Customer stories

How Topicals Used Automate to Improve the Pre-Sales CX and Boost Sales by 78%

More sales from support
Faster resolutions
CSAT score

Challenge: Too many of Topicals’ customers returned products after choosing the wrong item or using products incorrectly, which isn't a great experience for customers (or good for the business). Topicals needed to proactively educate customers pre-sales, to help shoppers find, purchase, and enjoy the best products for them.

Solution: Automate gives customers 24/7 guidance before they buy, answering FAQs, providing product recommendations, and giving customers more confidence. The result? A better experience for customers and more revenue for the business.

Skincare brand Topicals was founded to help people feel happier in their skin, combining science-backed products with mental health advocacy and body positive messaging. 

Topicals’ effective, affordable products help manage chronic skin conditions — such as keratosis pilaris, dark spots, hyperpigmentation, and ingrown hairs — that are rarely discussed in the skincare industry.

“Topicals founder Olamide Olowe grew up with a chronic skin condition that was never really talked about by the people around her. And her passion was to be able to change that conversation, and change the way people feel in their skin.”

— Deja Jefferson, Customer Experience Manager at Topicals

Challenge: Lack of pre-sales education led to a high return rate from customers buying the wrong products

Customers rave about the effectiveness of Topicals’ skincare products, yet the company faced unexpectedly high product return rates. Too many customers were choosing the wrong product for their skin, applying it incorrectly, or using products in skin-irritating combinations — leading to disappointed customers, returns, and lost sales. 

To prevent this happening, Topicals’ customers need pre-sales guidance on which product to choose and how to use it. Topicals shares a lot of helpful information via social media and email. Yet sometimes what’s needed is a personalized, one-on-one conversation with a customer, to grab their attention and guide them before they click the buy button.

But Topicals’ previous helpdesk, Zendesk, didn’t support these types of communications. It also didn’t offer the data analytics Topicals wanted, to be able to measure and track customer satisfaction, one-touch tickets, and other key metrics. 

A lack of automation also meant the team had to do all this customer education manually. Slow response and resolution times meant some customers grew impatient with waiting, and either abandoned their purchase or bought a product that wouldn’t suit their skin’s needs — increasing the likelihood of returns and customer dissatisfaction.

Solution: Gorgias Automate provides instant pre-sales information, while reducing manual work and response times

Gorgias Automategives Topicals an easy way to educate customers at scale, right in the flow of shopping. Specifically, Topicals leveraged Quick Response  to answer simple FAQs in chat, and Flows to answer customer questions that need a little more back-and-forth (like personalized product recommendations).

These automations are easy to set up and, by living in the Chat, provide plenty of exposure to these helpful questions. They also save tons of time for the Topicals team, since they deflect questions that would have otherwise become tickets for the team to answer by hand.

“Automate really does give customers a better experience. It's also easy for our team to use — they love it, especially when we’re dealing with so many customers. Quick Responses and Flows in Chat were a particularly huge help during the peak season, especially.”

— Deja Jefferson, Customer Experience Manager at Topicals

Flows to match customers with the right product

One of Topicals' main goals with Automate was to decrease the amount of times customers purchased the wrong item for their unique situation. They created a Flow, or an interactive automated conversation, to match people with the right products.

Customers simply select from multiple choice options, bringing them down a branch toward the best product for them, ending with a personalized recommendation and brief explanation. Check out this interactive demonstration:

Quick Responses for product usage (and other) FAQS

In the Chat, Topicals also uses Gorgias Quick Responses to offer automated answers to common customer questions. On top of the Flow for product recommendations, Topicals offers instant answers to the following questions:

  • How should I use the Faded Serum?
  • Where do you ship?
  • How do I apply to the Ambassador Program?
  • My order is marked delivered but not here?
  • How do I manage my subscription?

When customers click on these simple FAQs, they get an immediate answer. Like a Flow, but for 1-click resolutions.

Making this information available is a simple fix with a huge impact on the customer's experience to get information and make a confident purchase.

“Reviewing customer emails, I noticed so many issues could be avoided if we can just talk to the customer before they purchase a product. So we can give them all the information, and make them feel comfortable enough to reach out to us if they have additional questions.”

— Deja Jefferson, Customer Experience Manager at Topicals

Of course, not all questions can be answered by automation. Quick Responses, Flows, and all the other Automate features make it easy for customers to request additional support from a human agent.

If the Topicals team is available, they get connected through Live Chat. If they are offline or otherwise unavailable, the customer is asked to provide their email (plus any additional information or questions) to get a response via email once the team comes back online. And if the wait is more than 15 minutes, customers can choose whichever they prefer.

More time for sensitive, personalized conversations

With 69% of tickets now dealt with by automation, Topicals’ customer service agents have more time and bandwidth for both pre-sales conversations and dealing with returns requests.

By delivering a rapid, personalized, helpful response, they can even turn around frustrated customers to try using the product differently rather than getting a refund.   

“Having more resources to reach out to the customer before they purchase has been a huge help in reducing the return rate, as has our faster resolution time. When someone asks to return a product, sometimes they’re upset and frustrated and they just want a refund. When we follow up very quickly and provide a detailed, quality response about how to use the product better, they kind of forget they even wanted a refund to begin with.”

— Deja Jefferson, Customer Experience Manager at Topicals

Gorgias analytics to track customer satisfaction and other KPIs

Topicals now uses Gorgias’s built-in analytics and data to measure and track customer service KPIs on return rate, customer satisfaction, revenue, response times, and more.

“Being able to track customer satisfaction scores in Gorgias is a really big help to us. Before, we didn't know if we were doing well or not, but now we can see people like the service we provide. And we use the KPI tracking data for internal monthly meetings to review performance and see where we can improve.”

— Deja Jefferson, Customer Experience Manager at Topicals

Gorgias’s data helps the Topicals team understand what types of customer experience generate more sales and higher satisfaction scores — and use these insights to fine-tune their processes.

“I like the fact that in Gorgias, you can see what kind of ticket actually generated each piece of revenue. You can see what conversation you had with the customer that made them want to purchase within that five-day time frame.” 

— Deja Jefferson, Customer Experience Manager at Topicals

Results: 78% more sales, driven by automating 69% of tickets, 37% faster first response time, and 4.8/5 CSAT

Since implementing Gorgias, Topicals’ return rate has dropped significantly while sales from customer support have increased by 78%. Customer satisfaction scores have jumped to 4.8/5, thanks to a boom in pre-sales conversations which equip customers with the information they need to buy with confidence. 

Over two-thirds (69%) of customer queries received are now handled using automation. This means the Topicals team can focus on quickly answering complex queries and managing return requests to minimize refunds — meaning a greater proportion of human conversations end up having a big impact on sales.  

43% more tickets now turn into sales, showing the power of pre-sales education to increase revenue. And faster response and resolution times — up an impressive 37% and 52% respectively — help seal the deal.

“Gorgias gives our team better tools to make the customer feel a lot more comfortable before they purchase a product. With Automate, we can provide our customers reassurance and the answers they need, and then they will purchase. We’ve seen great improvements in revenue, returns, and customer satisfaction.”

— Deja Jefferson, Customer Experience Manager at Topicals

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