Agent Monitoring Software from VPI - Leading Developer of Agent Monitoring Software.
Customer Success Story
1-800-Flowers.com Profile
1-800-Flowers.com started as a chain of retail stores in the New York Metropolitan area in 1976 and has since expanded into one of the most recoginzed brands in the gift retailing and catalog industry.
Business Challenge
1-800-Flowers.com needed a unified system for accurately scheduling agents, reporting on performance and effectiveness, and distributing this information to its 2,000 contact center agents in real time across nine sites.
Solution Overview
1-800 Flowers selected VPI PERFORMANCE and VPI COACHING to handle real time distribution of key performance metrics directly to agent desktops as well as dashboard-based messaging and agent-centric eLearning.
Significant Benefits
Higher worktime utilization; Increased performance and service levels; Increased agent retention and satisfaction; Able to measure the impact of training; Consolidated scheduling and reporting across all nine sites
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1-800 Flowers.com® Increases Operational Efficiency with VPI’s Agent Productivity Software

With a total of nine sites – five internal throughout the United States and four outsource partners – and up to 2,000 agents working at peak periods, 1-800-Flowers.com has tackled all the challenges inherent to businesses operating large, multi-site contact centers.


With VPI PERFORMANCE, we can measure anything that we track - from all of our sites and home agents.

- Lou Orsi
Vice President
1-800-Flowers.com

Business Profile

1-800-Flowers.com® provides a broad range of products, including flowers, plants, gourmet foods, candies, gift baskets and other unique gifts. The company is well-known for providing same-day delivery – an extremely convenient service for today's busy, last-minute shopper. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, customers around the world can make an order via the Internet or by calling a 1-800-Flowers.com customer service agent. 1-800-Flowers.com is the parent company for several brands including Plow and Hearth, HearthSong, Magic Cabin, The Popcorn Factory, Ambrosia, and Cheryl & Co.

Challenge

With up to 2,000 agents in nine locations handling orders for products from poinsettias to plush toys, managers at 1-800-Flowers.com face a daunting challenge in tracking agent performance and effectiveness. Traditionally, performance data was obtained by combining order and call data from separate company databases. This took too much time and effort, failed to supply real-time information, and provided no way to quickly share the results or intervene if agents were not meeting desired performance thresholds.

“We’re always looking for ways to increase our productivity and effectiveness,” said Lou Orsi, Director of Vendor Relations and Strategic Projects for 1-800-Flowers.com. “Most of our reports were produced at the end of the day, and it is very difficult to react proactively when you’re not accessing information in a timely manner. We needed real-time performance reports so that agents, managers and even our executive-level team could see how we were doing on any given day at any given hour. Our goal is to continually assess what we can do to make their lives easier.”

Decreasing costs and boosting productivity are also under constant evaluation as the company strives to achieve unmatched customer service and satisfaction while maximizing profitability.

Solution

In searching for software to help maximize agent productivity, managers at 1-800-Flowers.com rejected a series of single-function applications that would have required integration of five or six different packages from different vendors to meet their objectives. Instead, they turned to VPI PERFORMANCE and VPI COACHING — a set of performance tracking, reporting, messaging and training tools that offered the additional benefits of affordability and open architecture for easy integration into their existing IT environment.

Key performance indicators, quality scores, scheduling information and service level indicators can be distributed to call center personnel using desktop tickers, Web-based consolidated reporting and TV monitor display systems. The system works to automatically intervene when agents are under-performing by delivering eLearning content in the form of courses, coaching tips, quizzes, training flashes, pre-shift announcements and bulletins.

“There certainly were some multi-vendor solutions that could have handled bits and pieces of what we were looking for,” said Orsi. “There was also the option for in-house software development, but that would have required us to build an internal datamart or storage facility where we would gather all of the information from all of these different systems into one data resource. We would then have to take that information, analyze it, and send it out. Obviously, that would be a huge undertaking! Once we found VPI, we realized: why build it if it already exists?”

Open architecture and commitment to integrating with their existing and future technology environment was very important to 1-800-Flowers.com. In fact, flexibility was one of the key driving forces behind the selection.

“Our decision was to go with VPI … they offered a package that we could readily afford and that also didn't require us to integrate five or six different packages to get just one tool,” added Orsi.

Significant Benefits

VPI PERFORMANCE collects both real-time and historical performance information from multiple telephony and business systems — including 1-800-Flowers.com’s Avaya inbound call management system, Pipkins Vantage Point workforce scheduling program, and an internal customer relationship management application — and then consolidates the data into reports with different views for agents, managers and executives. Significantly, data for all five company call centers and four outsourced partner sites can be merged into a single report.

Real-time metrics ranging from average talk time to sales volumes are displayed in customizable, “always-on” tickers that run in a narrow horizontal band across agents’ and managers’ screens to provide on-the-spot insight into each agent’s or group’s productivity. Historical metrics are presented in agent scorecards and web-based reports for in-depth analysis.

“The tickers are fantastic because they allow agents to self-monitor and to see how they’re doing on a daily and even hourly basis,” Orsi said. “This has created a positive, competitive environment. No one wants to have the highest talk time.”

Another key benefit for 1-800-Flowers.com is the real-time messaging function. With this tool, managers can send pre-shift announcements and bulletins of any kind directly to users’ dashboards. These messages can be sent to an individual agent, a group of agents, an entire center or the entire staff, providing an efficient means of communicating policy changes, reminders or other information. This reduces management overhead and also yields a huge savings in paper.

VPI has also equipped 1-800-Flowers.com with an easy means of disseminating training materials as well as automatically intervening when agents are under-performing. With VPI COACHING, training courses, follow-up quizzes and coaching tips can be delivered to agent dashboards either on a specific schedule or whenever a given agent falls above or below a predefined threshold in a certain activity. Unsatisfactory work habits can be flagged and corrected before any negative consequences are realized. These tools have particular value during peak periods such as Valentine’s Day when the company must train a large number of new agents in a short period of time, and for ensuring that training materials delivered at any time are effective.

“Our training team can create and send out a quiz based on training content that has just been provided, and then revise materials to clarify points that agents didn’t understand,” Orsi noted. “This has been a huge benefit.”

The real-time intelligence and other capabilities of VPI PERFORMANCE and VPI COACHING have generated significant returns for 1-800-Flowers.com, including a marked increase in worktime utilization, an average of five additional transactions per agent per day, one to three percent increases in conversion and upsell statistics, and a reduction in FTE requirements. Orsi gives much of the credit to the real-time visibility provided by the dashboards.

“Having all of the key performance indicators right in front of us has really enhanced operational efficiency,” he said.

The data provided by VPI PERFORMANCE has also made it possible to respond quickly if targets aren’t being met.

“It’s vital to find out early on instead of waiting until the end of the day, and now we can easily identify who our top performers are," added Orsi.

In these and other ways, VPI is helping 1- 800-Flowers.com do internally what it does for its customers: smell the roses.

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