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Understanding where to begin a service transformation initiative can be a grueling, and many times, head-scratching process. The Service Council recently spoke with advisory board member Stu Reed, president of home services, Sears Holdings Corp., about the company’s two-year-long service transformation initiative called The Customer Engagement Model. Stu discussed the primary driver of Sears’ service transformation: the customer. 

How does Sears Home Services define its customer-centricity model?

Two years ago, Sears Home Services embarked on a journey to transform its relationships with customers from event-based transactions to a customer relationship model. For Sears home Services, The Customer Engagement Model, called “proadvocacy,” is a cycle that matches customer needs with a team of empowered associates, that through leadership enablement, produces a service experience worthy of telling family and friends.

What’s the most important factor of “producing a service experience worthy of telling family and friends?”

In a 52 percent referral business across our in-home, installation, and home improvement business units, our customers have told us that process and technology, while vital, can only get us to 58 percent of our customer satisfaction goals. A sustainable behaveioral change is required to consistently deliver a “recommend to a friend” experience. Showing respect for the customer is the single most important factor in achieving 100 percent customer satisfaction.

How does Sears use the voice of the customer (VOC) feedback to continuously improve its customer support programs? 

Gathering real-time customer feedback, temperature checks, and post-service surveys drives our recovery engagement and continuous improvement performance management. Sears has deployed a series of customer feedback programs, including its temperature survey that is currently rolled out nationally across all of Home Services, which has captured responses from 18.5 million customers annually. The results enable real-time, rapid advocate response to customer feedback.

How does Sears ultimately use the results of customer feedback to improve the way it interacts with customers?

We believe that the best way to get engaged customers is to have overly engaged technicians. That’s why we empower our technicians. They carry their own business cards, they introduce the temperature check survey to the customer on the laptop in real time, and they turn their laptop around to allow the customer to see the results. We strive to achieve full engagement among our customers.

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