GPJ is a Trailblazer

We are so happy to be using Premier. It’s not that much more expensive and you reap so many benefits, including faster implementation and process automation.”

Penny Davis | Senior Manager, Contact Center, GPJ

Learn how GPJ delivers service for live and virtual events with Salesforce.

There are a lot of factors that contribute to the success of a company. But customer service, in particular, is a crucial component for growing sales, revenue, and profits. So what happens when your service technology can no longer keep up with growing demand? When faced with either losing business and a stellar reputation, or investing in a better service solution — the choice is clear. At least it was for George P. Johnson.

GPJ, which takes its name from the founder’s initials, is the world’s leading event and experience marketing agency. “We take events that might seem kind of boring, and we turn them on their heads,” said Penny Davis, Senior Contact Center Manager at GPJ. “We make the entire experience more useful, more targeted, and more fun.”

By working with content teams to shorten speaking sessions and set up networking spaces and exhibit halls for vendors, GPJ makes sure events are relevant and interesting to attendees. Everything the company does is dedicated to making events as engaging as possible for customers and companies alike, no matter whether those events happen live or virtually.

GPJ sticks to best practices in delivering virtual events.

When the world shifted from live events to virtual events in 2020, GPJ was already prepared for the change. The company had coordinated many successful virtual events in the past, and was ready to continue using many of the same strategies from those. 

The main shift was moving from viewing virtual events as add-ons for main events to seeing them as the main events themselves. “In many ways, it’s not all that different,” said Davis. “You need to make sure that everything you’re doing digitally still aligns with your branding, connects with your audience, and goes as smoothly as possible.”

In a normal year, GPJ employs about 20 customer service representatives in the winter months, and as many as 70 from spring through autumn. “It can vary greatly,” said Davis. “Right now, during the COVID-19 pandemic, we only have 20, and it’s the middle of the summer when we’d normally be busiest. However, we’re ramping back up currently as our clients pivot to digital.”

Salesforce offers increased innovation and flexibility.

Half a decade ago, GPJ was using a relatively outdated service system with a small contact center. The company realized it needed to connect service with the rest of the company, and as a result, the contact center grew exponentially. Based on that growth, it was clear GPJ needed a new service technology solution. The company solicited proposals from many different providers,  but “Salesforce was at the top of that list,” said Davis.

As an events company, GPJ is busiest in late summer and early fall. During the holiday season, the company doesn’t have the same service needs. “We needed flexibility between seasons, and we needed to ensure that a customer service representative working for one client did not have access to all of the information for our other clients,” Davis said. “Salesforce ticked off all the boxes for us.”

GPJ got started with Service Cloud in a flash.

GPJ got up and running on Service Cloud quickly through Salesforce Jump Start. “With a team of just two people leading the charge, we got rolling on the Salesforce Platform in no time,” said Davis. “It was exactly what we needed to get everything working and get rid of the old system.” Davis estimated that if GPJ hadn’t used Jump Start, the company’s IT team would have had to do a lot of research — as much as five to 10 hours a week per person.

After implementing Service Cloud, “we found that it flowed really well, and it was extremely easy to train our customer service representatives on it,” said Davis. “Previously, we were counting emails by hand, so we’ve seen major benefits in efficiency for both agents and managers.” With the ability to easily generate detailed reports that weren’t possible at all before, the team now can accomplish the reporting process in half the time, or less.

When starting out with Salesforce, Davis said it’s best to write down all your current processes, identify what you’d like improved, and make those your key goals. “Our Salesforce representative was able to help us work toward those goals fast,” she said. “Trailhead is also a great resource for learning the right Salesforce terminology and understanding what’s possible with the platform.”

Expanding the Salesforce Platform is key to GPJ’s success.

Now, GPJ’s IT teams are focused on special projects to continually optimize and improve the company’s use of the Salesforce Platform. “We’re doing lots of things to deliver higher-end service to our clients,” said Davis. "Chat, automation, and self-service are all part of that, and we’ll be improving all those items throughout the next year of relative downtime.”

Once GPJ fully integrates chat, self-service, and automation with Service Cloud, Davis expects customer service representatives will be able to help customers in more depth than ever, with fewer clicks than ever. “We’ve already reduced the number of clicks and expanded the knowledge base for our customer service representatives, and that’s only going to continue,” said Davis.

GPJ continues to accelerate innovation with Salesforce.

GPJ’s Salesforce account team helped show how one of the many Accelerators included with its Premier Success Plan could provide expert guidance on a number of custom processes within Service Cloud. Davis expects to use Accelerators in the implementation of Live Agent, as well. “Having the flexibility to use the Salesforce Platform to accomplish what GPJ needs has been really important,” said Davis. “We’re very price-conscious, but we’ve found that [the PremierSuccess Plan] is completely worth it to us.”

“If you take the time to use Accelerators and make Salesforce the best it can be, you continue to reap the benefits of that year over year. It’s going to be a long road, but that’s what we plan to do with Service Cloud.”

Davis notes that GPJ already has several years of Salesforce projects lined up. For success when starting out with Salesforce, she said, “be sure to talk to your Salesforce representative and your success manager. They’ll help make sure you’re not too overwhelmed and that you’re using tools you might not have been aware of.”

Interested in learning more about Premier support and how it helps customers like GPJ reach their goals faster? Watch this special on-demand webinar.


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