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Growth, Innovation & Giving Back – Sun Basket’s Response to COVID-19

As a result of COVID-19, San Francisco-based meal delivery service Sun Basket has seen an influx in customers and subsequent service volumes. To meet growing demand and continue to deliver amazing customer experiences as it scales, Sun Basket turned to Salesforce.

With Service Cloud and Einstein Bots, Sun Basket is onboarding new agents quickly and leveraging automation and self-service to provide customers answers fast – all while ensuring a smooth transition to work from home for its agents.

We caught up with Sun Basket’s VP of Customer Service, Brett Frazer, to discuss how the organization is leveraging technology to respond to the global pandemic; evolve its customer experience as it grows its operations; and create a positive impact in the communities it serves.

Q. What are some of the challenges that Sun Basket has faced with COVID-19, and how is Salesforce technology helping you overcome them?

We have been fortunate that our most significant challenges have come from a rapid increase in demand from existing customers and new subscribers, and in turn, the need to hire additional staff for both our distribution and customer service centers. Both of these expansions needed to happen quickly while prioritizing the safety and well-being of our employees. For our contact center, this was further complicated by the need to transition from in-office to work from home. But having a cloud-based CRM with Salesforce Service Cloud enabled us to make a seamless transition (minus the occasional baby, dog, or bird chirp in the background of calls).

Q. With an influx of customers and support cases during the pandemic, how did you leverage Salesforce to empower your customer support team?

The great news for us and our customers is that we already had our Einstein Chatbot in place, which handles common service questions – such as “Where is my order?” – and allows our agents to focus on more complex service issues. Thankfully, our Salesforce developers had also deployed our self-service platform in January, which allows our customers to self-report order issues 24/7 and, as appropriate, receive compensation without ever needing to interact with an agent.

Another main goal for the year is to streamline our agents’ workflow through our “Single Screen” project, powered by Service Cloud. By providing our agents with a 360-degree view of the customer as well as AI-powered recommendations via Next Best Action, they will have more time to focus on connecting with our customers and the ability to resolve cases faster.

Q. What are some of the best capabilities of Einstein Bots?

Our friendly Einstein-powered bot, named “Sunny B,” allows us to better serve our customers by dynamically having differentiated conversations based on whether an agent is available or not. It also makes us more efficient, significantly reducing agent work either by handing off the interaction seamlessly, or handling 100% of the interaction – depending on its level of complexity.

Q. How is technology helping Sun Basket build trust with customers?

We ship tens of thousands of boxes – including hundreds of thousands of healthy, delicious, and perishable food items – across nearly every state, in all weather conditions, through seven delivery partners. It is little wonder that two of our largest failure points are when a delivery does not arrive, or when an ingredient/item is not as expected.

Historically, we have been mostly reactive to our customers in these situations; however, this year with Service Cloud’s capabilities, we are focusing on being more proactive and transparent when we are made aware of any delivery or food item issues.

When we are notified of delivery failures by our carriers, we can proactively create customer notifications and trigger a Service Cloud case, placing it in a priority queue for a customer service agent to follow up.

For food items, we created a tool – similar to our customer facing self-service portal – for our internal distribution centers to log exception issues. By ingesting these into Service Cloud, we can then perform a number of remediation steps, similar to delivery failures, such as triggering a case and notification email.

As we continue to be more proactive and transparent with our customers when something goes wrong, we hope to reduce the effort they need to invest in resolving it and build trust.

Q. How is Sun Basket using its business as a platform for change?

Since Sun Basket launched, we’ve created programs to help improve access to healthy nutritious meals for our communities. It began with collaborating with local food banks near our distribution centers to ensure that unused ingredients were kept out of landfills and on people’s plates. Feeding America has also been a long-term partner – we provide customers the option to donate their Sun Basket order to a family in need during a week when they don’t need the food for themselves.

Recently, as the country rapidly shifted focus to fight the COVID-19 outbreak, we saw an opportunity to recognize, support and feed the heroic healthcare workers working on the frontlines of the pandemic. In late March, we launched “Feed It Forward” to provide quick, healthy and nutritious Oven-Ready Sun Basket meals to doctors and nurses. To date, we’ve delivered over 17,000 meals to healthcare workers across 14 hospitals including NY Presbyterian, UCSF, Stanford, UPenn, Kaiser and Sutter Health.

Our long-term goal for “Feed It Forward” is to create a sustainable platform that provides greater access to healthy food for those who need it. We hope to further this vision by partnering with organizations that provide meals to food-insecure communities.

To support Sun Basket’s latest philanthropic efforts, click here to learn more.


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