“KPIs come as standard, but our founders want us to report back and tell them how our customer is feeling. With Zendesk we can do that.”
Global CX Manager at Lush
“It was the busiest Christmas the digital team ever had and we’d just migrated our website. Having Zendesk as a stable force at that point meant we could identify any potential customer issues and quickly get those rectified.”
Global CX Manager at Lush
Dorset, United Kingdom
Number of stores
Tickets per month
Cost efficiency savings (2021)
One touch resolution
A strong sense of ethics flows through cosmetics retailer Lush. Founded in Dorset in 1995, the brand is known for its fair trade practices, sustainability credentials and cruelty free cosmetics. So it is unsurprising that these values are reflected within its customer care department.
“It goes hand-in-hand”, says Global CX Manager, Naomi Rankin. “Customers are attracted to us by our ethics and values, and we really do care about people, the environment and animals, so we won’t compromise on how we treat our customers, staff or suppliers, just to make things cheaper, easier or quicker.”
Improving continuity using Zendesk
Joint Global CX Managers, Rankin and Sonya Fanson, both started at Lush on the shop floor giving them crucial first-hand experience with shoppers, before moving onto the customer care team. Zendesk was rolled out in 2016 as part of the retailer’s wider digital standardisation project, which also saw their website being re-platformed right before the peak Christmas trading period. “It was the busiest Christmas the digital team ever had and we’d just migrated our website. Having Zendesk as a stable force at that point meant we could identify any potential customer issues and quickly get those rectified.”
Lush uses Zendesk’s tools to monitor and analyse customer enquiries, while third-party systems – HappyFox for live chat and RingCentral for its head office telephony system – also integrate with Zendesk.
“We initially chose Zendesk to handle all incoming emails and for logging calls in one place, which enabled us to improve continuity and service for the customer and also work on more detailed reporting for the business”, says Rankin. “Prior to Zendesk, I believe reporting out of customer care was sparse, if not non-existent.”
Serving a global business
Fast forward six years and Rankin and Fanson now oversee customer care globally, with 170 agents using Zendesk to support 21 markets, covering 15 languages. This helps the retailer spot small issues and fix them before they develop into big problems.
Take the recently introduced online payment verification process, 3D Secure: EU banks insist that every transaction must offer 3DS, but with some technical settings not quite right, some Lush customers were having trouble checking out. The customer care team spotted this error and were able to inform the commerce team who fixed the issue within two days.
Understanding customer sentiment around the globe is a 24/7 endeavour. Rankin says: “Our six founders are still very involved in the business and they make these amazing products and want everyone in the world to have them. But what might work in Dorset might not have the same cultural relevance in Japan or Eastern Europe. Zendesk enables us to quickly spot when a product, or perhaps a joke on our website, didn’t quite land right outside of the UK.”
Identifying these cultural nuances is also necessary through customer care channels and Zendesk enables Lush to customise its service accordingly. “We know that in Spain, they like a really personal and high-touch experience with live chat, whereas in France they prioritise high-speed resolution.”
A little positivity goes a long way
Customer service agents are used to dealing with issues, complaints and negativity – it’s part of the job description – but Lush’s customer care team goes the extra mile to make sure that any positive comments they receive are shared around the business. Fanson explains how every time a customer praises a member of staff, a store or a particular experience, the customer care team feed that back to the relevant manager, sometimes gifting random acts of kindness as a reward. But importantly, they let that customer know this praise has been passed on. “We appreciate when customers take the time to share positive experiences – CX can be a tough environment, so it’s important to share the positives.”
Rankin points out that while the Lush response rate is slightly longer than industry average, its CSAT score of 91.8% is well above the 73% reported by other retailers. During COVID-19, this score stayed the same, despite a 60% increase in tickets, as the team were able to work better using Zendesk, while still providing that personal touch to customers at a very stressful time.
“In a technology-driven world, we’re often encouraged to automate everything, but our customers have grown up from seeing us on the local street and getting to know our staff”, says Rankin. “While we’re now a global business with hundreds of shops and hopefully millions of customers, we want to perpetuate that feeling that we’re your friends, and if you come to us we have the time to listen to you and find a resolution and maybe help to make someone else’s day lovely.”
“KPIs come as standard”, she adds, pointing to their commendable ROI figures from using Zendesk. “But our founders want us to report back and tell them how our customer is feeling. With Zendesk we can do that.”
In an ever-increasingly unpredictable and uncertain world, Lush understands the power of sharing positivity for the better and how all feedback can be constructive to pave a way for a stronger business tomorrow.