Shoes for Crews (SFC) is the global leader in slip-resistant footwear, protecting over 100,000 workplaces worldwide from slips and falls. Since 1984, the company has been designing and manufacturing shoes worn by the staff at fine restaurants, fast-food kitchens, medical facilities and industrial operations.
Approximately 20% of shoe orders come in via in-bound calls to SFC’s internal Customer Service Center located in Florida – over 45,000 per month. With varying call volumes due to seasonal peaks, brand promotions and marketing campaigns, the company had contracted with an outsourced call center to handle overflow call volume during peak call times.
However, SFC was struggling with the overflow provider’s service delivery quality, experiencing long wait times, high call abandonment rates (up to 50%), and longer than normal call handling times. The company prides itself on its knowledgeable and experienced customer service agents, but the lack of dedicated agents from the overflow provider resulted in many customer satisfaction issues — with customers often required to call back multiple times to place orders and resolve problems.
Internally, the company was experiencing high attrition in its Florida call center, resulting in inconsistent performance and service quality– especially challenging when dealing with the call volume spikes from promotional activities. In addition, SFC’s call center is located in a hurricane zone, so there were significant business continuity concerns that could result in lost revenue and unfulfilled orders from the impact of a natural disaster.
These factors prompted SFC to consider outsourcing part of its internal call center, in order to provide operational redundancy and improved customer service performance. The company issued an RFP to various service providers, seeking a solution that provided:
- Dedicated agents, providing “high touch” customer service experience
- Scheduling flexibility and scalability
- 24x7x365 operations
- Coverage for nights and weekends, as well as overflow during “prime time” (Monday-Friday, 7:00 am – 7:00 pm)
- Multi-language support (e.g., English, Spanish, French and Mandarin)
- Ability to handle e-commerce work, such as fax and email orders, online chat, etc.
- Variable pricing and lower operating cost
- Formal service level commitments
Solution & Approach
With a projected staffing level of 50 customer service agents, SFC found that the larger call center vendors were unable to provide a cost effective solution to address this range of requirements.
Auxis, proposed a multi-phased solution out of its nearshore service center, located in Costa Rica, with the entire transition expected to occur over six months.
Using our well established, rapid deployment methodology, the Auxis team documented processes and procedures for all in-bound customer order processing, returns and warranty exchanges, as well as the e-commerce activities.
The first stage of the project called for having an initial Auxis group of five agents ready to take ownership of the call overflow within a month. The success of this initial stage – along with the exceptional customer service provided – caught the attention of SFC executives and they elected to accelerate the transition process incorporating some “prime time” coverage” into Auxis’ scope of services.
Ultimately, SFC decided to split the call center between its Florida internal operation and Auxis’ nearshore center. SFC was able to identify and retain its highest performing customer service agents, and offer them first choice on schedules during prime time hours while Auxis assumed full responsibility for nights and weekends and provided coverage for some of the prime time shifts.