Both virtual assistants and chatbots use AI to provide automated consumer assistance via a digital interface. But the kind of assistance varies, as well as the channels they’re typically used in and the extent of their capabilities.
Highlights From Zendesk Relate: Ada in Conversation With Tempur Sealy International
Ecommerce brands are experiencing a new era of window shopping. People now are engaging with their favorite brands online — from following a Facebook ad, to site visit, to adding items of interest to the cart.
But how do brands get customers across the finish line, from cart to checkout? For a pure retail brand to stand up a successful ecommerce offering is no small feat.
Thing is, the way we shop has changed, but the things that make us feel loyal to a specific brand hasn’t. Caring counts. To create the kind of meaningful connections people are craving, you need to infuse every conversation with empathy and emotion. And you need to do it at scale.
Every time someone interacts with your brand, it’s an opportunity to build trust, deliver value, and ultimately, drive growth. And this is what will make your brand stand out in the competitive ecommerce space.
The only way to do this is to deliver more valuable automated brand interactions to customers — no matter who they are, what channel they prefer, or what language they speak.
We recently spoke with the world’s largest bedding provider, Tempur Sealy International, Inc., at Zendesk Relate to learn more about their transition from retail to ecommerce, and how they are leveraging automation to provide world-class CX.
Check out the highlights from Ruth Zive’s, CMO at Ada, conversation with Tempur Sealy’s Digital Tools and Platform Manager, Annie Zheng. This was just one of the many powerful conversations at Zendesk Relate, and we were so honored to be a part of this incredible event put on by our partner, Zendesk.
For those who aren't familiar, would you tell us a bit more about Tempur Sealy International?
Tempur-Sealy International was formed when Tempur-Pedic International acquired Sealy Corporation in 2012. Tempur-Sealy has four main brands, Tempur-Pedic, Stearns & Foster, Sealy, and Cocoon by Sealy. Each brand brings its own history and background, but we all share the same values.
As the shopping experience shifted into the digital space, Tempur Sealy had to adapt and meet the customer where they were and where they wanted to shop. Diving deeper into the ecommerce space meant understanding how to service the customer from behind a screen, ensuring they were met with a seamless, personalized experience from browsing to purchase.
With all of our brands, we feel that we can truly provide plenty of options for sleepers all around the world, no matter their preferences.
Tell us a bit more about you and your role at TSI.
I joined Tempur-Sealy about three years ago as the Digital Engagement team was being created for the first time. The Digital Engagement team's purpose is to interact with our consumers on all of our digital channels.
In my current role, I manage our digital tools and platforms and think of new ways to leverage technology to enhance the customer experience.
What are some of the challenges that your team faces in offering digital engagement at scale?
We have a high average order value. For someone to buy a $2000+ mattress online, they need to be confident not only in the product itself, but in the company. Regardless of the brand customers are purchasing under the TSI portfolio, they expect quality products and exceptional service.
A challenge we faced is the demand for our products, especially during the pandemic. Along with the increase in demand, we were also met with inventory constraints, as did many businesses across the world.
With all that being said, demand for our product is a good problem to have — but it also required us to revisit our team headcount to ensure we were still able to provide that great experience at all times.
That’s one of the main reasons why we started looking for vendors like Ada, to help us achieve our goals.
Could you tell us a bit more about how TSI is using Ada and Zendesk?
Ada is the first point of contact with the customer, and we serve this contact option in a few different ways.
Proactive: If a customer browses one of our web pages for a certain amount of time, we understand that to mean they’re interested in learning more. We serve them with a proactive message from Ada, asking if there’s anything we can assist with. From there, we offer the customer a few common topics, or they can freely type their questions for an immediate response from Ada.
Organic: Our Ada instance lives on every web page and follows customers as they browse. At any point in their journey, customers can opt to begin a new chat and begin their Ada interaction.
If more assistance is needed or if they’d simply prefer to speak to a live agent, Ada routes the conversation to a live agent or into our Zendesk Support Suite, which creates an email ticket if agents are offline outside of operating hours.
Besides Zendesk, what other business systems do you tap into to automate these interactions?
We built a custom API lookup between Ada and our homegrown Order Management System (OMS), where order numbers and information are stored. We can use that lookup to pull tracking information and provide real-time order status to customers when they ask.
Being able to automate “Where is my order?” (WISMO) for our customers with dynamic, real-time responses has made a huge difference for our customers and our digital team.
What has the impact of automation been since you launched Ada earlier this year?
Our response time has improved dramatically. It wasn’t where we wanted it to be, but since Ada, we’re able to service many requests first-hand using automated brand interactions, ultimately decreasing our first response time.
Over 80% of TSI’s interactions with customers are now fully automated by Ada. Allowing customers to quickly self-serve and get their answers addressed is one way we show them that we care, and that we truly value their time. It’s important for our brand experience to reflect that.
What has been the response of your agents? How has their day-to-day changed?
Our agents are able to allocate their focus to larger aspects of the company. Now they’re using their customer and product knowledge to help streamline order management processes, enhance the website experience, take a more creative approach with copy and social media interaction, and much more. Our agents are important stakeholders in the business, and it’s important to us that they are able to use their expertise in a variety of other areas to help our business continue to grow.
Sounds like the TSI team has some great foundations in place for your automated brand interaction strategy. What's next on your automation roadmap?
Now that we have some solid foundations in place, we’re excited to really double down on proactive engagement and dig into the areas we have for improvement — especially now that we have more capacity with automation.
We’re looking forward to experimenting in our sandboxes to find new ways of doing things as Zendesk and Ada also find enhancements over time.
As our company values reflect, we try to think differently and focus our passions on our customer needs. In partnerships with Zendesk and Ada, we are able to offer our customers more VIP experiences to meet their needs and set Tempur Sealy apart in our industry.
What advice would you give to another company thinking about introducing automation?
Choose a vendor that has strong AI, and make sure you promote someone to manage the experience overtime. Think about automation as your brand ambassador — the first point of contact for your customers.
Sarah Fox is a scuba-diving, animal-loving journalist turned content marketer. In her career, she’s covered stories on development, written profiles on notable philanthropists, and interviewed celebrities with a passion for giving back. When she’s not producing content for Ada, Sarah’s likely fawning over her dog somewhere in the woods.