At a glance
Agent productivity increase
Tickets solved per agent per month
Net Promoter Score
It’s another Monday morning at ModCloth, perhaps the world’s most popular online vintage clothing store, and the chat lines are lighting up. As usual, nearly 20 percent of customers are looking for help from stylists.
“I just bought the baklava beauty dress, and I need some matching heels,” announced Betty from Oregon. “I got engaged last night! Yay! Can a stylist please, please work with me to put together my look for the engagement party?” pleaded Peggy from Tennessee.
“Help, I’m looking for a beautiful, plus-sized cocktail dress that won’t make my thighs look enormous. I need to be a knockout next weekend,” confessed Susan from South Carolina.
There was a time when having a personal stylist was like having a penthouse. You had to be rich, and preferably famous. Today, online shoppers can get the same expert guidance that celebrities enjoy simply by reaching out to ModCloth’s customer service.
“We really want our customers to feel great about themselves,” says co-founder Susan Kroger.
When ModCloth started featuring stylists in 2009, they were immediately popular. “In some ways, our stylists are the substitute for girlfriend you used to bring to the mall to help you pick out a dress for the Christmas party, the spring formal or your boyfriend’s big after hours bash,” said Audrey Griffith, senior manager of the ModCloth Customer Care division. “They are empathetic and creative, and most importantly they are fashion mavens with impeccable taste.
But did the stylists help generate revenue? That was what ModCloth’s chief financial officer wanted to know. Griffith’s gut told her they did, however, she needed the data to prove it.
Griffith turned to Zendesk Support, ModCloth’s customer support software. ModCloth had chosen Zendesk Support after Griffith and her team evaluated four other solutions. Support had already led to a 20 percent increase in agent productivity.
Macros, or predefined responses, made it possible for agents to plough through an average of 457 tickets a month. These included requests for stylists.
Features like ticket views helped create order from chaos, and tagging improved the quality assurance process. Macros, or predefined responses, made it possible for agents to plough through an average of 457 tickets a month. These included requests for stylists. Griffith wanted to know what happened after the request was made. She knew that ModCloth’s speedy ticket turnaround of 11.6 hours had helped boost customer satisfaction scores to 96 percent. This was much better than the rest of the industry, which took an average of 40 hours just for an initial response and reported customer satisfaction scores of only 79 percent.
But Griffith suspected there was more to customer happiness than her teams rapid response. Did the stylists have something to do with ModCloths soaring customer satisfaction scores? To find out, Griffith configured a special Support ticket form for stylist requests so that revenue generated from those interactions could be easily tracked.
When Griffith ran the report three months later, she discovered that shoppers who interacted with stylists converted that same day at a rate that was 20 percent higher than shoppers who didn’t benefit from their expert advice. Shoppers who consulted stylists also bought more and gave ModCloth props for customer service in automated follow-up surveys.This was fantastic news. Griffith started putting the information into a PowerPoint to present to her manager, but then she had an even better idea. Griffith took advantage of Zendesk’s integration with Yammer to post the results of the customer surveys in the ModCloth’s internal social feed. And she created a separate post letting people know how much the five stylists were contributing to ModCloth’s sales.
Within minutes, the chief financial officer had responded. Zing. “This is awesome,” he wrote. “Now I know why you keep suggesting we hire more stylists.”
Griffith said this kind of success is the reason she loves working in customer service. “For years, customer service agents have been unsung heroes,” she said. “Because our main goal was pleasing the customer, we were often regarded as bleeding hearts. But now, with products like Support, executives can measure how much we are contributing in actual dollar amounts. It turns out going the extra mile to help our customers look and feel terrific is really good for business.”
“It turns out going the extra mile to help our customers look and feel terrific is really good for business.”