Billhighway of Troy, Michigan, USA, received the Bronze Stevie® Award in the highly competitive category of Innovation in Customer Service at the 2013 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service. Recognized as the world's top business awards for contact center, customer service, business development, and sales professionals, the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service awards gala was celebrated on Monday, February 25 at the Paris Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Entries for the 2014 sales awards, contact center awards, and customer service awards will open in July, join our mailing list and we'll email you the entry kit when it becomes available.) Here we take a look at the Billhighway story, an example of the high standard of entries in this year’s competition.
“Your customer doesn’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” – Damon Richards
Billhighway’s Client Care team embodies the sentiment of this quote every day, subscribing to the philosophy of ensuring each customer’s happiness with every interaction. Today, customers who call or email the team with questions will reach a live person by pressing a single number—two at most; they will converse with real people who don’t use scripts, canned responses, or email “templates;” and they will interact with experts whose goal is not only to answer questions, but also to ensure each customer’s happiness with Billhighway.
Billhighway’s team of seven is so committed to providing true customer service, that they went ahead and trademarked the name “BillhighwayCare™.” Over the past year, the team refined and enhanced every aspect of its operations, and in so doing has transformed itself from a numbers-based function to a fully-fledged problem-solving operation.
Kim Ng is Billhighway’s Client Care Team Leader. On winning their Bronze Stevie Award, Kim said: “I’m so proud of the accomplishments we have made as a team and the national recognition we’ve received for it. It’s our mantra that no customer interaction is over until the problem is solved. This sets us apart from many other contact centers today, where efficiency is more important than quality and customer health.”
So how did Billhighway achieve this success?
There are two measurables that Billhighway emphasizes: email, and phone-call response times. How much time customers wait for responses affects their happiness, so the team has high expectations in this area.
1. Phone Calls: Customers calling Billhighway speak to a live person within two minutes; in fact, the average time is 18 seconds.
2. Emails: Customers receive an email response from Billhighway within one business day, with the average response being four hours.
While Client Care’s focus is on quality, the team is also efficient based on traditional measures. While team members take as long as is needed to solve problems, the average call time is just 4:48 minutes.
The volume of calls and emails fluctuates seasonally. Rather than responding to fluctuations by staffing up or down, Billhighway’s Client Care department maintains the same staff size year-round, and takes advantage of slower times by redeploying employees to other areas of the business for cross-training experience. The more a team member knows about the company and how things work, the better equipped they are to manage customer issues
The Client Care team plays an integral role in the success of the company. It is so important to the company that Billhighway’s management requires all new hires to spend one week training with Client Care. This provides a first-hand look at customer issues and the role the team plays in maintaining the company’s 96% customer loyalty rate.
Client Care team members not only manage phone calls and emails, they also proactively support customers with customized training on product features and new functionality, which they conduct themselves. Throughout the year, individual team members develop agendas and lead online training sessions. Training is never scripted, but completely customized to each client.
Client Care distributes regular satisfaction surveys using a 4.0 scale. The average score for the rolling 12 months is 3.39. Client Care team members follow up weekly on any survey that scores less than 3.0.
The team leader measures call/email quality each month, and the average score, based on internal standards, is 95%.
Testimonials from current Billhighway clients:
“… The response was almost instantaneous—within an hour—very helpful!” -Golden Key administrator
“Billhighway has a great client support team. I know I can call anytime and always get the answers I need. Thanks so much for all of your help!” Higher Education Client, Miami University
“Thanks for the prompt service … I am a business owner, so I really respect and appreciate good service.” - American Buildings, Inc.
About Kim Ng:
Kim Ng is leader of the team responsible for providing the highest levels of customer service to members, officers, and member parents of client organizations. Kim resolves escalated customer concerns, maintains up-to-date policies/processes based on client needs, and advocates new product features and functions on behalf of clients. Kim continuously evaluates and updates end-user resources by facilitating client communications via emails, surveys, and training. Before joining Billhighway in 2007, Kim was Customer Service-Retention and Sales Manager with Comcast, and Quality Assurance Team Leader and OnStar Team Manager with EDS.
Kim has a BA in Communications and French from Georgetown College.
Billhighway provides cloud-based accounting solutions for non-profits. Billhighway’s solution suite enables improved financial management, payment processing, and online banking. It easily configures and scales to meet donor, member, and financial processing needs while increasing cash flow, trimming costs, and reducing risk. Billhighway manages $6 billion in transactions for 3,500-plus non-profits.