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Supara Group, based in Thailand, is a household name when it comes to clothing retail in Southeast Asia. Their renowned brand portfolio includes GQ, Giffini, and CL Modern Simplicity. Supara Group has been in the fashion industry for over 50 years now and has carved a niche following for its innovation in textile manufacturing. What sets them apart from other brands is the cutting-edge technology used in their fabric and the intensive market research they use to create custom-made, high-utility clothes.
We spoke to Arun Raj Rajendran, Chief Information Officer of Supara Group, to understand how their business has made use of omnichannel technology to handle the rising volume of customer queries effectively.
Supara Group, like many other retail stores, had to shut down about 200 outlets across Thailand in the wake of the pandemic. But this didn’t slow down their penchant for constant innovation in fashion and apparel. With its in-house brand, GQ, Supara Group pivoted its business by introducing tech-savvy face masks. The masks were instant favorites and customers saw immense value in the unparalleled advantages like anti-bacterial layers, liquid-repellent material, and long life.
Another successful venture expanding its horizon was partnering with Crayola, an American handicraft company specialized in art supplies for kids, especially crayons. Supara Group became an official licensed global partner of the Crayola SchoolMaskPack, which included a pack of masks with customizable colors and sizes, tailored for kids who could be going back to school.
Supara Group’s online presence was no match to their retail presence a year back as they had been backing their stronghold in brick-and-mortar stores. But with customers swiftly moving towards e-commerce, their only support channel was flooded with thousands of emails per day which included customer, vendor, and partnership enquiries with no filters to identify or track any of them. Also, with the pandemic setting in, Supara Group needed to strengthen their digital footprint amidst the closure of retail stores and email queries multiplying by the day.
The skyrocketing email volume was countered by adding Freshdesk Omnichannel to bring a 360-degree view of support conversations. Supara Group added a ‘Contact Us’ page to deflect emails into well-categorized form submissions, which flow into Freshdesk. These form submissions were marked accurately with tags such as “payment dispute” and “product enquiry” to make filtering easy while responding to them.
Arun quickly buckled up his workforce to adapt to live chat support, which wasn’t a familiar practice, having offered only email support previously. They had to reduce their response times to keep up with the query volume. His team also built their own bot and integrated it with Freshchat to respond to simple queries and FAQs quickly. The page had its own chat widget, with agent handover conditions and options to talk to a live agent.
The result was a drastic decrease in email queries from a few thousand to 320 emails per day. The average ticket volume became a manageable 846 tickets per day. Live chat support, when handled with the right intent can be a goldmine and that’s exactly what Supara Group did--converting 2000 sales per month just through the chat widget.
While live chat and chat widgets were sufficient to scale customer support in Southeast Asia, customers from the US had an inclination towards phone support. The US customers used the phone channel a lot to enquire about product details, customizations, and order tracking. This is when Freshcaller came into the picture to bring better visibility, control, routing, and filters over call enquiries from the US market.
With an omnichannel setup, the agents would have a better context about the customer’s engagements in all support channels and transaction history. Freshcaller’s success was clear and present, which is reflected by Supara Group’s benchmark call handling time of 96.72 seconds.
Arun Raj Rajendran says Freshdesk was a natural choice as he had experienced the capabilities of Freshworks’ suite of products during one of his professional endeavors. For him, it's the fluidity of the integrations, intuitive triggers, and the flexibility of APIs that nudged him to go with Freshdesk Omnichannel. Supara Group uses Line, Woocommerce, and Shopify integrations with Freshdesk to unify all customer and product information.
For a retail company like Supara Group, which has a huge following across the globe, scaling support is a stark necessity. With Freshdesk Omnichannel in place, Supara Group has not only scaled their support through tumultuous times like the pandemic; but also future-proofed their digital presence by extending a unified and efficient support experience to customers.
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