Deckers and Plivo are a Perfect Pair When it Comes to the Customer ExperienceDeckers Brands sends footwear to customers in 50 countries. To improve the customer experience and take pressure off its call centers, Deckers uses Plivo SMS to keep customers informed about their order status.
There is a reason that shoes are a popular theme of the “unboxing” videos on YouTube. The excitement of receiving new footwear is universal: style and comfort in a single box. It’s easy to imagine a customer thrilled to take those new Tevas on a hiking trip or those new UGG on a ski weekend, and it’s just as easy to imagine their disappointment at learning they’ll have to go without them because the shipment isn’t going to arrive in time.
This disappointment is exactly what Deckers Brands wanted to avoid.
Deckers is a footwear giant. The California-based company’s portfolio includes Teva, Sanuk, Ahnu, and UGG. Deckers’ products are sold in department stores and online in more than 50 countries. With that many shipments, the company needed to make sure its customers knew where their orders were at all times. Setting expectations meant happier customers, and happier customers meant call centers didn’t get overwhelmed by people wondering when their shoes would arrive. Deckers set out to find the best way to connect, a search that led to Plivo.
Adding Automation to Customer Service
“Obviously, sales is our goal, but we're moving to a true customer-experience focus,” says Jacob Martinez, Project Manager for Deckers’ e-commerce team. “We want our customers to be able to find the product fast, purchase it, and then receive it quickly and efficiently.” If Deckers could empower customers with order and shipping updates, pressure on the call center could be relieved.
Martinez says SMS messaging emerged as the best solution. The company knew that email updates often go to spam folders, that FAQs are ignored, and that chatbots are frustrating. The company recognized that text messaging — and particularly, automated text messaging — would be ideal for communicating order status and preventing a deluge of calls.
SMS is reliable. And unlike Facebook or Whatsapp, you don't have to download an app or sign in.
Company success and customer satisfaction depended on finding the right SMS solution.
Seamlessly Implementing SMS
Martinez began looking for SMS providers and quickly found Plivo. He appreciated that the company focuses specifically on SMS and voice messaging. Deckers needed to send a high volume of messages daily, and they had to be specific to each customer, detailing the type of shipment and delivery status. Customers had to know where those Tevas were at every step of the process.
Plivo’s solution was application-to-person SMS, which gave each of Deckers’ brands its own number and helped maintain separate brand identities. After the customer places an order, Deckers sends shipment updates through a series of SMS messages until the package is in hand.
Adopting Plivo was nearly seamless. With a simple API and great documentation, implementing Plivo only took a week, says Martinez.
The mindset change of moving to SMS from email may have taken longer than actually implementing Plivo’s SMS.
Plivo also kept the volume of messages from getting out of control. “Plivo’s queuing system was also a huge selling point,” he said. “The less we have to manage things like rate limits and batch sizes, the less burden gets put on the developers. That's nice for us. If we have fifty thousand text messages we have to send, we don’t have to worry about how those will get through. We just send them all and Plivo handles it.
A Partner for the Long Haul
From the beginning, Martinez says, Deckers saw Plivo as a partner in creating customer satisfaction.
I could tell from the get-go that Plivo was going to offer outstanding service compared to some of the other SMS providers. Anytime we've ever reached out to Plivo for any questions, we get responses quickly and with answers that make sense.
Martinez also felt that Plivo was growing in a direction that would enable Deckers to build out its infrastructure quickly and conveniently. “With their new product, PHLO, it is very clear that Plivo wants to be able to enable SMS for everyone in our organization, not just a few people who have good developer skills.
Relief for the Call Center and the IT Department
The use of automated SMS has had measurable impacts on the call center. Martinez said that they have seen track-package calls decrease between 15 and 20% year-over-year since the launch of SMS. And, the savings have been significant. Here’s why: for text messages, the average cost per contact is less than half of one percent of the cost of telephone contact. Therefore, using SMS to preempt that call paid for itself many times over. “If one text message can save you one call, then you’re saving a lot of money,” said Martinez.
For every one call we save, we can send about 3,000 SMS messages to customers. That's exponentially more efficient for us.
Deckers wanted to keep customers in the loop, and it wanted to automate the process to make life easier for the call center, too. By implementing Plivo’s API, the customer’s mobile device became an extension of Deckers’ own support team, saving time and money. The ordering and shipping process became transparent, support calls were reduced, and customers knew exactly when to expect their own personal unboxing experience.