Industry: Air purifier, portable
Location: Chicago, Illinois and Stockholm, Sweden
8x8 Products: Virtual Contact Center
Top Feature(s): NetSuite integration,reporting, Caller ID
Initial Setup: 6 agent seats
Time to Deploy: 2 days
Internet Connection: 3 MB T1
Reason for choosing 8x8: Excellent reputation, recommended by IT consultants
8x8 Virtual Contact Center Cuts Call Wait Times for Customer Support
Blueair is an innovative company with an exclusive focus: designing and manufacturing the best air purification systems possible. Because the company's products are top quality, the company's call center in Chicago, Illinois, needed to deliver top-quality service as well. But a lengthy login procedure made agents slow to respond, and a lack of standardized call-handling processes kept customers waiting. Blueair reached out to 8x8—and dramatically reduced both its call center costs and call wait times.
Originally founded in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1996, Blueair opened its North American headquarters in Chicago in 2001. Employees at both offices are actively involved in researching new clean-air solutions for homes, offices and commercial locations.
"We see clean air as a fundamental human right," says Justin Warren, customer service manager at Blueair's Chicago office. "And we believe our air purifiers are the most efficient way to clean air and promote the well-being of our customers."
Customer Service Was Suffocating
But while Blueair delivers top-quality products, the company struggled to deliver the same kind of top-quality customer service.
In the past, the company's customer call center used landline phones that had no reporting capability whatsoever. It was impossible to see who was calling, or what they were calling about. That made it difficult for the Chicago office to track customers' questions about their products and report back to the Stockholm office.
Lack of Process Resulted in Long Wait Times for Callers
Blueair also lacked standardized call-handling processes, in part because the entire office was expected to act as a call center.
"In those days, we didn't have dedicated agents," explains Warren. "Everybody in the company took calls, including sales managers and human resources staff. Each person did things differently, because we had no rules for handling customer calls."
A lengthy login procedure added to the problem. "Our old system required agents to enter multiple codes to log in," recalls Warren. "That took a while, so people couldn't get to the phones quickly, and customers sometimes had to wait in long queues when they called."
According to Warren, Blueair customers typically had to wait more than five minutes to get through to the contact center—and then most callers were transferred to a general voicemail box instead of reaching a live agent. Agents had to check voicemail in order to call customers back, delaying the company's response to customer concerns.
And customers were not the only ones who noticed. The owner of the company sometimes called in to check service levels and experienced the long wait times himself.
8x8 Integration with NetSuite Transforms Customer Service
In 2011, a new company president made improving customer service a priority for Blueair. IT consultants highly recommended 8x8 Virtual Contact Center cloud-based call center software. But it was 8x8's advanced reporting features and easy integration with NetSuite that closed the sale.
Now when customers contact Blueair, the entire transaction typically takes just three minutes. Dedicated agents log in easily and immediately begin answering calls and chatting live. 8x8 Virtual Contact Center integrates with NetSuite software and displays screen pops with caller ID and account information so agents can service customers efficiently.
"In the past, our agents had to pick up calls without knowing who was on the other end and then manually enter customer information into NetSuite. It was a time-consuming process for both parties. 8x8's NetSuite integration has significantly reduced call wait times for customers, and enabled our agents to complete calls within minutes."
8x8 Reports Reduce Contact Center Staffing Costs
8x8's reporting features have also helped Blueair with its ongoing product research and development. Warren runs monthly reports that list every call and transaction, including case notes entered by agents. He sends these reports to Stockholm so the team there can see what kinds of issues customers are having. The company uses this information to continuously improve the quality of its air purifiers.
8x8 reports have helped Blueair optimize its Virtual Contact Center as well. Warren noted that the company used to staff its contact center from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. But the reports he ran indicated that there weren't many customer inquiries at the beginning and end of each day.
In response, the company scaled back the contact center's hours, only staffing it during the peak period between 9:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. "We're a small international company, so why pay to provide support when it isn't needed? 8x8 helped us dedicate staff at the right times, saving us money and improving our customer service," says Warren.
In addition, 8x8 reports enabled Blueair to analyze its customer contacts and establish standardized processes for handling them."
"Our goal was to handle more contacts more efficiently, and 8x8 has been a big help in meeting that goal. The new processes we put in place have resolved our customer satisfaction issues. The change has been like night and day for both customers and agents."
Simple Interface Enables DIY Administration
Because Blueair's Chicago office has just 10 employees, Warren wears multiple hats at work. Although he is officially customer service manager, he also serves as office manager—and as system administrator for the 8x8 Virtual Contact Center.
Previously, Blueair paid an IT consultant to manage its landline contact center. When Warren joined the company in 2012, he had no prior experience managing a phone system or a virtual call center, and found the prospect a bit daunting. But 8x8's user-friendly interface got him up to speed in just two days.
"8x8 Virtual Contact Center is one of the easiest software apps I've ever worked with," he says. "I figured out everything I need to do—add and delete agents, give permissions, reset greetings—super quick. I just read the Help text and everything made sense. The system is so simple to learn and use."
Delivering World-Class Customer Service
8x8 Virtual Contact Center has improved customer communications so much for Blueair that Warren now wants to add email support.
"Customers sometimes have to wait for a live agent to become available in order to chat," he explains. "After three minutes, we'd like to give them the option to send email instead. It lets us be responsive to customers even when agents are busy with other contacts."
Warren also has 8x8's new web callback feature on his radar.
"Web callback will be a valuable feature to add as our contact center grows," he says. "It gives us yet another way to respond to customers without making them wait."
8x8 Extensions Everywhere—a Natural Progression
Although Blueair's sales department still uses dedicated landlines, management is now considering moving the whole company over to 8x8 VoIP business phone service when the current contract expires.
"We've had a great experience with 8x8 Virtual Contact Center, and are very impressed with the support we've received from our 8x8 account manager and tech support," says Warren. "Getting everyone in the office an 8x8 extension seems like a natural progression for us."
When asked to describe 8x8's impact on his company, Warren has no trouble finding the words:
"Everything is so much better since we installed 8x8. Customers are happier. Agents are happier. And our company owner was thrilled when he checked service levels and when he got through after just a couple of rings! 8x8's NetSuite integration and reporting features gave us the insight we needed to support our international business and deliver world-class customer service."