LEGO's Reward Bricks, Colorful Culture and KPIs

Posted: 06/05/2011

Call Center IQ caught up with Jill Ouellette, LEGO's Director of Business Development, after her presentation at this year's 3rd Annual Customer Experience Summit to talk a bit about LEGOs contact center culture. We came away with some interesting answers, but sadly no LEGOs. Check out the video above or a recap of Ouellette's presenation below.

Recruiting, Rewarding and Retaining the Right Employees

LEGO’s contact center in Enfield, Conn., is a vibrant, colorful place to work – natural lighting, plants, engaging open spaces, free refreshments and snacks. Even a comfortable setting can’t totally keep out the strain of the holiday season, though.

"Those moms around Christmas will use words you would never imagine," Jill Ouellette, LEGO’s Director of Business Development, told her audience at the recent Customer Experience Summit. After dealing with these calls all day, it’s snowing – again – and you have a long drive home because you work in Enfield. How can you recruit people to do this? Ouellette said, forming the key question addressed in her presentation titled, "Creating an Unparalleled WOW Experience Inside and Out."

Ouellette detailed the unique combination of recruiting tactics, training practices and rewards and recognition programs that give LEGO its bright culture and quality customer service. It all results in a team that actively listens and understands the customer.

"You never know why people are so upset and why they are having trouble," she said. Ouellette tied her comment to one particularly frenetic mother whose histrionics were, upon further engagement, were tied to efforts to track down a LEGO product for her terminally ill son, who would be celebrating his last Christmas. Upon learning this, LEGO worked with its designers in Denmark to get the specific LEGO set to the boy in time for Christmas. The entire contact center was rewarded with a picture of the boy, sent in by the grateful mother, holding up a LEGO catalogue on Christmas morning.

"What do people really want? Why have they called?" Ouellette said. If the person seeks information, how can an agent make their life easier? If the person wants to complain, how can an agent gain their trust back? Ouellette added.

LEGO recruits agents largely based on personality. A vast majority of their contact center agents have never worked in a contact center before – "there an actor and one puppeteer," Ouellette mentioned. Agents run the gamut in age, with some recent college graduates holding the same job as others in their 50s.

Newly hired agents are imbued with what LEGO is supposed to "sound like" over the phone – fun, reliable, knowledgeable and engaging. Agents are not given scripts and several key KPIS are related to friendliness and amiability with customers. Consumer insights and Net Promoter Score (NPS) are shared across departments in annual, quarterly and monthly publications, while an online portal shares consumer insights daily and real-time NPS results. The summation is transparency – the CEO has a personal blog – and cross-department input, inspiration and suggestions for action.

Ouellette’s Power Point presentation was fluid and dynamic, zooming out to a view of all the slides before honing in on the next one, reflecting the creativity of LEGO’s culture she was promoting. She mentioned that LEGO attempts to encourage a similar creativity with their employees. The Academy is a branch used for contact center staff to participate in ongoing training based on their input and requests. Most programs are focused on creating well-rounded employees, catering to different learning styles and frequently not based on the day-to-day duties of a contact center agent.

Creativity – with a dash of Star Wars nerdiness – is also germane to the company’s rewards and recognition program. Ouellette produced a colored stack of LEGO bricks with bright phrases such as "I Rock at Sales," "You Build Me Up" and "Product Padawan" – all awards that agents can get to start building a stack of recognition LEGOs on their desk.

CMIQ caught up with Ouellette after her presentation to talk a bit more about LEGOs contact center culture. We came away with some interesting answers, but sadly no LEGOs. Check out the video above.