As more CPG brands in the home goods category embrace the online Direct to Consumer model, consumers no longer are forced to wander the aisles of grocery stores to find the detergents and cleaning products they need for their homes. It is becoming more common for consumers to stock up on their cleaning items right from their own homes —  in fact, 90% of overall CPG growth came from the online channel last year.

However, CPG brands who are just dipping their toes in the waters of online shopping are realizing that delivery comes with unique challenges to winning the category. Each box holds plastic and glass bottles filled to the brim with liquids, and if the boxes get damaged in transit, the results could be maddening for both the brand and their customer.

Not only does the customer open the box to a spill and damaged items, but they now have the responsibility of notifying their brand so they can either get new items or a refund. To top it off, the customer still has to find a way to get the cleaning products they need.

While delivery issues happen, they result in reduced operational efficiency, increased costs for brands, and a decreased likelihood that customers will return — if they do at all. In our recent survey, we found that 84% of customers will not return after just one poor delivery experience.

Growing Pains as a Fast-Growing DTC Company Scales UpGrove Collaborative Plants Solid Roots for DTC growth

As a company with its roots firmly planted in the online world, Grove Collaborative is determined to stay one step ahead of its competition by fulfilling its mission: to help customers re-think how they bring products into their homes. That obsession drives Grove’s supply chain — from how each product is made and sourced, all the way down to how it is given to a customer. While the company has grown quickly, team members still strive to put customers first. This mentality helps Grove to build a sustainable business as it grows its customer base.

When Grove started scaling up its volume, its customer success team — aptly named the Customer Happiness Team — found that delivery exceptions increased as well. Day-to-day, team members would get various exception messages from carriers into their email inboxes, parse through the inconsistencies, and then spend hours on the phone with the carrier trying to resolve the issue. The Customer Happiness team as a whole had little control over internal workflows, speed, and accuracy of responses.

As a fast moving company, you want to preserve bandwidth, keep your head above water, and solve as many cases as you can. -John DeVierno, Head of Customer Happiness

Eventually, the team hacked together a solution to pull the emails into Zendesk, but they were still lacking a top-level view into their delivery issues, and they still were spending too much time communicating with carriers. Even more, the team didn’t want to leave its customers in the the dark when an issue occurred.

Making Last Mile Changes to Impact the Bottom Line

As Grove grew, team members wanted to be able to keep their heads above water and solve as many issues as possible before they stacked up. The company knew that if it wanted to continue to differentiate in customer service and deliver on its customer promises — its 100% Grove Guarantee — it would have to get ahead of exceptions.

Since launching Convey in May, Grove immediately took reactive and proactive precautions in delivery experience management. For any reactive tickets coming in, all Customer Happiness team members gained access to the Convey platform, and they had a uniform view into all their shipping issues, in real-time, across carriers.

To proactively reduce customer complaints and WISMO calls, Grove also created a dedicated exception management team that would address the most common causes of delivery issues. This team diverted damaged shipments and fixed incorrect addresses in-transit — without having to deal with getting carriers on the phone.

Grove has been reaping the benefits of delivery experience management in cost savings and team member sanity. In addition to creating a more structured workflow with Convey, Grove has saved $65 per damage claim and $23 per incorrect address by connecting the dots between package, carrier and customer. They’ve also seen a 77% shorter response time and 50% reduction in damaged shipment tickets, resulting in a $4 savings per ticket.

According to John DeVierno, Head of Customer Happiness, proactively tackling exceptions has allowed Grove to scale up without any friction. He said, “The problem that we had in terms in terms of servicing exceptions was going to be a problem as we scaled our volume — now that we have increased our volume, we have a good system in place. It’s an area that could’ve been a pain point, but it’s going smoothly.”

Delivery Experience Management Raises NPS Scores

The ability to see, communicate, prioritize, and take action on problem shipments — Delivery Experience Management — not only saved Grove time and money in the long run, but it also made their customers happier. As a result of getting a clear view of all of their problem shipments, Grove was able to measure their customer feedback and NPS scores. [An NPS score, or Net Promoter Score, measures the willingness of customers to recommend a company’s products or services to others. Our research shows that supply chain managers are increasingly being measured on this customer experience-related metric.]

While NPS scores as a whole went up 9.4%, Grove also found that proactively diverting shipment exceptions also drove up NPS scores for customers who had experienced exceptions. The Customer Happiness Team found that NPS scores rose by 3 points for affected customers.

“Servicing exceptions was going to be a problem as we scaled our volume — now that we have increased our volume, we have a good system in place. It’s an area that could’ve been a pain point, but it’s going smoothly.”

Now that the team has perfected its support side to buffer reactionary problems, it is even taking its focus back to its customers. The Customer Happiness Team now focuses on new initiatives to make its customers even happier and to further grow its business.

According to DeVierno, Grove plans on moving up even further in its category. “As a fast-moving company, you want to preserve bandwidth, keep your head above water, and solve as many cases as you can. In the next 12 months, we’re trying to reach out to our customers more.”  As a result, they have launched their own concierge program called Grove Guides, which allows customers to schedule thirty-minute consultation calls.

Although the program has just launched, it has already increased AOV by 50% and reduced has return rates — helping the company better achieve its Grove Guarantee.

Want to read the full case study? Check it out here.