An Improvement Tip from The Home Depot

The Home Depot, the world’s largest home improvement specialty retailer, had set out to do a little improvement project of its own. Their goal was to transform their eCommerce Online Contact Center into a world-class customer care operation. As with every DIY project, you need to have the right approach, the right tools, and the right leader.

The Right Approach: 4DX

The biggest challenge by far in any project, especially in contact centers, is execution. So The Home Depot embraced the 4 Disciplines of Execution by Chirs McChesney and Sean Covey. Here’s what they did.

  • Discipline #1: Focus on the wildly important goal
    The contact center set two wildly important goals. The first was to improve their customer satisfaction score (CSAT) and catapult their net promoter score (NPS) from just about average to world class in just 8 months! Their second goal was to reduce operational costs using the ‘calls per order’ metric to measure results.
  • Discipline #2: Act on the lead metrics
    The lead metric in The Home Depot’s case was not simply NPS and calls per order. They wanted to focus on the influencer- first contact resolution (FCR). Using correlation analysis, The Home Depot found that FCR had a very high correlation to NPS and therefore, the whole foundation had to be based on FCR. They also found that FCR had a high inverse correlation to calls per order. In other words, taking on FCR would be like killing two birds with one stone.
  • Discipline #3: Keep a compelling scorecard
    It’s a fact. People play differently when they keep score. The same goes for employees. The Home Depot wanted to make sure that all agents were able to constantly view their own personal performance scores.
  • Discipline #4: Cadence of accountability
    The Home Depot embraced the positive coaching approach using walk-by, side-by-side and focused coaching which would help guide their agents to the solution so that it becomes their idea and instill ownership and accountability.

The Right Tool: Customer Interaction Analytics

With a clear approach in mind, The Home Depot needed a powerful tool in hand for successful execution. They chose Customer Interaction Analytics to help sift through millions of customer interactions in order to gain insights on how they could increase agent efficiency and optimize their workforce. Here is how it worked.

  1. They automatically categorized their interactions and identified top call drivers. They discovered that stores were calling the contact center almost 10,000 times every month to receive a receipt ID number for items that were purchased online and returned to a store.
  2. They performed a deep dive, root cause analysis to find out why the stores were calling and uncovered that the stores’ systems had no access to the ID number. As soon as they received access, the number of calls nearly vanished.
  3. They created quality plans for targeted call monitoring instead of random selection. They also created coaching packages and distributed them to the agents so they could handle specific call types more effectively and efficiently.
  4. They created tailored dashboard views for agents and supervisors to take personal ownership for their team and personal quality scores.

So did The Home Depot achieve their goal to have a world-class customer care center within 8 months? They sure did! By that time their FCR was up 38 percent and their calls per order was down 40 percent! Their emotional connection was up 15 percent and, most importantly, their NPS was up 500 percent making them a vendor providing truly best-in-class service. This success also translated into an impressive revenue gain of multimillions of dollars in just a few months.


The Right Leader: Filipe "Fil" DaCosta

To call Fil DaCosta, Operations Leader at The Home Depot, passionate is an understatement.  I first heard him present at Interactions 2014, our global customer conference.  Donning his iconic orange apron as if he was a super hero (but with his cape in the front), he infused his passion into the audience and by the end of his 30-minute presentation, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. It was clear to me that the passion that Fil radiated on the stage was powered by the same passion he had off stage in the contact center.  

If you are planning on attending the ICMI Annual Conference in Chicago next week, I wouldn’t miss Session #104  on Tuesday at 11:00 AM – 12:15 PM to hear Fil along with our very own Nick Dellecave demonstrate this transformation journey.

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