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Retailer Improves Service 100% with 8x8 Virtual Contact Center

Zumiez is an international clothing retailer with a unique clientele—and equally unique approach to customer service. Founded in 1978, Zumiez sells a full range of clothing and other gear for the skate and snow industries. According to Rob Storie, customer care manager, this is what makes the typical Zumiez customer not quite so typical.

"Our customers are hardcore snowboarders and skateboarders," he explained. "They're young and active, and other stores might see them as potential troublemakers. At Zumiez, we understand and respect our customers' outdoor lifestyles. We want them to feel welcome in our stores, so our attitude is, 'we're here to assist you' not 'we're here to follow you around.'"

8x8 Makes Move Seamless, Simplifies Expansion

Since its first store opened in Seattle, Washington, more than 35 years ago, Zumiez has grown steadily. In addition to 400 retail stores throughout the U.S., Zumiez now has an online store that ships internationally. Recently the company relocated both its warehouse and its contact center to Kansas City, Missouri. "Thanks to 8x8, our move to Kansas City was seamless," said Storie.

8x8 Made Email Follow-up Reliable and Easy

Zumiez initially set up its VoIP call center so that customer calls came through 8x8, but customer emails went to one shared email account in Outlook. Looking at service levels for the 22 agents in the call center, Storie realized that the email process was broken.

"There was no accountability with the shared email account," he said. "I couldn't see who had answered a customer's email or whether they had followed up and closed the issue. Customers would call in to complain about lack of response or misinformation they had received, and I couldn't tell which agent had dropped the ball. It was impossible to service customers properly, and it was impossible to identify which agents needed additional training.”

Better Account Histories, Happier Customers

Storie and his team approached 8x8 about processing customer emails through the 8x8 Virtual Contact Center. Once the email integration was complete, Storie saw a 100% improvement in service levels.

“With 8x8, I can see the customer’s whole email account history, including which agent opened and closed the issue. That lets me hold individual agents accountable, so we can address service gaps and maintain consistently high service levels across the contact center.”

Easier Searches, Faster Resolution

ZumiezThe My Cases feature in the 8x8 call center software is the one Storie calls out as most useful in managing email contacts.

“All our email contacts are listed in the main queue in first in, first served order,” he explained. “When an agent responds and the customer replies back, the email is also listed in that agent’s My Cases profile. So I can pull up any agent’s profile and see their entire email exchange history with customers.” 

The 8x8 Virtual Contact Center also includes a very useful search function. “Our email system is set up to show the case number in the subject line,” said Storie. “If a customer calls in for assistance, we can search by case number and immediately see their email history with the company. It makes us much more effective in handling calls, because we can research the customer’s issue faster.”

8x8 Reports Help Set Sales Records

As customer service manager, Storie must keep his eye on phone contacts, too. 8x8’s Reporting feature allows him to monitor this mission-critical side of the contact center.

“The statistics 8x8 generates are crucial for our growth,” he said. “They show people, hours, transactions, calls, emails, agent break times, and after-call processing times. We can see who our top performers are and where our weak links are,. We then use that information to optimize our contact center. In 2012, we had record-breaking call volume during the holiday season. We wouldn't have been able to manage such a large volume of calls without the reporting information the 8x8 contact center software provides.”

To expedite call handling, Zumiez uses dedicated queues, another key 8x8 feature.

“In the past when an agent needed to escalate a customer call, they would have to stand up and wave, and then wait for a supervisor to come over and respond. With 8x8, we now have an escalation queue. When a customer wants to talk with a supervisor, the agent just transfers the call to that queue. It’s a double-win, because customers are helped sooner, and agents can move on to the next call faster.”

8x8 Support Impresses Veteran Customer Service Manager

Being in customer service himself makes Storie especially appreciative of the support he has received from 8x8 since stepping into a management role.

Zumiez uses 8x8 to see who the top call-center workers are and where there are weak links. Zumiez then uses that information to optimize its contact center. “Our 8x8 account manager is excellent, and really takes care of me. Whenever I have a question or issue, she finds the right resource and gets back to me quickly. She also checks in with me every couple of days to see how things are going. I’m in customer service myself, so I’m impressed with how she goes above and beyond to make sure everything’s okay. That level of customer service is almost nonexistent these days.”

However, Storie noted that he rarely has to call for support. “Most of the time, I just click the Help tab in 8x8 Virtual Contact Center and use instant chat. Problem solved!”

8x8 Proves It “Cares Deeply About Its Customers”

As Zumiez continues to expand, Storie anticipates that he’ll need to add more agents and extensions to the 8x8 Virtual Contact Center. And with the gains achieved by integrating email into the contact center, he is now exploring whether to add external chat (instant messaging) capability.

“Using live chat to service customers is a more modern approach, and it’s what our customers expect,” said Storie. “It also makes us more available to the hearing-impaired, and being accessible to all customers is important to us. We try to put ourselves in our customers’ shoes and treat them the way we would like to be treated.”

Storie believes 8x8 shares his company’s commitment to providing outstanding customer service.

“It’s obvious 8x8 cares deeply about its customers— they've proven it to us many times. They know our issues are important, and they take the initiative to reach out and follow up. Whenever we need support, 8x8 is there for us.”

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