Most people know Radio Systems Corporation®, a global consumer goods company headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee that designs, manufactures and markets innovative pet products for their brands. Radio Systems is the parent company for global names like PetSafe®, Invisible Fence® Brand, SportDOG®, Kurgo®, and Premier Pet®. With a mission to design the most trusted pet brands, they are obsessively dedicated to people, pets and community.
Radio Systems partnered with Sharpen in 2020 after shopping around for a new cloud-based contact center solution to integrate with their cloud Salesforce CRM. They needed to replace their legacy Aspect system, consolidate their vendors for easier management, and find a better reporting engine to help them identify (and fix) inefficiencies.
Becky Gargis, Director of Customer Care for Radio Systems, gave us a year-in-review, sharing details of the company’s eventful 2020. She explains how contact center leaders successfully moved agents home, adapted their classroom-style training to fit the needs of remote workers, and scaled their call center as company sales grew 22%.
Radio Systems began their search for a cloud call center platform before the pandemic even began. It was becoming wildly expensive to maintain their on-premises system and they had to deal with the logistics of extensive hardware updates every 3 to 4 years. Moving to the cloud made sense.
Then during their search, Covid hit. And if a pandemic and moving an entire contact center operations into a work-at-home model with an outdated system wasn’t enough, a few months in, one of their main servers corrupted–to the point of being unrecoverable. Pair that with rising sales and call volumes from people home with their pets and the path to a better customer experience became clear: they needed new technology.
Radio Systems invested in new technology to build efficiencies into their processes as their call centers flooded with more interactions. The company embraced remote work and found a way to bring their culture of connection to the desks of every at-home agent.
Here’s how Radio Systems accomplished so much and realized bottom-line savings even with all the mounting pressures of the year.
Not many people like calling customer service. But every pet parent loves talking about their dog (or cat). Radio Systems prides themselves on creating brand experiences that put people and their pets at the center. When they design products and services, their goal is to meet customer needs and empathize with the experience of owning a pet, whether it’s one or many.
The company has a user experience team dedicated to learning what customers want for their pets and bringing those ideas to life. Plus, teammates who work for Radio Systems get an annual stipend to buy for their own pets. From fences and trainers to fountains and feeders, teammates test out these products and become the experts, so their pets can enjoy life and agents can better help customers. And, customers are buying more because of it. Across their portfolio of brands, Radio Systems saw a 22% increase in sales from the year prior.
Radio Systems empowers team members to do what’s right for customers. They have guidelines for common scenarios, like when to waive shipping fees and what to do for warranties, but they give agents wiggle room to make decisions outside those guidelines when they need to. In fact, acting outside these guidelines isn’t just allowed, it’s encouraged. Leaders coach contact center teammates to evaluate each situation and do what they deem best to find a long-term resolution for the customer.
Leaders at Radio Systems revamped agent training. They used to hold classroom-style training to onboard agents. Agents would touch and feel products to see exactly how customers use them. To accommodate new remote hires, Gargis’s team transitioned to 95% remote training. They used interactive exercises to get agents as close to the products as they could. And as training shifted, so did the way assistant managers coached and connected with their teams.
Leaders put 10-minute check-ins on the books to talk about anything but work, so teammates stayed in touch. Assistant managers asked intentional questions to see which agents needed extra help, who was struggling and what they were feeling. And, if data showed somebody was missing calls or showing up late, leaders would get in touch to ask why.
Radio Systems layered human connection with data to manage their people. Using data to pinpoint problem areas for agents, then help them, was a driving factor in reducing absenteeism in the contact center. Add in the flexibility of remote work, and Radio Systems saw Saturday absenteeism drop to 0% in the fall of 2020 – a first-time feat for the company.
Moving their Salesforce CRM to the cloud before the pandemic was a catalyst for Radio Systems to get agents home successfully during Covid’s shelter-in-place orders. And although agents could successfully work from home with an updated VPN and some hardware to pair with their legacy system, Radio Systems continued on the quest to update old systems.
The company partnered with Sharpen to move their contact center to the cloud and to integrate with their Salesforce CRM. Cost was a driving factor in moving to the cloud, but contact center leaders also wanted a simpler work environment for their teams. Pairing Sharpen with Salesforce let leaders serve customer information to agents in a screen pop, so agents didn’t have to dig for information. This found efficiency helped them shave handle times and gain more time back to help their growing customer base.
And now, the company has big plans to find even more efficiency with technology. After realizing $342K in ROI from consolidating telco with Sharpen, plus finding a bunch of agent efficiency, Radio Systems is streamlining more channels under the Sharpen umbrella. Now, they’re using Sharpen for both chat and SMS (in addition to voice) rather than three separate vendors. One of their leading suppliers, Invisible Fence® Brand, plans to grow to 180 agents in 2022 (up from 55 in 2020).
As the brand springs into hypergrowth, acquiring more than 50 independent dealers and increasing call volumes by 300,000, leaders turn to channels like SMS and chat to trim down call volumes and make it easier for field representatives to communicate with call center agents. With SMS, field representatives can send a text to a call center rep rather than waiting in a queue. They free up time to keep working while they wait, and they get faster responses to help customers.
Becky Gargis, Director of Customer Care,