• January 10, 2020
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

JOANN Gladly Crafts Personal Interaction

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Whether they’re casual weekend knitters or top sellers on Etsy, each customer of fabric and craft retailer JOANN is unique. And the Cleveland-based company has made it a mission to cater to the individual needs of each and every one of them.

It was important that this attention to individuality carried into every interaction that customers had with JOANN, including the times they reach out for support outside of one of its more than 865 stores across 49 U.S. states.

But, until recently, when customers contacted the company, which was founded 75 years ago, they often found an experience that was far less than optimal. JOANN had been using legacy, disparate, single-channel customer service technologies that could no longer keep up with its omnichannel demands.

That all changed last March when JOANN began a partnership with Gladly. The company jumped right in with Gladly’s full suite of customer engagement products, allowing it to communicate with customers across a much wider variety of channels, including live chat, email, text messaging, and phone.

“For years, we saw customers reaching out across a variety of channels, but the technology made overall visibility a struggle, increasing wait times and risking customer drop-off,” recalls Drew Chamberlain, director of store operations and customer experience at JOANN.

“Since our partnership with Gladly, our customers could not be happier,” he says. Gladly’s platform eliminates the old-school model of tickets and case numbers, concentrating instead on facilitating seamless conversations, from phone to modern messaging.

Through Gladly, JOANN team members now have visibility into every customer’s history and relationship with the company—from past interactions to purchase preferences, from order history to marketing outreach—and can switch seamlessly between channels, without interruption, to meet customers where they are.

Gladly enables JOANN’s support teams to intelligently route queries to the agents best suited to resolve specific concerns. And Gladly’s interface allows agents to be onboarded in just a matter of days, instead of the three to four weeks the previous platforms required.

JOANN’s customer care teams have also gained a full understanding of each customer. Unified reporting across all channels gives them and company leaders a better understanding of how customer service is impacting the bottom line.

By unifying their disparate platforms, JOANN saw immediate gains in operational efficiency, reducing email backlogs by 93 percent and response times by 70 percent. And with key customer information surfaced within each customer’s individual profile, JOANN’s customer care representatives can provide a world-class customer experience that’s fitting to their brand.

“Not only have we seen significant results in reduced response times and email backlog, but Gladly has helped us develop more meaningful, personal relationships with our customers. For a brand that stands for individuality, that is the most valuable service a partner can provide,” Chamberlain says.

JOANN continues to see significant decreases in email backlogs and improvements in productivity by having its team on a single platform to respond and engage with customers.

“Customers want to be treated like people, not cases to be resolved,” said Joseph Ansanelli, CEO and cofounder of Gladly, in a statement. “To create a loyal customer base in today’s highly competitive market, brands must offer customer service that’s not just seamless and convenient but feels personal and tailored to them. JOANN’s investment in customer service shows just how much the brand loves its customers and how much investing in quality service can impact a company’s success.” 

The Payoff

Since implementing Gladly's omnichannel customer service technology in its contact centers, JOANN has seen the following results:

  • a 93 percent reduction in email backlogs;
  • a 70 percent reduction in response times; and
  • agent onboarding reduced from three or four weeks to a few days.

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