By Mike Aoki

What does it take to stay ahead of the competition for one of Canada’s leading payment processors? “Make Customer Experience (CX) a priority,” says Marc Hollenberg, Vice President, Customer Experience, Moneris Solutions.

Moreover, all Moneris employees have a stake in ensuring customers receive the best and the most innovative service. “Every employee has CX as part of their performance scorecard,” Hollenberg points out. “That reflects Moneris’ corporate values.”

Starts with the customers

How do you decide where to innovate? Start with your customers, the Moneris executive recommends. Listen to Voice of the Customer (VOC), namely providing agents with the tools to forward customers’ comments and suggestions.

“Ask customers how they want to interact with you,” says Hollenberg. “Then leverage customer feedback to constantly innovate with new products and services.”

For example, customers wanted to interact with Moneris through new channels such as live chat and social media. Moneris then added those channels to make it easy for customers to contact the company. He notes Moneris is focused upon offering next generation payment processing and other new services to help their customers.

“We don’t make investments based on what we think customers want,” states Hollenberg. “We do it based on what our customers tell us they want.”

Listening to the employees

Besides listening to customers, listen to your customer facing employees. For example, contact centre agents wanted a fast and easy to read CRM system to help them resolve customers’ issues. Sifting through multiple legacy applications to piece together customer overviews was one of their most frustrating activities, reports Hollenberg. As a result, agents focused more on their computer screens than on their customers.

Pulling key customer information from several different systems into one comprehensive customer account screen was the goal of a new customer relationship management (CRM) system deployed by Moneris in mid-September 2017. How the company launched it is a great example of customer experience innovation.

Moneris began by asking front line team members: “What do you do? How can we make that easier?” They then identified more than 800 unique requirements that helped drive the system’s design.

Ultimately, approximately 400 of those items were available at launch, says Hollenberg. More importantly, management provided feedback to their front-line teams about why the other 400 items did not go through and when it might be available in the future.

Keeping team members in the loop creates employee engagement, he points out. That was enhanced by engaging staff throughout the build and deployment process. They provided feedback on the tools they would ultimately use during customer interactions. As a result of that innovative rollout, employees became ambassadors for the new CRM system.

Focus on training and learning

Training is another key area of innovation at Moneris. Mary Kalkanis, Director, Talent and Leadership Development, recounts how three years ago most training was classroom based. Now, Moneris uses innovative blended-learning, micro-learning and social-learning to drive employee performance.

“Keep the modern learner in mind”, says Kalkanis. “Millennials want learning to be self-directed.”

That means learning at their own pace through a blend of eLearning and instructor led sessions. It means shorter and more innovative techniques such as infographics, video-based learning and mobile apps. Training then comes in easily digestible bite sized pieces. These innovations equip agents to provide better customer service, Kalkanis points out.

A second innovation is “drip training.” Rather than train new agents on every type of call, new hire training focuses on the most common customer issues. As a result, new hires ramp up faster.

Once they have experience, agents receive periodic training to handle less common interactions. This training includes “micro learning” where agents receive push notifications in their inboxes linking to five-to ten-minute-long eLearning sessions. This innovative approach allows agents to learn at their own pace, at their own desks. It also reduces the need for workforce management (WFM) to schedule longer classroom training sessions.

Social learning is a third innovation at Moneris. They have an internal site where all employees learn how to develop their careers. This site contains curated content including blogs, TED Talks and the opportunity to have conversations about career development. This creates more engaged employees: who contribute to a better customer experience.

Kalkanis’ team also uses Agile training development methodology. Adopted from the software development realm, it involves two-week design sprints, with daily stand-ups and bi-weekly checks. This system enhances accountability, boosts productivity and creates more innovative solutions. Leveraging the latest industry trends keeps Moneris’ training state of the art, while driving return on investment.

“The focus is always on the customer,” says Kalkanis. “The better we equip our employees to help customers, the more satisfied customers will be with us.”

Results and benefits

This constant cycle of customer experience innovation enables Moneris to stay ahead of its competitors in the fast-moving fintech sector. According to Hollenberg, innovation has driven increased Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) scores, better issue resolution rates and reduce callback rates. That translates to increased customer loyalty.

“Don’t be shy about communicating how customer experience results lead to increased revenue, “ advises Hollenberg. “Team members need to understand how their actions – and innovations – contribute to bottom line corporate results and their own personal employee performance ratings.”

This relentless focus on innovation yields two other benefits. It creates an industry-wide reputation for CX excellence. As a result, Moneris won the 2016 GTACC (Greater Toronto Area Contact Centre Association) Achievement Award for “Client Centricity.” Customers want to deal with award winning companies, Hollenberg points out.

Another benefit is the ability to attract top talent. The best people want to work for a company that is innovative.

“Employees relish the challenge of inventing new ways to help customers,” says Hollenberg. “They love the freedom to help customers and go the extra mile to make them happy.”

Mike Aoki is the President of Reflective Keynotes Inc. ( ), a Canadian training company that helps contact centres improve their sales and customer experience results. A contact centre expert, Mike serves on the Advisory Council of GTACC (the Greater Toronto Area Contact Centre Association )

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