How eCommerce Seller ShopMonk Improved Customer Support by 30%
Learn how successful eCommerce seller ShopMonk used Replyco helpdesk software to slash response times by 30% and improve customer support.
ShopMonk Company Profile
- Selling on: eBay, Amazon, ShopMonk Website
- Annual sales: £9M
- Previous helpdesk: ReplyManager (eDesk), Zendesk
- Messages per month: 10,000
- Support team: 7 – 10
When you’re an eCommerce seller, the way you handle customer support affects every aspect of your business. From sales to brand reputation to company growth to marketplace metrics, you can keep everything moving in the right direction by making sure your customer service is on point.
Few sellers understand this concept better than online retailer ShopMonk. Having grown from a one-man business to managing up to 10,000 messages a month with 7 customer service employees, the ShopMonk brand prides itself on making customers a top priority.
Recently, we got the chance to sit down with ShopMonk Operations Manager Pedro Poeta. During our interview, we learned about the company’s tremendous growth, as well as how they recently slashed response times by a whopping 30%. Keep reading to discover a few of ShopMonk’s secrets to success…
How ShopMonk Got Started
ShopMonk started over eight years ago when company director and founder Abid Sabar began selling products from his garage on eBay and Amazon during his free time. At this point, he was mostly selling the types of items that people buy from gas (or petrol) stations.
Soon, Sabar saw that there was a growing demand for his products. This was largely because he could be very competitive in pricing, as he didn’t have the overhead expenses of a brick and mortar shop space or storefront. Plus, in the beginning, he wasn’t even having to pay for staff. Instead, he was running the entire business on his own. This included listing items online, providing customer support and handling order fulfillment.
From the Garage to 10K Messages per Month
Within just a few years, Sabar decided to scale up the business and leave his full-time job in order to focus solely on ShopMonk. And as Poeta put it in our interview, “That’s when [ShopMonk] really boomed out of the garage.”
Soon, ShopMonk was operating out of 3 warehouses, employed a multi-departmental team and began increasing its product range every year. The team also researches the market in order to discontinue products they don’t find suitable anymore. Additionally, they frequently invest in new offerings that will keep shoppers coming back. Today, shoppers can find home and garden supplies, children’s toys, camping / outdoor gear, pet supplies and much more on the ShopMonk website (or on their eBay shop and other marketplace stores).
As the company grew from £100k in annual sales to £9M in just 8 years, they began to receive more and more messages from customers. As of 2021, the customer service team at ShopMonk handles as many as 5,000 to 10,000 customer messages per month.
Choosing the Right Helpdesk Software
Poeta says that ShopMonk has almost always used a helpdesk software to stay on top of customer messages. He explains that being able to centralize, organize, sort, label and allocate all of your messages is essential to keeping organized and making sure no customers or issues fall through the cracks.
“A good helpdesk
software is essential. It makes all the difference.”
– Pedro Poeta, ShopMonk Operations Manager
ShopMonk currently uses Replyco helpdesk software for eCommerce, but was previously with two other providers — namely Zendesk and then ReplyManager (later sold to eDesk).
When asked why the ShopMonk team had decided to look into switching away from their previous provider before joining Replyco, Poeta said there were a number of reasons that factored into their decision. He details that, once ReplyManager was sold to eDesk, the interface became “unresponsive,” “laggy” and “was missing a lot of features that [they] previously had with ReplyManager.” Poeta also explained, “Plus, customer support wasn’t that great.”
On the flipside, Replyco offered a clean and responsive interface, easily accessible customer support and a host of features that helped streamline the management of both customer messaging and team performance. On top of that, the ShopMonk team appreciated how Replyco’s pricing was ticket-based rather than user- or integration-based (Replyco includes unlimited users and unlimited integrations at no extra cost for every plan level). So, even though they had the opportunity to stay with eDesk at a competitive rate, ShopMonk remained there for just a couple of months before ultimately deciding to make the switch to Replyco.
Replyco’s Concierge Customer Service Provides Full Onboarding & Support
When getting onboarded with Replyco, ShopMonk had a lot of rules to set up. Rules are sets of instructions used to automate messaging, SLA priorities and team assignments. For example, you can set a rule so that Amazon messages with the word “return” are moved to the Return folder and assigned to a certain member of your customer service department. They also created email templates to drop into messages manually and to use in conjunction with auto-responder rules.
In handling around 10,000 messages each month, the ShopMonk team needed to put together solid protocols for handling customer communications. This meant creating a number of customized rules and organizational / sorting options.
But Poeta says the support team at Replyco was there every step of the way. In the end, ShopMonk was able to implement all the necessary rules in order to keep customer service running smoothly. And to that end, Poeta notes that Replyco’s customer service department continues to always be available.
“Replyco’s customer service is really, really good. Every time I go on chat with the team, especially Alex, they are always there. Alex is very proactive. He will give you his opinion, and if there’s something he can’t do or resolve, he’ll pass it on to the developers. And usually, they are able to help us get what we need.”
– Pedro Poeta, ShopMonk Operations Manager
Cutting Response Times by 30%
Since joining Replyco, Poeta says ShopMonk has reduced message response times by a whopping 30%. This is huge for several reasons. First of all, faster response times naturally lead to happier shoppers (and potentially more sales). Secondly, quick response rates can dramatically improve your seller metrics on marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay. You will likely also receive better reviews from more satisfied customers.
So, how exactly did ShopMonk achieve this impressive response time reduction? Let’s take a look at what Replyco features they use and how they use them.
Rules & Organizational Tools
For starters, as mentioned, ShopMonk keeps organized by setting a wide range of rules for customer messaging. That means every message that comes in from any eCommerce marketplace or platform is automatically sorted correctly and assigned to the right team member.
Smart Auto-Responders & Templates
Furthermore, Poeta says that ShopMonk saves time and keeps shoppers happy even when they aren’t in the office with Replyco’s smart auto-responders, message templates and custom tags. Plus, he and the team appreciate the ability to request and vote on new features in the Replyco Roadmap, along with the opportunity to view what’s on tap for the near future.
Internal Notes + 2-Way Linnworks Notes Sync
The ShopMonk team also utilizes Replyco’s internal notes to communicate with each other about anything going on with a particular ticket, customer or order. And as Linnworks users, ShopMonk gets the added advantage of Replyco / Linnworks two-way notes sync. This enables users to create, read and sync notes from either platform, making for better management of messages and orders.
Detailed Performance Reporting in the Replyco Dashboard
Finally, with 7 to 10 users on Replyco at any given time, there are certainly plenty of ShopMonk customer service reps to keep up with. But Poeta says the Replyco Dashboard helps their managers understand how each user is performing. So, if an employee seems to require further training (or deserves kudos for a job well done), ShopMonk can address things quickly.
ShopMonk’s Final Advice for eCommerce Sellers
To end our interview, we asked Poeta what his advice would be to eCommerce sellers. He said, “The most important thing for new businesses is cash flow. We tried to invest everything we made in the first few years [back into the business], and still do, really. That allowed us to grow at a very increased rate.”
“The most important things for new businesses are cash flow, re-investing and staying organized when it comes to customer service.”
– Pedro Poeta, ShopMonk Operations Manager
And when it comes to customer support? Poeta says, “The key is organization. We’ve always tried to stay as organized as possible when it comes to customer communication, whether it be processing returns or providing customer service in different languages (because we also sell in foreign marketplaces). And it may sound easy on paper, but it’s not actually easy putting it all together [while also focusing on sales and other aspects of the business]. So, that’s why we believe a good [helpdesk] software is essential. It really does make the difference.”
To discover how a helpdesk software can get your messaging and customer service organized, take a tour of Replyco’s features. Or, get started with a no-risk, no-credit-card-required, 7-day free trial today.