To better cater to customers looking for phone help, online handbags and accessories seller eBags has brought its call center to the U.S., Ebags, which had been using a services provider based in the Philippines, went with Peoria, IL-based Affina.
Peter Cobb, cofounder/senior vice president of eBags.com, says since mid-October the eBags team at Affinia “has been ramping up” as classes are trained and graduate. Ebags, which also operates its own call center in Denver with 10 employees who handle escalated claims.
So why did eBags decide to move its offshore call center to the U.S.?
“We are looking at every customer contact and seeking ways to improve, Cobb explains. “Our customer call center is the front line with our customers, so it is critical that we exceed customer expectations.”
What’s more, as a pure-play Web marketer, eBags must offer a superior customer experience vs. other big-box retailers who may have a small offering of products in the bag category, he notes. “Often, we only have one chance to win the hearts —and wallets—of shoppers, so we focus on ways to go above and beyond.”
Online sales are still only 4.2% of all retail sales, Cobb says. “So the real opportunity for growth is demonstrating to the shoppers migrating from brick-and-mortar stores to online that with an effective website, superior customer service, quick delivery and low prices, shopping at eBags is better than the offline alternative—the third floor of a big box retailer where there is no sales associate in sight.”
The shoes merchant’s efforts go beyond the call center. In the past year, Cobb says, eBags has aimed to provide quicker product delivery, “and I am proud that we have cut our order processing/shipment time in half—which is increasingly important to customers who are less willing to wait for their purchases to arrive.”
Because the site sells 550 brands and 40,000 bags, call center reps have to be kept up to speed on the latest in brands and SKUs on the site as well as promotional offers, Cobb says. “There are direct flights between Denver-Peoria, so it is easy to have eBags personnel training our call center reps on a regular basis,” he notes.
And there is a dedicated eBags area at Affina with sample products and marketing materials, Cobb adds. “Even our company core values and mission statement are prominently displayed on the wall for all to see.”