1. Who are you?
I’m Leslie Dickinson, I’m Head of customer service for Ankorstore and I’m responsible for making sure that our brand and retailers get the customer service they need. That can be anything from invoicing to delivery problems and we’re there to solve their issues and make sure that everything goes smoothly. We try to provide an effortless customer service and a seamless customer service to all our customers.
2. Could you tell us more about Ankorstore?
It’s a company that was created by 4 co-founders, only 3 years ago. In January this year, it was named as one of the latest French unicorns because we raised in a series C, 250 million euros to accompany our growth phase. And today it’s around 500 employees.
Ankorstore is a marketplace but with a difference, with a real mission, and that mission is to rewrite retail. What we mean by that is that Ankorstore allows brands and retailers, independent brands and special retailers, to be able to speak to each other and to order from one another through a wholesale environment, directly through our platform.
3. Why did you choose The Nest by Webhelp and for what project?
So, we chose The Nest by Webhelp, an outsourcing provider in Barcelona and the reason for that was we particularly like the management team. We felt they were a much better fit culturally to our own company culture as a startup. They were much more reactive, but they were also a lot more proactive than some of the other management teams we met.
We chose The Nest by Webhelp to help us do customer support, right through the customer journey. The content part, where we put a content into the website for our brands, right away through to the order experience for the customer, and then everything from billing to invoicing. We currently have about 25 people on the customer support side, and around 10 people working on the content agency side.
The Nest provide us with a multilingual capacity across French, English, German, Swedish, Dutch, and Spanish.
4. Why did you decide to outsource your customer support?
Ankorstore is a very fast-growing company and customer service is crucial to its growth and its loyalty program. Any marketplace has to have a very strong customer experience to be relevant in the market today.
However, as a fast-growing company, we’re still in a very embryonic phase especially when we look at our processes. So, we needed a partner that could help us ramp up fast but also adapt their huge amount of flexibility to our lack of processes to get the job done, but also to be proactive in proposing process changes so that we could improve.
5. Did you have any fear?
Yes of course we did. I think you have this fear anytime you outsource a part of your customer service to an external partner. You actually hand the responsibility for your customers to somebody else and you’ve got to really trust them to be able to deliver what you want them to deliver. And especially for us because we were in a place where, as I said earlier, we had almost no processes written. We really needed a partner that could accompany us through that and help us find the holes and fill them.
I think there was a fear as well because outsourcing your customer service so early, in a maturity phase of a startup company or a scale-up company, it goes against every rule in the book. Everybody tells you, you really need to get your processes right, you shouldn’t do anything that you don’t manage yourself internally. And we did the complete opposite of that so yes, we were worried, but we didn’t need to be.
6. What would be your piece of advice?
Yes, I said earlier that what we did went against all the rules, and it did. To be honest it went ok but I think that some of those rules you do need to try and respect them as much as possible. Having some procedures and processes written down is better than nothing, and at least have a training guide ready to go before you outsource.
And another piece of advice I would give is you need absolutely somebody to manage the partnership between the outsourcer and your internal teams. That communication is crucial and it’s really important that they work very well together.
7. Would you recommend The Nest?
Yes, I would because of a lot of things that I’ve already said. Flexibility, the very proactive management team that we had in place, and the results that were there to be seen from the very very beginning. So, we were really happy with the partnership that we have!
8. To you, what is the Nest in one word?
A partner. I mentioned flexibility a couple of minute ago. That’s really important when you’re a startup., because you have good times and less good times. And you need a partner that’s going to be there for you in both, and I think we found that in The Nest by Webhelp.