Case Studies

How Williams-Sonoma Drives Cost Savings and Powers Service Recovery Across its Contact Center

Williams-Sonoma Inc. (WSI) became one of the first Stella Connect customers after the product launched in 2016. Craig Barnes, WSI’s SVP of Customer Care saw the potential the product could deliver for optimizing front-line team performance:


Williams-Sonoma customer feedback survey using Stella Connect

“We were looking for a complementary product like Stella Connect that could help us measure and improve the performance of our front-line team at scale.”
Craig Barnes
SVP of Customer Care, Williams-Sonoma

Proving the Business Case

Before signing up with Stella Connect, Craig needed to develop a business case internally. Initial tests of the product delivered over 35% response rates, and with this volume of agent-level performance data, Craig saw an immediate opportunity to deliver cost savings across WSI’s QA function:

“As soon as we started testing Stella Connect we realized we could generate more representative visibility into team performance than our traditional QA program. The business case practically wrote itself—we could reassign our existing QA resources onto service recovery, which would deliver significant cost savings, while also improving our overall customer experience.”

Driving Service Performance

Alongside service recovery, the retailer’s key objective from Stella Connect is to leverage the agent-level customer feedback to motivate contact center staff, drive more customized training, and in turn improve service performance. The company also uses Stella Connect to measure Net Promoter Scores (NPS), a key internal metric for tracking customer satisfaction and advocacy.

Following an initial pilot, the company implemented the full rollout of Stella Connect across its contact center team. As part of this rollout, contact center managers were trained on how to leverage the real-time feedback to optimize agent performance.


How Williams Sonoma Drive Performance With Their Service Team

Following the rollout, managers were able to instantly spotlight issues impacting customer experience and then implement in-the-moment micro-coaching to improve service performance. Leveraging agent-level feedback in this way delivered instant results. Average star ratings improved as agents worked with managers to address any areas of weakness. Importantly, this improvement in average star ratings was mirrored by an improvement in Net Promoter Scores.

Since the full rollout, the company has seen NPS improvements of more than 50%.



NPS scores with Williams Sonoma rose

“The real-time agent-level feedback empowers our managers like never before and drives self-correcting behavior across our front-line team. The results: a more engaged and higher performing team, which translates into more satisfied and loyal customers.”

A more motivated and higher performing front-line team delivers benefits to WSI beyond improved customer satisfaction. Since launching Stella Connect, WSI has seen attrition in its contact center fall, and the overall volume of customer inquiries decrease as a result of more effective service delivery. These factors combined have delivered additional cost savings and ROI from WSI’s Stella Connect investment.

“Staff attrition is a challenge facing every contact center team. With Stella Connect, we can deliver more personalized training and development across our front-line. This makes team members feel even more valued and confident in their job and this positive impact can be seen through lower attrition. It’s a win-win for team members and customers alike.”

Powering Service Recovery

Following the launch of Stella Connect, WSI’s QA staff were reassigned to manage training and service recovery. This service recovery program is powered through Stella Connect using the following workflow:

  1. Any negative feedback received by a front-line team member is instantly flagged to WSI’s service recovery team
  2. The service recovery team analyzes the interaction to see if it warrants direct customer follow-up
  3. After service recovery contacts, follow-up Stella Connect requests are sent; these requests enable WSI to measure the impact of the service recovery program on customer sentiment


How Stella Connect helps power service recovery for Williams Sonoma


Since its launch this service recovery program has delivered a significant uptick in overall satisfaction with average star ratings following service recovery interactions 4× higher than customers’ initial ratings.

“Negative feedback can happen for a number of reasons; our primary focus is to make things right with the customer as quickly as possible. Stella Connect has given us the visibility we need to power a highly effective service recovery process. Triggering an additional feedback request enables us to directly measure the impact of this program, and the results to date have been really encouraging.”

What’s next?

Based on the success of the Stella Connect partnership to date, WSI is now also leveraging the product to measure the quality of in-home delivery services. WSI and Stella Connect are also exploring ways in which the product can be leveraged in the retailer’s brick and mortar locations.

“Stella Connect has driven positive and measurable changes in behavior across our contact center team. Our focus now is working with the Stella team to replicate this success across our other customer touchpoints.”

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