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BEL USA is one of the largest distributors of promotional products in the United States. It is a printer and online retailer of customized products, including mugs, drinkware, t-shirts, tote bags, pens and a variety of other printed items. BEL USA primarily sells its products online to both corporate customers and consumers through two ecommerce brands - Discountmugs.com and Belpromo.com.
BEL USA has made its mark in the promotional products industry, not just for the quality of products they sell, but also for the exceptional service and customer support they provide, clearly resonated through their motto - “Building Brands Through Promotional Products & Customer Service Excellence”
But if they had to live up to their vision of customer excellence, they needed to keep up with the volume of pre-purchase and post-purchase queries coming through phone calls and emails. This was a difficult ask as they were using Outlook for mailbox communication.
“Not only was it hard to keep track of emails, phones, we could not tell if two agents were working on the same queries. Neither was there any streamlined process in place to measure performance and productivity” explained Laila Halim, Quality Assurance Analyst at BEL USA. “With a large customer base, it was important for us to service our customers well. Clearly we needed better engagement tools if we were going to offer stellar customer service.”
As the first step, BEL USA evaluated and implemented Freshdesk, our ticketing help desk software into their workflow. They used Freshdesk to convert all incoming emails into tickets. They could now prioritize, categorize and assign emails as tickets to right agents.
“Our daily email volume ranged from 1500 - 2500 depending on the time of the year. It can get overwhelming. Freshdesk gave us the solution to be able to monitor how well our agents actually serviced our customers.” Laila explained.
While Freshdesk brought a new streamlined structure and process to customer assistance, BEL USA felt their support tech stack lacked an important piece to their customer engagement strategy, - live chat.
““We are in the 21st century, customers don’t actually call in or take time to write emails. We needed a channel for real-time assistance. Being able to chat with a company instantly from your phone is something that people love.””
Quality Assurance Analyst
BEL USA unified their support and messaging experience by integrating Freshdesk with Freshchat. This powerful integration started taking an effect immediately. The volume of phone calls went down by 40% and this was attributed to the effectiveness of handling tickets and chats more efficiently. Once their customers noticed their emails and chats being responded to quickly, they no longer had the need to call in asking for help.
“When we first discovered Freshchat, we fell in love with the product. Managing 800 - 1000 phone calls a day was a tough ask, our team was mostly overworked. With Freshchat, our agents were able to handle several customers at the same time and still able to offer personalised assistance!”
When asked what was the need for both a ticketing and a messaging solution, Laila explained that “Ultimately our CSAT scores, rate of response, resolution times has always been our top priority. Freshworks (Freshdesk and Freshchat) has been really efficient for us day-to-day, handling both tickets and chats from the same place, - it’s powerful but what’s more important is that it works!”
“Freshworks (Freshdesk and Freshchat) has been really efficient for us day-to-day, handling both tickets and chats from the same place, - it’s powerful but what’s more important is that it works!””
What makes our service unique is that customers are able to place custom orders through our ‘Design Lab’, says Maria Beddoe, Business Analyst at BEL USA. “Our Design Lab allows our customers to add text, upload and place logos and artworks, helping them visualise their product before they place the order. We give our customers full control.” explained Maria.
BEL USA has truly adopted and advocated the use of Freshchat in the funnel and customer journey experience. During this ‘self-design’ process, they wanted to make sure their customers know that they are available to help them in every step of the way. So they placed “click to chat” buttons on strategic locations in the Design Lab.
And this is echoed in the reviews that their customers leave. Here are a couple of customer stories taken from DiscountMugs.com.
BEL USA uses one backend interface to manage conversations coming in from both their ecommerce stores. They use site ID to route conversations from Belpromo.com and Discountmugs.com to their respective agent groups. Site ID makes collaboration across multiple websites and agent groups seamless.
BEL USA uses Freshchat for both sales and support use cases by taking full advantage of Freshchat’s Topics. They created one topic for sales and another for support, helping customers reach the right agents for assistance.
To help with sales, BEL USA nudges its customers to purchase through Freshchat’s Triggered Campaigns. They use triggered messages to proactively reach out to customers informing them about discounts, promos and other useful information that lead customers to purchase. This information when given to customers while they browse is much more powerful than email messages, leading to higher conversion rates. Their triggered messages have been seen over 3.1 million times with an increased response rate of 28%.
“Triggered Campaigns definitely has a positive effect in our sales force, driving customers to engage with our chat. It creates an opportunity to engage with our customers at whichever stage of the funnel they may be. We use it to upsell or provide any resolution to our customers that will entice them to finalize an order or order more products.”
Freshchat’s intuitive agent interface makes it easier to be more efficient and productive. “We make use of every piece of information that is found in the interface” says Gabriel Mendez, systems admin at BEL USA. “We make sure we take full advantage of this while serving our customers. Freshchat helps us service a customer as an individual. We have all the context we need while serving them.”
For example, when an agent learns that a customer has initiated chat from their desktop by looking at the web device property in the interface, he/she can request a CoBrowsing session with the customer.
“We lose out on sales when customers have trouble completing their order and drop-off as a result. Freshchat’s CoBrowsing feature removes any obstacle that gets in the way of ‘Your order is now complete!”
Utkarsh Awasthi, our customer success manager with the BEL USA team
“We dispose chats as tickets on Freshdesk, so we capture the issue type, sub issue type & sub sub issue type which is used for disposition. Integration with Freshdesk is useful as it helps us identify the efficiency of channel (chat and email) along with the issue type raised by the customer in a single dashboard view.”
Freshchat is loaded with features but this does not overwhelm the team at BEL USA. In fact, Gabriel says that “The tool itself is very user friendly, the interface is easy on the eyes and is very similar to Facebook/Whatsapp messaging which everyone uses”.
When it comes to work allocation, assigning conversations is done through Freshchat’s IntelliAssign - a round-robin work assignment feature that distributes conversations to agents based on their skill level and workload. “IntelliAssign is a big contributor to our very fast response times, currently at 1 min 4 seconds”, says Gabriel.
Although Freshchat is typically used to improve customer experience, positive side effects may include (but are not limited to) decreased bounce rates and reduced operational costs. And that’s exactly what happened to BEL USA!
When they added the Freshchat widget on all their pages of their online stores, their customers adopted chat and both BEL USA and its customers started using Freshchat as the primary channel for communication. As a result, they noticed a decrease in the bounce rates as users’ time spent on page increased. This has also had a positive impact on their SEO rankings. DiscountMugs.com is currently ranked in the top 10k sites in the US, according to Alexa.
In addition to this, Gabriel explained “When someone leaves our team, whoever replaces them has all the context they need, like history of chats and tickets, and they can pick up right from where the other agent left off. This has helped us reduce ramp up time and our agents are set up to contribute right from day one!.” He also went on to say that their team has not backfilled open positions in a long time. Freshchat has equipped their team to “work more with a lot less” as Gabriel puts it, thereby reducing even their operational costs.
A happy BEL USA team!
BEL USA delivers proactive enagement with its visitors and customers. It’s your turn now.
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