Turning heads with premium customer experiences for a global fast fashion retailer
Challenge: provide an outstanding customer service operation to support global sales growth
Following the launch of its online store, this high street retailer needed a customer service outsourcing partner with multi-lingual capabilities that could grow quickly with them. This was to support increased sales across their multiple existing and new markets, and help with their 15-20% year-on-year growth in customer contacts.
Providing seamless, extensive customer care across both traditional and digital channels was essential in delivering premium experiences for its growing customer base. The retailer also needed enhanced flexibility to support significant shifts in demand to maximise revenues during their peak trading periods.
Arvato was chosen thanks to its collaborative approach, its focus on introducing technology-based solutions that boost customer satisfaction and efficiencies, and its ability to provide dedicated teams of multi-skilled, multi-lingual agents that can be scaled up quickly to meet demand.
Solution: design a flexible, technology-driven approach to boost customer satisfaction
We now provide first and second level customer services for the retailer, handling over 1.2 million customer contacts across telephone, email, web chat, Whatsapp and social media every year.
In the five years since the partnership was established, the customer service team has grown in tandem with the retailer, trebling in size and providing English and native language support for customers in multiple European countries.
Enhancing customer experience while introducing new efficiencies
Working in partnership we have re-designed the customer service model to focus on resolving a growing number of customer enquiries at the first point of contact to reduce the number of cases that need to be escalated to the retailer, while delivering new process efficiencies to improve productivity.
Combining the customer relationship management (CRM) and computer telephony integration (CTI) systems, and improving employee training and call management has increased first contact resolution and significantly reduced agent handling times by 25%.
The team has installed an ‘always on’ live link service between the retailer’s global headquarters and the customer services hub. This solution enables customer service representatives and the client team to work together to resolve customer queries and escalate negative feedback immediately.
Following the introduction of social media customer service in 2015 and web chat in 2016, the channels have now become the most popular for the retailer, with enquiries increasing ten-fold. The team handle more than 1,500 conversations per day on web chat and 300 on social media, and have also recently introduced a new Whatsapp channel.
The team has also introduced an additional store support service in the UK, dramatically improving customer service by prioritising and answering over 70% of all enquiries directed to store. This has freed up bricks and mortar retail teams to devote more time to supporting customers in 30% of the stores, with the aim of rolling this out across all national stores.
A flexible recruitment model backed by robust forecasting and immersive training
The partnership works collaboratively to combine sales data with forecasts for each demand peak, to ensure the customer service teams have the resources to deliver consistent, premium experiences.
Our multi-cultural hub in Slough provides a diverse pool of talented people, enabling us to scale up, recruit and train multi-lingual representatives for each of the countries the business supports. For example, in 2017 over 100 fixed-term employees were recruited in 30 days to support the Black Friday and Christmas sales peak. These were recruited through a variety of methods, including targeted campaigns to graduates, a refer a friend scheme and pay-per-click advertising.
All customer service representatives are multi-skilled and able to support a wide range of enquiries across contact channels and departments. This enables flexibility and agility to deliver increased support for markets and specific contact channels at very short notice.
The customer service team have varying employment contracts, allowing permanent roles to be offered to representatives on fixed-term contracts following peaks. This helps to support the retailer’s growth ambitions while also encouraging employee development and career progression.
While flexibility is key, we also understand the importance of training customer service representatives to ensure they have the in-depth product and brand knowledge to work as an extension of the retailer’s team. Our ‘immersive brand experience’ programme includes two weeks of training, visits to the retailer’s warehouses and new process briefings with the client. This keeps representatives expertise up-to-date and enables them to have effective conversations with customers.
Successes: Delivering consistent, show-stopping experiences
Handled 1.2 million contacts in 2017 across traditional and digital channels achieving a 95% answer rate
Implementing product specialist teams saw first contact resolution scores increase by approximately 10% in 2017
Supported the retailer with online store launches across seven new countries since the beginning of the partnership
Implemented customer service support for physical store purchases for the UK, Ireland and Scandinavian markets
Supported the business in achieving 15-20% year-on-year growth since the beginning of the partnership
Developed a flexible staffing model to deliver consistent customer service over seasonal sales peaks, enabling the team to increase staffing levels by up to 100% at short notice
The retailer handled more than 100,000 orders on Black Friday 2017, which resulted in over 7500 customer contacts across all support channels - the team achieved an answer rate of 97.6% for online queries and 98.6% for offline
Supported other countries following disruption caused by extreme weather, with the team working over 300 hours overtime at short notice
Prepared for the Winter 2017 sales by recruiting and training 170 new employees. The team received over 350,000 contacts during a two month period, achieving an answer rate of 95%