Off Center
In some organizations, senior executives have trouble even finding the contact center. At Capital One Financial Corporation, the execs actively and enthusiastically assist with improving it.

Few contact centers have as strong a relationship with – and receive as much support from – senior management and key members of other departments as Capital One’s High Value Servicing (HVS) center does. Unlike in many companies, where execs merely pop into the contact center on occasion and deliver canned motivational messages, at Capital One, senior level officials jump into the frontline trenches – and often even onto the phones to listen in to agents' interactions with customers.   

“At Capital One, leaders at all levels of the organization are highly committed to providing a great experience for our customers,” says Heather Cox, senior vice president of Customer Operations at Capital One “Our senior leadership recognizes that the call center plays a critical role servicing Capital One’s customers.” Cox reports directly to the Chairman of the Corporation on the contact center’s progress, and also reports regularly to the Board of Directors on the center’s performance.

Execs Who “Get It”

Senior leadership does more than just recognize the value of the contact center – they continuously seek to better understand the unique dynamics involved in managing such challenging environments. In addition to conducting side-by-side call observations on a regular basis to get closer to the customer and to agents, executives (and high-ranking members of various departments) work closely with contact center management to learn as much as they can about such critical processes as workforce management, quality assurance, and agent training. 

Capital One’s senior leaders are all up to speed on contact center key performance metrics, such as service level, first-call resolution, customer satisfaction, and IVR/web self-service completion rate. They not only understand what these metrics mean and how they are measured; they personally review actual results with regard to each metric on a regular basis, as well. And whenever there seems to be room for improvement in any of these performance areas, leadership encourages the contact center’s managers to share their ideas on how to bring about such improvement, and asks them what additional resources they may require.

Not only does senior leadership ask for such ideas and resource requirements; evidently they actually listen. One need only take a look at Capital One’s HVS contact center performance results to see that: The center consistently exceeds its ambitious  service level objective; maintains an average C-Sat score in the 90% range; achieves a very respectable  FCR rate; and is able to keep agent turnover significantly lower than the industry average.

You won’t see that level of satisfaction and service effectiveness in an organization where leaders look down at the contact center from a glass tower.   

Sharing the Contact Center’s Success

With such impressive and consistent performance,  Capital One’s HVS center gets plenty of positive attention throughout the enterprise, thanks in large part to – you guessed it – senior leadership. Cox explains that execs make it a habit to share important achievements and progress in the contact center with the rest of the organization.

“The Board views the HVS call center’s progress as an important indicator for our entire credit card business. Leaders share customer service updates through various communication channels including newsletters, internal blogs, enterprise-wide intranet articles, local team Town Halls as well as broader ‘All Hands’ meetings.” 

Such communication and support enhances the perceived value of the contact center internally, adds Cox, which in turn results in more respect from and better working relationships with key departments within the company.

Not only does upper management like to spread news of the contact center’s accomplishments; key leaders are often present to congratulate the center’s staff for a job well done, says Cox.

“Credit card executives personally attend agent recognition events on a regular basis to express their appreciation for all of the hard work and dedication demonstrated by our agents in taking care of our customers’ needs everyday.”

Capital One – the Big Picture:
Location: Glen Allen, Va.
Hours of operation: 8 a.m. - 11 p.m., 7 days/week
Number of agents: 350
Products/services provided: Handles contacts from key customer segments regarding Capital One’s credit card products and services.
What’s so great about them?: Have developed a very strong relationship with – and earned full support from – the executive level and other key departments, thus driving high performance, lasting customer satisfaction and strong agent engagement in the contact center.

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