Kohl's Credit and Customer Service - Customer Service Department of the Year

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Company: Kohl's Credit and Customer Service
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 experience enjoyable.
Nomination Category: Customer Service Department Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Customer Service Department of the Year - Retail

Nomination Title: Kohl's Department Stores

Tell the story about what this nominated department 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:

Kohl’s Charge Contact Center, a 900+ seat environment with three domestic locations, provides Retail Customer Services to 35+ million Kohl’s Charge Card customers. The inbound Store Care Department handles calls from Retail Associates who provide direct support for Kohl’s Charge customers completing purchase related transactions at 1,163 Kohl’s store locations nationwide. Calls ranging from account “look-ups,” to review of pended Kohl’s Charge applications and charge authorizations are handled during all store hours. Store Care Associate performance is held to an industry leading experience for Store Associates and those Kohl’s customers they serve. All performance and service level standards are built on the concept that, “we do not take calls, we take care of people.” We do not just handle 2,500,000 calls annually, we take one call, 2.5 million times!

Three balanced elements define the Kohl’s unique Contact Center Strategy … Previous 12 month outcomes for the C/3 Brand experience, which define the behaviors for “taking care of people,” are:

Convenient (Efficient) access …
96.76% of all calls answered under 20 seconds. The Retail Call Center does not utilize an IVR, but answers calls directly. (92%+ S/L for past 72 months).

Courteous (Consistent) service …
Post call survey (Voice of Customer) response - Associate Courtesy … 95.92%

Correct (Accurate) answers/solutions …
Post call survey (Voice of Customer) response - First Call Resolution … 94.05%
Note: Results have improved for the sixth straight year ... highest performance levels in Kohl’s history!

Strawman / Scarecrow Production Modeling … Daily templates (i.e. Strawman) establish production, coaching, meeting, etc. times for Managers and their Associates (i.e. “the gift of time”). Scarecrow reporting then measures the outcome of these activities. As a result, productive time on the phones has increased over 400 basis points, and schedule adherence improved to 94%+. This year, we increased an additional 87 basis points in Productive time. Our adherence continues to be above 94%.

C/3 Performance “Scorecarding” … Available daily, scorecards measure Associate C/3 performance (including Voice of Customer survey results) rolling into Supervisor, Management and site level outcomes.

Unique Pay-for Performance programs … The C/3 Brand model and performance Scorecarding have been designed to identify and reward Associates on three performance tiers. Since this innovative program was implemented, Associate performance improved 13%+, and a 4% production increase has more than offset the program’s cost.

Margin 300 is an innovative and standardized process that measures results for sites, teams, customer feedback, etc. in terms of the variance from high to low performance. Managing outcomes within a variance of less than 300 basis points creates a “critical mass” of performance resulting in a consistent caller experience regardless of whom or where the call is handled.

2015/16 Voice of Associate survey results, completed by Kenexa, show continued growth.

Kohl’s vs Industry Norm
Engagement … 86% favorable vs 70%
Performance Excellence … 85% favorable

Customer Satisfaction Indexing … Benchmarking … The Kohl’s Contact Center evaluates ongoing improvement in three primary ways.

1, Internal Measurement … of standard results, emphasizing year-over-year improvements; Examples for 2015/16 are as follows:

Improving Service Levels to 96.76% of calls answered under 20 seconds; While maintaining Average Seconds to Answer of four seconds and ABN rate of 0.54%.

Monthly VOC results (post call customer surveys) reflecting a 95.69% rating for the “Overall Service Experience.”

“Margin 300” ... VOC, Service level and Internal Quality scores between sites varied less than 200 basis points for the year, resulting in consistent inbound experiences.

2, Industry Metrics … McKinsey & Company analyses of Kohl’s Call Center, when compared with their CCE Database showed, “the call center’s overall position exceeds best practice,” with “extremely high cost-performance,“ and a "customer satisfaction that outperforms best in practice.”

3, Involvement with state and national quality programs provides insight into industry trends and benchmarks, (i.e. - Wisconsin Forward; "Baldrige" Mastery Level, American Business Awards, and SQM - “World Class" rating in Customer Service. Feedback continues to improve our performance.