Bodybuilding.com

Eliminating Communication Silos With Automation, Insights, and Omnichannel Support

Success


50%: Decrease in average handle time


15%: Fully automated conversations

Company Profile

Customer Since: 2020

Number of Users: 45

Switched From: Oracle Service Cloud

Favorite Features: Chatbots, Knowledge Base, Intelligent Routing, Shopify Integration, and Reporting

The Challenge

Bodybuilding.com is one of the internet’s most-trafficked health and fitness websites, with more than a million visitors each month. Their previous support platform, Oracle Service Cloud, was difficult to scale, customize and navigate. Every customer interaction was treated as a separate issue. Without a complete picture of each customer, agents were unable to answer simple questions such as, “Where is my order?” leading to long average handle times and frustrated customers.

When the COVID-19 pandemic forced the team to go remote, siloed communication made it even harder for managers to effectively quarterback the team. Porter Marshall, Senior Director of Customer Service at Bodybuilding.com, knew that they were ready to make the switch.

The Results

  • Reduced average handle time by 50% within six months
  • Automated 15% of conversation with chatbots and knowledge base deflection

 

“The biggest draw of Kustomer was that it would allow my team to be more self-sufficient. Instead of relying on engineering or another department to add chat code or make policy updates to the help center, we could do it all ourselves on the fly in Kustomer.”

Porter Marshall, Senior Director of Customer Service, Bodybuilding.com


 

The customer experience and the customer journey are hot topics, but not all companies have figured out how to identify places for improvement. Porter Marshall started his career as a customer service agent, and that boots-on-the-ground experience gave him a unique perspective of the friction points and obstacles to customer care. That exposure put him in the perfect position to lead the charge of change at Bodybuilding.com.

Bodybuilding.com is one of the internet’s most-trafficked health and fitness websites, with more than a million visitors each month. Bodybuilding.com sells a variety of products, including various types of protein, pre- and post-workout supplements, vitamins, clothing, and accessories.

Marshall has been with the company since its inception 13 years ago. He started out as a customer service agent, and as the company grew, he had the opportunity to grow within the organization. He moved into business processing and then became a manager, and now he is the Senior Director of Customer Service. This journey exposed him to customer-centric tools that have evolved over the years to create a better experience.

Marshall’s role encompasses all the components of the customer experience, including social media and inbound contacts. Over the years, he has seen multiple channels explode as the preferred points of contact for customers to engage, from phone and email to chat and social media. He has also seen how having so many channels can cause friction for customers and service agents alike.

The Archaic Environment Became Unworkable During the Pandemic

Bodybuilding.com’s customer service environment used to be archaic. It was very difficult to get effective reporting and insights, and as a result, they took a very reactive stance. In addition, their previous tool had no tagging or ways to track inquiries by conversation. Every point of contact was treated like a separate issue, meaning agents couldn’t see the full picture or understand the main drivers that caused friction for the customer. That made a simple question like, “Where’s my order?” a difficult one for Marshall’s team to resolve. As a result, the average handle time (AHT) was pretty high.

Bodybuilding.com’s difficulties compounded over time. It felt like their existing support stack had been stapled together bit by bit, and was being held together by those few staples. Clearly, this situation was unsustainable. Then COVID-19 threw them for a loop, and their shift to a work-from-home environment exacerbated their issues. Email, phone, and chat communications were all siloed, and it was hard for managers to effectively quarterback the team and position people where they were most needed based on ticket volume. Marshall knew they needed to find something that would allow the team to be more agile and relay insights back into the business.

 

“When communication methods are siloed, it’s hard for managers to effectively quarterback a team.”

Porter Marshall, Senior Director of Customer Service, Bodybuilding.com


 

Bodybuilding.com CST 028 Inline

A Tool That Allowed the Team to Be Self-Sufficient and Proactive

At the time Bodybuilding.com discovered Kustomer, Bodybuidling.com was using Oracle Service Cloud. It’s an older platform that’s hard to scale and difficult for users to navigate. The biggest draw of Kustomer was that it would allow Marshall’s team to be more self-sufficient. Instead of relying on engineering or another department to add chat code or make policy updates to the help center, they could do it all themselves on the fly in Kustomer. Especially during the pandemic, as deliveries everywhere were delayed, being able to display a message in the help center alerting customers of those delays would go a long way to mitigate customer concerns. With Kustomer, Marshall’s team could be more proactive and upfront with their messaging, which was one of the factors that made the platform stand out from its competitors.

Bodybuilding.com switched from Oracle Service Cloud to Kustomer because Bodybuilding.com wanted to simplify their operations. Nothing in their existing system utilized the latest technology, and they wanted to be proud to provide best-in-class support for their customers. Luckily, Marshall had the support of the leadership team, so there was never any pushback on moving away from Oracle. When the team agreed they needed a new solution, it was simply a matter of evaluating the solutions out there. Ultimately, it was an easy choice—Kustomer checked all the boxes for their business needs.

Bodybuilding.com started using Kustomer in November 2020, with the aim of ramping up before the holiday rush of orders. Marshall was pleasantly surprised with how easy Kustomer made the rollout. During their initial evaluations, some other solutions involved two or three different vendors, which complicated matters. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday on the horizon, Marshall couldn’t afford to add any more complexity into the mix. With Kustomer, he had a single point of contact, and that made for an efficient process and a quick rollout.

Kustomer directly addressed the mission-critical tasks Marshall’s team needed. The platform is user-friendly and the functions are self-explanatory, which helped accelerate the onboarding and training process. The Kustomer team understood the urgency of Bodybuilding.com’s tight deadline, and Marshall doesn’t think they would have received the same quality of support from anyone else.

Saying Goodbye to the Ticket Backlog

Marshall started to see benefits immediately after the launch of Kustomer. They had a backlog of requests, and many customers were trying to reach support through multiple channels regarding the same issue. Previously, if someone contacted support through email, chat, and Facebook, for example, Marshall’s team could have had up to three separate agents working on the same customer issue. This was confusing, and it also increased the risk of agents not being aligned in their messaging.

Kustomer’s omnichannel support allows Bodybuilding.com to merge those accounts into one, meaning one agent can close all of a customer’s issues more efficiently. Not only did they clear their backlog of customer requests, they gained more insights and reporting capabilities. Going forward, they started to resolve a customer’s issues on first contact.

 

“Having a holistic view of the customer provides a better overall customer experience.”

Porter Marshall, Senior Director of Customer Service, Bodybuilding.com


 

Using Chatbots and Knowledge Base Deflection

Six months after rolling out Kustomer, Bodybuilding.com chopped their AHT in half. This was partly due to their increased automation and use of Kustomer’s chatbots. Often, they have to glean information from a customer before they can help that customer. Agents need the customer’s email address or order number, for example, or agents want to know the nature of the question, so they can route the customer properly.

Agents would previously ask those questions at the beginning of their conversation with a customer, which takes time. As part of Bodybuilding.com’s BodyFit subscription benefits, the team highlights dedicated customer support. With Kustomer, Marshall’s team can distinguish members upfront through the Conversational Assistant and route appropriately to an agent. If a member comes through chat, a different conversational flow is presented to the customer and prioritized to be first in line for help. Bodybuilding.com values all customers, member or non-member, but this allows the team to provide a high level of service to their most loyal customers.

The chatbot suggests help articles based on the end user’s inquiry — this is known as knowledge base deflection. Because of this feature, Bodybuilding.com has reached an automation rate of 15% — meaning they can fully resolve 15% of inquiries without any agent involvement. That’s a huge value-add to the business, as the insights of the deflection success rate and article performance has given the team visibility into which articles are offered the most to fine tune their policies.

This not only provides a better experience for Bodybuilding.com’s customers, but the agents are also happier. The simplicity and efficacy of Kustomer makes their day-to-day lives easier. The agent experience often gets lost when selecting a tool — Marshall wants that buy-in from my team, so the agent experience needs to be positive, too.

Third-Party Integrations and Customizing Builds

The ability to customize forms for internal and external use has been a great feature. Internally, Marshall has plans to build out more custom forms and move away from Excel documents. This will keep all customer information in one place to run reports and consume data.

Prior to Kustomer, it was difficult to get resources, and any changes required prioritization with time sensitive updates. Most recently, as an example, the announcement banner was used when they transitioned to Shopify to communicate that the site would be offline. The configuration experience was smooth and easy to follow. This process is well documented in the Kustomer knowledge base for anyone who wants to self-serve and roll out forms.

Forms also allow for specified fields and pre-set drop-down options so a customer can select from common issues and/or indicate their order number before speaking with an agent. That means agents can get straight to the issue and resolve it that much quicker, reducing average handle times. Being able to pull data from Convey and Shopify provides agents with an even greater holistic view of the customer. Bodybuilding.com’s agents are now well versed on a customer before even speaking to them.

Overall, the knowledge base is a critical piece to provide clear and accurate communication around policies. The organization and branding capabilities within the knowledge base has given Bodybuilding.com all the tools to manage updates without pulling in other resources to complete.

Automation Can’t Solve Everything, but it Can Make Processes Better

Kustomer helped Bodybuidling.com increase efficiency and customer satisfaction across the board. Before Kustomer, their CSAT scores were relatively low. Since the switch, especially as the team has become more familiar with the reporting and provided staffing to fill in some gaps, their CSAT rating has improved.

 

“AI doesn’t exist to isolate the customer. It helps streamline the workflow and enhance the experience for everyone.”

Porter Marshall, Senior Director of Customer Service, Bodybuilding.com


 

Bodybuilding.com is at a point where customer experience and customer service are melding together, and Kustomer has helped them with that transition. They now use automation to get more customer information upfront, which removes friction and enhances the customer experience. The quality of service has also improved, and addressing customer concerns has become more efficient.

With that said, automation can’t solve everything or replace human interaction — nor should it. Customers want to engage with your brand. Some brands may be more transactional, but for Bodybuilding.com, they want to connect with their customers to show them that they live the brand and lifestyle. AI doesn’t exist to isolate the customer. Rather, it helps streamline the workflow and enhance the experience for everyone.

In the middle of a global pandemic, Bodybuilding.com underwent a digital transformation. Kustomer allowed Bodybuilding.com to better understand their business, address negative trends, and hone in on how they can improve, ultimately giving them back control of their business and customer experience.

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