When Accent Group opened 57 new footwear stores in 2020 amid the early waves of the Covid-19 pandemic, there was a surge in e-commerce sales that lifted net profits by 7.5% to $58 million. The retailer’s growth was partly due to repositioning customer experience (CX) as the heart of the business.
In order to accommodate the shift, the ASX-listed footwear retailer needed a communication tool that could boost positive brand awareness as customers’ interest in activewear products increased. There was also an opportunity to demonstrate CX’s ability to generate sales and deliver a return on investment (ROI).
Slack, the secure channel-based messaging platform, was introduced to the organisation by Accent Group’s e-commerce department. Communication gaps were affecting the company’s offshore CX and customer support team in the Philippines.
“We adopted Slack because we wanted a comfortable internal communication platform for everyone, not only from a communication standpoint but also to improve efficiency and productivity,” says Michelle Yanez-Olivares, the head of customer experience at Accent Group.
By using Slack channels—virtual spaces to share messages, digital tools and files—to harness the collective power of the support team, Accent Group’s CX and customer support team has successfully:
- Maintained a customer satisfaction score of 90%
- Lowered customer resolution times from five days to 24 hours
We had a chance to chat with Accent Group during Slack Frontiers, our annual conference, about how this Slack-driven approach allows its distributed team to work asynchronously across time zones to drive faster, accurate customer resolutions.
Using Slack to increase customer satisfaction scores
With Slack, customer support agents don’t have to start a conversation from scratch every time. Instead, they can build trust with the customer and rely on a single knowledge base to collaborate.
“They can see not only a previous conversation or a question that’s already been answered, but also any attachments shared,” says Yanez-Olivares. “They can review those files, and get back to the customer with the right level of context to help problem-solve or assist them through checkout.”
Reducing response time in Slack also results in higher customer satisfaction scores. In the fast-paced world of online retail, customer satisfaction scores often reveal the efficiency and productivity of the customer experience team.
“When I was first onboarded, and Slack was a new addition to our company, we were at about 58%,” says Yanez-Olivares. “Now, we’re comfortably sitting above 90%.”
Slack’s search capabilities also help Accent Group set ambitious goals internally. A 30-second response time from a customer experience agent is its best-in-class key performance indicator (KPI) that the team strives to maintain.
“Slack has helped us decrease our customer complaint resolution time from five days to 24 hours.”
Delivering a 24-hour response time for customers by collaborating in Slack
As a complex enterprise business, clear communication across the organisation is crucial not only for team leads, but frontline staff like CX agents who talk to customers every day. With cross-functional Slack channels, Accent Group is able to resolve customer complaints much more quickly.
“Slack has helped us decrease our customer complaint resolution time from five days to 24 hours,” says Yanez-Olivares.
Accent Group’s business spans three pillars: wholesale, digital and retail. With a shift to digital-first in recent years, the CX team now manages 19 websites while supporting 15 brands.
“Agents can consult with each other across pillars using Slack channels,” explains Yanez-Olivares. “Having shared, transparent information available in Slack allows us to track individual customers and products across all three pillars.”
Cross-functional Slack channels benefit both CX agents and external affiliates such as buyers. Yanez-Olivares points out that having insights from both sides of the relationship captured in one place helps build a powerful knowledge base. Channels also provide both parties a shared view into the work being done, so they can work together and get up to speed quickly.
Accent Group’s click-and-collect and click-and-dispatch options for Platypus and Hype footwear and apparel also remain efficient with the help of a Zendesk Support app integration in Slack. Up to 70% of Accent Group’s orders are fulfilled directly from a store—and with Zendesk as its ticketing system where all customer enquiries arrive, agents need an easy way to communicate with hundreds of stores.
“We integrated Zendesk and Slack to make for a more seamless agent and customer experience,” says Yanez-Olivares.
Building a customer-centric ecosystem with Slack
A big win for Accent Group’s CX team has been demonstrating that customer support isn’t just a single touchpoint, but an end-to-end journey.
“We do everything from setting up the stage for the customer presale, mid-sale and right through to any post-sale interactions to assist the customer with their virtual shopping experience,” explains Yanez-Olivares. “Because our scope of work is expanding to touch presales and sales activities in addition to post-sales activities, we are tracking our contribution to revenue and core digital sales to show we are an important part of the business.”
The numbers are positive, and demonstrate a sales surge: “Our virtual sales team managed by Claire Davies is a key part of our CX division, and has generated AU$700K in sales over a four-month period,” says Yanez-Olivares.
Additionally, if a customer is about to cancel an order, an Accent Group customer support agent can reach out to an internal stakeholder in a Slack channel to pitch a new product release or offer an alternative, so the company doesn’t lose a sale. Then, during the post-transaction process, the CX team asks for feedback on the experience and keeps in touch with Accent Group’s customers.
Ultimately, CX teams at Accent Group use Slack to deliver accurate customer support at scale. Receiving around 50,000 tickets a month, the team relies on cross-functional Slack channels to navigate website glitches, product defects and external affiliate requests with ease, grace and seamlessness for their customers’ benefit.
By helping Accent Group’s CX team maintain a culture of continuous improvement through feedback and transparency with key collaborators, Slack makes it easier to measure the tangible results of delivering the best possible real-time customer experience.
To learn more about how Slack is enabling better customer support around the globe, check out these other stories.