Crocs linked its back-end customer data systems to allow agents to quickly access shopper information, which reduces customer service calls by 90 seconds.

Crocs Inc. has trimmed the time it takes its call center agents to help shoppers by 30% thanks to technology that gives it a more complete picture of a shopper’s profile.

The footwear consumer brand manufacturer is a year and a half into a pilot program with ecommerce platform and technology provider Salesforce.com Inc.’s recently announced Customer 360 software. The new software connects Crocs’ customer service cloud with its other back-end customer databases, such as order management or marketing. This allows a customer service agent to see information about the customer when she calls in.

Previously, agents would have to ask the shopper for information such as her billing and shipping addresses to answer common questions, such as “Where is my order?” While Crocs has that information stored in its system, the agent didn’t have immediate access to it because the data lived in separate systems and wasn’t connected. That process slowed down agents’ response times and could be frustrating for shoppers, Harvey Bierman, vice president of ecommerce technology and operations at Crocs told Internet Retailer at the Salesforce Connections conference in Chicago.

About 80% of shoppers check out on Crocs.com purchase as a guest, which can hinder its ability to attach her information to a previously saved customer profile. For example, a shopper might have used a yahoo.com email address with her prior purchase but a gmail.com address with her current order. Or she may have changed her name or moved. With Customer 360, Crocs can match that data about a shopper and determine if a shopper, who may have used a different email address or name, is likely to be one person and tie it to a unique identifier.

The new software allows an agent to access all of the information about the shopper tied to that unique identifier from separate systems. So when the shopper gives her name, the agent can just ask for a confirmation, such as “Is your address still on Lincoln Avenue?”

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For the average customer service call of 4 minutes and 30 seconds, the Customer 360 software has trimmed 90 seconds off the call to 3 minutes, which is a 30% reduction in call time. That’s “pretty good,” Bierman says, particularly given that up to 30% of U.S. consumers who place an order on Crocs.com orders contact a call center, he says. Common customer service calls are about finding orders, returns, refunds and placing orders over the phone, he says.

The cost savings of reduced call center time is hard to quantify, but Crocs believes it helps improve the customer experience for several reasons. Besides a shorter call, having an easy-to-use back-end system keeps its agents happy, Bierman says. An agent no longer needs to have multiple screens that she has to pivot to, login and look up information in several disparate systems. A happier agent allows the employee to stay positive as a customer calls in, plus reduces agent turnover and training time, he says without providing specifics.

Having all of this data tied together can be used in other ways in the future, Bierman says. For example, if Crocs knows that a shopper called the call center and then rated that call negatively, it could opt that shopper out of receiving marketing emails from Crocs for a month, or however long it chooses.

In the testing period, Crocs and Salesforce have iterated on the new software, such as fixing bugs. Although the software will likely be ready to go live in November, Crocs plan to launch it after the holiday 2019 season.

Crocs has used Salesforce, or one of its subsidiaries such as Demandware, for the past 10 years, Bierman says. Crocs Inc. is No. 292 in the Internet Retailer 2019 Top 1000. Salesforce has 409 retail clients in Internet Retailer’s Top 1000.

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