Awards Q&A: Insights On Customer Centricity From Valvoline (Best Contact Center Winner)

Shawn Castle
Posted: 06/23/2017

Update: Valvoline was named the 2017 CCW Excellence Award winner for Best-in-Class Contact Center (under 200 seats).

Does Valvoline run the world's best small contact center?  We will not know until the 2017 CCW Excellence Awards gala, which takes place on Tuesday, June 27, 2017.

We do, however, know Valvoline runs one of the best contact centers.  The organization is a finalist for this year's Best-In-Class Contact Center prize.

Ahead of Tuesday's gala, CCW Digital caught up with Valvoline's Shawn Castle to discuss his organization's thoughts on customer centricity and contact center culture.

The Q&A follows.  For more on the awards, click here.

How has your contact center evolved over the past few years, particularly as it relates to meeting the changing expectations of customers (omnichannel, effortless, etc) and business stakeholders (profit center, etc)?

Customer Service continues to evolve with the changing preferences of our customers. As a result, we have seen greater demand for channels such as chat, text, and social. In our contact center, and as an industry, we have been challenged to create competencies in these new channels while maintaining our expertise in the traditional channels such as voice and email.

Using the lens of the customer, we can identify and optimize areas of opportunity. We work hard to remove barriers in the path of our customers, and our team is focused on delivering a quick and easy customer experience from first contact to resolution. We continually align processes and systems to meet the expectations of our clientele.

Stakeholders have also shifted with the changing needs of the customer. Today, we work with a cross-functional team consisting of operations, marketing, and customer experience. The data captured in the contact center is used to make the next customer experience better. 

Valvoline takes great pride in the environment it fosters for employees.  Can you describe some highlights of the company culture – and why those lead to a better customer experience?

Valvoline’s culture yields high-performance teams; our people are “hands on experts” in our industry. This mindset encourages employees to become invested in understanding current and future demands of our products and services.

Recently, we moved into a new corporate headquarters that makes collaboration with other team members much easier. This state of the art facility helps people quickly connect to the resources they need to get their jobs done. The space not only encourages collaboration within teams but across the organization as well.

At Valvoline, we leverage our competitive nature to develop the best products and solutions for our customers. Our “Never Idle” philosophy is a reminder that greatness requires continuous improvement.

An enjoyable workplace is, of course, only part of the focus.  Productivity also matters.  How do you balance efforts to improve agent happiness with the need to optimize agent performance?

We believe our culture is our competitive advantage and it all starts with our people. We work diligently to be a highly productive team and deliver quick and easy customer service, but we also recognize and celebrate achievements and make time for fun. This philosophy leads to lower turnover and highly satisfied employees. We look at these principles as an investment in our people.

There’s a school of thought that the contact center should be an advocate for the customer rather than a “line of defense” for the business.  What’s your take on that philosophy?  And how does Valvoline ensure its contact center strategy is aligned with the voice of the customer?

The contact center acts as our voice of the customer. Our mission is to utilize customer feedback to improve overall experience and reduce customer effort. We utilize the team as an advocate for our customer; our team members are brand ambassadors and they are encouraged and empowered to make decisions.

The contact center is part of our customer experience team which allows us to drive change in a fast and effective manner. We use qualitative and quantitative data to create solutions that improve customer experience and business results. Finally, we work diligently to continuously base our strategic roadmap on the current and future needs of the customer.

Shawn Castle
Posted: 06/23/2017


United States
August 07 - 11, 2017
Loews Luxury Downtown Hotel, Chicago, IL, United States
August 13 - 15, 2017
Hilton Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
August 21 - 24, 2017