Imperfect Foods was founded in 2015 with a mission to reduce food waste and build a better food system for everyone.
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Purpose-driven and customer-driven? That’s just how Imperfect Foods (“Imperfect”) operates. Founded in 2015 and fueled by a belief in the need for a better food system, Imperfect has saved over 150 million pounds of food from going to waste - yes, 150 million - while also creating undeniably strong connections with customers along the way. Starting, and then maintaining, a movement of this magnitude is no easy feat - just ask anyone on the Customer Care team at Imperfect.
Meet Suzi Malisewski, manager of Workforce Planning and Analytics at Imperfect. Her team of workforce specialists had front row seats to the company’s explosive growth as they worked to ensure optimal support staffing. “They sometimes call us the information and investigation team since we’re always looking at trends in things like SLA and trying to diagnose why metrics are changing.” With a growing team of over 100 support associates and a BPO, there was a lot to monitor and optimize, and things were only getting busier.
We spent a big portion of our time just staring at multiple windows - spreadsheets, Zendesk, and more - while trying to ‘figure it out’ for our team.
Most importantly, the CC org - called “Customer Care” for a reason - was oriented around a belief that support associates should feel empowered to do everything that’s right by the customer, versus escalating to management. This also meant that the team focused intently on “empathy-driven SLAs”, which had associates “responding to phone calls in 30 seconds or less, and chats in 60 seconds or less,” explains Suzi. “SLAs like that were truly unheard of, but the team made it happen.”
As is usually the case with companies managing exponential growth, the Imperfect team started noticing unusual and atypical support trends. Says former workforce specialist Sam Dehart: “We noticed that our team was starting to miss certain goals and we weren’t sure why, but it was clear we needed to get to the bottom of this.” More specifically, Suzi’s team started to do what they do best - investigate, even if it meant digging through scores of data. They noticed missed Service Levels on chat despite faster average first response and average handle times and high CSAT. What gives?
If all those things were going well, how could we be missing our service level target? So, our Chief Experience Officer issued us a challenge to figure it out, and we got to work.
Imperfect added Assembled to their CC tech stack, and got right into a deep dive of all of their metrics from schedule adherence to service levels across all channels. Says Suzi: “In true Imperfect Foods fashion, we leaned on one of our company values: Use the Whole Carrot.” In WFM terms, this meant using every ounce of data to get to the bottom of things, using Assembled as a single source of truth.
Our associates live inside of Zendesk, but they love the integration with Assembled, because they can really clearly see the schedule for everyone laid out, or they can check out their own adherence levels.
After quickly syncing their associate and ticket data from Zendesk to Assembled, the team was off to the races. Beyond easier schedule creation, the team benefited in a big way from Assembled’s reporting functionality.
We exported every chat and did a deep investigation to identify - is it staffing? Is it something else? Is it coaching or training-related?
Using the “Forecasted vs Actual” report, they were able to identify, down to the hour, where Service Levels were missed, and analyze mapped tickets from the relevant time periods. “We then used Staffing Heatmaps to make tweaks to live channel staffing during hours where we were missing Service Levels,” says Suzi. Using Assembled to make critical intra-day staffing changes was just the beginning, though. For the hours where Service Levels were missed, they leveraged Zendesk Explore reporting to look at median associate response times. Comprehensive reporting meant that there was something for everyone - Suzi’s team could focus on individual metrics, whereas the Director of Customer Care could see team trends, and the CXO could check out macro-level metrics. And naturally, the Assembled team was there at every step to ensure Imperfect was getting maximum value.
The access I have to the Assembled team is incredible - the response, the access, and the importance this team places in listening to us, and actively solving problems that other customers may also be facing.
Gold star detective work! After summarizing key trends for leadership, Suzi and a team of workforce specialists, supervisors, and associates came together to co-create a solution, which started by agreeing on an ideal first response time. “We wanted to find the ‘sweet spot’ of the desired first response that would truly make our customers feel acknowledged and confident that we would help solve their concern,” says Suzi. By using Assembled’s robust reporting to make individual response changes and tweaks in hourly staffing, the Imperfect team increased service level by 20% in just six weeks.
Assembled has taught us so much about contact patterns, which has really been educational and helpful in holding us all accountable in relevant ways.
Case closed? Sounds like it.