How Topicals Increased Sales by 78% Through Pre-sales Customer Conversations

Challenge: Too many of Topicals’ customers returned products after choosing the wrong item or using products incorrectly. Topicals needed to proactively educate customers pre-sales, to help shoppers find, purchase, and enjoy the best products for them.

Solution: Gorgias chat automation gives customers the guidance they need before they buy, using Quick Response Flows and Macros to answer FAQs and educate customers. Gorgias automation now deflects 69% of tickets, enabling Topicals to be more proactive, respond faster, and convert more tickets to sales.

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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 Automation and Self-service Chat helps educate customers pre sale, at scale

Gorgias gives Topicals a streamlined, user-friendly platform to centralize all customer communications, with advanced automation features to help manage conversations more efficiently. Specifically, Topicals leveraged Quick Response Flows to answer common pre-sales questions in chat (and free up human agents for more complex conversations).

“Gorgias really does give customers a better experience. We switched because Gorgias has so many better features. It's also easier for our team to use — they love it, especially when we’re dealing with so many customers. Self-service chat was a particularly huge help during the peak season.”

— Deja Jefferson, Customer Experience Manager at Topicals

Quick Response Flows and Macros to answer pre-sales FAQ

Topicals uses Gorgias Quick Response Flows to offer automated answers to common customer questions in Self-service chat. The questions Topicals answers with Quick Response Flows are:

  • How should I use the Faded Serum?
  • Where do you ship?
  • How do I apply to the Ambassador Program?
  • How do I find the right products for my skin type?

Where appropriate, Quick Response Flows direct shoppers to other helpful resources — for example, the question on how to choose the right product directs the shopper to Topicals’ Help Center and product pages. Topicals’ Help Center gives general information on shipping, returns, packaging, and more, while Product Pages offer detailed information on individual products. 

“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

Macros for more personalized conversations

If a customer still has questions, a customer support agent can pick up the conversation thread to chat with them directly. Customized Macros put a library of templated responses at the Topicals team’s fingertips, to give them a starting point for recommendations — to ensure consistency and accuracy of advice — which they can tweak and personalize for each customer.

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. The improvements we’re seeing in revenue, returns, and customer satisfaction are due to a combination of everything we're using: the Self-service chat, the Quick Response Flows, the Help Center, the faster response times. We can give customers reassurance and the answers they need, and then they will purchase.”

— Deja Jefferson, Customer Experience Manager at Topicals

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