CallCopy Connects for Columbus Team

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It hasn't been an easy year for the Columbus Blue Jackets, which last month finished the 2011/12 season with the worst record of the 30 teams in the NHL. In fact, the Ohio-based hockey franchise, which was founded as an expansion team in 2000, has only made the playoffs once in its 12-year history.

Nonetheless, the Columbus Blue Jackets are a popular team in the eyes of their fans. And the team is committed to making sure that their on-ice performance doesn't diminish the customer experience for fans who come to Nationwide Arena for games. "We're working with our customers to provide options that are fun and attractive," says Bob Sivik, vice president of ticket sales and customer service. "We're doing a few things to make sure that fans have fun and keep coming back."

But before fans ever get to the arena, a complex set of systems helps the team's ticketing and customer service departments maximize every customer interaction. And a call recording solution from CallCopy is at the center of every one of the 3,000 to 3,500 calls that come into its contact center each day. A team of 25 sales associates and account executives, who focus on season and group tickets, and four others who focus on customized service to full-season ticket holders, field those calls. They also make about 300 outbound calls to attract new ticket sales, promotions, and business opportunities.

The team is using the cc: Voice call recording module offered as part of the cc: Discover workforce optimization suite from CallCopy. Other components of that product suite currently in use include cc: Quality for quality management, cc: Screen for screen capture, and cc: Agent for agent coaching and training. Priority-based archiving enables the organization to set rules for which calls are kept short term and which ones are archived for longer periods of time. Intelligent call recording allows the system to bypass short phone calls and only save those with significant detail. This prevents managers from having to sift through dozens of calls that offer no training potential.

The Blue Jackets completed the rollout of cc: Discover in September, and integrated it with its existing Cisco Systems infrastructure and Microsoft Dynamics CRM system to store conversation data and customer preferences and insert those bits of information into customer records.

"CallCopy gives us a little more visibility into the actual call. We can sit with an agent and get a sense of what the call was really about," Sivik says.

The cc: Discover solution also lets managers and agents gauge their tone of voice, clarity, and ability to enthusiastically promote Blue Jackets hockey during each call.

Prior to installing the solutions from CallCopy—whose corporate offices are also in Columbus, Ohio, and within walking distance of Nationwide Arena—call center managers used several methods to train agents. They conducted role-playing exercises, observed agents in action, and sometimes listened in on live calls. These exercises proved useful at times, but more often the managers had no idea what was happening on calls and had to rely on the agents to remember all the details. Those memories were not always complete or accurate.

"There was a disconnect in the whole process," Sivik recalls. A [manager] "could sit with someone while he was on a call and coach him through it [but] couldn't necessarily hear what was happening on the other end of the line."

Now, thanks to CallCopy, managers have"100 percent clarity" into every phone call, Sivik reports. "Recorded calls are very clear and are available in real time, giving us the flexibility to address any major issues immediately."

That, ultimately, is helping with staff training. "It speeds up the learning curve," Sivik says, "and helps us assess what [the agents] are doing rather than what they and their supervisors think they did on the call."

Using that same information, call center managers can track the progress of agents and see how they advance in their skills and build consistency with their calls.

And agents now even come into managers' offices and want to discuss calls, which is a radical change in attitude from when the Blue Jackets first began installing CallCopy last September. At the time, the team faced some real fear among agents, a common reaction when organizations first roll out call recording systems. The Blue Jackets management helped agents overcome that fear quickly by staying positive and pointing out how call recording could help them improve their game. It also helps that the solution is being used to not only point out where agents could have handled aspects of a call better but also to highlight the good things they do on calls.

"Now, our reps are comfortable with it," Sivik says, "and they know we are using it to make them one notch better."

Managers conduct weekly group training sessions that focus on several recorded calls that feature both negative and positive outcomes. Managers also conduct weekly individual training sessions during which they review calls with the agents involved and go over areas that could have been improved or positive elements that should be included during future calls.

Sivik has found that with most calls—even those where the agent successfully made a sale or satisfied the caller's request—something could have been done better. "We can now really fine-tune things because we know what to fix," he says.

And so far, all that effort has paid off. Attendance at the games during the 2011/12 season averaged about 14,000, up 7.8 percent from last year. Nationwide Arena can hold 18,500 people for a hockey game.

Boosting attendance is an important part of the team's strategy moving forward. "We want to sustain ourselves so we can put a good team on the ice," Sivik says.

And when that happens, the team might look to expand its use of CallCopy's technology. "CallCopy is a very progressive company, and they are always coming up with new and exciting things. If there are things that can help our business, we will certainly look into them," Sivik says.

The Blue Jackets purchased CallCopy's compliance recording bundle, which it can use for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards compliance, but this is not being used yet. This includes cc: Fusion, a desktop analytics product, among other functionalities. Other modules that are available within the cc: Discover suite but weren't purchased include cc: Analytics, the speech analytics module; cc: Clarity, the workforce management module; cc: Insight, the performance management module; and cc: Survey, the customer satisfaction survey module.

The limited rollout so far has lived up to its promises, according to Sivik. "CallCopy has overdelivered. It's accomplished everything we wanted it to accomplish," he says.

"The Blue Jackets' sophisticated sales operation maintains high standards for the personalized care they provide," CallCopy chief information officer Raymond Bohac notes. "CallCopy was able to reinforce this by delivering a robust solution with tight integrations into their existing Cisco infrastructure. Their sales operation now has access to 'game film' that it can use to analyze its performance, just like the team does on the ice."

App at a Glance

Since installing the cc: Discover call recording suite from CallCopy, the Columbus Blue Jackets have seen:

  • a 7.8 percent increase in ticket sales for home games;
  • 100 percent visibility into all calls; and
  • greater insight into the content of each call, which has led to better agent training and coaching.

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