The core of what made men’s online apparel retailer, JackThreads, more viable to its customers was when its focus on mobile took hold. It laid the groundwork for why social media played such an integral role for the business, particularly in the contact center.
“We became a social business around 2012-2013, when we saw a spike in traffic, 75% [of shoppers] being on mobile devices and 60% of sales were from mobile devices,” said David Tull, former customer engagement manager for JackThreads in a session at Multichannel Merchant’s Operations Summit.
Tull explained that since JackThreads was a mobile business, its customers were social customers; however, its social customer does not make up a significant portion of the contacts that JackThreads handles.
“We did half of our volume over live chat, especially on the mobile device,” said Tull. “We have a live chat presence in our IOS app, I think they are still building Android.”
Tull said it was important for JackThreads to maintain a robust social customer care presence because it relied on social media to drive the business.
“We relied heavily on Facebook dark posts market we were one of the first organizations to partner with Facebook,” said Tull. “That is where we saw the biggest growth, so we started implementing that because we had a very robust presence from a marketing and acquisitions standpoint. Not a very personal strategy, but it let us attract new users and drive them toward the business, so customer service had to be there ready and respond quickly when and if there were issues.”
Tull said JackThreads invested a lot of capital in these promotions, and if the page was littered with complaints, it was not going to be a good look for the brand.
“That is why the initial investment in social customer care made so much sense,” said Tull. “We wanted to be on top of any service issues on Instagram, on Twitter and on Facebook. We were able to build-in an aspect of our contact center team and cross-train 20% to 25% of our staff to handle social media in addition to a synchronistic channel like live chat or phone.”
JackThreads looked at the social experience as a whole, beyond just having a dedicated customer care contact handle.
“We needed to find a way to be a seamless experience for a customer interacting with the brand from a marketing and acquisitions standpoint, a new customer that was excited to try out the new items they saw on their Facebook page and be able to talk to somebody on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram through comments, direct message and private message, and still feel like the same brand because we were keeping that cohesive handle,” said Tull.
Tull said this approach was challenging because JackThreads was asking its customer service associates to be marketers, to be good copy writers and have enough of a brand guide that lets them still be human.
JackThreads cross-trained all of its social media associates by creating a brand guide that gave them guidelines on how to behave, but to be themselves within the guidelines.
“What we identified were the opportunities where one needs a human touch; if this is going to be personal, if this is going to be a great experience, you need someone on the other end of it,” said Tull.
Once JackThreads defined ownership of its social media presence, JackThreads took it a step further in an effort to figure out how it could provide cross-functionality that contributed to the organization as a whole.
“We’re finding everyone on Twitter that is talking about JackThreads, great,” said Tull. “We’re talking to those people, not just the people with problems, but also the people who love the brand, we’re also talking to them.”
Tull said JackThreads started to explore and break the rules a bit about what a brand can do and say and not wait for people to come to them, but find ways for the brand to come to them.
“We were early adopters of finding customers who were expressing a need out there on Twitter screaming to the universe, ‘I need a prom suit,’” said Tull. “Finding a way to jump in and engage with them in a way that didn’t feel salesy and didn’t feel gross, but that ideally would result in them buying a prom suit.”
It just so happened that JackThreads had to liquidate a bunch of prom suits so it ran a campaign where it plugged in prom suit as one of its key search terms and added priority to those terms that would show its associates good opportunities to engage after they had already knocked out opportunities to have branded conversations.
“We ran this campaign, it went well, we went back and analyzed and figured out how many of these were sold to new users, how many were sold to new orders and we saw there was a break even going on,” said Tull. “We were already paying for a foundational customer support engine, so we already made that investment, we were using the same tools, the same resources and the same time to go after these interactions as well.”
JackThreads continued to find organic opportunities to interact with customers from the contact center so that it could do it at scale. It was important for the brand to make the experience a priority, and not let the experience suffer.
“We wound up pivoting from searching for obvious search terms like prom suits or boat shoes, products we carried, and we shifted it to pop culture,” said Tull. “Searching for Disney World, searching for Stranger Things, Star Wars. Who can we throw out quick engagements to?”
JackThreads KPI steered away from measuring how many new users it had or new orders it assisted, instead focusing on the type of sentiment the brand was putting out there on social media.
“We used this as a way to foster positive sentiment across our social media channels to show the brand we’re driving the conversation in a good direction,” said Tull.