As one of the fastest-growing prepared-meal companies, the most important part of our business is accurately shipping fresh, nutritious meals to customers every week.
In addition to providing a variety of delicious meals, Freshly also delivers seamless customer support, which has been a huge factor in our continued growth in a new category. In order to try out a new service, customers have to get the answers they’re looking for in a quick, informed way. They’re interacting with our customer support team regularly to choose their meals and ask questions about ingredients and nutrition.
Customers have to make decisions about what meals to get every week or whether they want to skip that week instead, so we need to handle these communications quickly and efficiently.
At Freshly, we aim for the highest standards in customer care: average email response times of no more than 30 minutes (frequently even half of that), average chat response times chat of 20 seconds or less, and an average of 10 seconds to answer phone calls.
We empower customers to contact us in the way that’s most convenient for them by embracing omnichannel support—talk, email, chat, and text.
Omnichannel service level agreements (SLAs) for individual channels
For a business like ours, omnichannel support is really the only option. The goal is to balance service speed and excellence with efficiency. If we’re answering emails in real time, we can’t have too limited a pool of agents. At the same time, however, we can’t over-staff the pool of agents so that their time isn’t used efficiently. Then there’s the fact that we also embrace phone, chat, and text support. That’s where omnichannel support comes in.
Today, most of our agents are dual-channel—they’re responding to customers via chat and email or phone and email. We need to have multiple people constantly looking at emails to meet our tight, 30-minute response goal. Since the cadence of emails rises and falls, we staff for the “worst” but still make sure time is well-spent when agents aren’t answering emails.
Our agents know that they’re held to certain standards, and omnichannel empowers them to achieve them. They know they can easily go back and forth between channels, and that the response time is within their reach. It’s a win-win when our agents feel supported in meeting our high SLAs and it keeps our customers happy, too.
Managing agents and customizing metrics
Employing an all-encompassing customer support solution allows us to react quickly and meet our SLA standards—but we also know that this support approach is better for our customers.
At Freshly, we’re all about convenience. Thanks to omnichannel support, our agents know a customer’s history at a glance. We’re connecting frequently with customers who receive Freshly deliveries weekly, and who may contact us using varying channels. It’s important that an agent has a seamless insight into the customer’s prior contacts and history so the agent can take up an issue that was previously reported.
Another benefit? With an omnichannel solution and using the surveying functionality in Zendesk, we’ve seen an increase in survey responses, which allows us to be more strategic. We’re able to standardize the surveys and how they’re delivered, and, because they’re automated, they’re consistently deployed and synthesized. More data means surveys are more effective as a rating tool for agents, removing the distortion of outliers.
Surveys are crucial, too, because they inform our internal (and extensive) quality assurance program. We monitor contacts that have survey responses, breaking it down by agent, to identify why customers are unhappy and what we (Freshly or the agent) could have done to make their experience better. We can individually monitor an agent’s effectiveness in helping the customer, as well as how empathetic they are throughout the interaction. This leads to improved performance and to better customer interactions overall.
In email, phone, and chat, we also evaluate response-time metrics, examining different aspects depending on the platform. We create custom metrics to evaluate response times across all contact channels under many different criteria, including by day of week, time of day, and team/supervisor. This kind of granular insight has been critical as we build our team, because we’re able to understand where aspects of our customer support need to be tweaked so we can offer consistent, superior support.
Structuring support for omnichannel—tiers and specialization
We factored in geography and time zones when structuring our omnichannel support to maximize efficiency and flexibility.
We have two Freshly offices, one in Arizona and one in New York, with the Arizona office focused on front-line phone, chat, email, and text communications, and the New York office focusing on a number of specialty tasks that help our support function run as smoothly as it does.
Importantly, a key part of our customer support is the fact that we’re open 6 AM-11 PM, and staffed by Freshly employees in the United States, rather than outsourced support. We deliver to customers from California to Georgia, so we’re focused on providing support across all key times of day, in all continental time zones, except the wee hours of the morning. Omnichannel support only works, and is only really omnichannel, if hours of operation across all contact channels are maximized to encompass 90% of customer contact volume. Omnichannel support for eight hours of the day means that you have unichannel support (email, by default) for the vast majority of the day—16 hours.
Because omnichannel support requires flexibility, it’s important to emphasize dexterity in support operations. For this, we make sure that even specialists in our customer service team, who normally handle other matters, excel in support and can be employed to assist with contact volume as needed to maintain our gold standard SLAs, even during times of high contact volume.
Extend the impact of omnichannel tools with specific apps for each individual channel
We’ve extended the reach and impact of our customer support tools by employing specific apps for each channel. We’ve found that apps really enhance both our agent and customer experiences, enabling or complementing the efficiencies we need:
- The User Data App makes it easier to provide a full view of the customer’s history when agents examine a ticket.
- The Answer Suggestion App links to our company guides so agents have the right talking points for common questions requiring very specific terminologies, such as those involving nutrition.
- The Recorded Calls App enhances our training by providing examples of good and bad calls.
- The Emoji App lets agents spruce up tickets with smileys and personality. Food is a very personal experience for people, so we want to connect with customers. We’re not “agents,” we’re people!
For Freshly, given our mission and our offering, there’s no substitute for an omnichannel solution to customer support. Our company needs the insights omnichannel delivers, our agents need those tools to provide real-time customer support, and our customers deserve the excellent experience they receive as a result.