In an increasingly digital world, online retailers can stand out from the crowd by focusing on the customer experience. One way to do that is by offering superior customer service. CARiD, one of the largest online retailers of aftermarket auto parts, is doing exactly this.
Gerald Major, director of client experience for CARiD, says he wanted to create a “wow factor” for customers.
“We look at our competitive set and say, ‘How do we do it differently? Better?’,” explains Major.
One thing Major noticed is that some e-commerce websites don’t even offer customers the option to call customer service representatives — all service questions are handled through live chat or email. CARiD's customer service agents talk to shoppers in whatever way is easiest for the customer.
“We're not a scripted environment," Major says. "We script the greeting and the closing. Everything in between is really client focused.”
This focus on the customer drives the call and makes it a more personalized experience. And to keep its customer service representatives motivated, CARiD is incentivizing them with gamification.
“We capture the voice of the client at the point the client has an interaction with us, potentially via digital communication — chat or email — and also our voice agents, who respond to our clients when they call in for support,” notes Major.
How it Began
It all started when CARiD created a sales person/customer service rep “hybrid” position. When this happened, the sales people complained they were losing incentives — the customer service reps never had any incentives — so the gamification rewards program was started, according to Major.
Using the Stella Connect software service, CARiD's customer service reps are able to stay engaged and deliver top-of-the-line customer service.
How it Works
Major explains that CARiD has three different customer groups: the automotive enthusiast, the mechanic or auto body professional, or car owners who need parts quickly. CARiD asks these customers to review and rate each customer service experience they have with the brand.
Depending on the rating, customers are allowed to “virtually tip” their customer service agent or give constructive criticism. For example, if the customer's rating is four or five stars, the customer has the opportunity to buy the agent lunch — paid for by CARiD. If the rep is only given a one- or two-star rating, the customer is asked to explain why they gave a low score.
“This allows us to give agents some real, tangible feedback,” says Major. “We want to recognize the times when people are happy with us — we love that. But it’s more of an opportunity when they're not happy with us.”
Stella Connect is used to collect all of the customer feedback, enabling reps to compare their performance — in rating, cancellations or return percentages — to their colleagues in the same or different locations.
This little bit of friendly competition among customer service reps — where the ultimate winner is CARiD's customers, who get better service from the retailer — is proving effective for CARiD. Major says he's noticing two promising results:
- an increase in repeat purchases; and
- a decrease in overall negative reviews.
Even for an online retailer that has no face-to-face interaction with its customers, CARiD is showing that superior customer service is still possible.
Related story: CARiD's Social Strategy to Drive Engagement, Sales