Competition among retailers has never been tougher and, as a pure-play online retailer, drugstore.com has the added challenge of convincing customers to shop online for items they typically buy at the corner store. Think toothpaste, laundry detergent, or a bottle of aspirin. Consumers look to online retailers for the convenience of shopping from home and having products delivered to their doorstep. With more than 70,000 products, or five times what the average drugstore offers, drugstore.com is the retailer to give it to them. Success in the highly competitive online retail space means leveraging every interaction to provide superior customer experience and that is exactly what drugstore.com is doing.
As the company grew and increased the number of products it sold, the number of tools contact center agents used jumped to nearly ten different applications. The contact center had become very complex—slowing agents down, and making it difficult to get new agents up-to-speed quickly.
“Customer experience is vital to what we do,” states Ron Kelly, vice president of customer care and pharmacy services at drugstore.com. “A customer is a lot more loyal to an organization if they have actually had an issue and had it resolved, rather than if they never had an issue in the first place. For this reason, the customer care organization is uniquely positioned to help increase customer loyalty.” In addition to enhancing the brand by delivering great customer experiences, Kelly’s organization is looking to generate revenue. “Care organizations are always pressed to save money, we are just starting to look at ways our agents can actually drive revenue,” says Kelly.
drugstore.com serves the health, beauty, and vision consumer with convenience, selection, and first-class personal service through its portfolio of more than a dozen brands, including drugstore.com, Beauty.com, and VisionDirect.com. RightNow provides agents with all the tools they need on a single platform, including a 360-degree view of a customer’s history with the company in order to provide better care. drugstore.com’s 200 agents use RightNow to support over two million contacts each year via phone, email, web, chat, mobile, and social channels with contact centers in Halifax, Nova Scotia and Seattle, Washington.
To build a brand known for customer experiences, drugstore.com started with knowledge. RightNow web self-service helps drugstore.com answer more than a million inquiries every year, roughly 58% of the company’s total volume, to help customers address their most common requests, such as shipping policies or how to renew expired prescriptions. By enabling customers to access information via the website, mobile devices, and Facebook, drugstore.com was able to reduce incoming email by more than 30%. This translates into substantial cost savings.
RightNow also enables drugstore.com to manage a high volume of incoming email requests while providing each customer with an exceptional and tailored experience. RightNow tracks the progress of every email through the support organization and automatic attribute-based routing ensures that emails get to the right agent. RightNow’s SmartAssistant increases productivity by scanning emails and suggesting relevant answers to the customer, thereby reducing the number of inbound emails.
drugstore.com leverages social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to engage with customers where they spend their time. With RightNow, customers can also access web self-service through the drugstore.com Facebook page. In 2011, drugstore.com engaged in more than 1,200 customer interactions on the social web.
One of the key ways in which the company has confronted the challenge of social channels is by creating a cross-functional group that includes customer care, marketing, legal, and PR. With RightNow, drugstore.com logs every social contact as an incident, allowing departments to easily pass incidents back and forth to resolve care issues between them. “Social media helps us build brand awareness as well as strengthen our brand and vendor relationships,” explains Lisa Larson, drugstore.com’s director of customer care. The company is considered a leader in social media and has been nationally recognized and awarded for its efforts.
Once contact center costs were reduced, agent productivity was up, and customer satisfaction was on the rise, Kelly started to look for ways his contact center could actually drive revenue. He had a beautiful idea...
Beauty.com uses RightNow Chat to replicate the personalized experience, similar to high-end department store cosmetic counters. Trained beauty advisors, all with esthetician or beauty counter experience, can now engage in live chat sessions with online shoppers to share immediate advice on the best products for their needs from the convenience and privacy of their homes. “Chatting with advisors, customers don’t feel as if there is any sort of ‘Hard Sell’ yet we are still able to keep them keyed into what is going on in our web stores,” explains Larson. “It has become a wonderful way for us to present products, advertise promotions, and resolve customer issues when they arise. All of these conversations help to further our relationship with the customer in a unique and relaxed atmosphere.”
Beauty.com converts approximately 25% of chat sessions into product orders, proving that chat is a great way to drive revenue in the contact center through cross-selling, up-selling, and providing guidance for online purchases. Customers are not only placing more orders after chatting with agents, they are purchasing products that Beauty.com agents had discussed and suggested to them. “By providing knowledgeable agents as a resource for customers to interact with, we are helping customers find more useful products and information, in turn, consumers are buying more,” says Larson. drugstore.com also offers chat on its search function to help customers locate items they might be having trouble finding. This helps drugstore.com prevent situations where customers might otherwise abandon their basket.
drugstore.com customer care estimates that the cost savings from web self-service and email deflection from SmartAssistant, which uses key word searches on emails to suggest answers, are easily over $350,000 per year. RightNow has also helped drugstore.com reduce call handling time by 16%. Before RightNow, agents answered calls in approximately 30-35 seconds. Now, it only takes 20-30 seconds. Response times for email incidents are down 67-72% from an average of 18 hours to approximately 5-8 hours. The cost savings drugstore.com has experienced with increased efficiencies from RightNow enable the company to reinvest in services, such as hiring additional phone agents. All this has had a positive impact on customer satisfaction. To make sure customers are getting what they want from the company, drugstore.com also leverages the RightNow solution to listen to customer feedback and help drive business decisions.
RightNow also helps drugstore.com maintain a healthy workforce. The year after implementing RightNow, drugstore.com saw a reduction in turnover of 24.7%. The following year it fell again by an additional 19.5% while agent efficiency increased. The solution’s cloud-delivery makes it easy to let drugstore.com agents work from home. This translates to a lower overhead for the company and higher employee satisfaction. “When agents can work from home, we see much lower attrition,” Larson explains. “Also, agents working at home rarely call in sick,” she adds.
“Because we don’t have the same branding opportunities as a brick-and-mortar store, every customer service touchpoint is vital,” explains Kelly. “Our brand IS our customer experience. RightNow is a great solution, not only to mitigate costs in the call center, but also to help provide a better experience. It is a more intuitive, smarter contact center solution and it ensures that we don’t miss a step.”
drugstore.com is among the fifty largest online retailers in the U.S. focused on health, beauty, and vision products with more than 1,000 employees. It has a growing portfolio of brands led by: drugstore.com, Beauty.com, VisionDirect.com and SkinStore.com. RightNow helps support all four.