At Clarus Commerce, we build, manage, and optimize premium loyalty programs for a variety of retailers.
A part of that is offering our retail partners branded customer service. This means that we handle customer service on behalf of our retail partners.
In other words, when a member of a retailer’s program has a question or concern, they have access to a special VIP customer service line which we completely manage.
To the member, it’s as if they’re talking to the retailer. To the retailer, we handle the heavy lift of customer service.
And we take that very seriously.
COVID-19 Presented Major Obstacles
As you can imagine, our retail partners encountered many obstacles this past year.
For members that belong to our retail partners’ loyalty programs, they have access to many different types of rebates. We saw ecommerce really pick up during the past year while our company instituted a new work-from-home policy for all of us due to the pandemic.
So, it was imperative that our partners didn’t suffer due to any process changes we made.
Two key accomplishments centered around redesigning our Member Savings Center and forming a new partnership to provide an open forum for our loyalty members.
As a result, I’m proud to say our team recently won a Silver Stevie Award in the “Customer Service Department” category.
The Stevie® Awards are among the most coveted honors in the business world.
They cover several categories for customer service and contact center achievements.
Created in 2002, they honor and generate public recognition of the achievements and positive contributions of organizations and working professionals worldwide.
Providing Seamless Customer Service in a New Work Environment
On March 13, 2020, all Clarus employees started working from home due to the pandemic.
While the well-being of Clarus employees was the company’s focus, we ensured that these process changes would not go noticed by our partners’ members. We made the changes seamlessly and delivered on our outstanding service levels.
From July 2019 through November 2020, we handled more than 2.5 million calls. During that time, we were successfully able to answer over 90% of those calls within 30 seconds, leaving members with very little wait time.
With no IVR (Interactive Voice Response) process, members are connected to a dedicated representative generally within 14 seconds. In addition to the phone calls, members have access to email with our team, as well as live chat. We respond to member emails quickly, always within 24 hours and generally within 10 hours.
Redesigning the Member Savings Center
We like to use our customer service interactions to suggest and make product changes to provide the service that these members expect and deserve.
In this example, we used one of our own membership products, ShopSmarter.com. We heard confusion with the member Savings Center from phone calls and emails.
Ultimately, the Savings Center on our site is set up to display the members’ savings and expected payouts. We used the learnings we gathered from member feedback and our Product and Customer Service teams introduced a different design in our Savings Center.
Since making the change, we have continued to monitor any feedback, positive or negative, from our members, about the new Savings Center design. So far, it seems to have made a positive impact on the member experience. We saw inquiries drop in relation to the Savings Center, which was one of the KPIs we were watching.
The Savings Center changes made above, as well as countless other product enhancements we’ve made over the past year, have only helped enhance our products for our members.
The great thing about running some of our own membership programs is we can take those learnings back to our retail partners to improve their loyalty programs.
A New Forum For Member Reviews
Member reviews are something else that our customer service team focuses on. It’s important to listen to your users and provide a personalized response to each user review that is posted online.
We partnered with one of the top consumer review websites this past year to give our members an open forum to provide feedback, whether positive or negative.
While the negative feedback can be tough to take, it’s important to use those negative reviews and work with the members, turning their experience with our company around and hopefully provide a positive outlook on their respective memberships.
Often, a negative review has turned into a great relationship with the member, to the point he/she updated their review from a negative one to a positive one. This speaks volumes to the amount of work that the team puts into delivering exceptional customer service.
And again, we provide the same level of effort to our retail partners on the loyalty side.
Maintaining High Standards for Customer Service Metrics
While implementing new and improved help centers, we have also maintained our excellent Customer Service metrics that we pride ourselves on.
By implementing both the new Customer Service platform and the Help Center, the team has become much more efficient. We are now responding to our member emails faster than ever, with an average reply time well under 10 hours.
While we’ve made some great customer service accomplishments this year, we will continue to track the preferences of our customers and keep an eye on technology to make sure we stay ahead of the curve.