Implementation Award: Salt River Project
Customer: Salt River Project
Vendor: NICE Systems
Product: NICE SmartCenter
The Salt River Project (SRP), an energy supplier located in Phoenix, receives about 2 million calls a year, mostly from customers with questions about their bills or wanting to make a payment. The company had almost no way of identifying calls that fell outside of those two call types, and that presented a problem for agents dealing with the calls.
So in January 2009 it implemented NICE SmartCenter for recording, quality management, interaction analytics, workforce management, and customer feedback. This past February it added some more features, including 100 percent screen recording.
“We really saw the benefits NICE would bring our company, and that was the main reason we went in that direction, from the speech analytics to just the overall application and its ease of use, as well as its ability to bring everything together,” says Brandon Whiting, manager of call center operations and support at SRP. “We really wanted to integrate more of the workforce management with the quality monitoring, and [NICE] gave us the ability to merge those systems together.”
Some of the results from the implementation were seen right away: Increased forecast accuracy and scheduling efficiency enabled SRP to reach monthly service-level goals of 90 percent of all calls answered in 30 seconds or less, and 80 percent of all calls were answered in 20 seconds or less. Average talk time also dropped from 330 seconds per call to 305 seconds per call in just a five-month period. Overall, the call volume dropped 10 percent.
Furthermore, in the month after the implementation a customer recovery team was able to contact 30 percent of dissatisfied customers, effectively salvaging those relationships.
SRP also implemented interaction analytics to optimize customer dynamics. The interaction analytics allow SRP contact center managers to identify calls, which then are organized by call type so they can be assessed for common issues. These feedback scores are particularly useful in training because individual agents can focus on specific, recurring call types to identify exactly which issues need to be addressed when looking at customer dissatisfaction. “The technology has been incredibly useful. Before using it, we weren’t able to identify our problem calls since those calls only accounted for 1 percent of our calls, but they were the longest ones,” Whiting says. “NICE helped us identify those calls, which has been invaluable in our training and overall efficiency.”
Because of these improvements in understanding customer satisfaction, SRP also made changes to a policy that previously charged customers a fee for paying by phone after their power was disconnected. NICE was able to help SRP link customer service satisfaction to surveys taken during interactions between agents and customers; through these surveys, the company realized much customer dissatisfaction was to due to this fee. After the fee was waived, customer satisfaction increased. Overall, customer dissatisfaction, escalations, and repeat calls declined by 28 percent, 35 percent, and 11 percent, respectively, within four months. Also, the company was able to decrease average handle time on high bill calls by 157 seconds within four months.
The NICE system allowed the company to cut other costs. “We didn’t have to reduce staff head count because we work from a flex schedule, but we were able to reduce the number of hours the agents worked because of the implementation,” Whiting says. The company saved 10 percent on frontline labor costs, which amounts to $600,000.
Most important for SRP has been the overall success of the solution. “We didn’t realize how useful this technology was going to be,” says Laura Nichols, an analyst at SRP’s call center operations and support. “We are very pleased with the results.” Adds Whiting: “The NICE platform was heads and tails above the solution we were currently using.”
- Average call duration dropped from 330 seconds to 305 seconds;
- Customer dissatisfaction, escalations, and repeat calls declined by 28 percent, 35 percent, and 11 percent, respectively, within four months;
- 90 percent of all calls are answered in 30 seconds or less, and 80 percent of all calls are answered in 20 seconds or less; and
- The company saved 10 percent on frontline labor costs, which amounts to $600,000.
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