How Vend increased agent productivity by 48% with conversational support
With Jack Harrison-Sherlock, Product Manager at Vend
increase in agent productivity
- 1 in 5
inbound conversations automatically resolved by Resolution Bot
Cloud-based retail point-of-sale software Vend supports over 25,000 retailers around the world with the help of Intercom. As the first company in the industry to bring point-of-sale software to the cloud, Vend has cemented itself as the go-to solution for many of the world’s biggest retailers, including Disney, Sennheiser, and Etsy.
The platform integrates with major e-commerce and online payments platforms to help customers easily set up a multi-channel retail operation. With all of these moving parts and the fast-paced nature of the retail industry, Vend’s customers need a support solution that’s both timely and efficient, which is why Vend has been using Intercom to power its customer messaging since 2015.
Using in-app messaging to drive conversions
Early on, Vend used Intercom to drive greater conversion of trial users and to upsell existing customers. Its marketing and sales teams needed a seamless way to communicate with users when they were coming to the end of their trial, or when there was an opportunity for them to maximize their use of the platform by upgrading. With email, Vend was seeing consistently low response and conversion rates across the board, so they went in search of a better solution – and discovered in-app messaging with Intercom.
By integrating Intercom with Salesforce, the marketing and sales teams were able to easily map out user behavior, segment their audience, and personalize in-app communication to users at optimal points throughout their journey. This migration from email to targeted, in-app messaging resulted in countless hours saved across both the marketing and sales teams, along with a staggering 30% increase in trial-to-paid conversions.
Going all in with conversational support
Since then, Vend has significantly built out its use of Intercom, now using it to also power its customer support. Jack Harrison-Sherlock, Product Manager, says, “We knew that Intercom was already in the product and being used by our Sales team. Also, every time I’ve needed support with another system and they used Intercom, I’ve had nothing but great experiences. That's when it clicked that there is so much more we could do with Intercom across the business.”
“Our response time used to be in the multi-hour range, but with Intercom, we’ve been able to drop that to 10 minutes.”
When COVID-19 hit and lockdown protocols came into effect, Vend’s support team, like many others, became remote overnight. They were also flooded with conversations from panicked customers whose businesses were being impacted, resulting in their conversation volume increasing by 24%. Because of this sudden pivot to working from home and the stress of supporting customers facing very difficult situations, Vend decided to turn off their phone and email support, and move entirely to chat. By making chat their primary support channel, Vend was able to give team members the space and flexibility they need at this time to support their global customer base. Jack says, “We’ve discovered a new working model for our team and it’s resulting in the highest engagement scores ever from the team.”
The power of messenger-based support
The Intercom Business Messenger and Resolution Bot enable Vend’s support agents to keep their first response times to a minimum and resolve customer issues quickly – both of which are top priorities for the team. In fact, Jack shares, “With email, our response time used to be in the multi-hour range, but with Intercom we’ve been able to drop that to 10 minutes. Contacts per agent increased by 48% while our CSAT score stayed above 90%.”
“Email can be a really unproductive channel for support. With chat, there’s ownership from beginning to end, which is not only a better experience for us, but also for our customers.”
Speaking further to the power of live chat and messenger-based support, Jack, says, “Email can be a really unproductive channel for support, with a lot of time lost amongst teammates sharing tickets, trying to gather information, and context shifting between each reply. With chat, there’s ownership from beginning to end, which is not only a better experience for us, but also for our customers.”
With Intercom, Vend’s support team can collect valuable information about the problem a customer is facing upfront, making it easier, faster, and more efficient to provide a solution. In addition to improving the experience of their customers, this has also resulted in increased productivity across the team. As Jack puts it, “As soon as we switched over to Intercom, we saw a huge jump in productivity. Not only were we able to avoid the back-and-forth of trying to gather context from customers, but we were also able to remove the manual need of finding the next ticket for our support agents to work on.”
Transforming onboarding with proactive support
As part of the transition to chat support, Jack's team partnered with the operations team to re-examine every stage of the customer journey. They interviewed a number of customers across all product areas, and held focus groups with the support team to identify the points where customers needed the most support. These conversations helped the team to understand common workflows their customers encounter, along with the problems they run into. Using this research, they were able to map out a winning proactive support strategy and set up a dedicated onboarding team to help them get their support right from the get-go.
Using Intercom's Product Tours, the dedicated onboarding team have been able to create customized walkthroughs of the platform, combining videos, engaging messages, and tooltips to maximize the success of their customers as they’re onboarded to the product. A big focus for the team with designing these guided tours is to showcase the wide variety of e-commerce integrations Vend offers – something that’s become incredibly important as consumer shopping habits continue to move online.
“Intercom’s a very intuitive system, you get a lot of insight into how people are using the product – it’s really powerful.”
The team also introduced messages that triggered based on how their customers are interacting with the product and what steps they have or haven’t taken. For example, during setup, the Vend team detects whether customers have reviewed their tax settings so that the right pricing is automatically applied once products are uploaded. If customers bypass this stage, they receive an in-app message reminding them to configure those settings before they move forward with setup. Jack says, “Intercom’s a very intuitive system. You get a lot of insight into how people are using the product – it’s really powerful.”
Creating a smarter support experience
For Vend, Jack says, “The ultimate goal is to be able to wrap a human-centric layer of automation over our customer journey, and to only intervene when the retailer really needs us.” Intercom’s combination of self-serve and human support makes this goal possible, with Vend’s operations team working to curate answers for Resolution Bot regularly.
Using Intercom’s reports, the team can closely monitor the performance of Resolution Bot’s answers and iterate to continuously improve the customer experience. By leveraging Resolution Bot to answer frequently asked questions, Vend’s support team can be freed up to deal with more complex queries, with the bot currently resolving one in every five inbound conversations.
“Over half of our conversations in Intercom receive comments with feedback. Our retailers love to chat with us.”
Since implementing Intercom, Vend has seen a whopping 30% increase in its agents’ CSAT score – something that has been a key health metric for the overall business since COVID-19. Having used a combination of chat, email, and phone support, Jack notes that chat is by far the team’s highest channel for customer satisfaction, going on to say, “Over half of our conversations in Intercom receive comments with feedback – our retailers love to chat with us.”