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About this episode:
Providing customer support can be exhausting, time-consuming, and even scary at times. This week, Nicole shares that it doesn’t have to be. By streamlining your customer support channels into one place and having a ‘universal inbox’, you can not only improve your brand’s efficiency in addressing your customers’ concerns, but you can also create a better and lasting relationship with them.
In this episode, they also talk about:
- How to tailor customer support strategies based on your audience
- Why it is important to create a personalized experience for your customers
- How other brands are using customer support as a differentiator vs as a tool just for handling tickets
- How to turn negative experiences into positive ones through great customer support setup
If you’re interested in increasing your efficiency and providing the best support for your customers, then this episode is for you.
Learn more and Nicole and her resources here:
Want to be a guest on our show? Have feedback or ideas for how we can improve? Send your thoughts over to email@example.com. We’ll be keeping an eye on that inbox. 🙂
The Ecommerce Insights Show is brought to you by The Good, a Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) consultancy specializing in helping ecommerce businesses accelerate their growth through better research, testing, and design. Learn more about our team, our work, and our services at www.thegood.com.
[00:00:00] James Sowers (The Good): So here’s the question. How can e-commerce leaders make sure that they’re producing a great product, providing a world class customer experience responsibly managing their finances and still reserve time, energy, and resources for marketing their products? My name is James Sas, and you are listening to the e-Commerce Insight Show, the podcast that gives you specific actionable advice for growing your e-commerce business.
[00:00:20] Every Monday you’ll get a conversion rate optimization tactic that you can implement quickly to make your business 1% better every single. Every Thursday we sit down with industry experts to go deep on a specific aspect of running a successful e-commerce business. It’s the perfect blend of learning and application, which means that you maximize the value of every single minute you spend with us.
[00:00:41] We’re just as committed to growing your business as you are, so if you’re looking for a partner to help you crush your revenue goals, you’ve come to the right place, roll up your sleeves and grab a notepad because it’s time to get to work. Hey Nicole. Thanks so much for taking time outta your day to come on the E-Commerce Insight Show and talk to us about all things customer support.
[00:00:58] It’s kind of an area of interest for me because as a marketer, I think it’s an overlooked gold mine of, you know, customer sentiments and even marketing messages and copywriting phrases and things like that. We’ll get into that a little bit later on, but before we do, I wanna get into a little bit about your background and, uh, maybe a couple of sentences about what you’re working on today, what you’re doing at Gorgias, and what gets you excited to fire up your laptop in the.
[00:01:18] Nicole Baqai (Gorgias): Thank you, James for having me. It’s super cool that we’re able to meet through Twitter. I just started getting on Twitter this last year, so it’s super exciting to see that the power of the tool, actually, how many connections I’ve made through it and meeting like-minded individuals, so. My name’s Nicole Bka.
[00:01:33] I’m the senior partner manager at Gorgias. I, um, usually work around the East coast. I’m based outta New York City. I traditionally work with most of the digital marketing agencies, development agencies on the East coast to educate them on what Gorgias does, how it’s fitting for a lot of their brands and the clients that they work with.
[00:01:50] And then I also, you know, speak at other events and educate on Gorgias as well at trade shows and panels and other in person, well now more virtual events than usual.
[00:02:00] James Sowers (The Good): Yeah, it sounds like a dream job to me. I mean, always different things going on and just being creative about how to connect with partners and connect with vendors and things like that and, and strengthen those relationships and ultimately, I guess, drive results for the, the growth goals that have been set at gorgeous.
[00:02:14] I’m assuming it all has to translate into new accounts and new users and things like that. So it sounds like a fun, a fun line of work and. You know, as you know, customer support is changing day by day, just like your role, I’m sure. And that keeps things challenging, keeps them interesting. One thing that I’ve noticed is that like with every new platform, the next TikTok or whatever it is, or clubhouse a few months back or whatever, that seems to be like yet another inbox, right?
[00:02:35] So people who are specializing customer support or at a smaller brand, if you’re a founder, still trying to wear multiple hats, like you’ve got the traditional channels like phone, email, sms are pretty established, but then you’re gonna have every social media inbox on top of. What are your feelings or what are you hearing from the market even about brand owners and leaders at e-commerce brands trying to manage like the volume that comes through all these different channels and how does gorgeous fit into that as a, a tool in the toolkit, so to speak?
[00:03:01] Nicole Baqai (Gorgias): Yeah, absolutely. And I think I, you know, forgot to intro exactly what gorgeous is, but gorgeous for, you know, those that are listening. Um, We’re an e-commerce help desk, so we aggregate all your support one place. So email, chat, Facebook, phone, all the channels that you just mentioned to really streamline your support in one place.
[00:03:16] And I think customer touchpoints are everywhere now. The entire landscape of the way we communicate with brands is changing. So what you know our founders sought out to do is, is, is have this one encompassing tool. that allows you to aggregate all those channels in one place and all those touch points so you can switch between flows.
[00:03:32] If someone’s writing to you on Instagram DM and then you see that they have a Shopify order as well, now you can actually identify that’s a customer. I think what’s really special is oftentimes I’ll talk to, you know, Founders and they’re kind of growing their company and they’re like, Oh, we don’t need, you know, a customer tool that it’s that advanced yet.
[00:03:48] And I’m like, Yeah, but, but you do, because at the end of the day, if you’re going between Facebook and Instagram and managing all your, out of your Gmail, you’re actually like losing a lot of time and you’re not really working as efficiently as you could be versus, you know, implementing this tool streamlining at all in one place.
[00:04:03] And now you’re actually as a founder who has limited time able to, to prioritize and focus on the really urgent matters. We also have AI and machine learning components as well that help you identify which are the more urgent matters, which are the most, you know, angry customers, uh, versus those that are not as angry.
[00:04:19] Maybe you can get to them a little bit later, um, where before you lose that customer opportunity. So I would say it’s a very. It’s a really amazing tool for small brand owners. And then also of course, you know, these bigger companies that have maybe 10, 20 customer service agents. And I, I don’t think it’s one size fits all.
[00:04:36] I think it totally depends on, you know, what the needs are, how many volume of tickets you’re getting, and if you wanna handle that on your own without a tool, totally fine. I just think most likely, once they see like our capabilities, they’re really excited and realize how much time they could be saving.
[00:04:51] James Sowers (The Good): Yeah, that’s great. I mean, this concept of a universal inbox, like I want that for my personal life. You know, I have text messages and, and my wife’s in there and then occasionally coworkers are in there and like friends from college and stuff. But then I’ve got Slack next to that. Then I’ve got Twitter dms, which is how you and I coordinated this conversation.
[00:05:05] Like just in my personal life, I’d love to have one place to go and just kind of manage, re reply to continue those conversations cuz it’s really easy for stuff like that to you open up a text message, it gets marked as red. You forget to come back to it because you’re at the gym or something like that, and that’s just gone.
[00:05:19] That person’s like, Well James, its being a jerk. You know? And you definitely don’t want that kind of experience. So if we translate that to a business setting, it sounds like Gorgias really solves that problem where it’s like brings all of these things into a single application. You visit that, or maybe you live in there, right?
[00:05:33] All day. If you’re a customer support specialist or a founder that’s passionate about supporting customers, and it just kind of streamlines a lot of those workflows, I would guess that most people probably come to you at the point where they’re considering. Hiring a team member, right? Whether it be a VA or a full-time team member.
[00:05:46] It’s like if you’re thinking about hiring a person, it might also be a good milestone or a good like decision point to consider hiring a tool that can still help you be more efficient. How do you weigh that? Or like, do you see anything among your customers where it’s like they choose one or the other?
[00:05:59] They either don’t sign up for gorgeous and they hire a person instead, or they just hired a person and they need to give that person the tool to get their job done. Yeah,
[00:06:06] Nicole Baqai (Gorgias): I think, I think it’s a mixture, right? So these, there’s, you know, some scrappy, more bootstrap founders that will be working out of that on their own.
[00:06:13] Then it’s like kind of. Founder that’s just now hiring someone, but they need something for them to work out of, right? So it’s like this perfect tool for them to actually, you know, track productivity, track revenue. We have live agent statistics, put KPIs to that actual new hire. And another beautiful thing that we have is we have partnerships with a lot of outsourcing agencies.
[00:06:31] So BPOs, which are call centers that actually work outside of our tool. And so let’s. You know, a brand actually wants to outsource their support ends up being cheaper. They don’t have to have someone full-time, so they end up saving money so they could hire someone part-time through the agency recommendations that we give them.
[00:06:47] And these, these agencies are a hundred percent well versed and gorgeous, know exactly how to work out of the tool. They already know how to pull statistics and all the analytics that a typical brand would enjoy. And so that’s another option that you can, you can recommend to a lot of these brands that are, that are looking to optimize their customer.
[00:07:04] James Sowers (The Good): Yeah, I love that angle because you see that happen with like Clavio or like an email marketing tool. It’s like we have this database of certified clavio experts and if you don’t have the funds or it’s not the right time for you to hire a full-time marketing specialist to run your email program, you just work with one of these consultants on, uh, a contract basis.
[00:07:21] They already know the tool. They come in and teach you about the tool. So by proxy you’re getting some education and some training there as well. And then if you do hire a full-time person, you kind of have those SOPs, that documentation, that playbook already set up. It sounds. You guys are doing a lot of the same stuff over at Gorgeous, where it’s like we work with these agencies, we vetted them, we trust them.
[00:07:37] If you need a human resource to come in and help you out that already knows gorgeous, it can help you learn gorgeous as well. Just reach out to one of these folks and we think you’ll have a good experience.
[00:07:45] Nicole Baqai (Gorgias): Yeah, and we’re happy to make those introductions. I mean, we have those great relationships. We have recommendations for who we would, you know, depending on the client size, depending on.
[00:07:54] Tickets they get how many, you know, what type of brands is, maybe it’s a skincare company. We have specific agencies that are really specialized in skincare. They learn your brand voice and so they’re pretty much an extension of your brand without you having to now train someone and do the big lift on your own.
[00:08:08] And I think it’s honestly, especially now that we’re so remote, it’s, it’s very, be a very beneficial
[00:08:13] James Sowers (The Good): path. Yeah, totally agree. And, uh, you know, you can’t overstate the efficiency of finding that right fit person faster because somebody’s already done the legwork because you could hire two or three people and, and for whatever reason, they’re not a good fit before you land on the one that ultimately is.
[00:08:27] So the cost savings, the time savings, the peace of mind that comes with like jumping straight into a good provider right away, I would say, can’t be overstated. The one thing that I wanted to take this conversation toward is like, gorgeous is the home for all of these different channels, all these different inboxes.
[00:08:43] It’s kind of like your 360 degree view of customer support across wherever your business is operating, right? I’m curious that like as new channels come in as you have like a Twitter DM inbox versus an email inbox versus, you know, phone and voicemails and things like that. Like are you seeing brands start to customize how they approach customer support by channel?
[00:09:04] Or maybe even like if somebody contacts you by email but they don’t get a response within an hour and they’re inpatient or whatever, they go to live chat on the site and now you’ve got one person across two different channels. Like how does gorgeous make that more efficient and that handoff and that cont continuity, I guess is w hat I’m thinking about.
[00:09:19] Nicole Baqai (Gorgias): Yeah, I think that’s a great question. I think it’s different, right? Because every channel is gonna have a different type of customer, right? I always like to talk about my mom. My mom’s a caller. You know, she’s a dedicated phone person. She doesn’t wanna deal with email chat. She thinks it’s all spam, right?
[00:09:32] Whereas myself, I don’t wanna talk to someone on the phone. I wanna chat, I wanna sms. I want it to be quick and easy. And so I think a lot of these brands kind of have to get really clear on who their customer is, right? Not every brand is gonna cater to, you know, mothers and another brand is gonna cater to, you know, a different generation or younger generation.
[00:09:51] I think it totally depends on the brand, but I will say we are seeing with all these different channels, a lot of brands are tailoring their strategies around, Okay, what is this specific channel? We talk about this term called conversational commerce, which is pretty much, you know, these one-on-one interactions between an individual and a brand that are instantaneous.
[00:10:09] Those are typically referred to as chat channels or SMS channels. Twitter is a great example. We just launched our Twitter integration and there’s a different type of, Conversation that goes around. I think we can all attest to that on our personal lives, right? There’s a different way you’re gonna email someone, there’s a different way you’re gonna speak with someone.
[00:10:24] And so for sure, I think we’re, we’re definitely seeing that these brands are tailoring the way they’re communicating to, to the specific channel that they’re, they’re testing out. And sometimes they even realize, okay, we know our consumer phone isn’t for them, so let’s not do phone. Let’s focus on sms.
[00:10:38] Let’s double down on SMS because we know that’s where our consumer is gonna is, has the highest conversion rate. So, I think that’s a great way to test new channels, but then also double down on the channels that you know are working for you.
[00:10:50] James Sowers (The Good): Yeah, I think that’s really smart. I think that the nice thing about things being a little bit more digital today than there were say a year ago or five years ago, whatever time horizon you wanna use is like, you can introduce different, different types of multimedia, right?
[00:11:01] So I just saw an example the other day. I wish I could remember the brand, but it was basically like, it was a like a women’s apparel brand. And the customer support team member was physically holding up products like in their apartment and saying like, Here, let me, let me take a video for you. Put it right up to close to the camera.
[00:11:15] You can see kind of the, um, the quality of the material and some of the finish. Like, is it shiny? Is it Matt? Is it, how stretchy is it? Like they were stretching it out and it was like, I’m helping you. Replicate that in-store experience that you can’t have right now, so that you don’t have to make a purchase and then, you know, submit a return because it, it wasn’t quite what you wanted.
[00:11:33] So they’re handling that on the front end. I just thought that was super novel because it’s like, you can’t do that over the phone. Right. And, and it’s really hard to do that over email unless you can embed a video. So if there’s something like live chat with a recording feature in it, or if you’re doing it right there through like Instagram DMS or something and you can record a quick video, like that’s, that’s next level to me.
[00:11:50] And I think that ultimately that probably has an impact in conversion rate in sales as. Absolutely.
[00:11:55] Nicole Baqai (Gorgias): I think the more personalized you can get with your audience, the more you can make them feel like they’re making. A purchase with a friend versus a purchase with this brand that just wants their money, for example.
[00:12:04] Even though I don’t think all brands are like that, I’m just saying the end goal is course conversion, but if you can somehow walk them through this guided process of making them really build trust with you, I think it makes it that much special because not only are you now converting the customer, but you’re probably retaining them as well for a repeat purchase.
[00:12:19] So I think. I really like that example that you gave because it’s how do you mimic this in-person experience online? Just cuz we saw a lot of these brands are moving online every day. Right? With Covid, everyone stayed at home. We saw a huge increase in our customers as well. I think we three Xed the amount of customers over Covid just because everyone was, you know, launching their stores and it became of task of how can you actually mimic.
[00:12:42] Experience that we’re so used to having in person online while still, you know, maintaining that trust. It’s been super exciting to see how different brands are using customer service as a, as a differentiator versus, you know, just seeing it as this tool that just gets them through their tickets and they just wanna get through, get through those customers instead of, you know, really doubling down on the response and figuring out ways, if someone’s having a bad experience, how to turn that into a positive.
[00:13:07] James Sowers (The Good): I think that’s a great point because, you know, especially early stage brands, a lot of times they look at customer support. I, I can say this because I managed a brand at one point and I always looked at customer support as like I equated to the Sunday scaries, right? Like you’re, you’re sitting there Sunday, you’re watching Netflix or Game of Thrones or whatever you’re into, you’re like, Man, I got this mountains to-do list at work tomorrow.
[00:13:25] And I just like, really don’t want to start behind the APO or whatever. You look at the customer support inbox the same way you’re like, I see 15 tickets in there, so I kind of wanna get in there on Sunday night and get a head start. Cause I know more are coming on Monday or whatever. And so it becomes to be like, This cost of doing business or this necessary evil or whatever, like you just feel like you have to do it and it’s not anything you get energy or like you learn from, or you look forward to.
[00:13:46] Whereas the, the most sophisticated brands, the brands that are performing the best, I would argue, look at it as, as you described it, as a competitive differentiator. So like how do you advise brands to like make that leap? Right? Is it just something that has to come with experience or is there something.
[00:14:00] Brands can do specifically to, um, you know, take customer support from, like I said, a casa doing business to something that separates them from competitors or separates them from alternative solutions.
[00:14:10] Nicole Baqai (Gorgias): So I would say most of the brands who are doing really well on, on online have a, uh, a really nice customer service setup, or not nice, but a really effective customer setup.
[00:14:20] And what that means is they’re treating. Success team or their customer care team as their sales team. So the nice thing with Gorgias is you can actually track revenue within our tool and you can see, you know, the percentage that are converting at what response time and how much additional dollars is that driving for you.
[00:14:35] So I think something really, or a best practice is put KPIs to your success team, right? See why are they converting more one week over another week? Is it, are you offering something different? Is it a promo code? Is it the way that the customer service agent is speaking? Test different things out, and I think that’s how you’ll find out, you know, what is gonna be really successful for your brand.
[00:14:53] But absolutely, I think the best way to stand out and the way to win is for sure having great customer experience. I think there’s, I, I forget exactly what the number was, but there’s a study that shows, you know, majority of individuals actually expect good customer service. I think we all have this like, entitlement to good customers service.
[00:15:08] You know, the customer’s always right. It’s this culture of, Oh, you lost the item, Well, we’ll ship you a free one. But I, I do think that makes a huge difference and, and it’s easier. To deliver quality customer service over and over again. Maybe eat a little bit more cost and, and have, uh, or retain customers versus, you know, giving one bad experience and then you might have lost that customer forever.
[00:15:29] So I think it’s really different. You know, you should have core values and of course, you know, build your entire strategy around those core values of how you wanna deliver. Maybe you’re not focused on retention, maybe you just wanna get, acquire new and new customers. Um, which I wouldn’t say that’s the best strategy, but I think that is one strategy.
[00:15:45] but I think the, the most important piece is gonna be how can I turn this negative experience into a positive one so that maybe this customer didn’t have a good experience once, but he had that good customer experience afterwards that he was like, You know what, I’m gonna give it another shot.
[00:15:57] James Sowers (The Good): Right. I, I feel like for some reason in a brick and mortar setting, if you have a bad experience, it’s tied to that person like that, that salesperson wasn’t very helpful or very kind to me or whatever.
[00:16:07] You don’t necessarily attribute that to Kohl’s or wherever you were at. Right. But for some reason, as we go fully into e-commerce and like all of your shopping’s being done online, it seems like I hear more and more folks say like, Never, never shop with Allbirds because they have awful customer support.
[00:16:21] And it’s like, well, you know, at the end of the day, that’s probably just one or two people you’re interacting with. And like, yeah, there’s an opportunity there. For some more training or some more guidance like internally for the brand. But it does feel like the bar has been raised for like what is good customer support, customer success, whatever you wanna call it.
[00:16:36] Like the bar is higher. And so just doing the basics right correctly isn’t gonna be the differentiator. It’s like going above and beyond and some of the stuff that I’ve seen, Again, man, bad podcast host. I should just have these, these lists or these examples listed out in my, my talking points. But I saw somebody that was like, Hey, we give every customer support person like a budget or an upper limit.
[00:16:54] Or it’s like if you need to solve a problem inside of your worldview and you don’t want to get a manager involved or supervisor or anything like that, like anything below this dollar amount, just do it. Like whether that’s refund, whether that’s send a replacement product, give a discount code up to 20%, whatever you wanna do.
[00:17:08] Like your job is to make sure that this person. Feels heard and feels respected and has an outstanding experience and like the upper limit on getting someone else involved in that decision is here. But I think below that, like feel free to just do it. And I think that kind of like empowerment is one step in terms of like making yourself, making customer support.
[00:17:25] A differentiator for you is like, you know this, this independence, this autonomy. This trust, It’s like you are the frontline sales people, the frontline support people, the representatives of our brand, and we trust you. And so here are the resources we’re giving to you to do your job effectively. Like go forth and do good, right?
[00:17:40] And if you find the right people, I think they’ll execute on that as you intend.
[00:17:44] Nicole Baqai (Gorgias): A hundred percent. I also think, I like to relate it to this example is Zappos. I think, you know, many years ago Zappos had great customer service because, and I think they still do, but I think what’s interesting about them is if you asked for a specific shoe and they didn’t have it, they would send you to a different website and that creates like this really great brand affinity to the brand.
[00:18:04] And I think. That allows you to stand out. Right. I think they were able to crush it so well just because, you know, part of part of it was customer service, but that story has rung true now and I think I heard it from someone else who told it to me and I was like, Wow, I’m not gonna ever forget this. But I think, you know, that creates like this word of mouth marketing.
[00:18:19] It creates a really positive brand experience and it creates this ability to actually wanna, you know, Have a relationship with this brand. So I think there’s a lot you can do there, you know, with making yourself stand out and like you said, you know, is it a discount? Is it a specific budget? Is it, you know, hey, we don’t care if we lose this customer, let’s just give them a good experience and send ’em to another website.
[00:18:38] I think that is, That is super unique and that’s really a value add as a brand. And now you’re building this community versus just being this, you know, website that has brands where maybe you can find competitor websites, but now you know you’re building this community of the of loyal customers who wanna come back and they wanna purchase from you.
[00:18:54] And you’re, if you can somehow reward them in that way, most likely you, you’re gonna end up doing really.
[00:18:59] James Sowers (The Good): I think it all probably comes back to the golden rule, right? Like treat others as you would wanna be treated. Pretend that you’re in the customer seat asking for help, asking for a problem to be solved and just do what you would want to have done in your situation.
[00:19:10] Because the truth is like you are buying things online, I’m sure you are like everybody is these days. And so when you go through a bad experience, you know what that’s like. Like it’s easy to, in the day to day hustle and bustle of running a business, it’s easy to lose sight of like, wow, we’re not providing that great of an experience here, so let’s try to do the right thing.
[00:19:25] I wanna go back to one of the points you mentioned earlier, which. Metrics and tracking performance and like, I think the, the default there is like, yeah, we measure response time and we’re really fast. Like, okay, that’s, that’s awesome. But again, that kind of feels like table stakes to me. The fact that you mentioned like you can attribute revenue directly to customer support as a channel.
[00:19:44] Right. That was really intriguing to me because I think like most folks just look at customer support as almost like a cost center, right? Like, or, or we’re trying to, like, we’re trying to not lose too much money in the form of refunds or broken products or unhappy customers or whatever. But almost, I don’t think they look at it as like a revenue driver, like a great customer.
[00:20:01] Support can sell more product, can cross sell, upsell, increase customer lifetime value, improve word of mouth, like it sounds like you have some measurables around that. So are you able to talk to like that financial upside type of thing and how a tool like gorgeous might help somebody train their team and empower them to make a meaningful impact on the bottom line and not just kind of, You know, respond, not, not be reactive, right?
[00:20:21] Be proactive in terms of maybe not pushing product, but um, helping customers in a way that ultimately helps ’em find a sale when otherwise they wouldn’t have, they would’ve abandoned because there was nobody there to support.
[00:20:30] Nicole Baqai (Gorgias): Yeah. Well, I actually do think pushing product or upselling is something super key with, with, with your success team.
[00:20:35] And that’s why I talk about, you know, treating your success team like your sales team. And of course you don’t wanna be like overselling them, but I think there’s a strategic way to be, you know, do an upselling experience. For example, if someone, you know, got, let’s say a broken ring. I think we have this example from one of our jewelry companies.
[00:20:52] and instead of just being like, Oh, we’ll replace it and send you new one, they’re like, Hey, we can replace this. Or, Here’s a premium ring a little bit more expensive, but we’ll give you a discount on it as well. So now what they ended up doing is the other person was like, Great, I’ll replace it for the premium ring.
[00:21:05] I get it at a discounted price, but you’re still making a little bit more than you would’ve if you had just returned and replaced the other one. So I think there’s, you know, that sort of strategy. I also think there’s a strategy around. I think we found over Black Friday, Cyber Monday when the response time was under 10 minutes, the conversion rate was 28% higher and it drove an additional like $22,000 of support.
[00:21:26] I think it was a thousand tickets, sorry. So a thousand pre-sale tickets, which are customers that haven’t purchased within 30 days or entirely. New customers, I think, are they on 300 converted when the response time was quicker. So I think the faster your response time, the more likely. You are going to have a conversion, and then we actually found that jump to 50% when the response time was under two minutes.
[00:21:46] So now you can actually see that response time is directly correlated with conversion rates. So response time should be, you know, should, should go down. And then also your overall strategy should be very specific. And then also setting KPIs to different agents who, which agents are converting more, which are converting less.
[00:22:01] How can you upsell that customer and, and give them a really great customer
[00:22:06] James Sowers (The Good): experience? Yeah, the first thing I thought was, if you can filter this down, either by channel that the message came through and or the agent that was, was handling the message, then there’s a lot of learning in there. It’s like, Hey, Stacy’s doing really great.
[00:22:18] She’s killing this. Like, let’s get her to cross train her teammates or share case studies or whatever makes sense. Like maybe we have a, a weekly lunch and learn, or a couple times a month, and like whoever’s really crushing it in terms of like driving sales through their support interactions. Put together a quick little talk, like 15, 20 minutes and just talk about what you’re doing or like walk me through a specific example with a potential customer, the issue they had, how you addressed it, You know, and we can kind of try to reverse engineer like why that resulted in a sale.
[00:22:45] I think just that level of detail. And then if you can also do that across channels and say, well, we convert much higher through customer support when they come in through TikTok or Instagram, like a visual platform versus like email. And so what can we do there in terms of setting up our templates or whatever to um, replicate that kind of at scale.
[00:23:01] Nicole Baqai (Gorgias): Yeah, I think, um, so templates are what we call macros. So, Figuring out ways to work and be really, really quick to respond is gonna be through macros or automation and that a lot of the brands that we talk about with automation are like, Oh, we don’t wanna sound like a robot, or We don’t want, We feel like it’s gonna take away personalization, but it’s actually the opposite.
[00:23:19] The nice thing with our tool and. I don’t think they realize what the other customer service tools is. Actually, you can embed different Shopify variables in your response. So you can say like, Hey James, here’s your order information. Here’s your tracking. You ordered X, Y, and Z. Have a good day. Love Nicole.
[00:23:33] You know, or an emoji with Nicole. That is how you can create these templates and respond in a. You know, an automated, with an automated response, but not have it feel like it’s not personalized at all. You actually increase the amount of, or how quickly you’re responding. And then you’re also still remaining very personalized.
[00:23:50] You’re getting to that customer in time. So I think that’s, you know, one way to really focus on is using automation. And while we can’t automate a hundred percent of the the test, you can automate the most repetitive ones. So at least we can actually figure out the intents or the sentiments and intents are gonna be what is.
[00:24:05] Purpose of the message and sentiment is gonna be what is the tone is an angry customer, is a positive customer. And when you’re setting up those responses, or you know those rules is what we call them based on a tone or an intent, you’re actually being really smart about how you’re responding to those really repetitive inquiries.
[00:24:22] Where is my order as the number one most asked for question? So if you can automate that up to 40%, now imagine how much time you have left to actually respond to the other. Urgent matters that don’t need that repetitive template that you’re copying and pasting probably from a Google spreadsheet. So yeah, there’s a lot of strategy there that you can incorporate into, you know, your customer service strategy.
[00:24:43] James Sowers (The Good): I think that sentiment analysis is, is a really great point because, um, and I don’t wanna overstate what the tool can do, so feel free to walk me back here. But what I was thinking is like with your, Where’s my order example? So where’s my order example with a green happy face sentiment is like, Where’s my order?
[00:24:57] I’m, whatever. I’m hoping that it will get there in time for my son’s birthday, right? And so I’m like, there’s nothing, there’s no exclamation points in there or whatever. It’s just like I’m being proactive about it, asking about the timing, and just wanna make sure it’s gonna ride by this certain day. So if that, Automated response goes out, but then somebody on the team who’s an actual person reads that.
[00:25:16] They might reach out and say, Hey, I upgraded it to expedited shipping. It’s gonna be there in two days or whatever. It’s gonna be there in plenty of time. Whereas like, Oh, where’s my order? With a red angry face sentiment might be a bunch of explanation points. Like, Where’s my order? It’s a week late, I’ve got no updates.
[00:25:29] You know, like I’m guessing that there’s some kind of like, Artificial intelligence and machine learning that’s scanning that text and saying like, this person is generally unhappy, so don’t send the default, like happy order update kind of with the, the order details in there, like get a human involved so that you can come in here and kind of smooth things over.
[00:25:46] Now I’m just describing that based off of intuition. Is that accurate or is there a different approach going on inside? A gorgeous. ?
[00:25:51] Nicole Baqai (Gorgias): No, I think definitely, you know, when you identify negative comments, for example, on social media, you can go ahead and hide those negative comments so that you can review them in your own time versus it impacting your brand image.
[00:26:01] I think that’s definitely very key, is a key component of like why we say, you know, sentiment analysis is important. Or for example, if someone’s like, I wanna cancel my order. You wanna cancel that order before it ships, right? Because if you don’t cancel it before it ships, now you’re gonna have to deal with a return and you’re gonna lose cost on that return.
[00:26:17] So I think that’s another example of like why you wanna prioritize that. Another way is like structuring your team in a sense that’s, you know, you might have someone who’s specifically for social media and then someone who’s specifically for support and then someone who’s maybe I’ll tier two or tier three who are know exactly different return policies or know how to work.
[00:26:35] More intense customers or maybe you wanna team specifically for loyalty customers. That’s all possible. You can create, you can assign different teams, you can set up different views. You can make sure that certain agents have access to only specific views. I think it all depends on kind of who, what your customer subset is.
[00:26:50] But I think like if you can get really specific with your customers and tie them to a specific team, that creates a great, you know, customer
[00:26:57] James Sowers (The Good): experience. Yeah, I think that’s, that’s an astute observation. And like to your earlier point about automating certain repeatable processes, but also personalizing them.
[00:27:06] Like, I think there’s a lot of the same viewpoints around email marketing where it’s like, I know email workflows and automations can make me money while I sleep. Right? But we’ve all received one of those that didn’t work quite, quite correctly, and it says, Hey, first name or whatever, and you’re just like, Oh man, look what this company’s doing.
[00:27:20] So, I dunno, my, my personal take on that is, If automation when done correctly, this is specifically in the email context, is great. Um, as long as you always have a human ready to jump in, right? And so like I try to set the expectation, at least with a lot of our agency marketing efforts is like, Hey, this is an automated email, but I’m always on the other side.
[00:27:38] Like, if you reply to this, it comes right to my personal inbox. Like, you’ll talk to James and I’ll be here to address whatever question or concern that you have. Right? So I, it sounds like gorgeous or similar tool. Oper operates in the same way, where it’s like you can automate those repeatable processes.
[00:27:52] 70% of the time or more go exactly the same way, but at the same time, you, based on this team structure and who you can tag that specialist in whenever they need to come in and provide that personal touch. Whether it’s a good experience and they wanna really hammer it home or it’s a not so good experience and they wanna come in and smooth things over.
[00:28:08] Nicole Baqai (Gorgias): I think it just depends on, on the way that you’re structuring your team and how you’re, how you’re thinking about customer experience. Because if you don’t have customer experience in mind and that’s not something that, um, a brand cares about, it’s gonna be really easily reflected in, you know, the templates or the, the quality of service.
[00:28:24] And like I said, with us it’s, it’s never high first name. It’s Hi James. Like in embedding those different variables.
[00:28:30] James Sowers (The Good): Talk to me about some of the, We talked about some of the secondary impacts of customer support. We talked about how it can be a sales driver in in the right cases. Are there any other areas like I’ve seen some folks pull actual product development out of customer support interactions, like, Hey, we have this unmet need here, and I think if we launched this new product that’s pretty complimentary to what we already have, then that would be a good fit and that is value that has been sourced.
[00:28:50] An investment made into customer support or customer success. Have you seen any other examples of, like we talked about it being a cost center, not necessarily a revenue driver. Are there other positive secondary impacts of having a top shelf customer support program?
[00:29:03] Nicole Baqai (Gorgias): Yeah, and I think what’s cool about Gorgeous is we, our slogan is Turn your help center into a profit center, right?
[00:29:09] Cause I think like how you mentioned cost center is how it was traditionally viewed, but there is so much profit that you can drive as, or as I spoke about in the previous examples. But I think one example is great is reviews are really key. Sometimes, you know, we integrate with Yapo and a Kendo and we can pull different reviews and if someone’s writing in, Hey, do you have this?
[00:29:28] So, for example, we had a customer that had a lavender candle. Most majority of the time, the flavor that was getting asked, requested the most was a Rose Rose candle. So what the, what the brand ended up doing is they created like this, this rose candle. Then they also created a rose lavender bundle, and were able just, Based on that customer service feedback, figure out, okay, wow, we actually realize we can find new products and launch new products.
[00:29:50] And the skews actually did really well with that because they took the customer feedback, realized what the customers wanted, and actually built product for their customers. I think oftentimes brands are like, Oh, we know exactly what our customer wants. Sometimes they might not. And the way that to really find that is actually listening to what’s going on in your customer service team.
[00:30:07] Another example is sometimes on social media, brands will be like, What flavor do you wanna see next? And then they’ll take polls and then you can tag, you know, which flavor is got the most number of tags. Maybe it’s blueberry versus raspberry. Let’s check how many times blueberry was mentioned and tag every time blueberry is mentioned.
[00:30:23] And now look at the report. blueberry and raspberry and make a decision on what flavor we should launch next. Those are great examples of, of how you can use that product feedback to actually iterate on new tools and also just improve as well. I, another example is I had purchased from a swimwear brand and they had a huge outage.
[00:30:42] In fact, I think like their warehouse set on fire was something really crazy. And of course, you know, rather than having angry customers right. They, they were so proactive that they actually sent a proactive email and they’re like, Hey, you might be emailing us about your order. Unfortunately, we had this, um, happen, so orders will be delayed for another six weeks.
[00:31:00] If you don’t want your order, feel free to respond here and we can cancel it now. If you wanna keep your order, there’s nothing left to do on your side. Just understand it might be a little delayed, and I think that proactive communication is really, really necessary. Same with if you have an automated response that says on chat, if you’re talking about delaying my issue, let’s, let’s like create a really personalized response so that you can mitigate and get ahead of all those customers that might be angry and actually realize, you know, I think no, an update is better than no update at all and no communication because then you’re gonna just, you know, upset customers and they’re not gonna wanna purchase from you.
[00:31:32] James Sowers (The Good): For sure. I think that like ultimately what it comes down to is like customer support needs to have a seat at the table in whatever team meetings that you have. Like that’s the biggest faux PA I’ve seen in my experience is like customer support exists in the silo and they manage their tickets and they assign their tags or whatever and they do their thing and they’re great at it, but none of that ever leaves that team and goes over to marketing or goes over to sales or goes over to product development.
[00:31:54] Even the development side of things for the website and messaging and stuff and how the pages are structured. All that stuff needs to permeate out. And so I always love to see like team huddles where customer support has a representative there and they’re talking about voice of the customer type stuff.
[00:32:07] Like, here are three positive things and three negative things we heard this week, and here’s one trend that we’re seeing, or whatever, like some keyword that just keeps popping up in seling. Let’s talk through that because I might not understand or I might not. Know that, um, Rose is a new scent that we could offer, right?
[00:32:22] But I hear Rose all the time, and if I bring that to the team meeting, they go, Well, we actually have one, like kind of half baked, and we didn’t quite get the recipe right. We could just pull that off the shelf, blow the dust off, hand it to our manufacturer, and we could roll that out probably in three months.
[00:32:32] So why don’t that we make that our, our fall product launch, right? Or whatever. But that’s only gonna happen if like, Customer support isn’t just, again, this cost of doing business or this cost center, it’s, it’s a value added piece of the puzzle and they have a seat at the table and they get an opportunity to speak and share their thoughts.
[00:32:46] I dunno, that’s the biggest misstep I’ve seen. I’m not sure if that aligns with, like your experience. Uh, you work with brands a lot more than I do these days in this capacity, but yeah, I hate to see that happen. So I’d love if anybody takes anything away from this conversation to just say, give him a roll.
[00:32:58] Right. Give him a seat at the table and let him. Yeah,
[00:33:01] Nicole Baqai (Gorgias): 100% I think, and I think it’s becoming more and more and more widely adopted just because we lost a lot of that physical interaction in person or in a retail setting. So, Everyone has to be creative around how can I engage with my customer? And you know, when they’re running a bunch of ads, you know, there’s, that’s one way to actually acquire new customers.
[00:33:19] How can I really engage with them? Is it having a conversation with them on chat? Is it swiping up on a Facebook ad and bringing them into a Facebook Messenger funnel and actually talking to them? I think there’s a lot more you can do now to really build that trust and, and you know, that’s one thing acquiring customers, but how are you retaining them?
[00:33:35] How are you actually getting them? To convert and is it maybe walking them through that customer service flow and, and, you know, customer experience is, is more than just support. It’s actually being able to be proactive and upsell and turn a conversation into an actual, you know, revenue driving experience.
[00:33:51] And I think that’s, you know, have, has shifted, you know, tremendously in the last year and continues to grow. We’re seeing, you know, an app TikTok being, you know, a huge trend or we’re seeing video conferencing being a trend or video customer support. So I think there’s a lot. That’s happening and a lot new channels that are gonna be developing.
[00:34:08] And so the future of customer experience is gonna be so, so vast and so widely thought of then just a customer’s cost center as kind of how we were talking about earlier.
[00:34:18] James Sowers (The Good): Yeah, Well, as it gets easier to, to pump data in from other places. I know you talked about a couple of integrations earlier, but like even just your email marketing tool of, I’m thinking Octane AI has like these shoppable quizzes now, right?
[00:34:29] And so like if someone takes a quiz on the very front end of your sales funnel and gets a personalized recommendation for a skincare product based on their needs, you pipe that all into gorgeous and that person later, like they still haven’t bought, but they’re on your live chat on the site asking questions.
[00:34:43] That that agent or that customer support representative hopefully can have that data in front of them and say, Okay, well let’s just walk through your quiz together. Like how cool would that be? It’s like, I have your quiz right here in front of me. Let’s walk through your responses together and I’ll help you get placed with a product today.
[00:34:55] And you know, I’ll give you 10% off just to give it a try. Or I’ll send you like a test bottle along with it of this secondary product like you buy this one, I’ll send you the test bottle. Try something else with it. Maybe you’ll like that the next time you’re ready to make a purchase. But I think to your point, This is all just gonna improve customer experience over the long term.
[00:35:10] And as we have tools like gorgeous work better and more collaboratively, and then we empower people with more information about the customer, it’s gonna help us kind of personalize that experience. Which I guess leads me to my question in a long-winded way of like, You work with this stuff day in and day out, your benchmark’s probably pretty high and you probably are more aware or, or more, uh, noticed more often a positive experience or a negative experience.
[00:35:32] So, I don’t know which side of the scale you wanna lean on, but I’m curious if you had an experience recently with customer support for something you’ve purchased that was either really good or really bad, and what should the listeners take away from it, whether it’s something to improve or something to, uh, sustain if they’re already doing it.
[00:35:45] I have
[00:35:45] Nicole Baqai (Gorgias): a bit of both. So one airlines, I guess that’s for everyone. I always having a terrible experience because they’re asking for my confirmation number 10 times. Then they, I, they transfer you and they transfer you and transfer you. And I think the nice thing about, you know, e-commerce and Shopify is like, okay, you put your email in, they already have your information in front of you.
[00:36:01] They have your order number, they have your history. So I think that’s, you know, one experience that I always think needs to improve. And then another one, I recently purchased from, um, a website and rather than just waiting until the return was processed so I can get the refund, they actually offered me a credit.
[00:36:18] They’re like, Hey, we’ll give you 10% more of what you purchased with the, if you, you know, use the credit now versus just taking the refund. And so then I ended up buying a bunch of other stuff that I probably didn’t need. But it, honestly, it was a great experience cuz I could, you know, I had to already exchange a few items and reorder.
[00:36:34] For a different size. Plus now I actually got a little bit more money from them to actually purchase more. So it was kind of felt like a win-win. So I think that’s a great experience of how can I be creative? How can I make sure I’m not losing that customer and actually, you know, upselling them right there when they’re still engaging with my brand.
[00:36:49] James Sowers (The Good): Yeah, I love that example because I think the traditional mindset around customer support is like a big call center. Phone trees like, like you described with the airline, where it’s like probably somebody in a developing nation like trying to jump in and they don’t have complete information. So you get passed around a lot or whatever, and it’s just a very negative experience.
[00:37:05] But the future of customer support or the folks who are doing it really well right now have that kind of empowerment and they have savvy, sophisticated people in those seats and they’re able to think creatively on the spot and come up with a solution like the one that you. Which basically keeps that person in your brand like ecosystem, right?
[00:37:21] And instead of processing return for a product that wasn’t right and giving them a hundred dollars back, you give ’em $110 now to buy something different. And maybe that’s just like, Hey, I’m just returning this cuz it wasn’t the right size. So if you’re gonna gimme 110 to go buy the right size right now, like I’m all over that, right?
[00:37:34] So I think that’s, that’s a really great example.
[00:37:37] Nicole Baqai (Gorgias): Yeah. And then you end up buying something more, spending a little bit more too, which is kind of, you know, counterintuitive to, I mean, I think they know exactly what they’re doing, but I do think it creates a great experience and so can’t argue that. And I, it clearly left an impression on me that I’m telling this story,
[00:37:51] James Sowers (The Good): Yeah, for sure. I mean, in, in our line of work, we’re always looking at biases and psychological, uh, things. And it’s like there’s this law of reciprocity where like if you do a small favor for somebody, they tend to pay you back with an even bigger favor without being asked. So that small favor of. You paid a hundred bucks, here’s 10 more dollars to keep shopping with us and, and replace it or buy something else.
[00:38:09] That person will go buy something for $150. Right? Because you were so kind to give them $10 they weren’t expecting. Then they have this affinity with you and the brand. They go back into the store and they’re like, Well, I guess I, I guess I could get two pairs, right? I was gonna get the one pair anyway.
[00:38:21] And I kind of liked how they looked and how they felt. They just weren’t the right size. So let me get two pairs now, and then you just kind of close, you basically doubled. Order value right there, or that customer lifetime value. So yeah, these things, these things work in mysterious ways, but they come out positively when you work ’em the right way.
[00:38:34] And I think that’s really the summary of like customer support is, is a place to, um, amplify your growth really, versus, uh, cost centers has traditionally been viewed. I think that’s a central theme here today. A hundred
[00:38:44] Nicole Baqai (Gorgias): percent. Yep. That’s definitely, I feel like I was hitting on that theme throughout the entire, their entire conversation.
[00:38:51] James Sowers (The Good): I think we got our episode title I, I’ll go work some options here and I’ll pass it around the 10, what they think. . Okay, cool. Uh, well before I let you go, Nicole, thank you so much for taking time outta your day. I appreciate it. Especially on a sleepy Monday. I know things can be a little bit of a drag and.
[00:39:04] Yeah, I’m, I’m adequately caffeinated. That’s why I, uh, feel so comfortable here behind the mic today. But I really appreciate you taking the time to join us. Before I let you go, is there anything that you wanna share with folks in terms of how they can follow you, how they can follow your journey or what you’re working on at Gorgeous.
[00:39:17] Anything you wanna share?
[00:39:18] Nicole Baqai (Gorgias): Yeah, absolutely. They can always email me firstname.lastname@example.org, and surprising that no one else has. There’s only one other, Nicole, but I got the email@example.com domain, so that’s exciting. So they can email me if they have questions after listening to this. We also have an offer for, uh, the podcast listeners today, so hopefully you can include that link somewhere in the, about, about this podcast section.
[00:39:39] They’ll get their second and third month free. They just have to mention this podcast and, or they can email me as.
[00:39:45] James Sowers (The Good): Awesome. And uh, yeah, we’ll include that, that special link in the show notes if you wanna go check that out, second and third month free when you sign up today. So Awesome. Thank you Nicole, so much for sharing a little bit about gorgeous with us, but more specifically teaching us how to be better at customer support and, uh, really appreciate your time.
[00:39:59] We look forward to having you back on the show sometime soon.
[00:40:01] Nicole Baqai (Gorgias): Awesome. Thanks for having me. Have a good rest of your week. No, Sleepy Mondays for me, .
[00:40:07] James Sowers (The Good): Hey everybody, this is James again, and before you go, I just wanted to invite you to join one of the coolest things I get to work on as director of marketing here at the Good.
[00:40:14] It’s called the E-Commerce Insiders List, and it’s a private version of this podcast feed that gets you access to tons of additional bonus content, like extra interviews q and a. Website, teardowns, and anything else we can dream of. It doesn’t cost you anything but your email address, and we promise to always respect your inbox.
[00:40:30] This is just our way of forming stronger relationships with our listeners and making sure that we produce content that is actually valuable to you and to your business. If you’re interested, you can join the rest of the e-Commerce insiders by going to the good.com/podcast. And dropping your email into the form at the top of the page.
[00:40:46] We’ll follow up with directions for how to access the private feed, and you’ll be off and running. Like I said, this is one of my favorite things that I get the opportunity to work on because it lets me interact directly with e-commerce founders and leaders just like you. If you’re interested, I’d love to see your name pop up in my notifications.
[00:41:01] Until then, keep an eye out for the next episode of the E-Commerce Insight Show and we’ll talk to you soon.
About the Author
Angel Earnshaw is the Marketing Coordinator at The Good. She has experience in improving brand awareness through digital marketing and social media management.