Active Digital - Front-Line Customer Service Team of the Year

Gold Stevie Award Winner 2017, Click to Enter The 2018 Stevie Awards for Sales and Customer Service

Company: Active Digital
Company Description: Active Digital is an innovative & award winning business mobile communications company. A brother & sister company established in 1996, clients include Olympic teams & rugby clubs. Our team of 25 manages our core business providing mobiles, tablets, fixed line and apps to UK organizations of all sizes. Active Digital was a gold Stevie's winner for Sales & Customer Service in 2015.
Nomination Category: Customer Service & Call Center Awards Team Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Front-Line Customer Service Team of the Year - Technology Industries

Nomination Title: Active Digital’s Active Gurus – The Ultimate Front-line Team

Tell the story about what this nominated team achieved since the beginning of July 2015 (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:

The Need for Change

Back in November 2015 we (B2B mobile communications company Active Digital, Appendix-1) were struggling to deliver on our USP of great customer service, achieving average CSAT ratings of 7/10 (10=excellent); a problem for any customer-focused business, but an acute one for a reseller in a competitive marketplace, with limited scope for product and price differentiation.

Determined to turn customer satisfaction around, we set objectives to:

• Increase first-call resolution (FCR) by 20% (up from 45%).
• Reduce requests escalated to Vantage Executives (i.e. Account managers) by 40%.
• Increase our Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) score up from 78%*
• Achieve our overriding objective to drive CSAT up from 7/10.

*We obtain this score through our partner O2, who independently complete quarterly CSAT surveys on our behalf by calling customers at random.

The Root Cause

Forming c.50% of our workforce and undertaking c.75% of all customer interactions, our customer service workers (named Active Gurus, Appendix-2) are VITAL to business success. Yet in late 2015 they were a classic example of disempowered frontline agents.

Despite being the first point of contact for our 700+ clients, the team was often unable to resolve even simple requests directly, as they lacked either the authority or account knowledge to do so.

Subsequently the Gurus felt frustrated and our Vantage Executives (to whom calls were escalated) were bogged down in day-to-day admin.

New Responsibilities

To turn things around, senior management took the bold decision of empowering the team. This involved asking Gurus to shoulder more frontline responsibility, including:

• Managing specific accounts. Each Guru now manages 80-90 accounts, working hand-in-hand with Executives on larger accounts.
• Being the sole point of contact for accounts with under 25 mobile devices, including VIP accounts. E.g. English rugby player Owen Farrell’s account is managed exclusively by an Gurus.
• Being actively involved in face-to-face client meetings, which previously only Executives would attend.
• Being empowered to make more account-related decisions, e.g. setting new clients up with devices.
• Increasing their account knowledge by working more closely with Vantage Executives (Appendix-3).

Embracing the Challenge

Our Gurus didn’t just accept the challenge that came with their new responsibilities; they actively embraced it, seeing it as a genuine opportunity for empowerment.

For example, when client, the British Cycling Federation experienced problems with its mobile devices in Spain, Tom, the Active Guru responsible for the account, jumped straight in to help, playing a key role in successfully resolving the problem (Appendix-4).


What our Customers Say

Thanks to the team embracing its new responsibilities we’ve achieved customer delight, with many clients singling the Angels out. For example Richard Lewis, Senior Partner at Fox Print Services praised his assigned Angel, Scott Harrop, saying:

“So, why do I love partnering with Active? Now let me see….Could it be their cutting edge knowledge of technology? Or their…carries on to list several other potential reasons…actually wait a minute there can be only one reason –SCOTT HARROP, a giant amongst men…Thanks Scott (and Active) for being there.”

See Appendix-5 for full quote.

Achieving Objectives

As a result we’ve smashed ALL key objectives:

• The volume of call escalations to Vantage Executives has reduced by 70%.
• FCR has increased to 90% (45% previously).
• We’ve achieved our highest average CSI score (as assessed by partner O2) of 91% (78% previously).
• CSAT leapt 1.5points to 8.5/10 (10=excellent).

Additional Benefits

Thanks to our changes:

• Team morale is sky high (Appendix-6.)
• The Gurus have the tools necessary (e.g. increased account management experience) to make a smooth transition to Vantage Executive (30% promoted in 2016), thereby ensuring a consistently excellent customer experience (Appendix-7).
• Executives now have more time to pursue sales leads – increasing proposal volumes by 10% and contributing to 65 new client wins in 2016.

The ultimate litmus test: Commercial Success

2016 has been a record year for turnover and profit growth, something which company Director Jo Wimble-Groves attributes to the Gurus (Appendix-8).

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