Kohl's Department Stores

Gold Stevie Award Winner 2012, Click to Enter The 2014 American Business Awards

Company: Kohl's Department Stores - Credit Division, Menomonee Falls, WI
Company Description: If you've ever shopped one of our clean, bright department stores, you've already experienced our commitment to family, value and national brands. Our stores are stocked with everything you need for women, children and men, plus home products like small electrics, bedding, luggage and more. We offer the best merchandise, the best prices, and we're always working to make your shopping enjoyable.
Nomination Category: Customer Service & Call Center Awards Team Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Back-Office Customer Service Team of the Year - All Other Industries

Nomination Title: Kohl's Credit Division - RPS Operations Team

Tell the story about what this nominated team achieved since the beginning of July 2013 (up to 650 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms. Be sure to mention obstacles overcome, innovations or discoveries made, and outcomes:

In 2011, “Project Columbus” was launched (think “New World”) to further expand the existing Operational area throughout the Kohl’s Card Service pyramid. Aligning with the implementation of a new software system for the Kohl’s Charge Card, the Operations Group set out on a “new voyage” to redefine procedures, establish protocol for accurate performance & measurement as well as continue the development of staff expertise & efficiency. Since then, the Operations Group has not just assimilated a increasing number of functions from various lines-of-business within the Kohl’s Credit Division, it has improved production, exceeded both internal service levels and compliance requirements, and built an “Ops” staff characterized by industry leading outcomes and top flight Associate “Engagement” scores.

This has never been more apparent than over the past 18 months. What follows are the unique characteristics and performance outcomes by critical Operational Areas:

POD Concept: The first initiative in establishing the Operational design was to organize functions by similar work-flows and service levels. These “bundles” were then “owned” by right-sized groups of Associates that were cross-trained on each function to develop expertise and maintain consistent production. The three primary POD groups and their 2014 performance are as follows:


Email: The largest POD in Operations, consisting of 12 Associates read and responded to 475,000+ emails this past year. Ranging in questions about the Kohl’s Charge web site, to line of credit increases, payments, etc. customer emails are resolved under 48 hours from their receipt with the average turn-around time of an email is one day or less and a first contact resolution rate consistently at 90%

“Back Office” – Account Maintenance: Comprised of 7 unique PODS, the largest grouping of such in Operations, this area processes customer requests for 57 different account level maintenance items, each of which has unique service levels targets, compliance requirements and turnaround timing. In 2014, 2,000,000+ of these (work items) were process, all within service level and at an accuracy level of 97%+.

Pended Applications (Underwriting): The most specialized POD within Operations, this group of 7 Associates review and “clear” pended Kohl’s Charge Card applications. This past year, these individuals reviewed and processed 1,150,000+ pended applications, within an average of 1.5 days from their origination.

Card Production: Composed of two primary functions, Kohl’s Charge Card “production” demands the following unique skill sets to “set up” and process 15,500,000+ cards annually:

Art Work and “Card Printing:” As Kohl’s Charge Card designs change, unique art work is required to be formatted and confirmed for production. That is, inks formulated & produced by a commercial printer, proofs approved by Kohl’s, production schedules for “press time” and delivery standards for the “blank” cards that must be established and managed ongoing.

Embossing, Insetring and Mailing: The heart of the Card Production process is the actual embossing of all new, reissue, lost/stolen and specialized (i.e. Gift) cards. Five Datacard embossing machines and three “inserters” are active daily to “print” cards on a 3-5 day turn-around. Regardless of peak level volumes, this group of 9 Associates and their Manager can expand hours by 50% to maintain the consistent delivery service level.


Assessments: One of the most sophistucated new areas within the Operations group in the Assessment team. Comprised of 9 Associates, this group is fundamental in work flow design and performs 80 monthly assessments throughout the division providing both procedural and compliance feedback (real time) to various groups. As a result, error rates have reduced 25%-50% during the past year.


Voice of Associate Survey … 2014 Associate survey results, completed by Kenexa, show continued growth.

Kohl’s VS Industry Norm

Engagement … 82% favorable VS 70% (Industry 90th Percentile ... 81%)
Performance Excellence … 84% favorable VS 73%


2014 has been a banner year for the Kohl’s Card Service Operations Team. The impact of "Project Columbus" has been far reaching throughout the division, and continues to build momentum as the balast for critical success within the Card Service organization.

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