The Shopping Channel

The Shopping Channel
59 Ambassador Drive
Mississauga, Ontario, L5T 2P9

Customer Care Centre
Toll-free, 24 hours a day
1(888) 2020 888
TDD (for the hearing impaired): 1(800) 263-2900
Fax: 1(877) 2020-877

Company Description

The Shopping Channel, Canada's only nationally televised shopping service and leading electronic commerce player is Canada's most innovative and diversified retailer and distributor.

Since the initial launch of The Shopping Channel in 1987, The Shopping Channel has become a true multi-channel retailer and distributor through its leading online presence at (launched in 1999) and its full service turn-key Direct Response Television (DRTV) and national retail distribution/wholesale division, The Shopping Channel Direct.

With 600+ dedicated employees, focused on delivering a world class Customer Experience and comprehensive marketing and distribution services to valued partners, The Shopping Channel today is recognized as Canada's premier success story in electronic and diversified retailing. The Shopping Channel is a division of Rogers Broadcasting Limited (a subsidiary of Rogers Media Inc.).

Contact Center Description

The Shopping Channel is a single site that also uses over 100 home based agents to assist with the unique call spikes associated with the on-air broadcast. The Customer Care Centre structure includes a VP Customer Service, Customer Care Manager, Quality Assurance Manager, Help Desk Manager and Customer Relations Manager. 7 Supervisors report to the Customer Care Manager. Each Supervisor has up to 15 front-line Representatives reporting to them. There are 18 Help Desk staff and 2 Help Desk Supervisors reporting to the Help Desk Manager. Seven Quality & Efficiency Supervisors and 1 Scheduling Analyst all Report to the Quality and Efficiency Manager. There are over 100 front line inbound Representatives and 18 Help Desk Representatives.

Customer Care Representatives are accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week and provide service in multiple languages. Through a combination of inbound/outbound and order/non-order related calls, Representatives handle over 3,000,000 calls per year supporting over 10,000 products. Customer communication channels include: phone, email, fax, post mail and web.

The Customer Care Centre is very bright with lots of natural light and vibrant colours. Indirect overhead lighting is used throughout the centre and individual lighting is available at each workstation. There are lots of live plants and inspirational posters on the walls. Many fish images are visible throughout the center as they have adopted the "FISH" philosophy. The management team is grouped together so they can communicate and support each other more effectively. Management has an open door policy and most managers' offices have no doors.

The Customer Care Centre is located in the same building as the television studios. This makes the Representatives feel more connected to the products being sold. They also get to meet some of the celebrities before the broadcast which helps build motivation and create excitement. The Customer Care Centre is located close to the National Distribution Centre where employees can easily go to pick up products they buy through the employee purchase program.

The cafeteria is a very modern and clean facility with an on-site chef. Hot, healthy meals are prepared each day. Vending machines, microwave ovens and refrigerators provide added convenience for employees. It's a great area for employees to relax, eat something healthy and socialize. Cold and hot filtered water is available in the Customer Care Centre for all employees. Picnic tables are available outside when the weather is nice.

Sick rooms are available for any health concerns. There are fire extinguishers and first aid kits for emergencies and there is someone trained in first aid on the floor at all times. There are a number of fire exits around the building perimeter, and fire drills are held to ensure people know what to do and where to go in the event of an emergency. Washrooms are modern, clean facilities with sufficient capacity to service all staff. The whole building is kept spotless with a dedicated cleaning service.

Surfer's Paradise is a cyber café where employees can go on their break to cruise the internet. Telephones are also available free of charge. The employees established a Leisure Library which includes a book exchange program. This is very popular and something the employees really enjoy.

There are separate training rooms fully equipped with networked computers used to simulate the working environment on the call center floor. A dedicated smoking area is located outside the building and separate smoking and non-smoking coat closets are available to staff.

Public transit stops right in front of the building. Parking at the building is provided free of charge. No one is permitted in the building from midnight to 7:00 am. If anyone feels they need assistance in walking to their car at night, a security guard is available. All employees are issued a security pass to access the building and their departments.

CCEOC Certified: 2006

The Shopping Channel Customer Care Centre is the first retail contact center in North America to attain the Contact Center Employer of Choice® certification. They achieved the Gold level designation on the first assessment.

The following issues were key factors in the decision to pursue the CCEOC designation:

  • Gain industry-wide recognition as a great place to work
  • Identify areas of opportunity to improve employee satisfaction & engagement
  • Elevate the performance of its operations
  • Further develop their employer of choice culture

Becoming certified through the Contact Center Employer of Choice program allows The Shopping Channel to: benefit from achieving the designation, address key employee satisfaction issues and develop an action plan for continuous improvement.

The Shopping Channel has achieved the Gold level CCEOC designation for 2006/2007 and is looking forward to promoting it and maintaining their high standards of excellence.

Performance Measures

  • Quality 96.5%
  • Service level 80% of calls answered in 30 seconds
  • Adherence 91%
  • Attendance 92%
  • AHT 167 seconds
  • Order Abandon Rate 6%
  • Occupancy 73%
  • E-mails answered in 24 hours

Technology & Ergonomics

The Shopping Channel uses an Avaya ACD system with CTI (computer telephony interface) and the Avaya CMS reporting package. An IVR system fronts their inbound toll-free number making it easier for customers to get answers quickly. E-talk monitoring system and Smith Gardner database system are used with in the contact center. ScriptSure is custom software that shows representatives on-air show product details. All workstations are equipped with computer terminals, headsets, ergonomic chairs and keyboard wrist supports. Each representative's computer has a TV built into it so they can access live broadcasts. The Shopping Channel has an extensive intranet and uses high speed internet connections as well as fingerprint authentication for their at-home agent team to the main facilities.

Most workstations are arranged in rows with a supervisor located at the end. Representatives are separated by a partition. Each workstation has overhead shelves and ample file space. The rows are configured so that each Representative has plenty of personal space and noise levels are kept to a minimum. Representatives share workstations (unless they win Seat Factor, an incentive that reserves a seat for a Representative for a month as well as earning a professional massage) but own their headsets. Ergonomic chairs and leading edge desktop technology help employees feel energized and confident in servicing the customer.

Growth Prospects

The Shopping Channel continues to grow year over year. The merchandising group adds 15% new products every day. More and more customers are making purchases over the internet and phone orders are increasing. Utilizing at-home agents has helped established a 24-7 operation providing customers the convenience of ordering anytime. This has contributed to exceeding sales targets on a regular basis.

CCEOC Attributes

Overall, the The Shopping Channel Customer Care Centre displays many positive contact center employer of choice® attributes.

The following represent some of the main items that stood out as important from management's perspective:

  • People are great
  • Relaxed and warm atmosphere
  • New ideas are listened to and accepted
  • Open door policy – free to talk to anyone
  • Great amenities – Cafeteria, Surfers Paradise, vending machines etc.

Work/life Balance and Health & Wellness

THE SHOPPING CHANNEL has a number of initiatives supporting work/life balance and health and wellness. They offer an employee assistance program to all staff. There is a Health and Medical centre as well as a wellness library located in Mississauga as well as the head office in Toronto. A Health and Safety Committee accepts employee input and conducts regular information sessions on accidents, hazards and other topics. The HR Department is starting a new initiative to introduce health & wellness education to employees through monthly sessions and Lunch & Learns. Topics of discussion will include: nutrition, finances, massage, naturopathy, stress and more. On Saturdays, wellness classes are available to all staff at the downtown head office location.

The environmental controls for the building are well maintained and adjusted for comfortable air temperature and good air quality. Automated doors were installed throughout the building for wheel chair access. A discount was negotiated at a local family fitness gym and a corporate fitness centre is available to all employees.

"Shift trades" and "shift gives" are used regularly within the customer care center. Shift trades allow Representatives to exchange shifts, provided both parties are qualified to do each other's job. Shift trades allow a Representative to give their shift to someone else even though they are not receiving one in return. Employees must fill out the appropriate forms and Management must approve each request. Volunteer "Timeouts" are unpaid breaks when call volume is low. Also, when call volumes are lower than expected, employees can leave early provided they have worked a minimum 4 hours and have cleared it with their supervisor. "Lazy Days" are days off based on projected low call volume, usually linked to on-air activity. It's on a first come first serve basis and completely voluntary. There is also a notification program where Supervisors send text messages to employees on their cell phones asking them to come in and work additional hours when call volume starts to climb. This program is also purely voluntary on the part of the Representative.

Employees have 2 – 15 minute breaks and ½ hour lunches each 8 hour shift. 12 minutes of personal time per day is allotted to each employee and can be broken down into smaller amounts and used at anytime throughout the day for stress relief after difficult calls. Each full-time employee is allowed one "call-in absent" and one "late" per month for emergencies. They need to call in one hour before their shift if they know they are going to be late or absent. Management will look at each incident individually and take into account any unforeseen circumstances such as bad weather, slow traffic etc. Each employee gets 8 paid sick days per year and their birthday off.

Rewards & Recognition

Rewards and recognition are an important part of The Shopping Channel culture. A program called "Seat Factor" is designed to reward the Representative that meets or exceeds the overall Excellence Challenge score and the Quality Score for the month, as well as meeting or exceeding the Average Handle Time target. The prize is a massage from a professional masseuse and they can reserve their station for the month. For the team that has the most Seat Factor winners, the supervisor gets a massage as well. Employee of the month receives $350 on their pay as well as $150 dollar gift card that can be used at a number of restaurants.

The Excellence Challenge is both an individual and team based reward program. 15 full time employees and 2 part-time staff are recognized for achieving the highest Excellence Challenge scores for the month in the CCC. They each get credits on their Shopping Channel account that they can use to purchase products. The Excellence Challenge score is made up metrics that the Representatives have complete control over and are in-line with department goals. Teams can also win the Excellence Challenge. The team that gets the highest Excellence Challenge score gets to pick an event from a list of about 6, that the entire team can do together (i.e. Dave & Busters, Mini-Golf, Montanas, Yuk Yuks etc.).

The Help Desk offers incentives for the top 3 performing Representatives: $75 for first, $50 for second, and $25 for third. They also have team awards (winning team has a dinner out).

The Service Award is based on tenure and given out to employees with 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25 year service records. They get to pick a prize which is usually quite substantial, receive and letter from the CEO and a Rogers pin. The average tenure for THE SHOPPING CHANNEL staff is 8 – 10 years.

Star Awards is a peer nomination award. It is based on behaviour and focuses on four main criteria: play, make your Customer's day, being present and choose your attitude. Customer compliments are also taken into account. The prize is time off – either ½ hour off per week or ½ day off that month. This award is very popular.

Many vendors offer incentives such as product raffles or pizza lunch. This helps to motivate Representatives. The team with the most monthly "callers-to-air" wins a free pizza party.

The Rogers owners Box is the executive box at the Rogers Center where major sporting events are held. When tickets become available, top performing Representatives and top performing supervisors have an opportunity to go to an event and are treated like royalty.

Culture & Social

The culture and social environment at Rogers/The Shopping Channel can be summed up in one word – Fun. However, there are many other attributes that make it a unique Customer Care Centre environment. The Shopping Channel a multicultural group of employees with tremendous diversity. The atmosphere is relaxed and casual, and the people are warm, engaging and very accepting of others. Due to the friendly and supportive nature of the operation, employees are very adept at dealing with change. This is particularly important in an environment where products are changing every hour and Representatives need to be on their toes.

Employees support the company and buy their products. This creates a strong connection to the organization and influences behaviour in a positive way.

People socialize together at work and after hours. Many attend the extravagant year-end Holiday party which is always lots of fun.

Community support

THE SHOPPING CHANNEL regularly gives back to the community and supports local charities through ongoing activities and events. The social committee, along with employee input, picks the charities to focus on throughout the year. THE SHOPPING CHANNEL is involved in a food drive and toy drive at Christmas. They do fundraising for the United Way and the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. Various raffles and events are held throughout the year to raise additional funds for their charities.

The Customer Care Centre has donated their time, facility and people to support the Breast Cancer money drive. They received inbound calls and accepted donations. They have also provided emergency support for natural disasters such as the Tsunami relief effort.

Above and Beyond Factors

Above all of the official policies, procedures and structures that makes The Shopping Channel Customer Care Centre a great place to work, Customer Care employees truly care about each other and like to have fun. Above and beyond refers to the little (or big) extras that differentiates the The Shopping Channel Customer Care Centre contact center from all the rest.

Here is a list of some of those activities:

  • People are great
  • Relaxed and warm atmosphere
  • New ideas are listened to and accepted
  • Open door policy – free to talk to anyone
  • Great amenities – Cafeteria, Surfers Paradise, vending machines etc.
  • People feel secure
  • Lots of discounts
  • Lots of support for new employees
  • Feeling connected to the parent organization
  • Great career path opportunities
  • Get to meet celebrities
  • Management meets with a team of Representatives who are leaders in the Centre every month to share ideas