International Cruise and Excursions
How dvsAnalytics helped an international cruise company achieve world-class customer service
International Cruise & Excursions, Inc. (ICE) is a worldwide travel and leisure organization with a global network of innovative travel alliances including major corporations, resorts, cruise lines, holiday suppliers, and leisure travel providers. Founded in 1997, the Scottsdale-based travel organization provides original cruise, holiday and lifestyle programs, as well as cruise and vacation fulfillment services to more than 150 major corporate brands serving more than 55 million consumers internationally.
As with any high-end hospitality business, competition is ever present and customer service is a major differentiator. ICE faced the challenge of continuously improving the quality of agent/customer interactions in their busy contact center. “It’s a very competitive world out there, especially in the travel industry, so what sets us apart from everybody else is that extra level of service,” said Charlette Castaneda, ICE’s Quality Experience Manager. “We knew we needed to focus on providing a world-class level of customer service.”
Achieving that level of service isn’t easy in a high-volume contact center like ICE, which employs up to 1,300 agents during its busy season. ICE approached this challenge by focusing on developing extensive agent training programs for both new and existing agents. This resulted in a need for improved technology that would:
- Record 100% of customer/agent interactions.
- Obtain tools to identify high, medium and low quality recordings.
- Automatically identify ongoing training opportunities to improve performance.
- Develop a training/coaching methodology to improve performance without impacting productivity.
ICE first looked to the call recording technology they already had in place. They discovered that:
- Inbound calls were not always recorded.
- Outbound calls could not be retrieved.
- Many retrieved interactions were unusable due to audio/video synchronization issues.
ICE received promises from their existing provider that the issues would be fixed, but the problems persisted. This prompted ICE to commence a search for not only new recording technology, but also a solution that would meet their additional quality management, analytics and training requirements, including an effective coaching methodology that would not compromise productive online time.
After an extensive search, ICE selected dvsAnalytics’ Encore Workforce Optimization Suite, which included call and screen recording, quality management, and analytics. Encore met or exceeded all their requirements with:
- Guaranteed recording and retrieval (100%) of customer/agent interactions.
- Synchronized audio and screen recordings.
- Customizable evaluation forms.
- Analytics tools for easily identifying the interactions that matter most.
- Automated coaching and training tools.
During acceptance testing, ICE confirmed that 100% of calls and desktop interactions were recorded and retrievable with no technical problems. Also, they were delighted with the flexibility of Encore’s quality management software.
“We were thrilled with the tools for creating and managing our own evaluation forms,” said Adelina Petrov, ICE’s VP Global Call Center Operations. “Encore is extremely flexible, giving us complete control over the entire evaluation process. All of our managers quickly became dependent on it for assessing agent performance.”
With no more worries about the technology platform, ICE was ready to start learning how to use Encore’s analytics and coaching for improving performance. Little did they know that the best was yet to come!
As they learned more about Encore’s eCoaching, they realized that by allowing Encore to automatically send agents coaching assignments, time spent in classroom training or in one-on-one supervisor/agent meetings could be reduced dramatically! Encore’s eCoaching software triggers coaching assignments based upon evaluation results. For example, if an agent scores below average on product knowledge, a link to the appropriate eLearning lesson, embedded in an eCoaching assignment, is automatically sent to the agent. The agent can open the assignment, click on the link, and complete the lesson. Supervisor and Agent Dashboards provide a way to monitor and manage pending and completed assignments.
The ICE quality team began building a library of video training lessons. These lessons were stored and linked directly to evaluation questions such that a low score would automatically trigger an eCoaching assignment to be delivered immediately to the agent. Because the video lessons were short, agents could quickly complete them right at their workstation in between calls, minimizing offline time while improving future performance.
Initially, some managers were skeptical about the new solution, believing it would interfere with productivity. The results, however, were dramatic. As shown in Figure 1, performance improved an average of 37%!
Encore made the coaching process better in other ways, too. It was easy for agents to log in to Encore and view their own recordings and evaluations, including their supervisor’s comments. eCoaching and self-review of interactions, combined, decreased the time it took to conduct weekly coaching reviews by 50% – from one hour to 30 minutes – and in some cases, it eliminated the need for regular meetings altogether!
With a goal of further improving performance, ICE quality management implemented Encore’s eCoaching quizzes. First, quiz forms were added to each eCoaching module. Then, before a coaching assignment was considered complete, the agent had to complete the lesson AND take a quiz. Knowing they would be completing a quiz at the end of the assignment, agent attentiveness improved and better performance followed. As shown in Figure 2, performance improved an average of 70%!
“We couldn’t have done it without Encore, that’s for sure,” raves Castaneda. “We wouldn’t be where we are today without eCoaching. eCoaching is an amazingly innovative, efficient, and effective way to train our agents and achieve world class customer service!”
In less than a year, ICE was able to make major gains in the quality of service their agents provided. At the same time, the cost of training and the amount of time supervisors and agents spent on one-on-one coaching was reduced. This triple-savings gave them a return on investment that was unprecedented in previous efforts to achieve world-class customer service.
- Travel and Leisure
Provide world-class service and support those efforts with call recording and workforce optimization solutions
- Encore Workforce Optimization Suite
- Guaranteed 100% call and desktop recording of agent/customer interactions
- Minimized time spent in classroom training
- Reduced time required for weekly coaching meetings by 50 to 100%
- Increased KPIs by 37%, and subsequently another 70%
- Realized an unprecedented return on investment with triple savings