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Cross Country Home Services - Customer Service Team of the Year

Gold Stevie Award Winner 2018, Click to Enter The 2019 Stevie Awards for Sales and Customer Service

Company: Cross Country Home Services, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Entry Submitted By: rbb Communications
Company Description: Cross Country Home Services (CCHS) has provided a variety of home warranty, repair and maintenance services for more than 35 years. CCHS is proud of its expertise in customer service, delivered from its headquarters in Fort Lauderdale, FL and service centers located in Florida and South Carolina. CCHS is committed to providing excellent service experiences to all its homeowner customers.
Nomination Category: Customer Service & Call Center Awards Team Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Customer Service Team of the Year - Recovery Situation - All Other Industries

Nomination Title: Cross Country Home Services Beats the Summer Heat & Delivers Customer Service Excellence in 2017

Tell the story about what this nominated team achieved since the beginning of July 2016 (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: TEXT REDACTED BY PUBLICATION

Cross Country Home Services (CCHS) has been providing home warranty, repair and maintenance services for 35+ years. With 24/7/365 customer support to homeowners nationwide, an efficient, streamlined customer service strategy is imperative.

Where CCHS Started – The Challenges

CCHS experienced substantial revenue growth annually since 2014. This, coupled with record-high temperatures spiking home warranty claims, put significant pressure on the Operations organization. As a result, CCHS had challenges delivering strong service levels during 2016’s peak business season – summer.

Creating a Customer-Focused Vision

To create a more customer-centric company culture, CCHS embarked on a company-wide digital, cultural and organizational transformation, setting the tone from the top-down. In 2016, newly appointed CEO, Steve Upshaw, introduced a vision to focus the organization on the priorities that would translate to improved customer experience. Upshaw enlisted new Chief Operating Officer, Chris Askew1, to help support and deliver his vision. Together they recognized the organization’s need to elevate Operations talent and hired a Vice President of Contact Center Operations, Vice President of Service Network & Claims2 and Vice President of IT Infrastructure & Operations.3

Playbook for Improved Customer Service

Understanding the issues of the past, the new leadership team set out to deliver significantly improved service levels for its peak period - Summer 2017 - a full six months before the season. As a result, a cross-functional team was created to translate past lessons into actions to deliver a better experience for CCHS customers.

This team created a “Playbook for Improved Customer Service” that articulated what success would look like in 2017 and outlined key process/organizational changes:

Forecasting - Restructured forecasting models to account for and address the summer rush earlier in the year.
-Completely re-architected WorkForce Management (WFM) models to ensure they accurately reflected business dynamics and allowed adequate time to source, secure, train and deploy incremental human capital in advance of peak period.
-Had new WFM models reviewed and validated by an independent company for efficacy and accuracy. Results confirmed accuracy to a de minimis level of variance.

Human Capital Investments and Staffing Processes - Hired frontline associates; implemented extensive customer service training programs.
-Associates undertook more than 60,000 training hours preparing for summer.

IT & Technology Enhancement - Invested millions of dollars in customer service infrastructure.
-Increased internet bandwidth by 10x to ensure capacity and reduce latency risk
-Overhauled interactive voice response(IVR) system, resulting in more than 300,000 customers choosing to self-serve

Process Improvements - Updated internal processes to reduce claims processing handoffs/bottlenecks and allow more efficient escalation.
-Revamped “Medical Emergency Procedures” with clearer instructions for escalations, significantly compressing cycle times
-Created internal customer service help desk for extra associate support
-Created agent empowerment guidelines for agents assisting customers
-Set new escalation parameters to help automated systems flag escalations more efficiently

A Culture of Celebration
Celebrated the organization’s customer-obsessed culture to turn the typically stressful summer months into an anticipated challenge.
-Regularly communicated organizational updates and communications framing summer as the organization’s “Super Bowl.”
-Reduced the requirement for mandatory overtime to a minimum
-Held Summer Kickoff event with DJ, games, raffles, etc.

*Footnotes correspond with uploaded supporting documents