Game Changer: GOT BAG reduces daily customer service requests from 500 to 100 within a week
When a company's in-house Customer Happiness Team has to use a large part of its day-to-day operations to process returns, something is going very wrong. There is hardly any time left for tackling the department's actual mission: turning customers into loyal fans.
That's exactly why Martin Lutz, Lead of Customer Happiness at GOT BAG, completely reorganized returns management at GOT BAG last October. In this interview, he tells us what the processes for exchanges and refunds looked like just a few months ago, what has changed since the system changeover, and why he and his employees opted for 8returns.
Environmental protection and happy customers: This is GOT BAG
If you are looking for a new backpack and at the same time care about sustainability, you will certainly come across GOT BAG. The company from Mainz is the first manufacturer in the world to offer bags in its Shop with textiles made from recycled plastic from the Indian Ocean.
Founded in 2016, the Rhineland-Palatinate-based company now has 45 permanent employees and 20 working students - and it growing thanks to a steadily increasing customer base and a healthy expansion strategy.
However, this success is not based solely on the increasingly important aspect of sustainability. The excellent customer service provided to each individual customer also plays a major role.
Slow and time-consuming: The previous returns process
GOT BAG receives between 600 and 800 returns every month. For years, every single request was processed manually. Martin Lutz describes the process of a return before the change to 8returns like this:
"If a customer wanted to initiate a return, he first had to write an e-mail to our customer service. From there, we usually contacted the customer again asking for the reason and whether it was an exchange or a refund.
Once we had all the necessary information, one of my employees had to create the return label manually by copy-and-paste directly on the DHL site and then again send it to the customer.
Then, when the goods arrived at our fulfiller, they informed us via email. We manually forwarded the information to the customer, then sent them another email when we had ordered the refund. So it was a messy back and forth of emails that cost us a lot of time and nerves. I now didn't even mention the processes at our warehouse and accounting department."
Lack of information on reasons for returns
"At the same time, of course, we tried to track the reasons for returns as well as possible and process them profitably for our other departments. For example, if a bag is constantly returned because customers don't like the color, that's valuable information.
However, it often took me hours to create such a report. I had to cumbersomely gather all the information from all the e-mails. All in all, my customer support team was occupied with 80 to 90 percent of the work related to our returns. Unfortunately, consulting and service came up far too short far too often."
From the flood of e-mails to 8returns
Somehow, customer support at GOT BAG still worked for years, even though no one there was really happy with the situation, and returns, in particular, were an issue non grata. Until the pandemic-related supply bottlenecks almost led to a collapse in the summer of 2021.
Collapse in Corona-Sommer
"We were also affected by the delivery problems worldwide," Martin explains. "Shipments to our customers were sometimes delayed by weeks, and a correspondingly large number of messages reached our Customer Support.
It was quite frustrating for my team and me when the inbox was still as full at the end of a working day as it was at the beginning. If customers had to wait a little longer for a response because of this, they naturally wrote the next anxious e-mail right away. It was like a chain reaction, and for us, there was an urgent need for action."
System change in just one week
"Nevertheless, of course, we couldn't rush into anything. We spent a good month looking for the perfect partner for our returns management, but nothing really fit. One was too expensive, the other was based in Hong Kong and could hardly be reached. Then, when we thought we had finally found someone, we were offered onboarding in six months.
Until finally the assistant of our managing director brought 8returns to our attention. We had the first contact on 10/22, a Friday. The product demo took place the following Monday, and by the next Wednesday everything was up and running and I was able to introduce the new system to my staff. Onboarding took only 20 minutes because the software is self-explanatory."
Inbox cut in half, disaster averted, positive reviews from our customers
"Within a single day, we were thus able to process half of all returns requests. We informed all customers with an exchange request about our system changeover in an e-mail and pointed them to our new returns portal. Everything else was fully automated from then on.
The feedback was overwhelming. On that one day, we received several positive reviews from many customers, some of whom had already had to wait a long time for their requests to be processed. From one day to the next, they were able to initiate the return with a few mouse clicks and had all the information and confirmations in their inbox immediately. Of course, that thrilled us and our shoppers were happy to show their joy in the form of positive reviews.."
Fast, simple, customer-friendly: returns today
Since switching to 8returns, Martin and his team only have to personally deal with a maximum of one-third of the 300-500 or so return requests they receive each month. The software takes care of the rest.
Time gain of four hours with personal customer service
"Every email that we previously had to create manually is now sent automatically to our customers. All in all, this gives each of my employees around four hours more a day to deal with matters other than returns. Of course, that's a huge time saver. Only the special cases end up on our desk - and that's a good thing. After all, personal contact with our customers is still very important to us and we're always happy to be of immediate assistance."
Positive effects at all levels
"However, it's not just customer service that benefits from the switch to 8returns. The effects are noticeable in all departments. Our warehouse no longer has to book each return individually, but now receives a complete list from our fulfiller once a month. Product design and production are pleased with clear statements about return reasons. We can now easily track reasons for returns. And the management receives meaningful reports that I can pull out of our system at lightning speed."
Responsive and accessible
"There were no problems during the introduction of 8returns. Our IT team was even a little disappointed that there was nothing for them to do. If we did have a question, the answer was always just a quick phone call away.
Sometimes it feels to me like we didn't just buy a piece of software, but now have another department in addition to our Customer Support that just deals with returns. As quickly as questions are resolved and how accessible 8returns is, they might as well just be sitting next door."
Look into the future
More time for the core task, satisfied customers, simple processes. Returns are no longer a taboo subject at GOT BAG. For Martin Lutz, the Lead of Customer Happiness:
"In the meantime, returns management is actually really fun for everyone involved. That's why we definitely want to optimize the process even further. For example, by linking it directly to our ticket system and warehouse management. Or by directly integrating our fulfiller as well. At 8returns, they are already working on new solutions for us.
If I may conclude with a tip for the companies of this world: take care of your returns process in good time and don't wait as long as we did. There are easier ways than a flood of emails. That's what we learned last year."
All images courtesy of GOT BAG.