Opportunity: Improve Contact Center Technology and Customer Care

Backcountry.com is always looking to stay abreast of new contact center technologies and approaches to support customer care. Highlighting the company’s excellence in customer care, Backcountry’s contact center operations were recognized with 2019 Honorable Mention honors in Contact Center Week’s Excellence Awards.

The premier online specialty retailer of outdoor gear for snow sports, hiking, camping, paddling, biking, climbing, fly fishing, and more, including a wide selection of premium technical and casual apparel, Backcountry’s mission is to connect people to their passions by supplying customers with the gear, knowledge, and inspiration necessary to chase down life’s greatest moments. Backcountry does this by providing the biggest and best assortment of premium outdoor products, personalized expertise, inspirational content, a superior shopping experience, and lightning-fast fulfillment.

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Support Employee Morale and Engagement

“Gearheads” are Backcountry’s customer service agents. They pride themselves on their in-depth technical knowledge of gear and love of the activities and adventures the gear supports.

Because Backcountry recognizes its customer service agents are vital to realizing its mission of “connecting people to their passions,” a key objective is continuous support of employee morale and engagement.

“At Backcountry.com, the contact center is a value creator as opposed to a cost center,” says Jason True, former director of support operations at Backcountry.com. “Our ‘Gearheads’ are incredibly knowledgeable and passionate. We continue to employ the best technology that enables them to excel in providing the best customer care while having an exceptional work-life balance.”

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Solution: Verint Workforce Management Empowers Agents

Backcountry uses Verint Workforce Management to empower its agents with modern tools to help simplify their jobs and support delivery of exceptional experiences. The company has contact centers in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Portland, Oregon, along with agents who work
from home.

Because its agents have high expectations for work-life balance, Backcountry relies on Verint Workforce Management to help facilitate flexibility. This includes allowing agents to have input and ownership into scheduling, as well as providing them with ease of schedule management.

The software also delivers key metrics and analytics to enable the company to understand agent performance and effectively allocate resources to match phone and chat volumes. Agents and managers have extensive visibility into performance data, providing an in-depth understanding of schedule adherence alongside other key metrics on a daily, week-to-date, previous week comparison, and month-to-date basis.

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Benefits: Increased NPS and Reduced Costs

One initiative that has produced cost and process efficiencies revolves around Backcountry’s chat channel. Today, chat is the customer engagement channel of choice – accounting for 60 percent of all customer interactions at the company. Leveraging Verint Workforce Management, agents can handle three different chat engagements simultaneously, boosting efficiency and reducing costs.

In addition, Backcountry’s customer Net Promoter Score (NPS) for chat interactions has been increasing four percent year- over-year. Currently standing at 84 percent, this metric far exceeds peer benchmarks with other ecommerce brands.

The company recently expanded its contact center by 15,000 square feet to accommodate overall contact center growth, adding 100 new contact center agents. All the while, Verint Workforce Management has helped Backcountry keep labor costs in check – helping the company achieve its goal of keeping cost per revenue metrics flat or down year-over-year.

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Improved Staffing, Forecasting, and Employee NPS

Backcountry has been able to improve staffing to demand as well. This has helped increase agent utilization and empowered the company to cut hours during intervals with low demand, in turn enabling better management of payroll dollars. As a result, contact abandonment rates have dropped by 76 basis points year-over-year or nearly one percent.

Verint Workforce Management also helps Backcountry forecast contact center needs at various intervals to understand when the company may need to bring on more seasonal help. This is a business-critical activity considering Backcountry generates approximately 60 percent of its revenue in the fourth quarter. The company generally hires 150 FTEs annually during this time to handle increased transaction volumes.

Finally, Backcountry’s investment in Verint Workforce Management has helped improve another key contact center metric – employee NPS. Its employee NPS continues to trend upward – between 40 to 45 points – besting baseline scores prior to the deployment of Verint.

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