K a month in value added services to our customer. This was all added $$ to the bottom line.
Skylight’s center became a showcase for new client sells and was a direct reason why most of the new business sold in 2011 and 2012 was won (Direct feedback from senior executives at each of the merchants we were selling to). In 2012, the overall costs to run the call center, was reduced by almost 40%. This does not include the $1.2 million dollars we brought in from the Value Added Sales.
Results of Collaboration
Call Center Optimization Group
Call Center Optimization Group was developed to aid businesses with their contact center operations. Whether large or small, your contact center is the heartbeat of your company’s customer experience and a critical component to your brand.