Case Studies : Figleaves.com
Figleaves.com is an online destination for lingerie, loungewear, underwear, clothing, swimwear, nightwear and shapewear. Each season, the company launches thousands of new items and ideas across the site. Figleaves.com was established in 1998 and now serves over 1.2 million customers in more than 100 countries worldwide.
Excellent customer service is essential to maintaining the company’s hard-earned reputation for offering a selection of up-market brands as well as its own exclusive designs for men and women. Nowhere is this more apparent than at the Figleaves.com busy contact centre at Haverhill in Suffolk, home to the organisation’s main warehouse and distribution centre.
Delivering a personal service to customers around the world
The Figleaves.com contact centre serves customers from around the world from 8am until Midnight between Monday to Friday, from 9am until 8pm on Saturdays and from 10am until 6pm on Sundays. During the week, the opening hours are deliberately longer to accommodate the company’s loyal following of North American customers who regularly visit the Figleaves website in the USA.
Calls last anything from 2.5 minutes for general order enquiries around delivery dates to nearly 5 minutes for personal shoppers who require a more tailored service with specialist advice on sizing and styling. Despite changes in technology over the past few years, the telephone remains the most popular form of communication for Figleaves.com customers at 57% of all contact via calls followed by email (32%) and web-chat (11%).
This reflects the importance of offering customers a highly personal service as Sarah Arnold, Customer Services Manager for Figleaves.com, explains, "Interestingly, we are seeing email communication declining while our web-chat service, which provides quick answers to quick questions, is rising. We actively encourage personal interaction by stating our phone number at the bottom of every webpage. It is clear to us that spending time with customers is critical to boosting their confidence in us and our products, increasing their satisfaction levels and building long-term customer loyalty."
Sizing up the market to find a solution that fits
To maintain consistently high levels of customer service as the company grew, Figleaves.com decided to replace its original telephony system with a more sophisticated solution that could provide automated call routing and accurate reporting. In 2008, it turned to Intelecom, a provider of cloud-based customer contact services. After a thorough review of the marketplace, Figleaves.com took the decision to take a hosted approach to reinvigorating its contact centre infrastructure. As one of the first developers of cloud-based contact centres, Intelecom matched the company’s requirements perfectly.
According to Sarah Arnold, "Intelecom fitted the bill. The technology was tried and tested which gave us huge confidence from the outset. We didn’t even need to invest in new handsets keeping our capital costs to a minimum.After just a few minutes of training, we could plug in and play and see immediate benefits."
Integration drives efficiency, empowers staff
Using the latest in Computer Integration Telephony (CTI) via the Intelecom hosted contact management portal Connect, agents at Figleaves.com central contact centre can monitor their own status including how many calls they are answering, the status of all queues and when they can take time out to wrap up calls. This gives them the opportunity to adjust their performance to meet their own personal objectives. At a glance, they also have an overview of activity, how many customers are waiting and how long they have been waiting for. The ability for agents to have a clear and complete picture of what is happening is essential in a contact centre that has chosen to limit the number of managers and team leaders to supervise agents.
Sarah Arnold added, "Agent empowerment is critical to running a successful contact centre operation. With all the right information at their fingertips, supervisors can quickly assess service levels around the world and agents are well equipped to make their own decisions. For example, agents know the best time to leave their desks and visit the warehouse to look at new products so they can describe them knowledgeably to customers. Because everyone is cross-trained, agents have the confidence to support all customers irrespective of the nature of their enquiry. They act smarter and faster. Ultimately, this has a very positive impact on the customer experience."
Furthermore, because Intelecom is easy to use, it has become a critical part of the Figleaves.com business continuity programme. If the Suffolk office building needs to be vacated in an emergency or if adverse weather prevents staff from getting into work, agents have the ability to log into the Intelecom system using mobile phones or laptops from home and customers still receive the same level of accessibility and service they have come to expect. Intelecom is also versatile enough to be scaled up and down to meet increased demand during busy periods such as Christmas.
A more scientific approach to measuring customer service
Prior to Intelecom, Sarah and her team found it difficult to measure the level of service being provided to customers. Today, the advanced reporting capabilities of the system have made it possible to introduce specific Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and aim to answer 80% of calls within 10 seconds. In fact, Figleaves.com has consistently exceeded these original targets thanks to the flexibility and reliability of Intelecom. The contact centre regularly answers 98% of all calls within 10 seconds.
Sonar the web-based statistics tool from Intelecom has become a valuable and strategic resource for management. The system is used to extract accurate statistics from within the Intelecom system, everything from call volumes and call handling times to SLAs. These statistics are turned into meaningful reports that track performance by day, by week, by individual agent and by department and even provide comparisons year-on-year, a process that takes minutes rather than hours. This data gives managers the hard evidence needed to make informed business decisions and react accordingly.
Sarah Arnold continued, "Customers are at the centre of everything we do and Intelecom truly understands this concept. The people are a joy to work with and areresponsive to our needs.Intelecom has given us a straight-forward but highly resilient framework that integrates seamlessly with the rest of our network. It helps to support our overall drive to deliver an exceptional customer experience."
Shaping up for the future
Figleaves.com plans to build on the success of the Intelecom solution. Next on the horizon is the re-introduction of call recording. By recording calls via Intelecom and its partner Cloud9 Business Analytics, Figleaves.com aims to promote best practice among trainee agents and call recording will also form part of its fraud prevention measures should customers wish to pay for their purchases by telephone rather than via the company’s secure online site.
Intelecom hosted cloud-based technology guarantees efficient call handling and delivers an exceptional level of personal customer service
- ‘Plug in and play’ approach keeps capital costs down
- CTI (Computer Telephony Integration) gives agents a concise and complete picture of all call centre activity, empowering them to make their own decisions
- Supports business continuity with easy, remote access during times of emergency and adverse weather conditions
- SLAs are regularly exceeded with 98% of all calls answered within 10 seconds
- SONAR web-based reporting supports informed decision-making
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More Editorial From Intelecom
Founded in the UK in 1998, figleaves.com is an online retailer of branded intimate apparel, including underwear, swimwear and nightwear for men and women. The company expanded into the USA marketplace in 2004. Today figleaves.com customers can place an order online from a selection of more than 200 brands; from big name favourites like Wonderbra through to top of the range designer lines such as Maliza by La Perla.
Intelecom is a provider of contact management solutions with 16 years’ experience and one of the first to develop a cloud-based contact centre. Connect from Intelecom can be adapted to accommodate one to several thousand concurrent agents using any device, in any location and integrates with multiple applications. Connect is completely multichannel - agents can respond to Phone, Email, Chat, Social Media and SMS enquiries all within the one application.
Published: Tuesday, January 8, 2013