At Dancing Deer Baking Co., planning for next Christmas begins… the day after Christmas.
Much of the company’s revenues are rung up in the run up to the holidays. So a lot of work goes into analyzing and building on the previous year’s holiday buying season – new products, updated marketing messages, new promotional strategies.
But there’s one aspect of sales and customer service at the all-natural baked goods company that Dancing Deer doesn’t feel the need to change: the outsourced call center services provider, OnBrand24.
“OnBrand24 is an extremely valuable asset to us – we think of them as an extension of our company,” said Andrew Hoberman, Customer Relations Manager at Dancing Deer, which has worked with OnBrand24 since 2008. “It’s a very professional organization that also is a fun company to work with. Dancing Deer and OnBrand24 are fully integrated, and I rely on them with complete confidence.”
Dancing Deer was formed in 1994 in the Hyde Park section of Boston, Massachusetts. The company offers an extensive line of cookies, brownies and other baked goods made from all natural ingredients. The relationship with OnBrand24 began in 2008 when Dancing Deer needed a call center customer service outsourcer with expertise in food and beverage to handle its growing e-commerce, mail order and customer service outsourcing needs. OnBrand24 handles thousands of Dancing Deer transaction per year.
Throughout the typical business day, Hoberman and their OnBrand24 customer service call center program managers are talking over the phone or by email. The call center service provider compiles detailed daily reports measuring program metrics, including call volume, average talk time and average order size, that are used to fine tune the program in real-time and also provide Dancing Deer marketers with critical feedback on their marketing campaigns.
And when Dancing Deer’s in-house staff leaves at the end of the day, Hoberman and other managers rely on OnBrand24 to handle after-hours inbound order taking and customer service calls.
“They take our customer calls 24/7, 365 days a year, and I have complete confidence in their agents handling our customers the right way,” Hoberman said.
A key customer service outsourcing challenge for Dancing Deer is maintaining the balance of staffing resources. The company has major fluctuations in sales and customer service call volume throughout the year. December has high call volume all month, and the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and other holidays also have intense activity. There also are spikes in inbound calls when Dancing Deer sends email promotions to its customers.
To accommodate these ups and downs, OnBrand24 implements customized “accordion staffing,” enabling the customer service call center to scale the resources needed by Dancing Deer on short notice. It means OnBrand24 must have a staff of inbound call center services specialists on hand who are knowledgeable about Dancing Deer’s products, comfortable using Dancing Deer's order processing system, able to express the Dancing Deer brand and skilled in maximizing orders by upselling and cross-selling customers other Dancing Deer products.
“They handle whatever we throw at them,” Hoberman said. “Sometimes with little warning we need them to handle double the inbound call volume because we’ve just offered discount pricing or free shipping, and OnBrand24 always comes through. It means we keep our customers happy while capturing maximum revenue.”
Hoberman said the relationship with OnBrand24 is founded on trust and transparency. He visits the call center services company in Beverly, MA, several times a year and observes the call center customer service specialists working on his program.
“All of their agents work on-site at their call center, and they encourage me to come any time, walk the aisles and listen to how our calls are being handled,” Hoberman said. “I don’t know if many call centers would have the confidence to give a client carte blanche like that.”
In turn, OnBrand24 managers visit Dancing Deer in Boston to stay informed of additions to the product line and changes to the marketing strategy.
“When our customers talk with an OnBrand24 agent, they assume they’re talking with Dancing Deer, and that’s because OnBrand24 knows our products and expresses our brand so well,” Hoberman said. “They do a top-notch job.”