Fahlo is a very special company for us. They are on a mission to educate and get people excited about wildlife conservation. You know how when people talk about climate change it’s easy to think “well, how much of a difference can I make when compared to what these gigantic corporations are doing”? These lofty, global conservation goals can seem very distant from a single person’s everyday life. Fahlo addresses this disconnect in a simple way: you show your support by purchasing a bracelet. Each bracelet lets you track one endangered animal. You can “adopt” a sea turtle, an elephant, a lion, a polar bear, a penguin, a giraffe or even a shark, and see where they are in the world using tracking systems put in place by conservation agencies. In this way, the distant goals of ecological consciousness and wildlife conservation are made immediate and personal. We love working with Fahlo.
Where we come in, of course, is customer care, and this case study is about seasonality. Most DTC companies have high and low seasons, and need to consider demand changes in order to optimize their business. In this study, we illustrate how we approach service elasticity to help clients prepare for increased demand and ensure smooth operations. The period of analysis is November 2022 - January 2023
Planning for Workforce Expansion
In preparation for the peak season, we projected the possible volume and headcount needed based on 2021's volume and determined a 30% increase. The 30% projected volume increase was based on historical data; Fahlo's volume increased by an average of 30% from the same period in 2021.
Before the peak season, we had 7 full-time agents available for Fahlo. By early December, we started training additional agents on a temporary basis to help with Fahlo's volume expectations. Members from other campaigns were cross-trained to provide additional support during peak hours, ensuring that the workload was distributed evenly across the team. This strategy ensured that the workload was managed efficiently and that Fahlo's customers received the same high-quality service as they would during baseline demand periods.
To accommodate the projected increase in volume, Aventus expanded Fahlo’s dedicated workforce by training seven additional temporary full-time agents, doubling the initial team size.
Efficient Management of Inboxes and Folders
To streamline the workflow and ensure that each team member was accountable, Aventus assigned designated inboxes or folders to tenured agents, who acted as Points of Contact (POCs) for specific concerns, such as shipping issues and address holds. This strategy helped fully utilize each agent's potential and ensured that information flowed seamlessly within teams. It also enabled team members to be more accountable for their work, making it easier to track their progress and identify opportunities for improvement.
Mini-teams for team cohesion and shorter learning curves
To facilitate knowledge transfer and bring new hires up to speed, Aventus created three mini-teams, each led by a tenured agent acting as a Subject Matter Expert (SME). These SMEs were responsible for training new hires and ensuring they were well-versed in company processes.
This strategy enabled the new hires to receive individualized attention, which helped them to understand Fahlo’s unique requirements faster and provide high-quality service to customers. The SMEs acted as mentors, providing guidance and support to the new hires, which fostered a positive work culture.
Gorgias Private Views
We use private views in Gorgias to enable management to track aging tickets. This allows us to manage and assign these tickets effectively to agents. This strategy helped us ensure that no customer's issue went unresolved, making customers feel valued and improving the overall customer experience.
We also implemented hourly productivity monitoring and updates, ensuring that everyone had visibility on individual and team productivity levels. This measuring timeframe ensured that team members were keenly aware of their progress, which helped motivate them to work more efficiently. This strategy also makes us more agile at identifying opportunities for improvement and providing additional training and support where necessary.
By employing these strategies, Aventus effectively planned and executed a holiday scaling plan for Fahlo, ensuring smooth operations during the peak season. The case study highlights the importance of efficient workforce management and planning in maintaining high-quality customer service during periods of increased demand.