SSI’s annual Best of the Best issue (July 2013) includes profiles of seven of the industry best-run installing security contracting companies. My interviews with executives and managers from runner-up Vivint covered much ground not included in print. Following is the first of a few bonus excerpts, with Vivint’s Steve Dixon here addressing customer service issues. Be on the lookout for more online extras from Vivint, as well as other Installer of the Year and Integrated Installation of the Year winners and finalists.
How does Vivint provide exceptional service to its customers?
Steve Dixon, Vivint Vice President of Customer Experience and Operations: Vivint chooses to make customer service a top priority — from its personalized sales approach to its commitment to installing, servicing, and monitoring all customers in-house. We believe customer service is not only about improving satisfaction, but also ensuring that our customers feel safe and secure. We regularly introduce new training techniques, new technology, and new customer service and field service resources to our employees. As opposed to other companies in the industry, Vivint does not sell customer contracts to outside vendors after the initial sales and installation period. Our in-house staff provides all ongoing technical and account support, guaranteeing that customers continue to have the highest quality experience possible, whether they have been with the company for 10 days or 10 years. Vivint’s customer service and support center also works as a central station for both service and support questions. This minimizes hold times and delays for the customer. In the past few years, Vivint’s customer service department has been recognized for its achievements with a variety of awards. For instance, we received the 2013 People’s Choice Stevie Award for Favorite Customer Service provider in the “other industries” category. More than 211,000 online votes were cast in the worldwide public vote, which was conducted as part of the seventh annual Stevie Awards competition. Vivint also received a silver Stevie award for Customer Service Department of the Year, and Tim Izatt, director of customer services at Vivint, was honored with a silver Stevie for Contact Center Leader of the Year. This past July, Vivint was awarded gold for Best Customer Service Department and Best Executive Leadership by Contact Center World. Finally, Vivint was selected as one of International Customer Management Institute’s “Top 50 Call Centers for Customer Service.”
Please supply some specific examples of your customer service in action.
Dixon: The vision for Vivint’s contact center is to become the most effective customer-centric call center in the world. This vision has led much of the department’s success, including the decision in early 2012 to uniquely combine the customer and technical support departments into a single contact center. The solution was devised to reduce transfers and hold times and to create a one-stop solution for customers. At the time, nearly 80% of customers were being placed on hold or transferred because of the disconnect between these two centers. The decision was made in March and implemented by May 1. Since this switch, hold times and transfers have dropped significantly from 80% to 10%, and the average handle time is now just under two minutes. In only seven months, the combined department has seen incredible improvements, including better service for customers and an improved work environment for employees.
Vivint is known for its highly efficient and award-winning customer relationship management initiatives. In the security industry, customer service is critical. Vivint provides an end-to-end automated field service management solution that addresses the area of appointment scheduling, mobility and customer communications. This initiative is designed to give customers more control over their entire service experience. For example, when a customer requests a service technician, they can schedule and update the appointment via the Internet, text message or voice command. This approach ensures that the technician with the appropriate skills, parts, and experience is always assigned to the right customer, thus improving the customer’s convenience. With this automated system, Vivint can automatically generate customer appointment notifications and send post-service surveys to verify that the customer is satisfied. The solution puts the customer in control of how they communicate with Vivint and tremendously improves their experience.
How is your customer service evaluated and continually improved?
Dixon: Vivint monitors its customer service in a variety of ways. Management depends heavily on customer feedback provided by the Confirmit CustomerSat VoC solution to better understand its customers, gather accurate metrics, and better observe customer service agents on an individual level. Employees also meet with leaders on a personal and group level to acknowledge areas of improvement and success. Overall, Vivint keeps close tabs on areas that need to be addressed and opportunities for success. Operationally, we also measure productivity and effectiveness constantly across the team. Vivint is a culture-focused environment, meaning we strive to hire the best talent we can find and spend a significant amount of time creating a positive, fun, and productive culture that rewards reps who provide the best service possible for our customers. Leadership also listens to and provides feedback on at least two calls per week, one of which is reviewed by Vivint’s independent quality assurance Team designed to help improve the quality of customer interactions. At the end of the two-week pay period, the reps’ call scores become a component of determining how much the professional gets paid. Aside from incentivizing the reps themselves, Vivint also has a policy for the follow-up team to call back every customer that gave their interaction a low ranking on the Net Promoter Score survey. These follow-up calls aim to resolve the issue at hand and turn the customer’s opinion of Vivint around. We also use the human and organizational behavior organization called Griffin Hill. Every week the group teaches the entire leadership team techniques that they then share with their professionals to improve their performance on the phones.