Great products are often born to fill a need in the market, but the Bombas story is different. The company’s founders, David Heath and Randy Goldberg, didn’t start a sock company because they had engineered a new and better kind of sock—which they have—but because they recognized an actual need for socks and knew there was something they could do about it.
After learning that socks are the most requested item at homeless shelters, Heath and Goldberg raised funds on Indiegogo and set up a business model that donates a pair of socks to a homeless shelter for every pair sold. The end result? Comfortable, athletic socks that everyone can feel good about. Here Drew Stadler, Head of Happiness at Bombas, shares more about what drives the brand’s commitment to their product, their customers, and the global community.
What does “Bombas” mean?
The name Bombas is derived from the Latin word for bumblebee. Bees work together to make their hive a better place. We liked that and felt that it really fit what we were trying to do, which is why our logo is a bee and our mantra is “Bee Better”.
Tell us about the “Bee Better” mantra. What is that all about?
When we say “Bee Better,” we mean it as a mantra, a way of approaching every day. It's stitched into the inside of every pair of Bombas for a reason. It's a reminder to push yourself harder in your athletic pursuits. A reminder to “bee better" in your personal relationships and philanthropic efforts. A reminder that these socks are engineered and designed thoughtfully. And a reminder that something small can make a big difference.
What is the 100% Happiness Guarantee?
Our #1 priority at Bombas is the happiness of our customers, supporters, and those we serve. Which means we stand by our product 100%, no matter what, no questions asked, no holds barred, no ifs, ands or buts. If we encounter a customer who has a problem, we will go above and beyond to solve it. Refund it. Send them new socks. Whatever it takes. Happiness is guaranteed.
Tell us more about your Customer Happiness Team. What are you looking for in the people you hire?
Throughout the year, there's dedicated staff on the Happiness Team. However, some of us also work on other parts of the business. We think it’s important to foster the passion of all of our team members, so if someone expresses interest in another area, we like to give them a chance to work on that as well. During the holiday season, we hire more part-time Happiness Team members to help with the increase in customer requests. That being said, all Bombas staff, from the co-founders and CFO to the interns, work on the Happiness Team at some point. We are only able to do what we do because of our customers, and interacting with them personally helps us to stay connected and do our jobs better. We look for team members who are passionate about what we are doing, who are high-energy and forward-thinking. Our relationship with our customers is a top priority for us, so it’s important that the people who are interacting with them every day embody the Bombas brand and our “Bee Better” mentality.
How do you keep your team motivated to deliver on the 100% Happiness Guarantee?
We’ve built a culture here at Bombas where all of our team members are motivated to build a great company and really set out to help those in need. Everyone from our interns to our CEO is involved in decision-making, and we all genuinely like what we do and each other. We schedule regular Happiness events in which the full team does something fun together, as well as giving events in which we all visit one of our giving partners to volunteer in person. It’s those moments that bring us closer together as a team, motivate us to work hard, and remind us of why we are doing this in the first place. And that carries through to all parts of our business.
How has Zendesk Support helped Bombas live out the 100% Happiness Guarantee and have closer relationships with your customers?
The way we see it, our Happiness Guarantee does more than just take the place of traditional customer support. It's our guiding principle for every interaction with our customers and ensures that no matter what it takes, we'll do what is necessary to create the best experience possible. This covers simple exchanges and returns and also means that we’ll create moments to surprise and delight our customers in a more personal way. For example, members of our happiness team have rented a car to drive socks to a customer’s home to get them to them in time for vacation. We're honored that our customers have come to expect this of us and Zendesk Support is a vital tool for our team to live up to our guarantee.
Having the ability to quickly bring up support history in a clean and easy-to-read display eliminates detective work and allows our team members to get to know customers on a personal level. Personal details, such as color preference, order history, and size—as well as the things people share in their tickets, about attending weddings or running marathons or maybe about a hospital stay—are key to allowing us to deliver on our guarantee. It’s crucial that any team member can access these details at any given moment. There’s often an unprompted level of intimacy shared in a ticket that allows us to get to know our customers and their needs. We also love having the ability to send after ticket surveys, which allow us to get direct feedback from our customers and continue to uphold our guarantee.
What insights has Bombas gained about your customers through conversations in Support?
We're a small business and luckily have the ability to really listen to our customers and act on their feedback. Support’s reporting is a phenomenal tool for us to easily recognize issues based on ticket frequency, which enables our team to respond accordingly. Having the ability to tag tickets allows us to include customers in our decision-making process and we use this feature as an important check when we’re deciding on things like new product releases. Last year, for example, we used insights gleaned from ticket requests to move up the scheduled release date of our Solids line.
What has been the biggest benefit to your business after implementing Support?
Initially, tickets were coming to an email inbox, which made it really difficult to stay on top of requests and track conversations. Responding to customers in Support with statuses makes it easy to stay organized. Having that separation, in addition to tagging, organization, and Insights has made Support vital to our success. Also, as an online retailer, the holiday season is our busiest. We depend on seasonal support staff to come in to pitch a hand, and so to be able to train them quickly on Support’s easy-to-use and intuitively-designed platform makes that time of the year easier to manage.
At Shoptalk today? Zendesk and Bombas are there! Stop by T64 to say hello and learn more about Zendesk for retail.