Case Study: RCDA Implements Contact Center Process, Improving Sales and Customer Experience for a Major BPO

“The changes RCDA made helped us to focus and prioritize our operational processes, which helped us achieve significant improvement to our sales, at the same time providing a better customer experience for our client and their customers.”

– Steve Bodner, Vice President, Empereon Marketing, LLC

Summary

  • Five percent improvement in sales.
  • Millions of dollars in improved revenue for the client and BPO.
  • Improved operational efficiencies, which streamlined onboarding and time to proficiency.
  • Reduced attrition for agents and floor supervisors.
  • Achieved sustainable and consistent results, reducing daily operational fluctuations in sales revenue and metrics on the production floor.

The Story

The BPO faced a significant challenge after winning a contract to handle sales for a major Fortune 500 company. It had to ramp up its inbound sales operation to handle thousands of calls daily. The challenge was to recruit, hire, train and retain sales agents to meet and exceed the client’s requirements for sales and customer experience. The BPO and its client agreed to an aggressive timeline and the site moved forward.

The BPO realized quickly that an additional resource with sales and call center experience would be a good investment to achieve its client’s expectations. It contracted Robert C. Davis and Associates (RCDA) to assess and implement a plan to ensure achievement of the BPO’s commitments to the client.

Client Requirements

The Fortune 500 client:

  • Expected the site to expand to 125 agents within six months.
  • Expected the BPO to achieve the required metrics consistently throughout the ramp-up.
  • Required compliance to a major process initiative that would become standard operating procedure and be subject to frequent client audits of the process.

Daily Sales Metrics

  • Close Rate (CR)
  • Non-Fee Close Rate (NFCR)
  • Percent to Credit Check (%CC)
  • Package Penetration (PP)
  • Automatic Bill Payment (ABP)
  • Voice of the Customer (VOC)

Contractual Process Metrics

  • Continuous Improvement Management System (CIMS)
  • Operational Process Confirmations
  • Agent Coaching and Development
  • Supervisor/Operations Development
  • Executive Level Commitment

Challenges

The challenges were many. With input from all of the stakeholders, RCDA produced an action plan to address each known challenge and unforeseen challenges revealed during the implementation.

  • Recruiting and Hiring: It was imperative to hire the right agents and supervisors in the highly charged sales environment. The BPO had expertise in outbound sales and was aware of the special skill needs of a sales-based organization. RCDA worked closely with the BPO to assess the quality of the new hires.
  • Training: The amount of knowledge and sales skill being delivered in the training process needed additional support after training on the production floor.
  • Leadership Development: Due to the aggressive ramp-up process, it was critical to nurture supervisor development to ensure agents got the proper support needed to achieve the client requirement.
  • Ongoing Agent Development and Coaching: A plan was needed to ensure that the necessary coaching was being conducted to achieve the aggressive sales goals and quality requirements. To be successful, the new team would need ongoing support and a consistent delivery schedule.
  • Ongoing Supervisor/Operations Development: The production environment was a continual challenge for supervisors to deliver the daily training needed to support the agents’ success on the floor.
  • Attrition: The BPO was experiencing attrition due to limited engagement with the agents, daily distractions and administrative functions that consumed the management team’s time.
  • Sustainability: To meet client requirements, the BPO had to find a solution to managing the daily challenges of a highly charged sales environment that the client monitored. These challenges were often diverting resources away from the processes most critical to achieving productive sales and VOC metrics.

Solutions

The RCDA team aligned their expertise with the BPO and client leadership. By utilizing RCDA, the BPO and client realized significant performance improvements. The plan was achieved through consistent communication, adherence to an agreed-upon plan, and daily reporting and measurement by all parties. A commitment to frequent calibrations, a common goal and defined roles continues to deliver results for the BPO and client:

  • Recruiting/Hiring/Training: The commitment to recruit and hire the right people is the foundation to build upon. The sales environment is unique in the call center and requires individuals with specific attributes to be successful. It is imperative that anyone not meeting the minimum requirements any time within this part of the process are not introduced to the production environment:
    • Proper hiring profiles and training plans ensure the delivery of prepared agents to the production floor. The commitment of the BPO and client to adhere to practices that produce the most prepared and skilled agents sets up the call center for success.
    • A well-designed nesting process allowing agents to apply their classroom skills is the final proving ground for potential agents. This process is utilized to allow agents to prove their knowledge and skills in a real live environment under very controlled circumstances.
  • Leadership Development: The RCDA process for ongoing leadership training focuses on the critical skills of time management and coaching. To create the environment for success, RCDA developed a schedule that prioritizes operational tasks that produce the greatest sales impact. The plan includes a daily schedule broken into time frames that allow supervisors and operations managers to plan, execute, document and deliver results. The commitment to a schedule and adherence is critical to building the foundation for agent development:
    • Coaching skills are the foundation for transferring the skills needed for agents to be successful. RCDA’s expertise is proven at every client site in the performance statistics. By allowing supervisors and operations management to focus on agent development, agents improve not just immediately after a coaching session. Their improvement is also sustainable for the long term when agent development is implemented effectively.
    • The well-planned schedule includes team huddles focused on communicating performance and providing effective skill transfer before every shift. Monitoring and coaching become the norm on the floor and administrative tasks are prioritized against activities that produce sales results. Time is allotted for supervisor development to ensure agents are not only receiving the right quantity of training but also the quality needed to sustain results and reduce attrition due to poor performance.
  • Sustainable Results: By analyzing the sales process and client requirements for the BPO, prioritizing activities is critical. The RCDA approach combines the BPO and client requirements into a formula for proven sales achievement. RCDA has delivered extensive sales training, has implemented validated coaching processes and customizes every program to achieve the agreed-upon performance outcomes of the BPO and client. The numbers speak for themselves.
    • However, it is much more than the numbers. When proven sales practices are combined with proper scheduling and skill development, call centers achieve sustainable results. The roller coaster rides so common in a sales environment give way to a more consistent and dependable situation. Sales forecasting becomes a deliverable that call centers can communicate with confidence.

Reporting and Compliance

The client’s contractual requirements required the BPO to adhere to specific processes, and this needed to be woven into the operational environment. By implementing an effective operational strategy, the BPO would be able to achieve the requirements within the designed structure, reducing the need for additional resources specifically for reporting purposes.

Results Summary

  • Improved Sales: Sales increased by five percent, resulting in millions of additional dollars in revenue.
  • Operational Efficiency: The effort created an environment that effectively produced daily results and focused on continuous improvement. Instead of chasing numbers, operations could predict and manage the numbers.
  • Reduced Attrition: By creating an environment of constant coaching and development for agents and supervisors, longevity increased. Attrition fell by 20 percent.
  • Improved Culture: By implementing an effective sales program, the site has created a culture that nurtures its employees and has increased their ability to work more proactively instead of reacting to the latest crisis.