Video: Turning Your Contact Center Into A Profit Center

We were honored to be a part of this Mitel-sponsored event with our valued client, Heidi Rote, Director of North American Sales Center for Jenny Craig.

The full transcript is below, as well as the archived recording. Take a listen! We welcome your feedback. 

Nicholas Rodriguez: Thanks for joining us for our first section of our Moving to the Cloud webinar series presented by Customer Experience Update and Customer Contact Central, sponsored by Mitel. I am Nicholas Rodriguez, the editor for Customer Experience Update and Customer Contact Central and we are excited to bring you 6 fresh episodes in the Contact Central space from experts who are going to share their hard-earned insights about how to deliver the best experiences for your customers.

I am really looking forward to talking with each speaker and interviewing them in what would prove to be insightful and very amazing conversations. So, this webinar series would be recorded, so any webinar attendees that miss this will get the opportunity to watch this as soon as their convenience.

I do want to thank Mitel for sponsoring the webinar series and helping us to make this happen. Mitel is the global market leader in business communications and with our cloud, enterprise and next-gen collaboration applications.

Mitel is the only company that wakes up every day to exclusively focus on helping customers take their communication from where they are today to where they expect them to be, thanks a lot Mitel.

I would like to introduce our speakers for today Tony Medrano and Heidi Rote. Tony is currently the CEO of RapportBoost AI and RapportBoost.AI is the leading conversational sales analysis platform for brands that use chat, SMS and messenger tools to engage customers. Tony has dedicated his career in technology to leading sales teams and understands the need for automation tools that help sales reps increase efficiency and close more business and increase their margins.

Introducing our second co-presenter, Heidi Rote is the director of North America Sales Center for Jenny Craig, Heidi has been with Jenny Craig for 10 years and is a leader in her field, having extensive call center experience in sales, training, process, marketing and technology solutions including Artificial Intelligence while managing a staff of 50 agents.

So, with this moment, I would like to pass things off to Tony and Heidi, so please guys, please take it away…

Tony Medrano:

First, we are going to talk about change, transformation, changing a contact center into a profit center, and we are going to dive into conversations and how conversations are what drives that profitability and increases that engagement between your customers and your brand. We are going to talk about training, how to train your chat agents to drive profitability, and how to implement change the contact center. Of course, we are going to mention technology and how you can use technology to help increase that leverage. We are going to analyze some specific results, not only of Jenny Craig, but of industry-wide contact center transformation and chat results. Throughout, we are going to sprinkle in some tips.

I am here today because I have helped a lot of Contact Centers transition to profit centers with chat. I am super excited to be here with Heidi, who is one of the best leaders I have seen in driving that kind of transformation.

Heidi Rote: Thanks Tony.

Tony: What if you could supercharge your live chat agents? At RapportBoost, we changed the outcomes of chat conversations for brands, like Jenny Craig, we supercharge agents with technology and we are not a bot or a chat platform, we are a chat analytics company, we found that that most important metrics for contact centers are those that measure the quality of the conversation and are specific to chat. Number one, which would be, don’t mix email or phone metrics with chat metrix, because they are totally different, and we will get to why later.

Heidi: I am so excited to share these things with you, because I feel like I have been through the fire and I have a lot to share and you can learn from some of my mistakes. So, like I was introduced, I am with Jenny Craig, and what is important to us is, we change lives and if you or anyone you have ever known has tried to lose weight, it is a very sensitive thing to discuss, and whether someone chooses to reach out to us via a call, email or a chat or they walk into a Jenny Craig center, it has to be handled with respect and attentiveness and that is when we decided to go the route of chat, because you know chat can sometimes come off kind of flat. So we had to make sure that what we were doing, the voice of how we do business face-to-face, and over the phone, so that was important to us.

Jenny Craig is a well-known brand, we have been around for 35 years, and we help people lose weight in which they chat with one-on-one dedicated support, as well as a healthy meal replacement system, and they can go into one of our 500 centers and have their food delivered to them with Jenny Craig anywhere. When it comes to our culture, it is important that we are all aligned with what the company goal is and then in my contact center, we are the lifeblood of the company, we are front in sales, we are front in contacts, we are the first interaction they are going to have with our brand. So, I decided to share with you how we can help your company, and like I said, some tips and strategies on how to have that first touch with the consumer be the best, even if it be a chat.

Tony: Great, my guess is that most of you are here today because of the word ‘Profit’, we are going to find out some tips about how to change your contact center into more of a profit center, that is a trend in the industry, we are seeing executive teams look for that kind of transformation or leadership from its contact center leaders and I wanted to start off with some rhetorical questions, but there are really simple ways to make the contact center profitable, it is really either increased sales or reduced costs, which is more fun?

Heidi: It is always sales…

Tony: Yeah, and sales make not only your team, but your CEO and your executive team happier.

So, to generate increased sales, it is all about the people, helping people with technology, so this is a story of automated intelligence, helping Jenny Craig’s contact center train and analyze, monitor, onboard agents and help them perform better, and making them happier with automated intelligence, not replacing them with technology.

Heidi: People are important to the sales process, right? So, managers, we get to get bug down with other items, with data entry and what not. So, what we have done here is, we realize that the people we hire are the most important and of course some of you may be thinking, of course, but you have to look at their energy, and if they have got great energies and you are hiring managers with the belief of attracting yourself to that, so even if they are chatting, they are conveying that energy.

So, it is not just my agents, it is all of the leaders too. So, we look for genuinely happy people. I know one of the first things I did to try and create this culture of happy people is, I got rid of all the offices, and we work in one giant open room, including myself and my managers, and all the agents, we were in one giant room together. Then we started looking at how we could align their weekly goal with my goals, that are aligned with my CEO, my company and the investors and everybody with our company. So, we are going to share some of that with you today.

Tony: Great. And Heidi you are a large contact center with different functions and different managers. Could you go over the different departments you have in that one big office?

Heidi: Absolutely, I have 50 agents, I have 4 sales leaders, 2 that manage the inbound call team, so anytime someone calls Jenny Craig and they think they may be calling their local center in Texas, they are actually getting one of my agents here in Southern California. So two managers to oversee the 35 or so inbound call agents, then I also have 2 other managers, who manage all communication, so that is chat, text, Facebook, email, they manage them overflow calls too, everything that has to do with any ways we can digitally touch our consumers.

And like Tony said earlier, it is so important to look at different ways to manage different metrics, so your calls and the expectations there and all of your e-communications and the expectations there. All of that loads up to the sales for Jenny Craig, and making sure that we are meeting our weekly targets with Jenny Craig.

Tony: So, why use live chat to drive profitability? There are 3 general categories that we have outlined, one, customer preference… some customers prefer chat, they will go somewhere else if you don’t offer it. Two, deflection… chat is less expensive and three, perfection, chats can really be managed because they are a digital communication like Heidi mentioned, it can be managed and optimized much easier than voice and personal sales interactions.

Heidi: We have actually hesitated putting chat on our website, because we wanted so much for Jenny Craig to just be this face-to-face brand and you have to hear a voice and you want to hear a smile. So, we hesitated doing chats, thinking it might kind of deny people of coming into our centralized calling, and what we found is the exact opposite, it was fantastic, there was the entire segment of people out there that were calling us, and now we had access to them. So by adding chats, we were able to talk to this entire group of people who only wanted to communicate that way and didn’t…

Tony: While she gets back on. What we found across the board and our customers is that chat really is a new channel, it is a great way to acquire new millennial customers. When chat is offered, sometimes it’s clumsy, it is awkward, it is a new medium for agents and managers to learn, but once they do it right, it opens up a whole new group of customers that can join and often more loyal, they cost less, because then they come back and ask questions via chat. So for any of your brands out there that are considering chat as an alternative, my recommendation would be, start now.

Just start, learn along the way and improve your offering. But until you started, you really can’t get the full benefit, it takes a while to be good at chat, just like when you started selling or answering phone calls.

Heidi: I am back, I am sorry about that, I don’t know what happened…

Tony: Great. So, why are conversations important? So conversations matter between a customer service agent and a recurrent customer? Or between a website visitor and a chat agent that is helping guide them through a transaction? I have been working with multiple brands and different types of contact centers, our data scientist teams discovered that outcomes of a very large percentage of chat conversations can be changed. What do we do at RapportBoost? We change outcomes of the conversations. Specifically, better conversations can drive changes in order size 55% of the time and changes from no sale to sale 64% of the time.

So, huge potential there to help customers buy and help them stay. So, it is critical for brands to understand the difference in chat from email and voice and use channel specific metrics for every part of the conversation, those internal conversations you would then have your leadership, specifically CFO and CMO really help the contact center gain new variety as the profit center within the organization.

Heidi, can you talk a little bit about the internal view of the contact center and how that has gone in terms of the agents?

Heidi: Sure. So what I do is what I love, but chat was totally new and I knew what we were doing, we could be doing it better, so I wanted to bring in chat conversations expert to help us. What we were doing in the contact center, we were trying to use the sales scripts that worked on the phone or even face-to-face, and chat interactions and we just weren’t getting great conversions, we had a lot of disengagements which were really damaging to our brand and running a contact center in Texas, you have to really learn to lean on experts in the field or you are going to fall behind your competition and become completely overwhelmed.

And that was kind of tough to do, because as the sales person, I realized a lot of brands are always trying to sell us. So, I really started trying to do my homework and looked at, who is good out here? who really has a good outcome and is really having a good relationship with other brands, so bringing in technologies to an established brand like Jenny Craig, that can be really difficult and sometimes, you know, the people upstairs, they don’t really get the new stuff, I hear a lot of, what we have always done and what is this new thing?

I remember sitting in a meeting upstairs with a lot of my executives, and they were talking about what we have always done and what we always do and this is how our brand works, and I thought of a funny analogy that seemed to win them over. I said, have any of you ever seen the original Indiana Jones and they said yes, I said, do you remember that scene where the guy got a big sword out and was doing all these fancy sword tricks and then Indian Jones doesn’t have a sword and he pulled out a gun and pops it out in proxy and I said, that’s where we are at, we can continue to go to the sword fighter, or we can take a step up and realize that we can win this if we just up our technology, one step, let’s try this, they laughed, they trusted me and they started to move forward with RapportBoost and with chats, and using it as a different alternative for contacting members.

Tony: So Bots… Often times people hear about Artificial Intelligence (A.I) and they think bots, now RapportBoost, we work with bot companies, we are fans of bot for certain things they are great at.

Bots are great at routing customers to the proper agent of information, providing visual menus of decision trees, so the customer can select exactly the right information and then delivering the proper FAQs to their customer or simple tasks like account resets or account balances, you can use bots for that, I totally recommend it, it helps save the richer conversations for your agents and actually enjoys that more.

However, bots are not great at selling, building of trust, and can you tell us about your analysis of bots and what bots might be good at Jenny Craig and what they might not be?

Heidi: So, connecting with people especially something as delicate as weight loss, that is not so bot, it will only see a live agent on my side, but we would use a bot to ask them basic screening questions upfront, have you ever been a client of Jenny Craig, are you returning to us? What is your ZIP code? That helps us to get some information and get the right systems up, and it will save us some time. We have found for example that our chats last on average for about 10 minutes, but finding out the basics of our necessity to every chats, that could shave off about 2 minutes to every chat, which means we can take more, we can have more efficiency, just by allowing a bot to do that for us.

Tony: Great. So, another critical piece of technology that a lot of contact centers are re-evaluating is their chat platform. What chat platform is best for their needs, and you can talk about platforms, your analysis there and your experience over the years with chat.

Heidi: Sure. We recently changed over in the past year to Bot 360 and I couldn’t be happier, it is a fantastic chat platform. But I did my homework and met with several companies to make sure that we were getting the absolute best service as possible. And some chat platform essentials, I know it sounds basic, but it has to be easy to use, there are a lot of platforms out there that are very click heavy, very over-engineered and too much rapport building and things that I found helpful is asking questions like the feature live, and again, as basic as that sounds, it is so important, it has got to be incredibly user-friendly, it has to have easy access to support, we are on the west coast, Bot 360 is on the east coast, but they are back to it being quick which is fantastic. They have to have reliable features, and I did my homework too in calling and asking other companies how it worked for them, so any challenges that they were having, how does routing work? How easy are the supervisor functions to use and access? How does monitoring work? So, we asked a lot of questions on the backend to make sure we were choosing the right program, and that was important to us, they were important to us.

Tony: Heidi, you have been using chat with your team for a couple years before Bot 360, how difficult was it to change chat platforms?

Heidi: It wasn’t… The chat platform that we were using was kind of one of those, I didn’t know what I didn’t know, so it wasn’t very user-friendly, but it was affordable and sales 101, right, you get the most and obtain the least. So, I thought it was okay. I was a little nervous in changing over, but really when we found the right platform, it really was as easy… we had several meetings to make sure it would look like what we wanted it to look like, and Go Live came around, and it was as easy as… on the day of Go Live, it worked, we had very few technical difficulties, we had very few hiccups, it seemed to work very easy.

Tony: And any issues integrating RapportBoost conversation analysis with either of your chat platforms?

Heidi: Not at all. I think it was the easiest part, I didn’t even know it was there, to the extent of my text knowledge, we put a hook in the background and it just integrated easily, and the data that they were collecting from our previous chat platform, just the day we went live with Bot 360, it switched over and they were able to analyze all of our data from day 1, from minute 1 as well.

Tony: Great. So, often times, contact centers managers are waiting for the next bit of technology before they make decisions. I will overall encourage people to analyze multiple types of technologies at a time and look at which ones can be incorporated as early as possible, so you get the most out of the buck from the transformation, because these transformation…

Heidi: Tony, as you were saying that made me think… We integrated RapportBoost about a year ago now, and we hadn’t switched over to Bot 360 yet, so even though we were dealing with another system that didn’t have all the developed muscle, RapportBoost was in and we were able to start analyzing the data, and then when we switched over, it was seamless, so we had good history, and it gave me a platform to stand on to say, here is what we can be doing if we had a better platform, so it was actually being able to move forward to Bot 360, because we had such rich data from RapportBoost.

Tony: Cool. And I can attest to the fact that agents really are happier…

Heidi: Yeah, they are. that was on the day we launched our Bot 360 and it was seamless, it was happy, we didn’t have any problems, it was great.

Tony: Great. Now I want to step back from technology a little bit, and dive into your challenges as a contact center and sales leader Heidi. What were some of the biggest challenges to transformation that you faced?

Heidi: The challenges I had are no different from anyone else. So, you need to make more money, but you can’t spend more money, right? So, I had to improve the services, and that was difficult, so one of the things that I did that was convince my executives that chat conversation is different, but I didn’t add money, I just re-allocated how they earned it. And what I ended up finding out is, it made them happier because they had put things in place, chat was pretty new, growing and I have no hire for that, so I convinced all of my executive management to use this chat platform, do I hire sales people? do I hire people who can just type, what was I looking for? That was an incredible challenge.

But I also maintained that brand voice, making sure that consumer could choose to chat with a human and not feel like they are chatting with someone overseas, because it is important to them, they feel local, or that they weren’t chatting with a bot, I had to make sure the voice we choose to use on chat was synonymous with what we would say on a call. And then having to change how we trained everyone too. In order to meet my revenue growth targets, and in order to reduce my cost, I had to add on this amazing new platform, this new chat, and I had to shrink down training, because I had to get them on the floor faster.

So, those are my challenges, and it wasn’t just chat or sales, it was trying to make the agents feel happy and not rushed and making sure they understood our brand and they were feeling like they were connecting with these people whether it was on chat or on the phone.

Tony: Cool. And I remember, after a few months working with RapportBoost, your contact center, the conversions went up, conversations changed, there is more rapport building between your agents and visitors and the metrics were noticeable in CFO and CMO. What changed that you can talk about, as far as maybe marketing goes and forwarding more leads to the contact center?

Heidi: So, the time we integrated with RapportBoost, it was kind of like a perfect storm for Jenny Craig, we were just getting ready, our newest program called ‘Rapid Results’ helping marketing. So, we knew we would have a lot of questions, a lot of new people coming to chat. 30 or 60 days after we put RapportBoost into place, we saw a 30% conversion rate lift  in the amount of people we were able to get from chat to speak to a live agent or from chat to go into a center.

We started to really figure out what they needed to hear on chat that was different from a phone call, and they were some tiny nuances that I never, in all of my experiences, that I never would have guessed that these tiny nuances were things that made people feel understood and validated on a chat.

So, it was such a thrill to me to be able to present to my executive team, by making these tiny changes, we now have a 30% list and a lead source, at a time marketing was doing really well for us, so we were able to capture and act on 30% per lead, it was just unbelievable in that tiny, short period of time and that time has gone on and we have been with RapportBoost for a year now, that number continues to grow because we continue to refine what people want to hear on chat.

The way we answer chats and the way we communicate with our customers on chat feels like one of my biggest wins, we have unlocked a lead source and a revenue source that we didn’t know was there and I know that sure makes my boss happy, it makes me happy.

Tony: Excellent. And we have found similar results across companies, as soon as they start converting web traffic more, their lead conversion rate goes up, their chats are better, their contact centers are becoming more profitable. Now what the CMOs do is increase spends to get leads to the contact center and that just creates a virtual cycle of profitability, one of the most powerful things leaders can do.

Heidi: I know I can say we are up 67% year-over-year in sales and if you check your sales metrics, you know that’s an incredible leap and it has so much to do with unlocking potentials that we had in chats.

Tony: Awesome, that’s great to hear. So, talk about how better conversations help engage employees and how you engage employees to help your goals and drive profitability. Do you have any tactic, people expect chat and profit centers to be all about cutting cost, but here you are all about helping agents perform better and driving sales, more about playing game.

Heidi: I am looking at the picture of some of my agents in potato sacks, that is fun. So, it took a while to really re-engage the contact center and just have them change their view of being just an agent who comes in and talks about how to make sales and just goes home. So, I put a lot of work into aligning them with company goals and making them see their value in what they do. When it comes to weight loss, there is this tiny moment where someone decides to want to lose weight. You wake up one morning and say, oh my gosh! I have to do something, and they have the privilege whether it be call or chat or Facebook, whatever it may be, they have this amazing privilege to interact with this human to make this change in their life, they are going to make an emotional paycheck and a monetary paycheck and not a lot of jobs can give them that, we started to align on that and then I started to help them see, instead of the sales goal of 20 per week, you need to have 20 people per week, who have started achieving their weight loss goal. So, we started working together and some of the pictures that you are looking at, we celebrate everything here, so if you get to sale and someone else gets to sale, you get to race in a particular sack and the person who wins at the end of the day gets some sort of a little prize whether it be a bonus or they get a free Jenny Craig’s meal, they are all about engaging and sales people are all about competing too, which is a lot of fun.

We do a lot of contests, a lot of rewards, because we are all out in the open, we celebrate success big, we make sure someone has a win, the whole floor knows they had a win, they can see the picture on the website, we will bring them up to the sales desk, we will point out their success, we will make it big, make it known, the whole floor stops and cheers for them. So, we are all in on each other’s goals too, so it is not just mine, it is not just me checking the widgets to see how well we are doing, it is everybody caring about every goal. My whole floor knows the weekly target for appointments, for chat conversions, for sales conversions, for number of sales, for acquisition, for everything, and they are all in on it. That took a lot of time to work towards, but if we have low turnover and we have high happiness, and they are completely engaged with company goals.

Tony: Cool. You mentioned incentives, gamification and increasing the competition amongst the agents in a friendly way. Can you tell us more about how the team performance has helped support that?

Heidi: So, the screen you are looking at, this is part of RapportCoach, and this is then a game changer for us. Sales people by nature are competitive, so what you are looking at here is, how well they did in each category. So for us, we have 8 different boosts that are important to converting sales and I will give you one of them. one of them for example is, they do not like contractions, so they don’t like to see the word ‘don’t’, in a chat, we will convert higher if our agents use bigger words and do not use contractions.

So, one of those for example, on the top, the yellow one, it can be, hey Mary, you were using too many contractions last week, and as a result, it didn’t get many chats over the live sales agent or book as many appointments, they do not liken to see the yellows and reds, they want to be in green, so they will do everything they can to change this metrics, we will send them out to the floor, we will screenshot it and send it out to the floor and show them where they are at, and they work like crazy to get that changed, because they want it to be an all-green, they want to be the board leader, the people who have the most greens across the boards are the ones who are booking the most appointments, who are getting the most chats transferred over to live sales agents. And the best part is they can’t argue with science, you can’t argue with data.

So, we may say, another one for us is emotions, our consumers don’t like to see emoticons and smiley faces in chats. So, if we say to them, you are using a lot of emoticons, pre-RapportBoost, they will tell us how many people like it, me, I like it, it feels very good when someone sends me a smile, it shows that they are listening.

Now, we can say we know our consumers don’t like it, and by you using too many of these, you are losing people, you are losing that amazing opportunity to help someone change their life, and start losing weight and achieving some of their dreams and goals, just because of a simple smile face, because it doesn’t connect them with our brand, and we have seen people have drastic improvements because again, they don’t want to be left out, it is no longer a feeling, it is a fact, which is fantastic.

Tony: Great. If I can remember like your agents, your goal was about 40% conversion and since implementation, they have really helped drive themselves and train themselves with these conversational insights, to a much higher conversion rate and as a team.

Heidi: Yeah, we have some agents that are doing over 70% conversions now, for top agents, they are over 70%, and it has everything to do with trusting and knowing that this group is the science of what works, it is not changing, it is not a bot, it is not changing our words, it is enhancing them, it is our benefits.

Tony: What we do at RapportBoost is analyze the conversational insights that matter most for a brand and you will see the big blank white space underneath the team’s performance, that’s because we widen out these conversation insights, they are pulled from a thousand different variables, like reassurance of formality, encouragement, really deep conversational insights that are relevant to each brand, there are not just specific rules.

What we found is that different brands have vastly different styles and conversations that work, in the fashion industry [inaudible 37:51] avenue, is very different type of conversation than [inaudible 37:55] does, for a certain year. So it is important to really understand the brand and this does that, it helps drive the agents to know what their brand is all about and then management to help train them on those conversational insights.

Okay, how do you train and onboard agents?

Heidi: Once we have figured out the right type of people to hire. For us, we found that the agent that does the best in sales is someone who is interested in sales and eager to getting sales and also a little bit afraid of sales. So my major who I hired for phone calls here, they are big and they talk to anybody, and these are the type of people who are interested and are curious about commission, but not ready to commit to the big job just yet. So, once we meet up, we know what a training looks like. We bring our agents in, and of course the most important thing in the first couple days is we will use their brand and then connect with our brand.

We take chat platforms and then when we start teaching them the canned messages, we start teaching them why the messages look that way and we walk them through the data that we learned with RapportBoost. Our training is only 5 days, because it is one of those jobs that is best learned on the job, so after 5 days of being in the classroom, we take them to the floor, and then they work with their supervisor directly for the first week. We put them on a standard 9 to 5 and the supervisor works with them to take one chat at a time, one Facebook message at a time, one text at a time, it is far more conversational training than it is widget formal classroom training.

They also do weekly classroom trainings, and its difficult to get away, we try to do classroom trainings in more detailed subjects, so for example empathy and chats, we just had a meeting a couple of weeks ago, called the feels, and they talked about what feelings look like on a chat and how to connect with them and make sure you are saying the right thing to show emotion back to them. Texts can be seen as flat and without emotion.

And on top of that, we do weekly one-on-one with our agents and that’s where we will review the dashboards that you were just looking at with RapportBoost, where we looked at and how each of the metrics, how they compare all of the Boost in a different category and what their conversions look like. And then we walkthrough with them on some of what their goals are and in addition to the goals we have for them, and they are really involved, they pick out some fantastic things when it comes to weekly engagement and goals.

Tony: Wonderful. And what are some of the differences that you have seen training calling agents versus chat agents?

Heidi: It’s different that for sure. But the last class that we did, when we hired people, we really took the time to make sure they understood why it was important to use the canned messages, and I don’t feel in our previous classes we talked so much about why just trust, how to freestyle anything, it’s in there, we have done the homework.

In the last class we had two agents, Alex and Brianna and all they have done is just trust the canned messages which are just… they have all of our boosts in them and these 2 agents within their first months were close to the top, which I haven’t seen anybody do, and it has to do with just sticking with the framework that has already been laid, you don’t have to re-invent anything. These 2 agents are highly successful, they have tons of conversion and it actually boosted their confidence because of the science and their interest in sales, but they are not quite as savvy as my phone agents. And in trying to boost that they think, maybe I should be a phone agent which is kind of nice, I like seeing that, I have had two agents successfully transferred over, from being chat agents to phone agents.

Phone training; when we go through that, it is very verbose, we do a lot of skill practicing, role play, and you can’t really do that on a chat training, that’s where the training comes in far more often, so we are on the floor with them, versus hours and hours of skill practicing and role playing with a phone agent.

Tony: Great. You mentioned about the weekly one-on-ones, how have your chat managers been using the agents scorecard that we are all looking at, to help simplify their training with them?

Heidi: That’s the best part of the job. It is just data and science, it is no longer here is how I think you did, you are just trying to do basic Maths, you took 100 chats and 50 got over, it is down to the new ounces that we might not have looked at, so we will pull this up, and walk through, for example the one that you are looking at, I can say, because you had 22% in your upgrade, it looks like it is down from last week, and your sales are a little down, what I see here is an opportunity, you just look right at the yellows and reds.

So, I don’t know if any of you were doing this, or are doing this, but before I had RapportBoost, the best way I could guide my managers to give chat feedbacks was to print out chats and read through them, and highlight where they thought they could find opportunities, and oh here, you could have said this, here you had a typo, oh this you didn’t say, which was hours of tedious work just to sit down and present our agents with how we felt they could change, now we can sit down with them with facts on how they can change and when they do, they see immediate results versus I tried what you felt might work and it didn’t work for me, that’s was creating disconnect between leadership and the chat agents. We don’t have that very much now, because now they trust the system and they trust that if they make these minor tweaks, they are going to see higher conversions, higher job satisfactions, just higher all around everything.

Tony: Great. Then you mentioned job satisfaction, it is always the test of great leadership when employees return…

Heidi: It is…

Tony: I would love to hear the story.

Heidi: So, the agent you are looking at, her name is Kassie, I am sure she would love that I am telling you her story. So, Kassie decided about a month and a half ago to leave Jenny Craig, and she said she loved everything here, she just wanted to go try something else, maybe better hours, she may like a couple of bucks an hour. And about 2 weeks ago, she called us back and she said the grass is not greener, it is incredibly difficult, and the chat platform they are using, it feels like chaos, I can’t maintain control, everybody is just freestyling everything they think that their consumer wants to hear and I am having some humble pie and I would like to come back, because I realize how easy and great it is to have 10 messages, having a bot read what it is saying and how to communicate with those people.

And she came back knowing that the culture we had created was the best she has seen, she is young and has met a lot of experience, but it was fantastic to have someone go out and experience something and come back and say, I didn’t realize how great it was until I went out and came back. So, that was thrilling for me to have her come back, and shared that with some of the other agents who may and may not be feeling like, I wonder what is out there, but having these structures in place, of a good chat platform and using RapportBoost which helps us know exactly what to say, which makes our members and our new clients happy and that it was employee happiness which equals higher conversions, it all just feed each other, she had a nice experience for herself that it wasn’t all she hoped. Her job satisfaction and happiness at work at Jenny Craig were what made her return

I strive very deeply to make the agents feel happy walking in here every day, as they do walk into their home every day, I aim to make that same level of satisfaction. And having somebody come back and say that validated that for me, it was fantastic.

Tony: Great. We found that across the board, in all industries, agents have a lot of conversations every day and if those conversations are happier, the agents are happier, really simple. The hard part is using science to make those conversations happier in a scalable way. So, it is always about a way to make agents happier and Heidi do.

So, let’s go into some results, we have just gone a couple minutes over time, I will say time for Q and A. So, I will say Heidi, what are some quick results of leveraging live chats that you can share?

Heidi: Sales is the most important thing to me, doing everything I can to create profit for my company is the most important thing to me, and I can share this with you. Simply through chats, I have had 3 consecutive years of growth and this past year has been my biggest year, it has so much to do with the changes we made, the chat, and implementing RapportBoost, because they helped us find our voice what consumers want to hear.

We have incredible customer happiness. So, we have a perception of our brand that is important that we maintain, and knowing the voice that we share on chat, on call and working is the same. It has helped us with brand and culture and in creating one voice for our brand.

Lastly, I think the most important thing is agent happiness and our agents feel deeply connected to our brand, to our goals, to our leaders, I see that as one line, that they are mean it as much as I mean it and we all drive towards the same goal, but we have happy employees, they are engaged, we have a lot of fun at work and the fun is constantly is around hidden sales metrics, hidden chat targets, hidden conversions. And when they get those, we get to have fun in return, so it all feeds each other, and it all drives profitability, which is the most important thing.

Tony: Yeah, great transition. Across the board we have seen similar results with companies in different industries, we have been able to understand their conversation scientifically and help them change the outcome of those conversations. Here are some quick metrics and results that we have; 87% Year over Year revenue growth with one client, 31% increase in chat conversations per agent with another, 55% decrease in cost per interaction with the client, 95% increase in conversion for a couple of times I was tracking those. And across the board, happier agents, customers, managers and CFOs.

With that I will turn it over to Q and A…

Nicholas: Excellent. Well, thank you very much for your presentation, Tony and Heidi. And as we wrap up this presentation portion of the webinar episode, we will go ahead and move on to the Q and A session. So, let’s go ahead and cover some of those questions that we have been filled in from the audience.

We have one question from somebody in attendance asking, do you use RapportBoost? I believe this question is directed to Heidi. Do you use RapportBoost with your bot as well?

Heidi: No, we don’t. So, our bot is, right now, it is only asking those two upfront questions, however, we will, it is something Tony and I have talked about, but I am pretty sure, they are pretty basic questions that are asked upfront, thank you for chatting with us, have you been a client with Jenny Craig before, may I have your ZIP code. I would encourage you to use RapportBoost, you want to make sure you are asking the right things when you are about to engage them, and that those questions and those words and the grammar you are using are deeply connected to them right up front.

Nicholas: Excellent, thank you. We’ve got another question from somebody in the audience, asking… I believe this also goes to Heidi. Do you have an outbound department or team?

Tony: One interesting thing you see in Jenny Craig is outbound use of SMS for appointment reminders in the chat team, it will be a good way to use that downtime.

Heidi: We do. We also use texts to follow-up with no sales as well. So, anytime we book an appointment, when the chat team books an appointment on live chat, they send a text with the sender’s address, phone number and appointment time, so that they can add it right to their calendar.

Nicholas: Awesome, thank you very much. We’ve got a couple more questions coming in, we’ve got one from the audience asking, how many concurrent chats can one individual agent handle at one time?

Heidi: I will answer for Jenny Craig, it depends on the skill level, but our experienced agents can do up to 3 chats at a time, and when they come onboard, they initially do 1, maybe 2, but after a while they get up to 3, I know I can’t handle more than 2, so I see them as masters if they can do 3. I am sure Tony you see other thing…

Tony: Yeah, industry-wide, we see about the same, except when there are long pauses between chats and email communication mixed in, then it can be larger because the agent in the conversation is longer, if you are responding to some email or SMS versus locked in a real time web chat connection. I think Heidi, at Jenny Craig, about using insights to better script and understand conversations, agents can usually handle one conversation at a time.

Heidi: Right, because you are not having to like, wonder what to say, everything is there for you.

Nicholas: Okay, great, awesome! We have another question from the audience asking, did you have your phone agents also do chats, because it sounds like you have 2 separate roles and teams?

Heidi: Good question. And I hope a lot of you are wondering because this is the mistake I made, that I had to do and learn from.

So, in the beginning, I thought they could do chat and calls, and that was a catastrophic mistake, it is a different skill set and it is nearly impossible to chat with someone and stay engaged with them, and try and be connected with somebody on the phone too. So, it took me about a month to realize this is not working, so I separated the team, and I had agents just doing chats and agents just doing phone and it has been that way for about 4 years and I do not regret that change.

Tony: Across the board, we see that as one of the most important initial changes a contact center can make is to separate the roles, because the conversations in phone are so much different than the conversations in chats. It is hard for the agents to transition and make the difference, the different language spoken in chats versus phone, or in email similarly. Hologram, slow response time, it is different in chat.

Heidi: I want to add one thing. A couple of weeks ago we got really busy, so we needed some extra help in chat, so we asked some of the phone sales agents to help out and chat with the voice of Jenny, we taught them the system. After a day, a couple of my very best sales agents came back and said, that job is so hard, I don’t know how they do it all day… they were literally applauding the chat agents, telling them that they have no idea how they do this job, amazing, it is technical level of expertise to be able to communicate and connect with the person via chat and stay with them that long and stay engaging, they were just in awe, spectacular and that job is being done by that position.

Nicholas: Thanks guys and I think that is really interesting about how these different communication channels lends itself to different skill sets and how often times you have to definitely split up those roles to definitely drive the best results in each communication channel. So, it is very interesting.

We have time for about a couple more questions, we have got one from the audience asking, do you ever get feedback that scripting appears insincere, particularly if you have a person coming back for a second chat with a different agent?

Heidi: Good question. A couple of times, I have seen that consumers… that potential clients ask, are you a robot and I think that comes from a place of a lot of websites are using bots, so they expect us to be too. Bold360 gives us the capability to see if they are a repeat customer of us, and if we see that they are a repeat customer, we try to not use the exact same verbiage as before.

So we have for example, 3 or 4 different ways to welcome and greet them, we have a flow that we follow for chat, not matter what, we have to find out what is on their mind, and what it is to them before we can try and move to talking to them about an appointment, or speaking with someone. So, instead of asking the same questions we did before, we may ask them in a different way so that they realize we are still concerned about this for them, but we are going to tweak it a little different so that you don’t see us as canned and scripted, even though it is. I haven’t seen specific complaints about it.

Tony: We have seen similar best practices across industries that script is just the starting point and it enables the agent to type less and listen more, because they can listen more and use that script, tweak it a little bit and give it in the right words to the visitor, instead of just automatically dumping scripted responses.

Heidi: We don’t always just use a script. For example, if a woman were to tell us, I just had a baby, we wouldn’t just go to the next step, we would stop and say, oh my goodness! Congratulations for your girl, if it was special we would engage and connect with them over what they shared with us, I have a reunion coming up, the thing is they share with us, we stop and engage with them to make it personal.

Nicholas: Excellent. So we do have time for one more quick answer, so this last question comes from the audience asking, did you find that the chat role required a lot of technical knowledge of your brand, or did the canned responses dramatically impact the level of knowledge required for a chat agent?

Heidi: I look for people that are technologically savvy, the type of questions that we ask in our interview. During their interview, I make them type up a chat message, I have them communicate with me on Skype, one of the supervisor and manager, so they will sit on one laptop and we will sit on the other, but I want to see what their message looks like in typing, I want to see what their grammar and their spelling looks like, even though we are using canned responses, I need to know that they are comfortable acting quickly in a technical environment. And always, I have tried saying, I will teach them to do this, it just never really works out. So it is important to look for someone that is savvy and techy and can navigate quickly through a multiple system for sure.

Nicholas: Thank you very much guys. So, that’s all the time that we have for today, thank you very much for attending, I hope today’s presentation was full of very interesting and actionable insights to take with you.

If you like this webinar episode, we do have 5 more Customer Experience and Contact Center related sessions, scheduled in the weeks ahead, you can find the full schedule along with links to access to all of our coming sessions at the URLs listed on the slide.

So, once again, I would like to extend thanks to our sponsor Mitel, and our guest speakers for today Tony Medrano and Heidi Rote for showing us how to turn your Contact Center into a profit center by leveraging chat.

I am Nicholas Rodriguez and you can find Customer Experience on Twitter @cxupdate or if you are a more Contact Center update focused, you can find us at Customer Contact Central which is @cust_contact.

So, thanks a lot for joining us everyone, and have a really wonderful rest of your day. Goodbye…

Heidi: Thanks everyone.

Tony: Bye.

Tony Medrano

About Tony Medrano

Tony started his career as a technology entrepreneur out of his Stanford University dorm as co-founder and President of DoDots, the first desktop-to-mobile app platform. He built the company to 100+ employees, raised $25M in venture capital and managed all company operations, personnel and deals. He was most recently CEO of Boopsie, a mobile Platform-as-a-Service company that he grew for 4 years and successfully sold to a strategic partner in 2015. Tony has also served as Vice President of Sales / Business Development at Reply! and SmartDrive Systems. Tony has dedicated his career in technology to leading sales teams and understands the need for automation tools that help sales reps increase efficiency, close more business and increase margins. Tony received his MBA and JD from Stanford, M.A. from Columbia and B.A. from Harvard.