Since its launch in April 2000, Crocus has grown its gardening website into one of the biggest in the UK. Crocus prides itself on the wide variety of plants it offers to its customers. As well as retailing to the general public, Crocus provides plants to the country’s leading garden designers and is a regular gold medal winner at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
After rapid growth resulted in rocketing contact volumes, Crocus’s small customer service team found themselves regularly working overtime just to meet demand. Plans to improve the customer service strategy had been discussed in 2015, but were shelved due to a managerial change.
Then, after the appointment of a new Customer Service Manager, and a particularly challenging spring peak in 2016, Crocus decided to revisit its approach.
Crocus asked WeAnswer to help it design a customer contact solution that would reduce pressure on its internal team, help improve the overall customer experience and drive up first-contact resolution. This was to include a more tailored service that matched the needs of its growing and increasingly-varied customer base.
It would also need to reflect the unpredictability of peak seasons, which were almost entirely dependent on the changeable British weather!
Having successfully managed Crocus’ telephone ordering line since 2002, WeAnswer offered a unique and trusted perspective on the existing customer experience, and opportunities for improvement.
Planning the solution
Crocus identified specific ‘personas’ that represented its varied customer base, working with WeAnswer to develop a contact solution for each. These included:
- hobby gardeners seeking to place a single telephone order quickly and efficiently
- professional gardeners with a specific technical query, seeking an immediate answer from an expert
- high value customers to whom Crocus wished to offer an advanced level of service
This identified the need for a dedicated WeAnswer team to be set up to handle the bulk of customer enquiries and orders via telephone and email. This would free up Crocus’s team to provide a more attentive service to the customers requiring additional support.
Putting it into practice
WeAnswer helped Crocus restructure its telephone lines and call routing, and established links with the Cerberus email solution to process and report on customer email enquiries. This was coupled with the introduction of a new reporting strategy to help measure improvement over time.
A wider range of customer enquiries were gradually transitioned to WeAnswer alongside a rolling training programme, allowing both sides to adapt gradually and address any issues swiftly.
Within days of the restructured phone lines being launched, Crocus noticed a significant increase in first-contact resolutions from its inbound telephone enquiries.
The way WeAnswer interface directly with Crocus’ systems alongside a more efficient contact strategy has given Crocus access to accurate reporting, and allowed it to focus on underperforming metrics to drive improvement.
With WeAnswer now handling 60% of inbound enquiries, Crocus has been able to develop a VIP service programme for its high value customers which will be implemented in 2017.
The improvements to the customer contact strategy have contributed to like-for-like growth in returning customers, and resulted in a significant increase in overall sales during the first six months of activity.
WeAnswer are an excellent company to work with. They have supported our company throughout our development, adapting their service to match our changing needs.
Our peak periods can be difficult to predict, so having WeAnswer on hand allows us to scale up when we need to, without the need to recruit internally. Their agents are very well trained and the depth of knowledge they have is invaluable to us.
The great service WeAnswer provides has encouraged clients to come back time and time again and helped improve our sales. I have no doubt that they will continue to provide excellent service to our customers into the future.Customer Service Manager - Crocus