Hallmark Business Connections Announces Innovative Customer Service Solution for Businesses

New program uses Hallmark cards to improve customer service employee engagement and customer experience

Mar 03, 2016, 05:51 ET from Hallmark Business Connections

MINNEAPOLIS, March 3, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Hallmark Business Connections, the business-to-business subsidiary of Hallmark Cards, Inc., is proud to announce the release of the company's new customer care solution for businesses. Designed to amplify the customer experience and empower contact center employees, the innovative program helps associates create meaningful connections with customers through Hallmark greeting cards.

The solution, now available to businesses via a custom web interface, allows contact center employees to create and mail a Hallmark greeting card designed specifically for the needs of employees who are engaging directly with customers. Accessible via a web-based interface, the program enables contact center employees to extend their impact on the customers they serve by expressing empathy, sympathy, excitement or congratulations through a management-approved framework.

"For more than one hundred years, Hallmark greeting cards have helped strengthen emotional connections between people," said Donald J. Hall, Jr., Hallmark CEO.  "Using the power of a card to connect businesses with their customers provides a unique opportunity for customer engagement that is authentic and meaningful."

Using Hallmark's proprietary digital handwriting, Hallmark Business Connections prints and mails each card to the chosen recipient on behalf of the customer service representative and company, eliminating time-consuming administrative work and risk of fraud or misstatement on behalf of the company. Impact is measured through employee engagement and customer satisfaction surveys. In addition, the solution features an advanced reporting system accessible by program managers.

"At Hallmark Business Connections, our mission is to build and strengthen business relationships," said Tressa Angell, president of Hallmark Business Connections. "The customer care solution puts the power of the Hallmark brand in the hands of customer service associates and makes customer experience a true differentiator. These are the types of relationships that can turn customers into true advocates."

As the idea of the customer care solution came to life, associates at Hallmark Business Connections realized the need for a business to provide input on the idea and its execution. The concept opened a fruitful partnership and pilot program with Kansas City Power and Light (KCP&L). KCP&L utilizes the solution with three specific goals: improving employee engagement in their call center, enriching the KCP&L customer experience and becoming an innovative leader in customer service to the utilities industry.

The pilot resulted in improved employee engagement at KCP&L, and the customer impact was overwhelmingly positive. Three-quarters of customers reported that their perceptions of KCP&L improved as a result of receiving the card. Overall satisfaction with the customer service experience is 10 percentage points higher among those who recall receiving the card than among those who were not sent the card. In addition, customers who received a Hallmark card were significantly more likely to rate KCP&L as being "much better" than other utility companies.

"With the rollout of this program, we've found nearly all employees using the solution say it gives them a feeling of personal accomplishment," said Terry Bassham, chairman and CEO of KCP&L. "The greatest insight we've gained is the profound impact this program has on the contact center employees. Creating these connections with customers has promoted employee engagement and transcended our service."

"The comments from both our contact center associates and our customers have been overwhelmingly positive and heartwarming," said Erica Penner, manager of performance management at KCP&L. "Our contact center employees often desire to do more beyond the call. The opportunity to send a greeting card through this program has had a positive impact on our employees, as they're able to share empathy, concern or excitement in concert with what their customers are feeling."

Hallmark's customer care solution became available to all companies February 1, 2016. To learn more about this solution and the profound impact it has had on employees, watch the KCP&L video.

About Hallmark Business Connections

As the business-to-business unit of Hallmark Cards, Inc., Hallmark Business Connections leverages more than 100 years of Hallmark heritage, creativity and innovation in the business arena to provide meaningful, memorable and measurable solutions that strengthen business relationships with employees and customers.

Hallmark Business Connections crafts innovative solutions that positively amplify employee and customer relationships that create measurable business impact. Hallmark Business Connections is headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn., with locations in Kansas City, Mo., and Duluth, Minn. For more information, visit http://www.hallmarkbusinessconnections.com/customercare

About Hallmark

For more than 100 years, privately-held Hallmark has been dedicated to creating a more emotionally-connected world. In the U.S., products offered by Hallmark Greetings, Hallmark Retail and Hallmark Home & Gifts can be found in more than 32,000 retail accounts including mass retailers, Hallmark Gold Crown® stores and online. Hallmark's family of companies also includes Crayola®, maker of creative art tools and toys, Crown Center, a mixed-use entertainment, office and residential district in Kansas City, and Hallmark International which offers products in more than 30 languages available in 100 countries. Hallmark also is a majority stakeholder in Crown Media Family Networks, which owns and operates cable television's Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. Headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, Hallmark employs 30,000 people worldwide. For more information, visit www.Hallmark.com. Connect on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest.

Brian Van Note
For Hallmark Business Connections

Lisa Oster
Hallmark Business Connections

Video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQ26oB59Unw&feature=youtu.be 
Logo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160302/339810LOGO


SOURCE Hallmark Business Connections