RevZilla.com, which launched in November 2007, has always placed a high priority on hiring knowledgeable customer service associates.
The motorcycle gear retailer employs its help agents directly rather than outsourcing customer service to an agency. It also affectionately calls its associates “Gear Geeks,” as they are often motorcycle enthusiasts themselves, says Patrick Roscoe, director of customer experience at RevZilla.com and its sister company, Cycle Gear, which sells motorcycle parts and accessories online at CycleGear.com and operates more than 140 stores. Combined, both retailers employ between 50 and 75 customer service agents in Philadelphia and Las Vegas.
RevZilla has grown 10-20% annually since its launch to reach about $175 million in web sales currently, while Cycle Gear is about one tenth RevZilla’s size online, Roscoe says. As the company grew quickly, it early on turned to StellaService, a service measurement and optimization company. StellaService’s Stella Pulse product (formerly Stella Metrics) measured the customer service of RevZilla’s competitors by testing shipping, delivery and returns by ordering and returning real products, as well as calling, emailing and live chatting with sales and service teams.
“Our relationship with Stella started about nine or 10 years ago,” Roscoe says. “Stella Metrics gave us great insight into the secrets of other major retailers and see how they are performing so we could benchmark against them in order to make sure our customer service level was top notch.”
As a longtime client of Stella’s, RevZilla was one of the first to pilot a new program from Stella in 2015 called Stella Connect. The service, which officially rolled out in February 2016, helps companies collect and use customer feedback to improve the performance of customer service agents. After a consumer completes a live chat or phone conversation with one of the retailer’s agents, Stella Connect sends that consumer an email within minutes asking him to rate the agent’s performance, ranging from one to five stars. If a shopper leaves a poor rating, he has the option to offer information about how an agent could have improved, and if he leave high marks, he can opt to provide commentary about why the interaction was helpful and positive.
A new direction for StellaService
StellaService today announced it is selling off its original Stella mystery shopping legacy product to Chicago-based customer reviews vendor PowerReviews and will now solely focus on its Stella Connect business going forward. StellaService also announced today that it raised $11 million to expand and improve Stella Connect from investors including Harbert Growth Partners and customer service software Zendesk.
Roscoe says the percentage of shoppers who take the Stella Connect survey have been “extremely high” at around 45%, and about 75% of shoppers who take the survey leave additional comments. He attributes this to the survey being very brief and sent immediately after the interaction. “Typically, with any sort of customer survey, you are lucky to get 2-3% engagement rates and 5% is great,” he says.
Roscoe is excited about the tool because it gives him and his agents immediate insights specifically into each Gear Geek’s individual performance. Many other customer service survey tools ask customers about their overall experience with a company but don’t drill down to a specific interaction with an agent, he says.
All customer comments and ratings are available in real time to agents as well as customer service team leaders. Agents, who keep the Stella Connect dashboard open, get encouragement and feedback as they see ratings and comments stream in throughout the day, which helps keep them motivated, Roscoe says. “It makes their job far more engaging throughout the day,” Roscoe says. “They get immediate feedback right from the customers they just spoke with.”
RevZilla also displays all customer feedback—good and bad—on digital boards at the contact centers for all agents to see, he adds. “We work in a very open collaborative environment, and we hold each other accountable,” he says. The customer feedback also helps managers address any issues and quickly spot areas where agents can improve, Roscoe says. Stella Connect feedback is addressed with agents as needed on the fly, Roscoe says, so an agent can take steps to improve immediately.
The company goal is a 4.9 average Stella Connect rating, and that barometer is used when evaluating agents in their annual reviews and deciding on salary increases, Roscoe says. “Stella Connect reviews are just as important as their call efficiency rates (or average call times) and are equally weighted when determining annual increases,” Roscoe says. Stella Connect is also used when calculating agent performance scores each month, quarter and year. High-scoring agents and teams are rewarded with cash, gift cards, company outings and gear, such as motorcycle jackets, Roscoe says.
Putting feedback to use
In the past few years, RevZilla has further leveraged Stella Connect to drive customer service improvements. For example, Roscoe says the company noticed at times shoppers would remark in the survey that live chat didn’t have a personal touch or felt sterile. To help address this issue, RevZilla encourages agents to ask bike enthusiasts questions while they are researching answers to questions or looking up information. For example, an agent waiting for the system to return the information about a specific motorcycle part or previous order now might take that wait time to ask if the biker has any weekend rides planned or is working on any new modifications to his bike.
The system also has helped cut down on the number of customer calls while improving customer satisfaction. For example, some consumers were leaving poor feedback that they didn’t know there was a flat $7.45 flat fee to return items using the company’s shipping label. That fee—and a customer not being aware of it—would lead customers to call customer service and often prompt them to leave poor feedback. Now, when shoppers call for help with returns, agents are instructed to tell the shopper they will receive their return shipping label via email shortly and also inform them of the $7.45 fee. Steps like this have helped RevZilla reduce overall call time by 5-10% Roscoe says.
In the near future, RevZilla is planning to implement Stella Connect into its showroom in Philadelphia to measure store associates’ performance. It plans to send an email asking a shopper about his interaction with a store associate within five days of his visit, Roscoe says.
RevZilla pays a flat fee for Stella Connect for each customer service agent that uses the system, Roscoe says.
RevZilla Motorsports LLC is No. 332 in the 2018 Internet Retailer Top 1000. Other retailers using Stella Connect include Williams Sonoma Inc. (No. 25) and Warby Parker (174).Favorite