Turning Customer Support Into Profitable Marketing Channel

In this episode of the podcast we talk to Chris from Gorgias on:

  1. How Gorgias differentiates itself from the other Helpdesks?
  2. How is Gorgias making or leveraging on all the new terminologies that e-commerce is trying to adapt itself to?
  3. How automation is a huge part of what Gorgias offers?
  4. How Gorgias balances automation with personalization?
  5. How to build solid relationships with customers to drive repeat purchases?
  6. What metrics are the definitive guide to successful customer support?
  7. What is going to be the trend in e-commerce in 2022?

Revathi: Hey guys! Welcome to e-commerce 360. We have Chris Lava from Gorgias, who takes care of e-com tech partnerships at Gorgias. Gorgias is the exclusive help desk built for eCommerce. Hey Chris, how are you? Welcome.

Chris: I’m doing great. How are you doing?

Revathi: Doing good. So Chris, do you want to start off by telling us a bit about yourself?

Chris: Absolutely. Yeah, so my name is Chris, I lead tech partnerships here a Gorgias, which, as you said, is a help desk built for ecommerce merchants. My background is, I grew up on the East Coast of Canada and beautiful province known as Nova Scotia. Close to where the Titanic sank, if that helps people orient themselves. I did a PhD in organic chemistry in Nova Scotia and then I went on to do a fellowship in the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. And then, I switched completely into the business world and I’ve been fortunate to find my way into e-commerce. And I’ve been at Gorgias for the last eight months or so and I absolutely love it.

Revathi: That’s great. A Ph.D., well, so let’s talk about Gorgias, right? So help desk is a very crowded space, however, gorgeous has made such a big impact for e-commerce businesses. It’s kind of inspiring how they crack into that space and how they started gaining momentum.

Do you want to talk to us a little bit about how Gorgias differentiates itself from the helpdesk in that overcrowded space?

Chris: For sure. And so, as you said, we’ve really, we’ve built ourselves completely for e-commerce merchants so whether help desk out there before like Zendesk, which has been around for a long time. There wasn’t a solution that was built specifically for modern e-commerce retailers. And so, the way our product works just feels like it’s meant to work with Shopify, for example.

The level of automation, the ease of use, and getting ramped up to use our product, the revenue tracking metrics, all the key metrics that you see inside of Shopify and its most popular apps, that’s exactly how gorgeous looks and feels. And so, the time and time again, the feedback we get from merchants is like, “Look, this is exactly what we’ve needed.” Customer support has been a big pain point for us, even if they’re already using another help desk, just because it is so natively integrated with Shopify, it just feels like it was built for it, which is what people come to love.

Revathi: That’s amazing. Also, customer support has been traditionally looked at as a call center. Whereas, with the explosion of SaaS, customer experience, customer support, business services, all these metrics, all these buzzwords are making headway into e-commerce businesses.

How is Gorgias making or leveraging on all the new terminologies that e-commerce is trying to adapt itself to?

Chris: For sure. So, yeah, I hear all the time that customer support is a call center and quite frankly, for a lot of merchants, it is. Because they’re not using the right tools to manage it. They see it as a they have to deal with it, as opposed to a great opportunity to actually become really competitive. And that’s what you’ll start hearing more of is turning support into a competitive advantage. Just like a lot of merchants are turning shipping and fulfilment as a competitive advantage. If you’re able to offer free two-day shipping, that’s a huge advantage. If you’re able to offer stellar customer support, that’s also a huge advantage.

A big part of Gorgias and we’ll dive into it is that it’s no longer a cost center ROI you get with Gorgias is massive. But also, not only you’re going to keep your customers happy, it’s quite easy with our product to generate upsell opportunities, and actually track the revenue you’re creating by using Gorgias. We are turning support from a call center into a profit center. We’ve proven that time and time again.

Revathi: Also, I read somewhere that you guys automate up to 5% of customer support queries.

Do you want to talk a little bit about how automation is a huge part of what Gorgias offers?

Chris: Absolutely. And so, we just talked about how we’re trying to turn support from a cost to a profit center. The most important way we can do that is we can analyze what your customers are asking you time and time again. And let’s make sure that we can automate that volume of ticket as much as possible.

We analyzed over 10,000 tickets or conversations that customers are having with our merchants and 33% of all tickets analyzed were directly related to order status. And so, if you’re doing 10 to 50,000 tickets a month, which a lot of our merchants do, then that’s a huge amount of tickets that are simply related to order status.

People like you and I saying, “Hey, just looking for an update of my order.” Not super important if you don’t answer those questions, and maybe it’s not going to have a huge impact. But if you can’t answer those questions in an automated way. That’s going to keep your customers happy and up to date. But also, it’s going to free up bandwidth for your support agents to focus on the questions that really matter. Like really upset customers that might be looking for a refund, which you obviously want to avoid. So, yeah, freeing up that repetitive questions are a huge piece of the gorgeous puzzle.

Revathi: So a 33% being automated and 30% of recurring order related questions being automated is amazing. So when we talk about automation, most of the times businesses are wary of automation, because they think it’s going to hinder the process of building real relationships, right?

Gorgias is going to provide automation to scale, as well as a level of personalization. How do you guys strike the balance?

Chris: Yeah, exactly. And so, I talked about it a lot of time. It’s one of my favorite topics.

Balancing automation and speed with personalization, which is the holy grail of customer support, not just in e-commerce, but just in general.

And so, we’ve talked about how we can automate and speed things up. So we have machine learning, we have these great rules and macros, which make it really easy to basically detect whatever a customer is asking you, and then just fire away the right response. And so, that takes you up to speed. That’s easy.

The personalization is actually trickier. And so, we’ve learned a lot from some of our merchants like tushy, which is a great bidet company. And so, they’re fast, and they respond quite quickly. But they also create a really personalized copy in their responses, whether it’s email, live, chat, etc. And you can control the cadence. So say, you messaged me, I can control it.

So I’m going to deliver an auto-response, but it’s only going to happen maybe an hour after you messaged me, instead of it’s happening, like right away, in a robotic sense. So you can modify the messaging that you deliver to your customers, even if it’s an automated response. And so, that’s an easy way to be fast, but also to make your customers feel like it’s not a robot behind the wheel, so to speak.

Revathi: That’s great. So automation for scaling and personalization to build a real customer relationship. When we talk about automation and personalization, we want to know how or what kind of impact it’s going to have on our metrics.

What metrics do e-commerce stores have to track in order to find out whether their service or their customer service is going in the right direction?

Chris: Yeah, absolutely. And so, we track quite a few metrics instead of Gorgias. On the support side, some key metrics are first response time. So how long does it take for you to just interact and respond to the customer? Even if it’s just to say, “Hey, look, we’ve received your inquiry, don’t worry, we’re looking into it. We’ll be back as soon as possible” .

There’s a big correlation between average response time and your lifetime value of the customer.

And then also, importantly, is resolution time. So how long does it take to actually solve the issue, not just say, “Hey, we’re looking into it.” But you actually solve the question, you close the ticket, those two numbers, those metrics have a huge influence on your customer satisfaction, so CSET but also LTV lifetime value. So we have we have crystal clear data on that. So this is really important.

We also have a metric called one-touch tickets. And so, how many of your tickets– what percentage of your tickets are able to respond and close within one ticket? It’s really important for us because if you have a huge percentage of one touch ticket, it tells us where you could probably automate those. And so, it helps us inform our product decisions.

Like look, this merchant has a ton of one touch tickets, let’s automate those as much as we can. And then quickly, we also have sales and revenue metrics that we track inside of Gorgias. So we make it really easy to create upselling opportunities.

So for instance, say I’m, I’m helping out a customer, I say, really happy, I was able to help you today. By the way, I can see that you’re a big fan of our blueberry soda because I can see all of your order histories. We just launched our orange soda that which I think you might be a fan of here’s a 10% discount code. Hope you have a great weekend. If you say thanks, I love Warren showed, I’d love to try that. And you click that coupon that I drop in the chat you execute on that, that’ll be attributed as a sale inside of gorgeous, which we track the revenue very accurately as well. And now you’re taking it to the next level by creating sales opportunities.

And that’s what modern e-commerce retailers need. That’s why Gorgias is so natively built for e-commerce because now you’re not just answering questions, you’re actually creating revenue opportunities.

Revathi: That’s very interesting, right?

Do you have any insider tips on how to build a solid relationship with customers and from there upgrade them to loyal customers and keep driving repeat sales from those segments of customers?

Chris: Yeah, so one thing that we do is we natively Gorgias has a lot of capabilities for tracking revenue and data book specific customer. So if I’m talking to one customer, I can see all of their order history with Shopify.

For instance, I can see all the conversations we’ve had in the past. So that gives me good insight when I’m talking to a customer. I can see if they spent a lot of money on our website, I can see their average order value. So we can automatically tag customers with who are above a certain lifetime span and average order value as a VIP. And so, they can be segmented as VIP meaning that you know, when you’re talking to that customer, their VIP you see them get a crystal clear so you need to elevate the level of support you’re going to give them because they’re your high repeat purchase customer.

When you combine Gorgias with some of our popular app integrations, like YATPo, for instance, for loyalty, reward and reviews. With our integration, you can actually see all the reviews that a customer’s left, you can see all there you can see their loyalty balance and how many points that they’ve accumulated, giving us further insight on what kind of customer this is.

We also have integrations like Klaviyo, which allows us to see what email subscriptions they’re on. So when you start combining gorgeous, plus all these different apps, now all of a sudden, we have even more information and oversight on a specific customer, which we can leverage to give them a very tailored personalized experience. So I can say, hey, look, I know you’re clearly a VIP customer, you’ve loved to order these types of products, it can change the messaging I’m going to give them I can change the offers and discount codes and might want to apply to them.

It’s not just enough to have like the e-commerce have this, like Gorgias. But when you start combining with these other apps that are in the space, you have full oversight about a customer which you can leverage to deliver really personalized experience.

Revathi: That’s awesome. So as you know, right, customer retention and customer loyalty are something that we are very excited about.

What is going to be the trend in e-commerce in 2022? Or 2023?

Chris: Yeah, so my prediction, and I don’t mean it to sound grim is:

It’s going to be more challenging than ever to achieve customer retention.

So earning lifetime loyalty is going to be at an all-time high because there’s it’s a more competitive market. If you’re a fashion and accessory brand, there’s going to be you know, a lot more of you, in short order, meaning your customers have options, right, there’s not a lot of Nikes in the world where you’re so loyal to that brand that you’re only going to go to them.

In the modern e-commerce world, there’s a lot of brands that you don’t have a lot of loyalty with your customers just yet, meaning you have to nail your first impressions or everything as they say.

So customers are going to become more expectant of a super smooth shopping experience both pre and post-purchase meaning the moment they run in any friction, they’re trying to go through your website, and they run into a hiccup or the UI isn’t as smooth as they want, then they’re just going to say, okay, abandon this.

I’m sure I can go find another website that will offer all the same benefits, maybe a little bit cheaper, free shipping. And so, it’s going to be more challenging than ever to stand out. Customer service is just one of the pieces of the puzzle-like shipping and fulfillment rewards and loyalty is another piece as well. So you have to nail your customer service. And the three things I’ll say, and I’ll stop talking is

You need to be fast; You need to be personalized, and You need to be as give them that sense that you really understand them as a customer. And so those are the three things that you need to nail or you’re going to start losing customers quickly.

Revathi: That’s fantastic. I think we have learned a lot from the conversation that we have had with you. Primarily, what you left us with those three nuggets, like you know, you have to be fast, you have to be genuine, and you have to provide them with enough personalization that tells them that you care and you know exactly what they want. That has been great. And thank you so much, Chris, for coming on our podcast and giving us a lot of interesting insights.

Chris: Thank you so much for having me. I love to hear that story. And hopefully, we can keep making customers feel that way. So thank you so much for having me. It was a pleasure.

Revathi: Thank you, Chris. Thank you so much.

Revathi Karthik
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