Multiple award-winning contact center delivers high standards for online customer care.
Online print and design company MOO launched in 2006 with a compelling vision: To disrupt the trillion-dollar global print industry by delivering cost-effective yet superior design and a world-class experience via the web.
The company has much to celebrate, given its remarkable growth and achievements over the past decade. MOO has won multiple Webby awards for its website. More recently, it was recognized as a world-class service provider by the International Customer Management Institute (ICMI) with three 2016 Global Contact Center Awards in the Best Small Contact Center, Best Chat Support and Best Use of Technology categories.
What makes MOO’s customer care so unique? The company has focused as much attention to designing the online customer experience as it has to its products. “We curate the online experience with the goal of making it as simple and fun as possible for customers,” says MOO’s Director of Customer Experience Dan Moross. “Using ecommerce websites often can be a chore or a bit boring. We try to inject our unique style to provide a friendly, helpful, collaborative experience for our customers.”
A “Wow” Guarantee
MOO’s products are backed by a “no-quibbles” customer service policy called the “MOO Promise”: “We’ve never thought ‘satisfaction guaranteed’ was the most inspiring phrase. We’d like you to be satisfied of course, but we’d prefer it if you were absolutely thrilled beyond words with your order. We take great pride in our work, and we want you to feel the same about yours. So, even for the tiniest of typos, we’ll move heaven and earth to make sure you get exactly what you want—or your money back!”
The contact center offers convenient access options. Customers can contact the company via live chat, phone, email or on social media, and the company’s live chat channel is available around the clock, Monday through Friday.
Importantly, customer service is viewed as a proactive continuous improvement process and not an afterthought, says Moross. “Historically, customer service has been largely viewed as a reactive function—like plugging the holes in a leaky bucket. We not only try to plug the holes, but catch what flows through and then fix the bucket so it doesn’t happen again,” he explains. “We take all of the information that we gather from customers and drive improvements—whether it’s physical or digital, in customer service or in manufacturing or on our ecommerce website.”
Cross-Skilled and Empowered Frontline Staff
MOO’s customer support initially was delivered primarily via email, but early on, the company realized that offering real-time support was critical. About six years ago, it expanded its service channels by adding phone and chat.
Customers’ preference for chat became clear within the first couple of years—the contact volume quickly surpassed the other channels. Today, chat makes up about half of the customer contact volume, with the other half evenly distributed between phone and email. While MOO is active on social media, and receives a lot of positive comments and engagement from happy customers, it currently accounts for a very small amount of customer service contacts.
MOO’s customer support team is comprised of just under 50 agents divided between two sites located in London and the United States (Lincoln, R.I.). The contact center doesn’t use an IVR or skills-based routing. All agents are cross-trained to handle chat, phone and email within their first three months on the job. And within six months, they’ve been trained to handle all call types.
“Whether you have a very simple product question or you’re calling with a technical artwork question, we want to make sure that any agent can handle the request,” Moross says. “That just makes it easier for customers. They don’t have to press one or two in an IVR to get through to a specific part of the team. It reduces the need to pass people around.”
Having all agents trained to handle all three channels provides the contact center with much more flexibility with workforce planning and scheduling possibilities, he adds. It also gives agents a welcome change of pace during their shifts. For instance, an agent might spend the morning handling live chat, and then spend a couple of hours on the phone and finish the day with two hours of email support.
Whether they’re handling a chat, phone call or responding to an email, MOO customer support agents are trained to treat each customer as unique and to resolve each issue in the way that they think is best. They’re not required to follow a script, nor are they limited by rigid policy rules.
“We know that each call is slightly different, and in each situation, a different brush is required to paint the picture. That’s not something you can do with a script and hard rules,” Moross points out. “We’d rather give someone guidelines on how we want customers to leave the experience feeling, and then provide them with the tools and knowledge to make customers happy.”
Delivering Stand-out Service Via Live Chat
MOO’s dedication to customer satisfaction is apparent in its approach to delivering a unique and effective live chat experience. The company has paid special attention to ensuring that the chat experience aligns with MOO’s friendly, playful branding. The tool blends seamlessly with the website’s design and feel, Moross says. “It doesn’t feel like you’re interacting with some third-party technology.”
In addition to 24/7 access during the week, the tool is easy to access from anywhere on the website. “There are no barriers to entry,” he says. “We strongly believe in making it available all the time and via one or two clicks.”
As the dominant customer contact channel, MOO has ensured that high service standards are in place—and that they’re delivered. More than half of the chats initiated are answered immediately, and if the customer enters a queue, the average time to answer is 50 seconds. Not surprisingly, the abandonment rate is quite low—less than 3%.
But it’s not just about having high standards and effective technology behind the channel. As Moross points out, what makes the live chat experience stand out is the human component. “It’s all very well having something that looks nice and is easy to use, but if you’re not getting the support that you need, then it’s not really doing its job.
“We’ve set up our teams to succeed through training, empowerment and a generous customer service policy,” he says. “A lot of websites will make you wait a long time—and when you get through, the agent might not be empowered to deal with your issue and may transfer you somewhere else. We try not to put barriers like that in front of our agents. Our goal is to fix it on chat, and not push them to another channel.”
Every agent has his or her own custom avatar, which helps to deliver a more “human” interaction—one that customers find engaging and memorable. Likewise, agents are trained to use a conversational, informal tone. “We try to mirror customers and keep it playful whenever possible,” Moross says. “Obviously there are times when you can’t do that, but for the most part, we want using chat to be a pleasurable experience, and not a chore.” MOO’s customers seem to agree—last year, the customer satisfaction rating for live chat was 96%.
Balancing Growth and Efficiency
MOO has experienced incredible growth over the years. In the contact center, keeping pace with such rapid growth called for a continuous round of recruiting, hiring and training.
In 2014, MOO leaders recognized the need to focus on scale. The goal, Moross says, was to maintain the contact center’s headcount in 2015, but without compromising the customer experience. “That challenged us as a business unit to think up ways that we could help customers to help themselves, and become more efficient on the floor,” he recalls.
Simplified Access to Relevant Content
The MOO team decided that improving access to self-service knowledge would empower customers to help themselves and reduce contact volume. Previously, if a customer had a question while creating a product or in the checkout process, they had to leave the page they were on and go to the help center.
“We theorized that a better way of providing self-service knowledge was not to force them to navigate away from where they were in the journey,” Moross says. “Secondly, we wanted a way to prioritize the content that they might be interested in. We didn’t want them to have to start a search from scratch and read through 25 relevant-looking FAQs. We wanted them to be able to see immediately the content that might be relevant.”
The company partnered with AnswerDash, a provider of contextual self-service help, to give customers better access to relevant content, no matter where they are on the website.
MOO implemented AnswerDash’s predictive Q&A solution, which put all of the company’s existing FAQ content into a self-service support widget that also houses MOO’s live chat tool, customer support phone number and an email button. It learns what information customers are searching for, and then prioritizes the content based on previous visitor behavior. “It’s like targeted FAQ content that puts the answers right there in front of customers before they’ve even asked a question,” Moross says.
The impact of the enhanced self-service offering was immediate and dramatic. Inbound contacts dropped by about 20% almost overnight.
Shortcuts Help to Reduce Agent Effort
In addition to reducing contact volume, Moross and his team looked for ways to increase internal efficiency. With the support of a dedicated customer service technical lead, the contact center was able to introduce numerous shortcuts to reduce agent clicks and lower handling times—for instance, collecting an order number upfront during a chat so that agents don’t have to ask customers for it and then re-enter it; or a shortcut link that allows agents to open an order in the admin system with just one click; or macros that allow agents to close tickets automatically rather than manually.
“By making the agents’ job easier, that in turn helped us to introduce efficiencies that aided our goal,” Moross says, adding that, “With the same headcount, we’ve kept customer satisfaction, NPS scores and our internal quality high. We’re very proud of that.”
An Engaging Culture
At MOO, company leaders focus as intently on improving the internal experience as the external. “As a team, we’re a bit spoiled,” Moross says. “MOO has a very playful, honest, collaborative culture. We want people to want to work here, and the company believes in trying to do as much as possible to engage its employees.”
The following are some of the components of MOO’s high-engagement culture.
Food. “We’re a feeding company,” Moross says. Every office includes a freezer so that staff can have ice cream “on tap.” The company also provides complimentary breakfast with cereal, tea, coffee and snacks, and each Friday, MOO hosts a free lunch for the entire company.
Knowledge Sharing. At MOO, transparency and open communication is key. The company holds twice monthly all-hands meetings using a live satellite linkup to connect the U.K. and U.S. offices. Each week, a different department presents its ongoing and upcoming initiatives, and the executive team reviews the company’s progress on its objectives. During the meeting, employees can submit and vote on questions for the executive team to discuss.
Collaboration. Strong collaboration fosters engagement and makes people feel more empowered. At MOO, the contact center is not segregated from the rest of the business either by influence or location. “We’re in our company headquarters, which means that the CEO or a member of the executive team may stop by at any time,” Moross says. “We’re part of the broader team, and we have an equal opportunity to share our achievements and feedback. We have a seat at the big table, which is really important.”
Learning & Development. Ongoing learning and growth is championed companywide. Employees have the opportunity to attend MOO U (MOO University) to expand both business and recreational skills. For example, recent classes have included knitting and bookbinding, as well as leadership and management techniques. The company also brings in external trainers and coaches to conduct sessions on a variety of topics.
Career Progression. Contact center supervisors work one-on-one with agents to help them progress in their careers. The company believes in promoting from within: All of the center’s supervisors, as well as several leads and staff in other roles at MOO started out as a frontline agent. “We try to find out what makes people tick, and then help them to find the next step in their career—even if that sometimes means moving on to another company,” he says. “We really want to help people to develop and get on the road to their dream job.”
People Are the Special Ingredient
MOO’s customer-centric policy, processes and systems make for a simple, yet effective recipe for success. The key ingredient, though, is the people. “If you don’t have the right people, you’re doomed to fail,” Moross says.
Hiring talented people, and then making sure that they’re happy and engaged are the critical elements that are hard to replicate, he says. “Anyone can copy your software, but it’s very hard to copy your hiring and training strategy, and your culture. Those are the two fundamentals that have set us up for success.”