Case Study

Optimizing Seasonal Customer Support Teams to Ensure Excellent Customer Experience

Marjorie Yoro

UrbanStems is DC-based online flower delivery startup whose goal is “building the Hallmark of our generation.” With hip and modern branding, the company offers sustainably-sourced bouquets, original designs, and “happiness delivered.” Considering UrbanStems’ focus on providing a world-class customer experience, it's no surprise that they’re one of the best in their industry, with a 300% year-over-year growth. But, in 2017, their reputation took a major hit when the Valentine’s Day orders came rushing in, but due to various reasons, their operations couldn’t keep up. 

The next year, UrbanStems needed a partner to help them to mend their reputation with highly trained, short-term staffing. That’s where Boldr stepped in and offered their expertise in providing flexible, quality 24/7 customer experience solutions. 

Want to know how it happened? Here’s the story:

The Challenge

Valentine's Day is, of course, one of the most important floral holidays of the year. But in 2017, UrbanStems experienced a “Flower Brownout.” That day, the volume of deliveries was ten times greater than on a typical day.

With more deliveries scheduled, the support team received more tickets as well: up to 800 tickets a day during Valentine’s week (compared to the usual 200). And, as luck would have it, the company’s systems and tools crashed. The designated Valentine’s team was maxed out on their ability to promptly solve customer issues. As a result, bouquets were delivered late or, worse, not at all. Customers were not shy to voice their frustrations online. 

In a tweet published the day after, CEO Ajay Kori apologized for the mishap and promised to make sure that late or missing flowers would never happen again. 

The next year, as the team at UrbanStems geared up for Valentine’s 2018, they decided to expand operations, hiring more employees, and using larger distribution centers. They also began their search for an outsourcing partner. Ideally, a partner who was equipped to offer flexible staffing solutions. One of Boldr’s existing clients happened to know UrbanStems, and suggested us.

After the Boldr team met with UrbanStems to understand their challenges, drafted an analysis and game plan, the partnership was sealed. Boldr would power up UrbanStems’ Customer Happiness Team, helping to deliver on their promise of the perfect gifting experience.

Related Read: Leveraging Process Expertise to Deliver Exceptional Customer Support at Scale

The Approach

After we studied UrbanStems’ 2017 support volume and staffing, they developed a custom strategy to handle Valentine’s 2018. Their plan included modeling their forecasted support volume to build a seasonal team, augmenting the support strategy by splitting up responsibilities and defining support tiers.

First, Boldr decided to expand their team’s customer support documentation. 

"From the get-go, it was clear to us that we needed to build out a staffing plan with an augmented support solution," said Mico Quijano, Boldr’s Business Implementations Manager.

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After aligning with UrbanStems leadership, we set about building a flexible seasonal team for the project. The leadership at UrbanStems appreciated Boldr’s ability to adjust their staffing, as needed. While other outsourcing companies were unwilling to hire for only one week, we committed to increasing their team size by 300% during Valentine’s week. 

Next, the Boldr team defined the type of support their team would excel at handling. We modeled a support solution for all non-voice requests, those via email and chat (approximately 60% of UrbanStems’ support volume). Meanwhile, they recommended that UrbanStems’ on-site team focus on phone support and coordinating across their internal teams. 

Mico added, "It was important for us to make sure that our team was not only trained to respond appropriately to support issues but also well-versed in UrbanStems' brand and voice."

To celebrate, UrbanStems also launched a hashtag campaign, #SendHappy. Across the ocean, the Boldr team created their own #SendHappy materials, spreading the love and UrbanStems brand “flavor.” 

“We wanted to send the good vibes to our customers all the way from Manila!" said Mico. 

The Measurable Impact

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Boldr responded flexibly to UrbanStems’ staffing needs. In the end, our team solved over 1,825 customers’ inquiries before they could become problems. Hundred percent of our response time targets were met, and UrbanStems’ service availability increased by 200%. Above all, we helped to rejuvenate a company’s reputation using tailor-made outsourcing solutions.

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