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Discovery Education

Gold Stevie Award Winner 2012, Click to Enter The 2014 American Business Awards

Company: Discovery Education, Silver Spring, MD
Company Description: Discovery Education accelerates school districts' digital transition through comprehensive standards-based content, professional development, formative assessment, and community engagement proven to positively impact student achievement. Discovery Education leads the way in providing high quality, dynamic, digital content to school districts of all sizes.
Nomination Category: Customer Service & Call Center Awards Team Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Front-Line Customer Service Team of the Year - Other Service Industries

Nomination Title: Efficiencies to Streamline the Customer Service Experience

Tell the story about what this nominated team achieved since the beginning of July 2013 (up to 650 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms. Be sure to mention obstacles overcome, innovations or discoveries made, and outcomes:

Discovery Education services are designed to improve teaching and learning by transforming traditional classrooms into engaging digital learning environments. Our Customer Operations and Technical Support teams facilitate that transformation in several ways, from provisioning of accounts and initiation of technical integrations to providing exemplary support to educators and administrators needing assistance with any of our services. In order to successfully meet the needs of the 50,000 schools with our services, we have strived to deliver timely assistance by investing significantly in our infrastructure—systems, process and people.

Our vision is to reduce the amount of time required by an educator or administrator to get the answers they need so they can return to their important task of educating students. With upwards of 100,000 customer contacts in 2013, maintaining a scalable, efficient support center is essential. Updating our tools infrastructure is a critical component to ensuring our success and customer satisfaction as we drive to a one call resolution. Last year we partnered with our corporate Telecom group to unify our phone systems across our two offices in Silver Spring, Maryland and Nashville, Tennessee. For the first time our telephony support could be managed by a centralized system and team members assigned responsibilities based on skill sets and priorities regardless of their geographical location.

A comprehensive cross-training program was initiated in the summer of 2013 to provide all team members the coaching and expertise to fully support all Discovery Education services. Previously each geographic location specialized in supporting a subset of our services. The entire cross-training program was conducted as peer-to-peer training sessions from material creation to delivery. At the outset of Back to School (August & September), resources were aligned to ensure that overflow calls would be directed to the secondary office location, completely transparent to customers. As a result, we saw our live answer call rate jump to over 98% from historic rates that averaged approximately 88% between the two groups. For calls originating in one of the queues, the live answer rate jumped from 80.24% in 2012 to 98.54% in 2013 and 98.4% in 2014 during this critical peak period. We further saw a reduction in the average speed of answer from 1 minute 20 seconds (2012) to 15 seconds (2013) for calls in this queue.

But we still aren’t satisfied. We expanded our Live Chat support to be staffed by team members in both office locations to ensure appropriate coverage and a speedy resolution. Over 92% of survey respondents indicated that they would use our chat application again for issue resolution. In Q1 2014, we have introduced the Support Cloud functionality of Salesforce which allows us to:

– Reduce time to resolution for customer-reported issues and increase customer satisfaction;
– Increase visibility of issues for internal partners;
– Align resources to effectively support division goals and initiatives;
– Maintain best-in-class talent and support career development; and
– Accumulate data to drive product and process development.

Our mission is to continue on this path by expanding our self-service help offerings, by providing a 360o degree view of all customer interactions in Salesforce, and by establishing a comprehensive refresher training program for our team members that provides greater emphasis on key customer service soft skills. As our services, such as the award-winning Discovery Education TechbookTM digital textbook series, continue to impact teaching and learning, our Customer Operations and Technical Support teams will be aligned and poised to provide exemplary support through this digital transformation in Education.

As a smaller customer service team handling a significant customer contact volume across multi-channels, it is critical to develop and executive on creative initiatives in order to maintain lower costs without sacrificing service and satisfaction. While some operations may adhere to the “throw more bodies at it” approach, Discovery Education’s philosophy has always been that identifying and implementing efficiencies while promoting self-sufficient behavior for our end users will produce a more sustainable experience and manage costs.

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