The Co-op was on a journey to service excellence. They wanted to build on valued relationships with customers and members and turn their one-million-plus customer conversations per year into insights that could help shape a better Co-op. They were looking for a solution to work alongside the existing Salesforce CRM that would enable CSAT to become the team’s lead KPI for stakeholder and advisor engagement, and to enable continuous improvement and service recovery activities.
First, benchmarking the contact centre against Bright Index delivered a line in the sand to report performance to the executives. The Co-op then implemented Bright Navigator to continuously gather customer feedback.
Within five weeks, the Co-op was getting valuable insights. A verbatim analysis of perfect calls was used to develop a Call Journey Framework for training, and an analysis of unresolved calls was used to investigate process failures. After 3 months, CSAT became a KPI and advisors used Bright to monitor their own performance and improve their scores, helping to improve CSAT for complaint handling by 20%. This in turn helped achieve 6% higher post-complaint member retention, with an associated shopping trade value of more than £12m. Advisors’ satisfaction with the way performance was managed improved significantly too, helping to maintain an engagement score 9% above the Co-op average. These changes, alongside the innovative work Co-op was doing to drive change from complaints, led to it winning Best Voice of the Customer Award at the European Contact Centre and Customer Service Awards.
The Co-op is a British consumer co-operative with a diverse family of retail businesses, including food retail, electrical retail, financial services, insurance services, legal services and funeral care. It is owned by more than 4 million active members.
The brand was founded on a set of principles grounded in doing fair and better business. People across the business demonstrate their commitment to these values in everything they do, and that includes in the contact centre.
Building Service Excellence
The Co-op Member and Customer Service 60-seat contact centre in Manchester had embarked on a three-year strategy of Building Service Excellence. It was founded on four pillars: people, management, value and insight. The latter focused on turning conversations into insights to build a better Co-op through a Voice of the Customer programme.
What the team didn’t realise was that this programme would be recognised as delivering best practice when the initiative was awarded Best Voice of the Customer at the European Contact Centre and Customer Service Awards.
Claire Carroll, Head of Member and Customer Services, explains: “We wanted our Voice of the Customer programme to look both outwardly and inwardly. We wanted to use the insights from customer interactions to help improve overall customer propositions in-store. And inwardly, we were looking to use the customer feedback to improve the quality of service delivered by the contact centre and increase the value that we add to the business. It was this need to gather customer feedback on our contact centre service experience that led us to Bright.”
Quick and Easy
The first thing that the Co-op did was establish a benchmark to work with. The Co-op used Bright Index to benchmark their performance before embedding Bright Navigator, the CSAT tool.
“We chose to implement Bright because it is simple, quick to deploy and cost effective,” explains Adrian Morley, Change Consultant at the Co-op. “We weren’t looking for bells and whistles – although we know Bright can do more than we initially needed – we were just looking for a solution that would do the job well.
“The benchmark exercise gave us our starting point. One of the key selling points of Bright is the depth of the benchmarking data set, which enabled us to reference against our sector. This gave us clear areas of focus and enabled us to set targets. Bright Navigator helped us monitor progress against those targets, identify improvements and uplift the results.”
Bright Navigator was customised around four key requirements: stakeholder reporting, advisor engagement, service design and service recovery.
Evidence for Stakeholders
“Bright was able to provide comprehensive benchmarks and ongoing reporting for the question set, enabling me to evidence a high standard of service to senior stakeholders,” said Claire Carroll, Head of Member and Customer Services.
“Within five weeks we were getting really valuable insights,” says Claire. “On day one we had no other reference point so we focused on performance against benchmark, but as we went on, the trend data started to become more important. Customer comments were added to the reports to illustrate what customers were typically telling us (good and bad), which helped to bring our service to life for the Exec audience.
Advisor Engagement 9% Higher Than Average
“We recognised that advisor engagement was a key part of the process to building service excellence,” says Claire. “We wanted advisors to care about their scores and have the tools to improve them.”
An analysis of the ‘perfect call’ was conducted, and as a result, a model call journey was created to help advisors see where and how they could deliver excellence. The call journey has five fundamental steps: the big hello, make it matter, going the extra mile, I’ve done what I’ve said I’ll do, and the fond farewell.
With this under their belts, advisors were shown how to use the Bright tool to monitor their own performance on the call journey in real time through a personal dashboard. They have access to their scores and the customer feedback and can see how they are performing against the team and the centre.
“It wasn’t until CSAT became a KPI for advisors and teams after three months using the Bright system that we saw CSAT and Recommendation scores start to increase,” admits Claire.
“We developed a league table, and leader boards were put up around the centre using the data from the system. Crucially, we were not looking to identify the under-performers. Our whole approach was to focus on those that were over-performing. We shared their successful calls with everyone in the centre, and we significantly increased recognition for good customer service.”
Advisors became addicted to their feedback, aiming high and being delighted with what customers were saying about them.
“We’d managed to improve colleague engagement by 26 points to 85% in the run-up to implementing Bright,” reveals Adrian.“We knew the following year would be a tough year with an increased focus on performance and efficiency and the last thing we wanted was for advisors to feel they were being put under pressure to deliver more targets. Bright enabled us to focus on the positive aspects of service and make performance comparisons that were transparent and fair. We maintained our engagement scores, and the survey showed that advisors were significantly more satisfied at the way performance was managed than they were the year before.
“Advisors have really taken to having CSAT as a KPI thanks to the ease of viewing their scores and verbatim feedback, and that’s helped us sustain an engagement score that’s 9 points higher than the Co-op average,” said Claire.
Enhancing Service Design and Recovery
The other key Voice of the Customer requirements were to use the insights from the conversations with customers to improve the design of the service delivered and to evolve the recovery process when interactions hadn’t gone well.
“We could use the data in Bright to establish the sensitivity of CSAT to call answer time and subsequent impact on advocacy, as well as analyse unresolved calls to identify and address root cause issues,” says Adrian.
“The data from Bright showed the scores by query type. Knowing why people were calling, and understanding whether their call was resolved or not, and if they were satisfied or a detractor, meant that we could prioritise processes for review. And once compared to operational data to spot the correlations, we were able to optimise service levels around key customer outcomes. Brilliant!
“Bright comes with a great add-on for implementing service recovery,” adds Adrian. “Every time a customer scores a call unresolved, the system would alert the team manager, who would then get back in touch with the customer as well as provide additional coaching to the advisor if needed and document the actions in Bright Navigator. This has made the survey a key part of our operation – a means of ensuring that on the rare occasion we do fail, we get a second chance to put it right.
Complaint Handling CSAT up 20%
Bright Navigator was initially deployed on Membership Servicing calls, which are relatively simple to deal with. After a few months, a more complex survey was created to assess how well complaints were being handled in the contact centre.
“We wanted to make sure that we were handling complaints effectively,” explains Claire. “But we were aware that we would have to do it sensitively, in a way that doesn’t antagonise things at a time when we’re trying to restore a customer relationship that’s been damaged. We wanted to know a bit more about the complaint, for example where it had originated, what path the customer had taken to resolve it before coming to us, but we didn’t want to make the survey too complicated. Bright helped us develop the right solution which we monitored through response rate reporting.
“This insight enabled us to improve the complaints process within the contact centre and embed CSAT as a KPI for our complaint handlers. This helped deliver a 20% increase in CSAT for complaints and, more importantly, a 6% higher member retention rate as a result of improved complaint handling, with a trade value of more than £12m,” she said.
“We had the insight to enable us to robustly defend investment in the high levels of service. And advisors liked it too. The scores for ‘How performance is managed’ showed the biggest increases in the annual engagement survey that year.
“There is no doubt that delivering better customer outcomes can drive business value in a service environment,” concludes Claire.
The Value of Insight
“We have seen this success because we had a strategy that clearly calls out the value opportunity for insight, distinguishing between outward- and inward-looking insight. And we have a recognition that value is only delivered through action. We have followed best practice and delivered evidence every step of the way,” says Claire.
“Winning the Best Voice of the Customer Award at the European Contact Centre and Customer Service Awards was the icing on the cake. We couldn’t have done it without Bright.”
“Bright has been fully engaged in our journey; they are part of the team,” adds Claire. “They make it so easy to work with them.” And of Bright, Adrian Morley, Change Consultant at the Co-op, says:
“Working with Bright has been a great experience. They have tailored their approach to provide the right product and service for us. They have not pushed us down a path we don’t want to go down, and they have been really responsive.”
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