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As the world’s largest auctioneer of heavy equipment and trucks, Ritchie Bros. knows a thing or two about the importance of customer service. The international online auction house offers onsite and online platforms for buying and selling equipment used in the construction, farm, forestry, mining and government surplus industries, and facilitates popular truck auctions on a global level.
Their ‘consignor-to-buyer’ model helps them serve two audiences: consignors or resellers looking to sell their own used heavy equipment; and buyers leveraging the Ritchie Bros.’ online auction platform to purchase the equipment they need.
The company has been helping people around the world buy and sell with confidence since 1958. Part of Ritchie Bros.’ longevity and ongoing financial success is the precision of their internal processes and their ability to pivot to tech-enabled solutions that improve both the customer experience and the experiences of the agents serving them. That’s why they chose Fonolo.
Operating with a team of 43 agents, Ritchie Bros.’ contact center serves over 33,000 customers per month. The call center team faces significant surges in in-bound calls and requests, especially during live auctions. Calls consistently spike on Thursdays, during their weekly featured auctions.
Over time, these weekly call volume spikes were increasing hold time, upping abandonment rates and lowering the call center’s answering percentage. They were also negatively impacting the overall agent experience, and most importantly, the experience of customers calling in.
DaRon Lawrence, Manager of Post-Sale Support and Customer Asset Management—a 6-year veteran at the company—has seen first-hand how implementing Fonolo’s Voice Call-Backs and the analytics-rich Fonolo Portal has helped resolve multiple challenges faced by the call center.
“The biggest challenge we faced was decreasing our extensive hold time of over 4 minutes, as well as reducing our high abandonment rates,” Lawrence says of the hurdles his team faced before implementing Fonolo’s solutions. “Our answering percentage of 86-87% was also much lower than we needed it to be.”
Lawrence’s team tapped a third-party research firm to aid in the software-hunting process, asking them to find ways the call center could optimize their processes and introduce software solutions to help the team meet their goals. “That’s how we found out about Fonolo,” Lawrence says.
Adding Fonolo’s Voice Call-Backs to call center operations was easy, from agent training through implementation. Lawrence remembers working with the Fonolo success team and deploying the product as a helpful and quick experience. “All of the meetings with our support specialist, Garon, were very hands-on. He answered all the detailed questions (and we had quite a few) from our highest-quality agents, and he did it quickly and thoroughly,” says Lawrence.
Once Fonolo’s cloud-based solution was integrated into the Ritchie Bros.’ existing call center infrastructure, the next step was training the agents. Learning to use the tool was easy, thanks to Fonolo’s onboarding process and user-friendly platform. “We got nothing but high reviews from our team for Fonolo because the solution and the dashboard was very easy to learn and use,” says Lawrence.
After nearly two years, Fonolo’s Voice Call-Backs and its data-rich Portal have become core tools for the Ritchie Bros.’ call center team, helping them to a) lift and maintain high Customer Satisfaction scores; b) improve key metrics like Answer Rate and Average Hold Time; and c) maintain high performance with the ability to check the health of the contact center daily, using Fonolo’s Portal.
Fonolo’s call-back offering helped improve the call center’s Agent Success Rate to nearly 100%. Using the Fonolo Portal, the entire team can see the positive impact of call-backs on Agent Success Rate in real time. “The Fonolo Portal helps all of us track the immediate impact of call-backs on our agent success rate. Our supervisors and senior agent teams are tasked with using it every day to make sure everything is running smoothly,” says Lawrence.
Fonolo’s Voice Call-Backs and the data rich Fonolo Portal help this global team manage operations across its various locations. With agents spanning the USA and Canada, differing holiday schedules can mean varying numbers of agents at times. This can add pressure to the call center, especially during live sales and auctions when call volumes skew high. Strategically using call-backs during these moments has helped the contact center navigate competing international schedules and offer excellent customer service, even under pressure.