Beauty Pie: “An automation journey requires testing, failure, learning and reiterations”
An interview with the winner of the Best Customer Contact Transformation award
At the end of 2023, we held our annual Engage Awards ceremony, recognising organisations which have implemented outstanding customer engagement strategies.
Beauty Pie won the Best Customer Contact Transformation award for overcoming challenges such as delayed response times and agent burnout by implementing automation for chat and email. In an interview, Beauty Pie’s Global Head of Member Happiness (CX) Chandni Bhatt discussed how they adopted the automation tool and what others can do to transform their operations.
CONGRATULATIONS ON WINNING THE 2023 BEST CUSTOMER CONTACT TRANSFORMATION AWARD! PLEASE INTRODUCE BEAUTY PIE TO OUR READERS.
Thank you! Beauty Pie is the world’s first luxury beauty buyers club. We formulate what is best for the customer first by cutting out the middleman, such as the distributors and retailer markups. Trusted third-party labs regularly come to us with new formulas, new pigments, new ingredients and new textures that they’ve been working on. This can be anything from lipsticks and hair treatments to active-intensive peptide combinations. When we see something amazing, we think about how we can use it, improve it to perfection, and add to our development calendar. We attend trade shows in Italy, New York, and Hong Kong and talk to factories that manufacture at the highest quality. We operate through a membership model giving customers access to members-only prices!
BEAUTY PIE WAS RECOGNISED FOR AUTOMATING CHAT AND EMAIL TO IMPROVE RESPONSE RATES AND COMBAT AGENT BURNOUT. WHAT CUSTOMER QUERIES CAN THIS AUTOMATION HELP RESOLVE?
We first began by reviewing what our top contact drivers were and why. This was followed by breaking down the end-to-end journey to understand whether it was policy or process. We reviewed average handling time and repetitive queries to begin to scope out what we’d like to automate. As a membership business, the majority of our queries which required human intervention were around membership queries such as upgrades, downgrades, pausing and cancelling.
It was so important for us to involve the frontline team in this decision-making process. We reviewed what we were NOT able to do due to the influx of membership queries and made this our primary focus to ensure the team had the time they needed to work through a shade match, skincare recommendations and product queries. After we saw the success with the automation of our membership queries, we repeated the exercise for several other contact queries such as where is my order, leveraging AI image recognition to become an agent-assist when reviewing damaged or faulty goods.
HOW DO YOU STRIKE A BALANCE BETWEEN AUTOMATION AND HUMAN TOUCH?
It was critical for us to ensure our members get more of what they love: personalised interactions with our team. We were able to invest more time in sales-oriented queries rather than administrative queries which customers have become accustomed to self-serving. Additionally, we committed to keeping all channels live despite the successes of automation. We know everyone has different skincare needs, equally customers have different contact preferences and we wanted to lean into that. We are very much aware of perceptions of chatbots and we wanted to ensure we have a frictionless handoff to an agent, should the customer wish to speak to an agent.
WHAT DID YOU LEARN DURING THE ADOPTION OF THE AUTOMATION TOOL?
It takes a village to execute! It was so important for us to keep everyone informed from the beginning and remain informed as to the “why”. This meant including key stakeholders down to the frontline team being involved in the design of the chat-flows and email responses. Our primary purpose of adopting an automation tool was to streamline repetitive administrative topics to allow customers to receive answers as promptly as possible whilst freeing up the frontline team’s capacity to work on revenue-generating contact such as product queries and creating bespoke skincare routines.
FINALLY, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER ORGANISATIONS WHICH SEEK TO TRANSFORM THEIR CUSTOMER CONTACT IN 2024?
There will be interdependencies with other stakeholders in the business who also have their own roadmaps. I advise bringing them onto the journey early to demonstrate what the gains for their functional departments will be because of automation. Meet your customer at their channel of choice and leverage customer data to personalisation interactions where possible. When seeking to transform customer contact, we often jump straight to how to automate customer contact. Flip the narrative and review agent processes and work with stakeholders around the business to create agent tools to speed up internal processes. Finally, an automation journey is not one and done. It requires testing, failure, learning and reiterations.
Entries for the 2024 Engage Awards will open on the 1st of February.