“Zendesk Support is intuitive. Learning to use the tool was a pretty simple process with a quick ramp-up time.”
- Sierra Schwidder
Customer Experience Manager - NatureBox
Tickets per Month
Avg. Email FRT
Decrease in Phone Vol. with Chat
When you’re hungry—or hangry—it’s all too easy to grab the nearest snack, a reflex that sometimes weighs heavy when empty calories fail to satisfy. There’s an art to eating well and wisely, and membership service NatureBox saw an opportunity to make it easy, too. The company delivers a steady stream of healthy snacks and meal on-the-go options that taste good directly to consumers and businesses.
Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, and with distribution centers in California’s Central Valley and in Indiana, NatureBox differentiated itself in 2012 by developing its own line of nutritionist-approved snacks that don’t skimp on flavor, whether that’s oatmeal, veggie chips or decadent, antioxidant-rich cocoa almonds.
As a membership-based retailer, NatureBox is hyper-focused on delivering what customers want. This extends from their snack products to their customer service. From NatureBox’s headquarters, a team comprised of quality-assurance leads, a data analyst, and customer-service representatives lead the charge, supported by a team of 23 in Davao City, Philippines. For the first two years, NatureBox offered support via phone and email, through two different platforms, Desk.com and 8×8, but with their subscription service taking off, and more than 19,000 tickets a month, that got unwieldy—fast.
“It was becoming very difficult to manage each channel of support through different platforms,” said Sierra Schwidder, customer experience manager. NatureBox needed a simpler way, which it found in Zendesk Support.
Beginning in fall 2013, Zendesk Support allowed NatureBox’s support team to manage both phone and email on a single platform and to streamline support processes. By 2015, NatureBox had expanded their multichannel strategy to include email and self-service through Zendesk Support and Guide, and live chat through Zendesk Chat. Then in 2017, they added Zendesk Talk and enabled SMS text messaging through an integration with Smooch.io.
By deploying a multichannel solution with the Zendesk platform, NatureBox was able to experiment with its channel mix to find the right balance for customers, ultimately putting live chat and SMS forward as their first lines of contact. When Schwidder looked at the data after turning live chat on and off, she realized there was “a clear drop” in phone call volume during times when they were offering chat.
Adopting Chat has had a dramatic impact. Within three months of the rollout, there was a 60 percent drop in call volume. With far fewer calls coming in, the team rolled out a voicemail option that lets customers leave a message and get a call back. Phone support is still available, but with the success of chat, “the need for phones just didn’t seem to exist as much as it used to,” said Schwidder. Chat has been a huge boon for efficiency, too: “We recognized that with chat, we can work with upwards of five customers at once and resolve those issues for them,” said Schwidder. “On a phone call, it’s one contact at a time.” On average, though the team aims for a first response time of 45 seconds per chat, they’re averaging only 17 seconds.
The decision to add Zendesk Talk stemmed from a desire to further expand customer contact options. NatureBox uses Talk to record voicemails and offer callbacks, and to keep these tied to the customer’s history in Zendesk Support. Schwidder’s team also hypothesized that NatureBox’s customers might prefer the ease of texting. They were right. For SMS, the channel score for CSAT was higher than for phone or chat. What’s more, the customers have so far been responsive. “We weren’t sure how long the session would be, how long it would take a customer to text us back,” said Schwidder. “We are seeing that customers are responsive via SMS and that we’re able to take care of their needs quickly.”
To help speed things up on the agent side, the team uses Guide to host an internal-facing knowledge center so that agents can quickly reference articles, policies, and procedures. “Having the knowledge base function embedded in Zendesk has really seemed to improve our time to resolution. It takes less time for the team to find the information they need, and the searchability is so much better than using a separate wiki or Google Docs.”
With 4.76 out of 5 stars as an overall CSAT rating, it’s clear that the company’s efforts to take care of customers are paying off. Customer satisfaction is critical to Schwidder and her team; they use Stella Connect, a CSAT tool that integrates with Zendesk, to give agents real-time feedback on how they’re doing. From the Stella Connect dashboard, Schwidder can see the responses, and from there click on each one and be directed back to the corresponding ticket in Zendesk Support.
There’s one other integration Schwidder can’t live without: Magento. This application runs the NatureBox storefront and the free two-way integration allows agents to see billing, shipping, and order information from Magento alongside a ticket or a user profile in Zendesk Support. Schwidder estimates that the seamless integration saves 45 to 60 seconds in resolution time per ticket. “I can’t even express how much it means to us. It’s huge,” she said.
Schwidder also takes full advantage of Zendesk’s mentoring program and online training courses to more efficiently use the insights and reporting options. “It took a little bit of troubleshooting,” she said, but with help from Zendesk, “we were able to determine how we could utilize Support to our greatest advantage.”