The power of a great story is that it taps into shared emotions, inspiring those who relate to it, empathize with it, or even aspire to it. In the past, some of the most memorable, persuasive advertisements told a compelling story. Now, some of the most successful retailers do, too. Just ask Anthony Soohoo, co-founder and CEO of Dot & Bo.
In 2013, Soohoo launched the fast-growing curated furniture and home decor shopping service on the premise that people want a narrative experience when creating their perfect homes. On the Dot & Bo website, customers can browse curated collections, like “bohemian sanctuary” for vibrantly patterned fabrics from India and one-of-a-kind wood furniture from the Appalachian mountains, or “mid-century modern” for Bauhaus-inspired chairs and molded plastic side tables. The company’s daily collections are centered on specific design narratives and themes, helping customers to spark creative decorating ideas while discovering unique items for their homes.
“Decorating your home isn’t just about buying a piece of furniture, it’s about connecting with story behind the product and relating these stories to your own lifestyle,” said Soohoo. Dot & Bo’s content-meets-commerce approach clearly resonates with customers: In less than two years, the young company already boasts an astounding 5 million members. The challenge facing Dot & Bo is to continue to maintain personal relationships with customers through continued rapid growth.
As with most startups, budgets were tight in the early days, so the company used email instead of any specific CRM and customer service programs. During this time, Soohoo personally answered every customer question. Customers quickly embraced Dot & Bo’s unique shopping experience, and it wasn’t long before Soohoo’s inbox was overflowing with support inquiries.
While trying to implement processes to share support responsibilities with additional team members without letting customer inquiries fall through the cracks, it became obvious that the company needed a support solution that would help it scale as it grew. “We are building a service that leads to long-term relationships with our customers,” explained Soohoo. “We couldn’t afford to make customers wait for the information they needed.” Dot & Bo chose Desk.com because it is easy to set up and use and easily integrates with other systems.
Today, most of Dot & Bo’s 90 employees use Desk.com’s help desk solution, including the customer support, operations, merchandising, finance, and executive teams. It’s easy for teams to collaborate and answer questions ranging from product functionality to billing issues, as they can easily view customer information in one place, and more seamlessly analyze the data.
Later, when Soohoo wanted to add a CRM solution so the support team could share customer information with sales and do a better job of managing opportunities, it didn’t take him long to select Sales Cloud. “A good portion of a sale starts from a customer question. By connecting Desk.com with Sales Cloud, we’re able to share data between our customer experience and sales teams to ensure we’re directing customers to the appropriate responses.” By integrating Desk.com and Sales Cloud, Dot & Bo sales and service teams always have 360-degree customer views and can personalize every experience.
“Building an exceptional customer experience is about more than support. It’s about having an actionable view of our customer from pre-purchase to delivery to repeat visit. It is so powerful to have a service platform that is connected with the leading CRM in the cloud,” Soohoo said.
Salesforce also helps the company continually improve its business operations. Dot & Bo tracks every customer interaction and uses Desk.com’s Business Insights to spot issues and continually measure satisfaction. In addition to maximizing support team productivity, the company gains insights that help anticipate customer wants. “Having an integrated system lets us do more than just track issues. It lets us focus on customer needs,” added Soohoo.
Dot & Bo’s revenues are 17 times more than they were two years ago, which Soohoo attributes, in part, to excellent customer service. As the company continues to expand beyond its 5 million members, it continues to expand its use of Salesforce for every customer touchpoint, including email marketing and prospecting. With a greater level of customer segmentation based on customer profiles and purchasing history, Dot & Bo will be able to offer even better experiences and build closer relationships.
Soohoo adds, “As the CEO of a company that is monetizing through commerce, my number one job is to manage the customer experience across the board. It’s like directing a symphony: coordinating between various teams from operations to marketing, to ensure our customers are having the best possible experience.”