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Canadian Tire Call Handling Best Practice

SQM Group Helped Canadian Tire Bank Achieve:

Customer fulfillment rate in IVR.


Out of 7 years achieved world class First Call Resolution performance.


Years is Canadian Tire's average tenure for a call center agent.

Canadian Tire Call Handling Best Practice Overview

Canadian Tire Financial Services call center has been certified by SQM as a world-class FCR performing call center for the last six out of seven years. The criteria to be certified as a world-class FCR performing call center is your FCR rate must be 80% or greater. Of the 500 call centers SQM measures, only 5% of their clients perform at the world-class FCR standard of 80%. Canadian Tire has been performing at the world-class agent satisfaction level for the last nine years.

Canadian Tire Financial Services Call Handling Case Study

Company Description

Canadian Tire Financial Services (CTFS) is the financial services arm of Canadian Tire. It offers credit, loans, insurance products, and services and is the second-largest MasterCard issuer in Canada with its Canadian Tire Options® MasterCard. CTFS is a significant contributor to Canadian Tire's performance, representing 8% of overall revenues but nearly 25% of profit in 2011. Canadian Tire Options® MasterCard continues the customer loyalty program tradition by awarding electronic ‘Money’ to cardholders when purchases are made at Canadian Tire stores.

Canadian Tire Financial Services

Opportunity Statement

At Canadian Tire, delivering consistently high-quality service experiences is a philosophy that is woven into the fabric of the organization’s “Customers for Life” culture. At our award-winning Customer Relationship Call Center (CRCC), every agent is fully aligned with the mission to deliver world-class customer service and is accountable for FCR and Csat.

The Way We Work

A look inside the CRCC reveals a best-in-class call center with consistently high FCR performance and employee engagement. Some of the elements that contribute to this customer-driven environment include:

A solid employee connection. The average tenure for a call center rep is 12 years. Employees tend to stay because their input is valued and acted upon, especially when dealing with process improvements that involve customers and efficiency.


Highly empowered frontline. First call resolution is a core component of the customer for Life culture. Call center agents understand that taking care of the customer’s needs is the top priority, and they are empowered to take the time to satisfy their customers.


Employees drive process improvements. Frontline staff is also actively involved in improving FCR and reducing customer effort. They participate in process improvement project teams from the initial idea, general, and input stages to the solution design.


Customers for Life culture are reinforced daily through team and peer recognition activities. One of the most visible mechanisms is the Customers for Life awards, which serve as both an individual commendation for promoting the culture and a company-wide reminder of the importance of making the customers’ right choices. It is a peer-nominated award, open to both customer-facing and back-office staff.

We have a strong connection to the local community. As one of the Niagara region’s major employers, the organization extends its Customers for Life culture to the local community. In fact, the focus on investing back into the community is another key contributor to its high employee satisfaction and longevity.


It’s a winning combination, to be sure. Yet, the CRCC is not one to rest on its past achievements. The center continuously improves its performance year after year by reviewing and recharging processes and programs.


Exceptional call handling practices. CRCC has a sophisticated telephone system to support call routing and an enhanced technology system equipped to store all of our customer information securely. Canadian Tire also has a great team of employees who go through extensive, state-of-the-art training and coaching on soft skills where they learn how to acknowledge, question, confirm, and respond appropriately in every customer situation. There are dedicated teams to handle account retention, insurance retention, disputed transactions, fraud, collections, and customer escalations. The exceptional staffing and technology make it very easy to resolve our customer concerns at the first point of call.

Canadian Tires Call Handling Case Study

Canadian Tire uses Chordiant, TSYS technology systems, and skill-based routing to ensure that calls are routed to the right agents. Our agent’s average tenure is 12 years, and the majority of them are certified as world-class FCR performers. The Interactive Voice Response system (IVR) takes care of most customer inquiries without transferring to the agent, such as account balance inquiry, minimum payment due, and card activation. CRCC has a proven 70% customer fulfillment rate within the IVR.

Customers can be authenticated through the IVR, where they go through a validation process before routing to the desktop. When the call is routed to the desktop, the agent can see on their monitor that the customer has been authenticated through the IVR. As a result, they can move right into helping the customer with the reason they called. The IVR also routes customers to agents with the right skill sets to assist them, which avoids the customer having to be transferred. For example, if a customer is calling to apply for a credit card, they will be routed to an agent with the appropriate skillset who can take care of them at the first point of their call.

CRCC can use our Chordiant technology system to target customers with marketing offers. Chordiant is loaded with “next best offers” that will appear as a “pop-up” when the account is accessed through an inbound call from the customer. When speaking with the customer, a “pop-up box” is presented to the agent, who will then make the offer to the customer. By clicking “yes or no,” the agent can execute the promotion. Customers are targeted based on their account history. Chordiant is also used for call tracking to improve efficiency. Agents can click on specific call types, and it will stamp the account, which eliminates the need to note the file for every call reason (e.g., balance inquiry, purchase inquiry, and address change). This function allows the agent to focus on the customer’s needs completely. Chordiant also provides the agents with a tool for tracking important customer feedback, called “Voice of the Customer.” A report of all “Voice of the Customer” feedback is generated and contributes to implementing positive changes to improve the customer experience, which in turn builds loyalty and creates customers for life.

Canadian Tire Soft Skills

CRCC provides exceptional soft skill training that focuses on essential communication skills empowering agents to be authentic and customize how they engage our customers based on their specific needs. They are not scripted unless legally required. Agents are empowered to use their good judgment for retention and goodwill adjustments. Thresholds are set to allow agents to apply monetary adjustments when necessary to resolve customer concerns at the first point of call. It is not too often that they need to escalate further. However, there is a clear escalation process from agent to team lead to supervisor to manager, and further if necessary. An escalation service level agreement is in place to ensure that every customer is called within 72 business hours. The escalation process is outlined in the knowledge management system, which all agents have access to, as well as a printed copy is posted at each workstation for quick reference.

Agents can use the CISCO phone system to warm transfer customers in real-time to any department. Agents are highly trained and capable of resolving a customer’s concern at the first point of the call. Dedicated teams are in place to handle account retention, insurance retention, loyalty, disputes, fraud, and collections. Our agents can complete a three-way conference call for a dispute call type, where they connect our customers with the merchant for immediate cancellation.

SQM Group Call Center Best Practice Awards

SQM Awards Won

Call Center of the Year Winner (CRCC): 2005, 2006, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016
Highest Customer Satisfaction – Credit Card Industry (CRCC): 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
Highest Omni-Channel Customer Service (CRCC): 2015, 2016
World Class FCR Certification (CRCC): 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
Highest Employee Satisfaction in Call Center Industry (CRCC): 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
World Class Employee Satisfaction (CRCC): 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2020
Best Practice - Call Handling: 2014, 2015
Best Practice - Agent Training: 2017
Best Practice - Omni-Channel: 2018