Teamwork Touted at Sundance
By Donna Loyle
In their ongoing efforts to maintain and improve customer service, managers at the Sundance catalog instituted in June 2000 an ingenious "levels program." Tim Taggart, contact center manager at this apparel and home furnishings catalog, explains how the program works.
New customer service reps (CSRs) at the Salt Lake City-based cataloger begin by taking a two-week training program comprised of classroom work and time in a training bay environment on the phones. They're then placed on a team whose leader, during the next two weeks, will monitor their progress. Leaders determine when trainees become level ones, at which time they get a raise of 75 cents per hour. As level ones, CSRs can discuss with customers basic product information and take orders and catalog requests, says Taggart.
To get to level two, CSRs must demonstrate competency as a level one, complete another two days of training and pass a written test. As a level two, a CSR can do all of the duties as a level one, in addition to mentoring level ones and answering basic customer service queries. To stay a level two, CSRs must pass periodic refresher tests. Upon completion of level-two training, CSRs get a wage increase of 50 cents per hour.
After eight to 12 months (on average and when positions become available), level twos can apply for level three. Successful candidates get two more days of training and testing. At this level, their responsibilities include mentoring level ones and twos, assisting in new-hire training, processing exchanges and returns, issuing credit audits, and other duties. Level threes are paid another 50 cents per hour and spend about 30 percent of their time away from the phones, says Taggart.
Level fours handle specialized services, such as credit card chargebacks and other complex customer service duties, says Taggart.