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Office Depot, Inc.

How to EnterCompany: Office Depot, Inc., Boca Raton, FL
Company Description: Office Depot, Inc. is a supplier of office products and services. In ‘09, we sold $12.1 billion of products and services to consumers and businesses of all sizes. Our business segments are: NA Retail Division, NA Business Solutions Division and International Division. Office Depot sells to customers in 53 countries.
Nomination Category: Customer Service & Call Center Awards Team Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Customer Service Complaints Team of the Year

Nomination Title: Office Depot’s Customer Relation Team skillfully handles the company’s most difficult service challenges

Tell the story about what this nominated team achieved since the beginning of July 2010 (up to 500 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:

Office Depot defines its value of Customer Focus as fueling its customer’s
dreams by anticipating and listening to their needs while passionately
delivering on promises. Failure is not an option as we promise to “wow” on
recovery and Office Depot’s Customer Relations Team serves as the embodiment of
this value.

The team of 16 customer advocates serves as the very tip of the customer
service funnel handling the company’s most complicated and highest profile
service challenges in North America. Issues arrive through multiple entry
points which include executive and internal transfers, consumer protection
agencies and traditional media along with calls, emails and letters. Designated
response times vary from as little as two hours for urgent issues to five days
for traditional “snail mail” correspondence.

• During the 2011 fiscal year the team handled over 20,000 issues while
responding within their SLA 98% of the time.
• During this time the team also kept 94% of previously upset customers
shopping at Office Depot as measured by the post recovery voice of customer

The team’s primary focus is to resolve issues, provide a “wow” on recovery and
keep customers shopping. In addition to responding to complaints, the team
also found new ways to proactively seek and address customer issues.

In July of 2010 they developed a process to proactively respond to customers
who provided a “no recommend” response on the company’s call center voice of
customer study. This process allowed the team to resolve issues and provide
management with more detailed feedback about the causes of customer

In April of 2011 they implemented a similar process to address negative
comments made via the company’s online customer satisfaction survey.

In the 4th quarter of 2010 Office Depot recognized a growing number of
customers using social media to report service issues. The team worked with the
Social Media team to create a process of monitoring and responding to comments
on Facebook, Twitter, and blog sites. Comments are acknowledged immediately and
the poster is asked to email the Customer Relations Team directly. Within 2
hours a Customer Advocate contacts the customer to provide personal assistance.

Consistent post-recovery compliments from previously upset customers and the
team’s own internal “closed loop” measurements indicated that the recovery
process was working extremely well but there was a strong desire to be able to
measure success from the customer’s viewpoint.

In February of 2011, the team introduced a voice of customer survey which
measured their success in keeping customers shopping and this survey now serves
as the team’s most important performance measurement. Survey calls are made
approximately 10 days after a case is “closed and the results are statistically
valid at a quarterly level. The feedback helps the team identify the root
cause of unresolved issues and allows for continuous improvement. Positive
comments provide additional opportunities to recognize employees who make a
positive impact on customers.

List hyperlinks to any online news stories, press releases, or other documents that support the claims made in the section above. IMPORTANT: Begin each link with http://, and enclose each link in square brackets; for example, []: this is a link to an on-line
advocacy article regarding a incident the nominated team helped rectify

Provide a brief (up to 100 words) biography about the leader(s) of the nominated team:

Casey Ahlbum is Manager of Executive Customer Relations for Office Depot. In
his role he serves as the company’s “Chief Customer Advocate”, leading the team
that responds to all complex and high profile consumer relations matters for
the company. He also leads the company’s internal sales support team which
provides customer service support to the company’s business to business sales
force and the Billing Support Team which provides billing and accounting
customer service to business customers. Casey joined Office Depot in 1999 and
has progressed through a variety of leadership roles within the Customer
Relations organization.