Why Showpo switched to a new customer management platform

Australian online fashion retailer switches out Freshdesk for Zendesk as it looks to improve its customer services management and reporting

Getting a better handle on customer service and matching rapid business growth with a stronger reporting and response approach has led Showpo to deploy a new platform in just seven weeks.

Showpo general manager, Alex Durkin, told CMO the eight-year-old online fashion retailer has been using Freshdesk’s customer service and management offering for the past three years but was experiencing significant issues. For example, chat and phone service offerings weren’t were they needed to be, basic functionality, such as sorting service tickets, was missing, and there were disquieting gaps in customer contact reporting.

“Freshdesk was the right choice at the time; we were a much smaller organisation then. But with our growth being so rapid and data being so important to us, we couldn’t get the data we needed out of Freshdesk,” Durkin said. “We’re at that next stage of growth.

“We needed a platform that was as localised and responsive as possible. During our time with Freshdesk, we had six different account managers, which meant often we weren’t getting the full picture. Information was getting missed, which made understanding customer difficulties challenging.”

In addition, a lack of transparency meant reporting wasn’t always in real time and Showpo staff couldn’t accurately see missed calls or customers in a queue for a live chat.

With a looming peak sales summer season ahead, Showpo recruited boutique Melbourne CX consultancy, successCX, and deployed Zendesk’s offering in seven weeks. The online group has rolled out Zendesk Guide to help with self-service online, plus Chat, IVR for more personalised support, Talk, Text, integration with Facebook Messenger and direct messaging.

SuccessCX designed documentation and set up the new solution, with Showpo’s in-house development team then doing the integration work into the front end and other platforms running inside Showpo, such as its ecommerce platform, Magento (now part of Adobe). Showpo’s US team helped with designing the help centre and how it works.

Durkin said shipping information is being flowed into Zendesk so teams don’t have to tap into different places and systems to find it. The group uses AfterShip to provide customers with shipping updates.

“That integrates with all carrier services being used and provides this information to the customer. A project around ETA and giving specifics on delivery dates is now underway,” she explained.

Durkin said effort was being put into an extensive range of ‘on-brand’ macros and shortcuts to assist agents with speedy and consistent customer responses. Zendesk has also been integrated with internal workflow management tool, Slack, allowing Showpo’s ‘customer happiness’ agents to work closely with internal product and marketing development teams around product inquiries.

Durkin said Zendesk’s reporting transparency was a key reason for choosing the platform. “Through data, if we have a report that shows us gaps in customer service, we can resource adequately. Previously, we couldn’t see the number of missed charts or calls, and didn’t know how many customers were trying to contact us,” she said.

“Now we have all channels and views on call, customers will be able to choose to contact us however they want to. It was about resetting the baseline and bringing in more transparency to customer management.”

Off the back of Zendesk, Showpo has debuted a centralised help centre, where customers can better self-service. This is based on a custom API integration which leads customers through a self-service journey via the website initially. Customers are then being routed to a manned service channel if they need further assistance.

This replaces a static FAQ page, and allows Showpo to surface up content most relevant to the individual consumers, Durkin said.

While there’s still a lot of work going on to get to the bottom of what the numbers are and how they should look, Durkin said Showpo has put in tiered levels to better understand customer inquiries. A top level might be inquiring about an order, while at a secondary level, specific details about the order are then recorded and categorised, such as if its faulty goods.

“That means all inquiries coming through our help centre have a categorisation of why we’re being contacted, which makes it easier to action,” Durkin said. “It also helps us see how big a problem is, and decide how to address it. It then helps us with resourcing, so getting more granular with reports on agency efficiency, the cost of agent per hour, and how much the problem is costing the company.”

Resource and reporting

With a backlog still to work through, Durkin said the biggest lightbulb moment has been just how under-resourced the online retailer was.

“Customers are now contacting us where they want and we just didn’t realise how much were doing that,” she said. Durkin added live chat is so popular, Showpo has had to turn it off several pages temporarily and try to funnel customers through the help centre in order to manage contact volumes.

This, along with text messaging which now allows a customer to text and Showpo text back a response, has seen the group hire 10 temporary to help service customers.

Alongside the technology, the group has turned on customer satisfaction scoring after every customer interaction.

“This feedback gives us insight into which agents are doing better job, if agents need more training,” Durkin continued. “We also track NPS across the business and run a Slack channel so any feedback gets recorded and taken back to the team for them to follow up with customers.”

Showpo’s next steps include bolstering capabilities of its warehouse-based customer operations team, so any address changes can be actioned straight through the warehouse. It’s also working to ensure warehouse staff can directly action any faulty goods.

“It’s also about getting the resourcing right overall,” Durkin said. “Then it’s turning back on all the points of contact so customers can contact us however they choose. There’s still a lot of work to do with engagement. We resource 24 hours a day but that can be a challenge.

“Now we have this technology to carry us through, it’s how we use the data and built a team around that.”

Durkin also hoped data would help Showpo become more proactive to customers. As a step forward, the group has launched an online returns portal, so data on returns can be fed through to the product team.

“There is so much opportunity and we have a data warehouse, so as long as we can get the data in there, we can build the reporting we want,” she added.  

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+:google.com/+CmoAu 

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