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A Golf Tutorial Site Brings Its Call Center In-House

A Golf Tutorial Site Brings Its Call Center In-House
Image credit: Revolution Golf

A successful stint in real estate allowed Justin Tupper to build a business around his true passion: golf. In 2008, he launched Revolution Golf, a website packed with video tutorials from top pros. The company has signed up 1.2 million subscribers who pay $14.95 per month or $124 per year.

But with that huge base comes a need for major customer support. First, Revolution Golf tried outsourcing the task of handling 50 to 200 daily calls. But in three years, it burned through three vendors, unhappy with a 5 percent call-failure rate and peak wait times of 15 to 30 minutes.

"E-mail responses typically took two to five days, and we got more than 100 complaints per week about poorly written responses," says chief communications officer Wayne Caparas. Adding insult to injury, the site paid up to $50,000 per month for the shoddy service.

The Fix
Unable to stomach the damage to its brand, Revolution Golf built its own call center in 2011. The company placed the eight-person operation near Nashville, Tenn., which has an educated work force and modest wage scale, and wired it with a VoIP line and call-center software from Five9. CRM software from Desk.com organizes all communication from each customer onto one screen, enabling operators to quickly get up to speed on issues.

The Results
The VoIP line and software boosted the connection rate to 99 percent and slashed median wait time to less than four minutes. E-mail response time is two to four hours in 80 percent of cases, and customer-service complaints are down to five or fewer per week. But the best result is cost savings, to the tune of $240,000 a year.

A Second Opinion
Revolution Golf "made a wise decision" to outsource at first, says Martin Prunty of consultants Contact Center Professionals, as it learned what would be needed in terms of manpower and technology for its own center. "Since labor normally represents 65 to 75 percent of the total cost of operating a call center, selecting an area with affordable labor costs and an educated work force will pay dividends for them for many years. And they also recognize the value of using the right technology," he says. He's also impressed by the commitment to quality customer service: "I give them high marks for that."

Logan Kugler is a 22 year-old entrepreneur and technology writer based in Silicon Valley. He's written for more than 60 major publications including Entrepreneur Magazine, Forbes, Fast Company, Men's Journal, Autoweek, Computerworld, PC World, and PC Magazine and he's been hired by Fortune 500 companies including IBM, CDW, BMW, and Oracle. He started his first business when he was 10 and turned a five-figure profit within the first year. He's currently working on getting humanity into space.

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This article was originally published in the April 2013 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Swing Shift.

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