Operations & Management: Spotlight on Garnet Hill’s Call Center

Garnet Hill’s call center in Franconia, NH, resembles a bedding-store showroom. Throws, sheets, and pillows are strewn throughout — often within arm’s reach of a customer service rep — so that the CSRs can see and touch the merchandise before answering customer queries. Besides, the call center’s laid-back atmosphere is a key element to attracting — and retaining — personnel, says Betty Moody, vice president of customer satisfaction for the $80 million catalog of bedding and apparel made of natural fibers. “Customers can sense [the relaxed setting] when they call us,” Moody says.

Year facility was built: 1975

Square footage of the call center: 3,000 sq. ft.

Seats in the call center: 53 stations for customer service reps, plus an additional seven stations where CSRs and managers can review orders, verify credit cards, and respond to e-mails. Supervisors can measure call volume, monitor individual calls, and collect phone data (such as the length of time calls are in the queue) from two supervisor stations. At peak periods, there may be as many as four supervisors on a shift.

Size of the agents cube: Four feet long by two feet deep

Number of incoming calls a year: 700,000 (both customer service and technical support calls)

Average number of calls each rep handles an hour: 11

Percentage of their time CSRs spend on the phone: Approximately 66%

Call abandonment rate: No more than 1.25%

Percentage of calls answered within 20 seconds: More than 85%. Calls are consistently answered by the second ring, Moody says.

Phone switch (PBX): Mitel SX 200D

Size of the workforce: Garnet Hill employs five Internet reps to handle live chat or respond to e-mails. During peak periods, the cataloger employs about 100 CSRs in all and a total of 250 employees, making it the largest employer in the area.

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