Organizations selling to end users as well as retail partners are tasked to manage and respond to a mix of product and commerce inquiries — especially in the call center.
Positec Tool Group is a manufacturer of tools sold to consumers and retailers under the WORX and Rockwell brands. To keep pace with ingoing and outgoing calls, as well as execute telemarketing campaigns, Positec implemented Five9, a cloud-based solution that streamlines call center operations. The technology has helped the company improve internal processes and ensure employee productivity, resulting in a first call resolution rate of more than 96%. As a result, the tool manufacturer has increased revenue from $3.8 million in 2011 to more than $4.3 million in 2012, according to Rhonda Tate, VP of Direct Response at Positec.
It’s “not easy” to manage thousands of customer phone calls each week, Tate said in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “However, it’s my job to give our agents a reliable system that also includes a variety of tools that help them respond to questions quickly and seamlessly.”
Using Five9, Positec successfully has “helped agents be more effective and efficient,” Tate explained. For example, rather than making customers wait on hold for several minutes while issues are addressed, team members can leverage the new Five 9 callback feature to reconnect with consumers automatically once tasks are completed.
“Consumers aren’t happy when they’re placed on hold for several minutes,” Tate stated. “Since we’ve implemented the callback solution in June 2012, we’ve been able to better manage time and resources during peak seasons, while still maintaining positive customer sentiment.”
Call center up-time and reliability also have improved since the system upgrade: Because calls no longer are dropped or accidentally disconnected, Positec has reduced total number of calls from 360,000 in 2011 to 348,000 in 2012.
Prioritizing Employee Time And Resources
Positec sells products directly to consumers via television infomercials. Before and after those segments are aired, Positec now can scale call center agents up and down based on overall traffic and demand. This flexibility also enables call center agents to manage their time more efficiently: when spikes in call volume are not anticipated, agents can focus on other obligations, such as executing outgoing campaigns that will help drive sales.
For example, Positec representatives are required to call key retail partners to check sales progress and provide retail associates with the tools and resources that help shoppers make better product decisions. In one such campaign, Positec learned that Lowe’s employees had received several customer inquiries regarding a specific tool accessory. Rather than have shoppers contact the call center, Positec created a “how to” video about that accessory and sent it to Lowe’s associates, who could refer to it on their mobile devices.
“Overall, we saw an 8% lift in SKUs being sold,” Tate said. “Five9 allows us to download detailed reports to and see which stores received outbound follow-up contact from our call center.”
Prior to using Five9, Positec relied on the external fulfillment team to track all calls and forward them to internal employees. Overall, the manufacturer had access to only 10% of customer call data. This limited visibility became a key obstacle as the Positec business expanded.
“As our customer base continued to grow year-over-year ― faster than we anticipated ― it became harder for us to connect with our customers,” Tate said. Rather than “being at the mercy of the fulfillment team,” and relying on external sources to carry and hold customer calls, Tate decided to create an internal call center operation.
“Five9 allows us to connect constantly with consumers and retail partners,” Tate said. “We’re no longer making customers hold for long periods of time, nor dropping calls.”
Currently, Positec is testing new ways to leverage automated call center tactics to reduce the total number of call agents on duty to handle inbound communications.
“In some cases, consumers may not need to speak to a representative,” Tate noted. “For example, instead of waiting for an agent to track a package, we’re now allowing customers to do so directly through an automated system. We want to implement great customer service experience strategies that identify and address why consumers are calling, and simultaneously reduce agent talk time.”