Nuuly achieves 96% CSAT and saves over 50 hours of team time per month with Intercom
With Natalie Hurst, Director of Customer Support at Nuuly
At a glance
questions automatically resolved by Resolution Bot
Owned by Urban Outfitters Inc., Nuuly is a curated fashion destination for anyone who loves fashion and is exploring how to wear, buy, and sell it in ways that are gentler on the planet and their wallets. Shoppers can do this through both of its services: Nuuly Rent, a monthly rental subscription platform, and Nuuly Thrift, a peer-to-peer resale platform.
The Nuuly team launched its first venture, Nuuly Rent, in mid-2019, just six months before the pandemic hit. Nuuly Rent gives shoppers access to a rotating wardrobe with pieces from over 300 brands, including Urban Outfitters, Antropologie, and Free People. Natalie Hurst, Director of Customer Support at Nuuly, explains that they needed to be able to communicate with customers quickly and in a personal, empathetic way as they navigated the logistical challenges that ensued.
A key benefit of Intercom, she says, was its ability to enable highly personalized support at scale. The team has since expanded its use of the platform to provide support to customers of Nuuly Thrift, which launched in late 2021. Across both services, Natalie’s team is very focused on building lasting relationships with their customers, which Intercom’s customer communications platform allows them to do.
Once COVID hit, the question was, how do we act? Not only in a way that makes sense for the business, but being really empathetic to our customers.
Director of Customer Support at Nuuly
Being adaptable to meet customer needs
With the unpredictability Nuuly Rent faced in its first year, the team needed to quickly adapt to the changing retail landscape so they could continue providing the best possible service for their customers. “Once COVID hit, the question was, how do we act? Not only in a way that makes sense for the business, but being really empathetic to our customers,” says Natalie. “I saw retailers who said, ‘Sorry, you can't return. Sorry, we're not going to be flexible,’ and that was 100% the approach we did not want to take.”
Championing their ethos of putting the customer first, the product team built functionality to pause subscriptions in the app in order to meet their customers’ changing needs. Intercom played a pivotal role in enabling the team to communicate these important updates and keep a pulse on customer satisfaction in an unobtrusive way, which Natalie notes has been critical.
Leveraging bots and automation to power support at scale
With inbound conversation volume on the rise, the team leaned on Intercom’s automation capabilities to make their support more efficient. They used tags in Intercom to identify recurring trends in the types of questions the support team was receiving and implemented a custom-built Resolution Bot – which they call “Chat Cat” – to help resolve these frequently-asked questions.
Natalie highlights that both Chat Cat and the automation Intercom enables behind the scenes have been extremely helpful when conversation numbers are spiking – especially due to specific issues, such as shipping delays. Since implementing Chat Cat, Nuuly has seen improvements in a number of key areas across their support:
Thanks to Chat Cat’s instant answers, customers aren’t left waiting for responses to easy-to-answer questions.
The bot directs customers to self-serve resources so they can seek answers to their own questions. If a question needs to be escalated, it can direct the customer to the support team for further help.
With Chat Cat resolving a whopping 27.4% of inbound conversations, the support team can be freed up to deal with more complex queries.
“Our customers are paying to have their goods for a month, so they want their goods for a month. If there's a 12-day shipping delay, that's not a great experience,” says Natalie. “We have a really great automation tool in Chat Cat. If a customer writes to us about an undelivered package, the bot responds letting them know that if it hasn’t arrived in two days, it will escalate the issue to the support team, which does help a lot."
Championing customer satisfaction
When it comes to measuring success, Nuuly’s North Star is customer satisfaction. While the team does track individual performance metrics, such as the number of conversations handled per day, Natalie notes that the highest priority is placed on customer happiness. “Reporting is really important, particularly when it comes to satisfaction rating,” she says, which is evident from the team’s high CSAT scores, which consistently sit at an impressive 96%.
I want our team to be very much focused on building relationships with our customers, versus having transactional interactions.
Nuuly is committed to creating delightful experiences for customers throughout their entire journey with the service. They focus on forging lasting relationships with their customers and helping them to maximize their subscription through ongoing engagement. “I want our team to be very much focused on building relationships with our customers, versus having transactional interactions,” says Natalie.
Driving bottom-line results
When it comes to tracking team performance and impact, Natalie highlights the incredible productivity her team is able to achieve using Intercom, with associates handling up to a staggering 120 conversations per day and resolving queries in just over two and a half hours. Speaking to the role Intercom plays in achieving these stellar results, Hillary Scholz, Customer Success Associate at Nuuly, says, “Intercom makes it simple to work through conversations quickly by having all customer information readily available. Being able to sort conversations based on wait time allows for a swift and seamless experience for both our team and the customer!”
In addition to traditional support metrics, Natalie also stresses the importance of measuring the impact of great customer support on bottom-line business metrics like customer retention. “Our business is subscription-based, so we want our customers to come back every single month,” she says. “So how can we, from a customer success perspective, help to retain those customers?”
For Natalie, this boils down to:
The strong, consistent experiences her team is creating for their customers through Intercom. For example, the team has used Outbound Messages to reach out to their customer base during difficult times, such as the California fires or flooding in Louisiana, to let them know that they’re going to pause their account and will be there when customers are ready to resume their subscription.
Driving ongoing engagement with customers through their “styling services” offering. Customers can fill out a form on Nuuly’s website and that data feeds into Intercom where Natalie’s team can build personalized presentations for customers to help them maximize their subscription. Having a platform that enables them to have fluid conversations with customers is a crucial element of this service and helps them to build relationships that result in higher satisfaction – and retention, as a result.
A unified platform for customer communication
Intercom provides Nuuly with a huge amount of valuable customer data in a single platform, which is a big efficiency gain for the team. With everything living in one place, support associates can save time that would have otherwise been spent switching between various tools to gather context needed to resolve a customer’s issue.
Having a single source of truth for customer communication is also a great advantage when it comes to cross-functional collaboration at Nuuly. The support team can quickly tag teammates from across the company in conversations, helping to eliminate silos and increase visibility of the types of issues customers are experiencing. This enables them to spot recurring trends in conversations and leverage customer feedback to inform product development. Natalie points to the notes feature in Intercom as being pivotal in their ability to collaborate with other teams and ensure they’re providing fast resolutions – and great experiences – for their customers.
Nuuly’s support operation is distributed across multiple locations, so Intercom’s ease of use is hugely important. It enables them to onboard new hires quickly and seamlessly, leading to better collaboration and increased efficiency. These time-saving advantages are crucial for empowering the team to do their best work – and keep customers happy. Nuuly’s sky-high CSAT scores alone speak to the impact that an easy-to-use communications platform can have on the customer experience.
When it comes to powering support at scale, the bots and automation capabilities Intercom provides are helping the team to drive business results. Chat Cat is currently resolving 27.4% of the 12,000 conversations they receive every month, which equates to just over 50 hours of support team time saved. This enables Natalie’s team to increase their impact – without having to dramatically increase headcount.
Focusing on growth
“There's a lot of opportunity for growth with Intercom that I'm really excited for as our team continues to grow,” says Natalie. With the impressive results the team saw using Intercom for Nuuly Rent, they expanded their use of the platform to provide support for customers of their most recent venture, Nuuly Thrift. Having a single communications platform enables the team to create consistent customer experiences across both of these services, which is critical. "We want customers to feel like they're part of a community with the Nuuly experience,” says Natalie. “That's one of the reasons we created Nuuly Thrift – not only are you renting clothing through Nuuly Rent, you can also resell and recycle clothes that have been sitting in your closet. It's a full circle now, and we want it to be a unified experience.”
We're anticipating a lot of growth again this year, so having the ability to easily onboard our associates, create great experiences for our customers, and measure our impact with detailed reporting all in one platform is huge.
With ambitious goals for the year ahead, they’re focused on building out their use of Intercom across the entire business to keep producing strong results and consistent customer experiences as they scale. From driving further improvements in SLAs to enhancing their self-serve support experience, Nuuly will continue to partner closely with Intercom to deliver ongoing support and engagement and build lasting relationships with their customers. “We're anticipating a lot of growth again this year, so having the ability to easily onboard our associates, create great experiences for our customers, and measure our impact with detailed reporting all in one platform is huge.”