Sutherland helps Petco establish strong customer experience footprint

Sutherland Editorial

Keeping employees working efficiently and customers satisfied while maintaining a good business reputation can be more difficult than herding cats, San Diego-based Petco discovered.​

The 52-year-old premium pet food, supplies and services retailer hired Sutherland to tackle several problems: an IT Help Desk department that could not keep up with in-store technology issues, an inability to respond timely to customers on social media and an “F” rating from the Better Business Bureau. Petco needed Sutherland’s Process Transformation help.​

Petco tasked its 20-member IT Help Desk team with supporting more than 1,500 store locations in the United States, Mexico and Puerto Rico. Spread thin, the team could not keep up with tech problems ranging from malfunctioning kiosk software with faulty wireless connections to point-of-sale terminal issues. The overwhelmed group could only solve about 40 percent of its cases and it frustrated employees by forcing them to work in non-ideal conditions.​

In this case, Sutherland implemented its new Store Health & Wellness Check, which includes preventative store calls and root-cause issue analysis. Sutherland cut downtime by monitoring actively store systems devices and corporate sellers to let the IT Help Desk team get ahead of situations causing the issues. We also created store mockups to simulate the employee environment, which led to faster, more efficient solutions. As a result, Petco gained 50 percent increase in cost savings, IT cases closed doubled to 80 percent and employee satisfaction hit 100 percent.​

Sutherland next had to get a leash on Petco’s social media response issues. The retailer’s digital marketing team tried to help customers on Facebook, Twitter and other Petco communities during their downtime. But with no support structure, customers waited hours and even days to get a response, if at all. Distracted, the digital marketing team spent less time on content creation and building Petco’s social media presence.​

We created a team of moderators focused entirely on Petco’s online communities. We used a third-party monitoring tool to import automatically all new messages to Petco’s accounts to speed up issue identification and make sure no comment was missed. Sutherland further implemented a defined set of customer engagement best practices to ensure a consistent customer experience across all channels. Petco customers can now expect a response within 10 minutes of posting on a social channel, while the company now enjoys a 51 percent spike in community user growth.​

Before hiring Sutherland, Petco was in a customer experience doghouse with an “F” rating from the Better Business Bureau, high customer complaint volumes, low sales volumes and online order value declines. Sutherland sent in a team to deal with immediate issues and identify and resolve the root causes. We trained Petco employees on product offerings, sales conversion and upsell values to let them help customers and raise average order values. The BBB ranking went from “F” to “B,” customer satisfaction hit 88 percent and the average order value grew 25 percent.​

“We are very happy with our Sutherland relationship and results,” Petco CEO Jim Myers said. “In fact, Sutherland is the high standard to which we compare our other outsourcing relationships.”