INDUSTRY

Food & Beverage

HEADQUARTERS

U.K.

Increase in CSAT

10%

Growth in volumes since lockdown

10x

About BrewDog

A Scottish-born craft beer business founded in 2007, BrewDog was initially considered a rebellion to the mass-produced lagers that dominated the industry at the time. “Our aim is to make people as passionate about craft beer as we are.” Emma DeSena, Customer Services Manager at BrewDog revealed. “We have 100 bars globally and are currently the UK's best-selling craft beer.”

BrewDog was one of the first community-owned companies in the UK. They refer to their shareholders, friends, and community as ‘equity punks’ and place them at the heart and soul of their business. “Our equity punks are our biggest brand ambassadors, but also our biggest critics, which we absolutely love. Any feedback they provide us with is really valuable, thanks to their knowledge of our history, our brand, and our projects. My team is focused on providing world-class personalized service through every interaction.”

We spoke to Emma to understand how a customer-centric brand like BrewDog has managed to continue providing excellent customer service and keeping their community happy through times of uncertainty.

Customer service at BrewDog

“Our customer service team here at BrewDog deals with all e-commerce customers. Over the last few months, we’ve seen an increase in activity in that area with more people staying at home to drink and ordering their beer online. We also take care of retail customers who’ve been to one of our bars and have a question or want to give feedback on their experience.” Emma said. “We handle general contact with regard to our brand as well, so we get several questions around our community and CSR projects like ‘BrewDog Tomorrow’.”

Life at BrewDog is very fast-paced. “We count years in dog-years here.” Emma joked, “We’re constantly driving things forward at lightning speed. We have new projects and initiatives happening on a daily basis and that means there are a lot of public-facing communications and launches. This in turn generates peak contact into our customer service team.”

Complementary company culture

“We’ve been using Freshdesk for 6 years now, and what’s really stood out for me is that the company culture at BrewDog and Freshworks is very similar.” Emma said, “For us, customer transparency and innovation are really important. I absolutely love the Freshworks approach where they see their clients as friends. We have a real, authentic relationship with the Freshworks staff we deal with, and I’ve never doubted that Freshworks genuinely wants the best for our business. It’s refreshing and much appreciated.”

The customer service team at BrewDog is not just a ‘Complaints Department’ or dumping ground for customer problems. “It’s a vital part of our organization, and it’s really key for us to have the right tech to be able to deliver exceptional, world-class service, cope with those various different peaks, and deal with contacts at-speed while also focussing on quality too. Freshdesk gives us the tools to be able to do all that.”

“What’s really stood out for me is that the company culture at BrewDog and Freshworks is very similar. For us, customer transparency and innovation are really important. I absolutely love the Freshworks approach where they see their clients as friends. We have a real, authentic relationship with the Freshworks staff we deal with, and I’ve never doubted that Freshworks genuinely wants the best for our business. It’s refreshing and much appreciated.”

Emma DeSena

Customer Services Manager

BrewDog

Managing change in 2020

“It’s a different world now,” Emma admitted when asked about how the pandemic crisis had affected BrewDog. “Our incoming contact activity was much lower pre-lockdown, and our processes when using Freshdesk were, at that point, still fairly manual.”

While Emma and her team had their eye on implementing several different features over a period of time, COVID-19 and the increase in support volumes expedited the need for change. “We basically moved everything up the priority list.”

Using automation to save time and effort

“Our focus throughout the lockdown was moving to as much automation as possible.” Emma said, “We wanted to free up our time by eliminating any repetition and getting rid of the manual elements of tasks given that we had a short time to get through higher volumes while continuing to deliver great service.”

With their bars closed, Emma and her team saw an increase in support volumes with customers turning to shop online instead and asking several questions around that process. “Long gone are the days of manually scanning through 150-200 tickets a day to work out trends. With up to 2000 tickets a day during the lockdown, which was a big jump for us, we had to very quickly change that approach so that we could truly understand what our customers were talking to us about and make business changes based around that very quickly.”

Internal collaboration with Freshdesk

With Emma’s team working from home now, collaboration has become more important now more than ever. “The ability to collaborate on tickets and keep general team communications in one place effectively.”

The internal chat collaboration tool within Freshdesk has been especially helpful during this time. “Being able to identify trends in real-time with Freshdesk Analytics has provided us with greater feedback on what our customers are missing the most when something is out of stock. We’re able to use Freshdesk to pass on that feedback to the e-commerce team to ensure we serve customers better.”

Enhancing self-service capabilities

Self-service was a focus for BrewDog long before the government-imposed lockdown in the UK. Their customer portal is set up with knowledge-base articles and frequently asked questions to allow customers to better serve themselves. “Since the lockdown, our focus has been on getting all the knowledge-base articles current and up-to-date. We’ve also had to make sure that any new initiatives that we launch have FAQs against them on the portal. We’re definitely using it a lot more now.”

Emma is also looking at implementing an internal knowledge-base for her team. “It will help our new team members by giving them an extra point of reference.”

Prioritizing customer experience

“What we’ve learned about our customers at this time is that experiences are important, now more than ever. People have gone through a pretty rough time over the last few months in lockdown, and so having a beer to celebrate, to reward themselves, to relax and socialize with loved ones has become something precious.” Emma said, “It’s key that we get the part that we play in the experience right, and that’s getting that beer to people. Whether we can help by listening to any crisis that’s occurred through the journey, acting on feedback, or just generally chatting to people about good beer and be at the end of that ticket in a friendly way while people might be craving more human interaction -- we want to get it right.”

BrewDog has seen a jump in CSAT scores by 10% despite the increase in incoming volumes. “At the end of the day, my favorite thing to do is to read through the CSAT feedback comments from the survey and to see all the positive things customers are saying about their interactions with my team.”

Expanding from email to omnichannel service

The BrewDog customer service team was a single-channel team, supporting only through email, before the lockdown with the plan to bring other channels on as soon as possible.

“Besides email, we now serve customers on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter through Freshdesk. We’ve seen a visible shift in volume from email to social media after the integration.” Emma went on to reveal that social media played a big role in allowing her team to balance their workload at the start of the lockdown. “Our volumes shot up overnight, so we didn’t have any time to prepare for it which meant we went through a bit of a backlog. The social media integrations allowed us to truly listen to what customers were saying and understand what was driving the negative sentiment towards our brand. We wanted to identify those trends as quickly as possible and address them.” By doing just that, Emma and her team were able to see a decrease in social contact by 29% over the last month.

BrewDog is now looking to further increase their reach by incorporating live chat. “We’re just about to launch Freshchat, which I’m very excited about. For us, it’s about making it as easy as possible for our customers to contact us. Every customer is different, and we want to be able to cater to all of their needs and preferences when it comes to how they want to talk to us.”