Here are 14 ideas that have driven some great results at the FatFace contact centre in Havant.
1. Reduce Call Volumes by Focusing on Repeat Contact Reasons
Over the past two years, FatFace have been able to reduce overall contact volumes by 20%. A key reason for this is their focus on identifying trends within call reason codes, which can be sourced from the contact centre’s ACD system.
So, each week, the team find their top four contact reasons and discuss how they can lower contact volumes for each without harming the customer experience.
An example of how this helped to lower contacts is that, at one point, customers had to go through the contact centre to manually reset their passwords. This became a major contact reason. However, by introducing a self-serve option to semi-automate the process, contact volumes for this type of call dropped by almost 65%.
2. Run Trials With the Marketing Department
|FatFace Fact File|
|Contact volume – per week||2,500 (7,000 during Xmas peak)|
|Advisors||15 Seats (30 during Xmas peak)|
FatFace’s contact centre share the same building as their marketing team, which has helped to create close ties between the two departments. This relationship enables the contact centre to relay the Voice of the Customer – e.g. repeated customer complaint reasons – to mutual benefit.
For instance, the marketing department can make changes to the way promotions are presented on the company website to lower contact volumes. They do this during a “trial week” and assess how the changes impact on both sales and contact volumes.
A recent example of this working well is during FatFace’s Easter promotion that initially caused numerous calls. The promotion included a voucher that was given to customers if they spent more than £75 in one go. This voucher would then be sent to customers on May 10. However, many customers didn’t recognise this and expected the voucher sooner.
These customers then started to phone in, causing the contact centre to ask marketing to move the information from the terms and conditions to the front page of the website, which helped to make things clearer for customers.
FatFace then also changed the design of their email promotion to make the information clearer, as shown below.
3. Share the Voice of the Customer With the Design Team
As well as FatFace’s contact centre enjoying a close relationship with marketing, they also hold regular discussions with the design, buying and quality teams.
FatFace partially attribute their 8% reduction in faulty product complaints to this relationship.
An example of this working well is when the contact centre noticed that it had received a few complaints about one particular jumper having a slender neck. This information was passed on to the design team, which remedied the situation.
This information sharing has also enabled one of FatFace’s advisors to go the extra mile. A member of the FatFace team had a conversation with a customer who had recently had a mastectomy. She loved a blouse that she bought, but had anxiety over wearing it after the surgery. So, the team member got in touch with the design team, who put together some scarves to go with the blouse, especially for her. The customer was very happy and sent in the following card to the contact centre.
4. Lower Service Levels From 80/20
In order to encourage advisors to go the extra mile, FatFace removed the pressure of targeting advisors on Average Handling Time (AHT) and have also relaxed their service level.
Over the past year, FatFace have moved away from the industry standard of answering 80% of calls in 20 seconds and instead answer 80% of calls in 60 seconds.
Doing so has also helped to lower stress and has caused a reduction in resources needed, while not damaging abandon rates. However, the latter is partially down to the improvements made in the IVR.
5. Create Innovative IVR Messages
With a standard 60-second wait time, FatFace felt the need to enhance its IVR system to make the most out of that time and prioritise calls.
Options are presented in order of the top call reasons, in an attempt to help customers navigate the system quickly.
Options are presented in order of the top call reasons, in an attempt to help customers navigate the system quickly. These choices come after the first option – which is the self-service option, in an attempt to drive call volumes down further.
Yet the most innovative part of FatFace’s IVR system is the messages that they play to queuing customers. Each message will relate to the option the customer has chosen.
So, for example, if the customer has said – through their IVR choice – that they are calling due to a delivery issue, an IVR message will play something along the lines of “all FatFace deliveries can be expected within five days”. This may help to answer the customer’s query, eliminating the need for them to speak directly to an advisor.
6. Do Away With the Net Promoter Score
One of the more unexpected moves that FatFace have recently made was to remove the Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey that customers used to be directed to on their site.
Instead, the company chose to focus on metrics and other sources of information, which provided them with more “actionable insight”. These include customer complaint reasons, sales volumes and abandon rates, among others.
In fact, the company don’t even measure a Customer Satisfaction (CSat) – believing that focusing on how to improve quality on contact reasons individually provides more value than having an overall satisfaction score.
7. Map the Customer Journey in Accordance With Brand Values
FatFace initially mapped out the customer journey through their stores to improve the customer experience and increase sales through service – which is also the contact centre’s fifth highest contact reason.
It is now the turn of the contact centre to do the same, focusing on four of the same key brand values: friendly, professional, interested and helpful.
The contact centre has also made a set of promises and commitments based on these values, and has mapped out the journey in light of these. These promises and commitments will be referred back to if the contact centre makes any future changes to its service and/or channels.
For more information on creating a customer journey map, read our article: 5 Steps to Creating a Customer Journey Map
8. Have a Morning Team Huddle and Strike a Power Pose
At 10am every morning, once all advisors have begun their shifts, the contact centre team huddle together. This is not only to create a sense of community and team spirit, it is also an opportunity to make announcements, update the team and ask questions.
Also, the huddle helps to reduce email traffic, while giving everyone the chance to get things off their mind in the presence of the Customer Service Manager.
However, that’s not all. FatFace’s team huddles end in each team member striking a power pose, where everyone makes as big a stance as possible. Making such a pose is linked to instilling confidence, and the contact centre got the idea from the following TED Talk.
9. Display Staff Rotas
Having a small team, FatFace’s contact centre is open to the idea of shift swaps as a method of boosting morale. However, they used to have a problem in doing so.
This problem involved individual advisors swapping shifts with just one other person, meaning that certain advisors were not having the chance to swap with someone else.
To solve this, FatFace display the team’s rotas on the contact centre walls. This allows advisors to see every option for shift swaps and stops the manager from having to act as a middle man, freeing up their time to do other things.
10. Give Fixed-Term Contracts Over Peak Periods
During the Christmas period, FatFace have to double the size of their contact centre team and they used to meet this sharp rise in contact volumes by hiring temps.
They did so by putting the temps through training in October and moving them into the contact centre in November. However, in November there just wasn’t the demand and the “temps” ended up doing data-entry tasks for the marketing department. This caused some temps to leave after just a week or so, as they did not believe that it was the job they signed up for, leaving the contact centre understaffed during the busiest time of the year.
Learning from this, the contact centre now offers 3-month fixed-term contracts to recruits, to improve resource planning over their busiest time of the year.
11. Pair a Product Wall With Wireless Headsets
Product knowledge is key, so – with its product range constantly changing – it is important that FatFace’s advisors can check the validity of the information they give, in case they, understandably, forget.
If this happens, the contact centre have a designated product wall that is filled with useful and updated information. This means that advisors can walk over to the product wall and make sure they are giving the customer the most appropriate advice and information.
However, advisors do not have to put the caller on hold while doing so. Using Plantronics wireless headsets, the team can wander from one side of the room to the other, while keeping the conversation flowing.
12. Create a Comp Shop
Being in such a competitive industry, FatFace’s customers will likely also be shopping with many of their competitors.
With this being the case, FatFace’s advisors were often hearing from customers “why can’t you do this? … can”. This had a negative impact on staff morale.
So, FatFace installed a “comp shop” that shows how FatFace’s offerings match up against those of similar companies.
Having this wall has improved morale, as advisors can respond to customers by saying something along the lines of: “While I cannot offer you this option, what we can do is…”. This is a good example of turning around a negative experience.
13. Increase Proactivity With Exception Reporting
To create a more memorable customer service experience, FatFace make a point of asking advisors to write down any exceptions to the usual conversation when handling customer contacts.
For example, if a customer were to request that a product was to be delivered in a location that is different to their home address, this address can be saved in the CRM system. If the customer were to then call again about a separate delivery, the advisor can ask which address they would like to it be delivered to, for a more personalised experience.
It can also be good practice to do this exception reporting in the interest of predicting future customer behaviours.
14. Let Abusive Customers Cool Off Before Escalating the Process
When dealing with abusive customers, FatFace’s advisors are reminded that the customer’s anger is not directed at them but at the wider company or, just as likely, at other things in their life.
However, these calls are still difficult to take. So, when the customer goes beyond what is considered acceptable, FatFace first view it as important to comfort the advisor who was subjected to the abuse to avoid them from taking their frustration immediately into the next call.
Then, after at least after half an hour, so that the customer has had time to relax, the Customer Service Manager will phone back and remind the caller of what is acceptable. This has often led to apologies and FatFace can feel comfortable continuing their relationship with these customers.
Thank you to FatFace for facilitating our visit to their Havant contact centre.
But what about you? Do you fancy showing off your contact centre?
If so, you can email: firstname.lastname@example.org and maybe we will see you soon!