Ministry of Supply: Scaling in style

Published February 18, 2015
Last modified February 18, 2015

Imagine a dress shirt that could keep you cool in the heat and warm in the cold using some of the same technology found in NASA’s space suits. And what if this shirt made sweat and odor a thing of the past? It sounds a bit like science fiction, right?

Innovative and sleek, Ministry of Supply is a tech-driven menswear apparel company,  launched in Boston by former MIT students in 2012, that has seen impressive growth over the last few years. Taking a rather unconventional route, this startup secured initial funding through a record-breaking Kickstarter project, raising  $429,276 (exceeding its goal of $30,000), becoming Kickstarter’s most successful fashion project at the time.

But as Ministry of Supply grew in popularity, its customer support system grew in complexity.

“Three years ago all of the support inquiries went to an email and it was so hard to manage it all,” said Kit Hickey, head of customer experience.

Figuring out a way to meet the increasing demand for customer service became a key focus.

Helping customers help themselves
The company chose Zendesk two years ago, and although Zendesk was helpful in organizing and consolidating customer support for Ministry of Supply, what the company soon realized was the power behind implementing Help Center.

According to Hickey, her team’s average response time went down 10 percent upon implementing Help Center and they saw a 12 percent decrease in tickets despite a growing the number of visitors to their site.

“Customers who are able to self serve are much happier customers,” said Hickey.

But it wasn’t just setting up a Help Center alone that allowed Ministry of Supply to see this kind of ticket deflection. To create an effective FAQ section, the company used Zendesk Insights to measure the performance of its support operations, gain context around the data, and surface the best content for its Help Center. Specifically, Ministry of Supply tracks its most common problems and updates its knowledge base to address those questions on a weekly basis. The company also tracks search keywords in Help Center through Google Analytics to continually fine tune its search optimization.

Better customer satisfaction
Measurable results show that Help Center is making customer support more efficient by decreasing wait time and deflecting tickets. But the bigger and better picture here is: customers are actually happier as well.

Ministry of Supply consistently measures its NPS, and since implementing its Help Center, they saw a 4-point increase, as well as a lot of encouraging feedback, with their last survey.

By transforming the structure of its customer support, Ministry of Supply can now achieve a lot more without adding more support agents. As a well thought out Help Center continues to deflect tickets, customers are happier finding the answers for themselves. This means support agents now have more time to dedicate to customers with more complex problems.

Growth comes in many shapes and forms, and the more informed you are about your business, the more prepared you will be to take the right steps to scale. Ministry of Supply now feels ready for their next step by adding additional customer engagement channels.

How? Next up, Ministry of Supply hopes to dress up its Zendesk with a live chat integration. They’re also taking their rapid growth one step at a time, which includes the launch of a pop-up shop in San Francisco this past January. The shop closes on May 31 so don't miss your opportunity to drop by now.

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