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Customer insights during the holidays: How Orvis uses Khoros to convert 58% of returns to exchanges

by Jackson Kushner | Sep 09, 2021

The most wonderful time of the year for retailers

If you’re a retailer, you’re deep in holiday planning mode right now — you probably have been for months. For consumers, it feels early — Labor Day barely over, baseball season still in full swing, hot dogs on the grill — but you’re thinking about the most important month of your year.

If you’re in the retail industry, the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is your World Series, and there isn’t a second to lose when it comes to ramping up your holiday campaigns. And if you’re like most retail brands, you have a wealth of data about your customer engagement efforts, whether it’s in your marketing efforts, your digital contact center, or somewhere else.

The challenge that so many brands are facing these days, especially as they acquire more and more data, is how to translate that data into real, actionable insights that can drive ROI. This is especially true at holiday time, which is a treasure trove of customer interaction. That’s where Khoros CX Insights comes in.

Customer experience insights for the retail industry during the holiday season

CX Insights is a platform dedicated to analyzing engagement on every channel retailers use to talk to customers — from social media to email to voice. Anything that goes through your digital contact center or your marketing team can be analyzed by Khoros CX Insights. This gives your brand a leg up on the competition exactly when you need it most: during the ferocious holiday season.

What does CX Insights analyze? In short, it’s the whole customer experience. Our platform takes advantage of cutting-edge AI and ML technologies to aggregate data from every customer interaction and analyze each one. With natural language understanding, the software can even classify interactions as positive or negative and highlight specific areas for improvement. This allows for faster improvement when things go wrong — and during the holidays, this speed is everything.

To see what Khoros CX Insights can do for your retail brand, see what it did for one of the top brands in the world.

Orvis: A case study in great CX

A model retailer

Retailers often look to Orvis, the outdoor apparel retailer, as a leader in customer experience for good reason. Their commitment to customer service has earned them a reputation for a great experience ever since they opened in 1856. And with 1,700 employees, 87 retail stores, over 100 outlets, and a fully functional wholesale division, this top-notch customer experience is no small feat. Of course, that’s not even to mention that their award-winning website offers more than 5,000 products and attracts 32 million visitors each year.

At this scale, it can be a challenge for Orvis to maintain the “customer is always right” level of service that made them famous — especially during their busiest season. In order to handle the constantly shifting atmosphere, Orvis uses Khoros CX Insights to better understand the behavior of their millions of customers. One thing that especially helps Orvis is the platform’s ability to identify insights both at scale, where trends and emerging issues become apparent, and in individual interactions, where the deep qualitative context about specific issues lies. Less than 25% of businesses deploy comprehensive, omnichannel analytics tools to track consumer behavior in this way, but it adds value to Orvis’s CX efforts both during the holidays and year round.

Returns: A key holiday challenge

Anyone who’s ever gotten a Christmas gift knows that returns spike both during and just after the holiday season. It’s one of the main challenges that retailers face during their busiest time: how can they handle a massive influx of returns while also keeping customers (and hapless gift recipients) satisfied? And to make matters worse, holiday returns also present a high cost to retail companies due to lost revenue and logistical expenses. For these reasons, Orvis is determined to limit avoidable returns, prioritizing reducing return-related calls through business process optimization.

However, the CX team at Orvis realizes that the return process, when it does occur, provides an opportunity to turn a negative customer experience into a positive one — perhaps even creating a new customer in the case of holiday returns. To do this, they needed to qualify and quantify what their customers were telling them.

With CX Insights, instead of randomly listening to calls and tracking issues on a spreadsheet, the Orvis team can use AI to identify conversations about returns, track more customer interactions, and uncover issues and insights in a fraction of the time — all while tracking far more conversations than they could before. The software reveals how agents respond to each return request, whether the agent immediately processed the return or suggested an exchange for another size, a different color, or a similar Orvis product.

Analyzing this data has helped Orvis discover that its return process was cumbersome for both the customer and agent, leading customers to return products far more often than exchanging them. Even more importantly, the process was occasionally frustrating customers — an experience that was not up to Orvis’s high standards.

Orvis’s CX team modified the process to make exchanges easier, resulting in far greater revenue preservation, happier customers, and even a 2-minute reduction in call time. Most importantly, Orvis quickly implemented training that enabled its agents to convert 58% of Orvis’s return calls into exchanges.

CX Insights around the organization

The team at Orvis knows that the power of CX Insights isn’t limited to the holidays, the return process, or even the contact center. They use the Khoros platform across their organization — anywhere they’re interacting with customers — to improve the process. In one case, they used the platform to revise their website and re-engineer their email cadence. As a result, they saw a 43% reduction in customers calling for return instructions, a 20% reduction in calls from customers asking for receipt confirmation, and a 37% reduction in calls alerting the company that a customer had sent a return.

In fact, non-sales customer interactions are one of the biggest areas in which Khoros helps Orvis improve. In one case, they used CX Insights data to quickly identify that their number one non-sales interaction was customers wondering about the status and location of their order — an inconvenience and possible customer experience detractor. So they rolled out an opt-in, SMS “order status” update for customers, resulting in a significant reduction in calls of this type and a clear improvement to customer experience.

This year, make your data count

If you’re a retailer like Orivs, the odds are good that the data you need to improve your customer experience is already there. You just need the right solution to squeeze as much information out of it as possible. That’s the power of Khoros CX Insights.

So this year, as you prepare for the rush of the holiday season, take advantage of a platform that will set you up for success in the long-term. Schedule a demo of Khoros CX Insights today.

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