Firebox is an independent, London-based lifestyle shop for unique and alternative shoppers. The eclectic retailer, established in 1999, creates, discovers, and sells a highly curated mix of unconventional homeware, accessories, gadgets, food, drink, and gifts. Committed to inspiring customers using imagination and youthful energy, their small support team provides answers and care to thousands of shoppers via email, social media, live chat, and phone calls.
Firebox was using Zendesk for their customer support. As a smaller retailer, Firebox wanted to offer more personal customer support to align with their brand ethos.
Zendesk was taking the customer out of customer support
Using inhuman terms like “tickets” to address real human needs, Zendesk’s user interface didn’t help the Firebox staff think about customer conversations as conversations. The team aimed to deliver quality service to individuals, but Zendesk’s tools lacked that human touch.
Zendesk was too expensive for a small company
Zendesk’s pricing model is geared toward larger, more corporate companies that can afford to pay for every feature separately. For a small business like Firebox, accessing these basic features became costly — quickly.
- Response time: 2x faster
- Time savings: 80 hours a week
- 4 communication channels managed in Front
Every message in one place saves time
Today Firebox handles all of their communication channels in a single place. “Front has become our ecosystem,” Jannes says. Whether customers connect through email, Facebook, Twitter, or Chatra, Firebox communicates directly through Front’s simple interface. “It’s definitely time-saving to have a dedicated app to manage all of these channels,” Jannes explains.
Easy-to-use interface makes training new teammates simple
Firebox moved to Front in January 2017 because Front offered a more fluid, flexible solution for customer communication. “It was so easy to use we were actually apprehensive,” Jannes Schuiling, their Operations Manager recalls. “We were looking for a hang up, but there wasn’t one.”
“With Zendesk, it took a couple of hours to train new teams members. With Front, it only takes 15 minutes to get going." - Jannes Schuiling, Operations Manager, Firebox
Training individuals is faster than ever. “With Zendesk, it took a couple of hours to train new teams members. With Front, it only takes 15 minutes to get going. Anyone who’s used email before can use Front,” Jannes says.
Efficient workflows allow them to focus on giving a personal experience
Firebox not only saves time using Front, they’ve become more productive as well. Using Zendesk, their average response rate to customer emails was nine hours. With Front, the team responds in under four. Jannes estimates that Front saves Firebox at least 80 man-hours a week, which has allowed the team to reallocate those valuable hours to improve other areas of customer support.
“We’ve always been a customer-centric company. Everything we do on our site is conversational with our customers. We just want to give them a positive experience no matter what. Front has allowed us to make our customer support human too.” - Jannes Schuiling, Operations Manager, Firebox
Collaboration and accountability = happy team
Front’s collaborative inbox has also had a big impact on Firebox’s team dynamic. With Zendesk, everyone worked on their own tickets in isolation. With Front, Firebox employees can communicate, tag and assign different customer conversations to one another.
“Front allows my team to be accountable to each other, to see what each other is doing. It’s made the dynamic on the team significantly better than it was on Zendesk.” - Jannes Schuiling, Operations Manager, Firebox
“Front’s group inboxes allow each person to see what their teammates are doing, and to talk to each other. That’s changed the dynamic in a really positive way. Teams are accountable to one another. Each person sees they’re more than an agent behind a computer — they’re a huge part in how our business runs.” The transparent group inboxes also allow managers to see bottlenecks, and where they need to alter their workflows.“Our workflow and the way we collaborate has completely transformed with Front,” Jannes explains.