Frost and Sullivan Lauds Plantronics for Humanizing the Technical Services Experience

PRESS RELEASE: Based on its recent analysis of the contact center and office headsets market, Frost & Sullivan recognizes Plantronics with the 2016 Global Frost & Sullivan Award for Customer Service Leadership. Plantronics has eliminated silos across the company and provides the customer service department, and thereby the customers themselves, with immediate access to managers and executives across the company when needed. This has facilitated engineering changes to products and heightened levels of customer awareness across the entire company.

Customers of Plantronics interact with technical support representatives (TSRs) that have been trained and are proactively encouraged to make decisions that bring value to Plantronics and the customer. Significantly, these TSRs do not use a script, which enables them to engage with customers through genuine conversation. This allows them to quickly de-escalate customer frustration and rapidly learn the context that led to the call.

“The TSRs are empowered to make decisions and take relevant action for each case, rather than apply a one-size-fits-all solution,” said Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Jarad Carleton. “Multi-year training and coaching ensure that the TSRs understand when a goodwill gesture is warranted. Such methods will go a long way in enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty.”

Unlike many contact centers, Plantronics does not compel customers to create an account to access help tools or go through a series of decision tree questions before they can get in touch with a TSR. It provides toll-free numbers for customers to contact TSRs quickly and without any friction.

To deliver top-notch customer interaction, Plantronics offers rigorous training to its TSRs. When a new member joins the team, they undergo four weeks of introductory training, followed by a three-year training program to hone empathy for customers. As Plantronics has numerous products, the employees are given hands-on experience with different headset configurations to improve first-call resolution (FCR).

Another innovative aspect of customer service provided by Plantronics is its dedication to in-warranty replacement. The company offers online tools that facilitate simple in-warranty replacements. In 70 percent of its global operations, Plantronics replaces the product within 48 hours by shipping the replacement before it has received the defective device from the customer. These efforts have pushed up satisfaction in the replacement process by 14 percent and increased the timeliness satisfaction score by 11 percent.

“Plantronics invests substantially to enrich customer service, beginning with its online learning program for TSRs, which helps the company train employees on the importance of speech,” noted Carleton. “Since 60 percent of all Plantronics customer service interactions are over the telephone, these online training programs enable TSRs to convey messages in an impactful way without the aid of visual-based, non-verbal communication.”

In addition, customer surveys present the company with feedback on TSR performance, so that it can identify areas that require additional training and coaching. When displeased customers score the TSR low for an entire interaction, Plantronics performs a root cause analysis in the follow-up call to understand what the real problem is. When the cause of the dissatisfaction is identified, it is logged for weekly internal follow-up meetings. These issues are also compiled on a quarterly basis in a master report that aids the customer service team in conducting an analysis with the team that drives continual improvements across the global contact center operation.

For its concerted efforts to raise the bar in customer interactions, Frost & Sullivan is pleased to present Plantronics with the 2016 Global Frost & Sullivan Award for Customer Service Leadership.

“We believe that providing great customer service is valuable to the overall Plantronics business,” said Paul van den Berg, vice president, global customer care, Plantronics. “Receiving this award is a testament to our continued investment to empower our people with training and tools they need to best meet our customer’s needs. As customer support becomes more important than ever, we continually look at our internal training tools and customer service procedures, so we can further build on the high standards we set for ourselves in creating a positive and lasting experience for our customers.”

Each year, Frost & Sullivan presents this award to a company that has demonstrated outstanding timeliness and quality in offering a service. The award acknowledges the attractive cost of service and the impact of the offering on customer value.

Frost & Sullivan’s Best Practices Awards recognize companies in a variety of regional and global markets for outstanding achievement in areas such as leadership, technological innovation, customer service, and product development. Industry analysts compare market participants and measure performance through in-depth interviews, analysis, and extensive secondary research.