June 23, 2005, 12:00 AM

How Tool King’s call center helps increase return customers

Tool King has boosted its number of return customers by about 25% over the last six months, thanks in part to a VoIP phone system that can automatically route contact center calls to specialists in its retail store, managing partner Don Cohen says.

Multi-channel retailer Tool King LLC has boosted its number of return customers by about 25% while increasing sales more than 30% over the last six months, thanks in part to a Samsung Voice over IP phone system that can automatically route contact center calls to specialists in its retail store, managing partner Don Cohen tells InternetRetailer.com.

“The increase in return customers is due to our new focus on customer service,” Cohen says. A key part of that strategy, he adds, is a new system that can automatically route incoming calls when necessary to the retail specialists who work the sales floor and handle major accounts at Tool King’s headquarters store outside Denver.

General customer service calls go to Tool King’s call center reps, but if a customer is requesting specialized information in areas such as automotive or woodworking tools, the system can automatically route the call to the portable phone carried by an automotive or woodworking specialist at the store. Tool King operates one 10,000-square-foot store in addition to ToolKing.com.

Routing special-needs calls to its category experts also frees up customer service reps to concentrate on general information calls and engage in more cross-selling techniques, Cohen says.

Tool King is also considering routing off-hours calls to an outsourcer in India, which will increase its communication with consumers who otherwise might shop elsewhere. While Cohen figures the outsourced operation could handle most general calls about shipping and return policies and general product details, it could also help to organize responses to customers with special needs. “When we come in the next day, we’ll have a list of people and subject matter to respond to,” he says.

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