Sojourn Consulting Services brings 20+ years of ecommerce experience to their customers, which might be even longer than it sounds. What do we mean by that? Well, 20 years ago people still spoke about ecommerce like it was an either/or thing with brick-and-mortar shops. Now, retailers do both and—with ecommerce infrastructure becoming increasingly affordable—they’re selling on multiple marketplaces as well as their own websites.
Sojourn’s years of experience, then, mean their team has seen just about everything. As an ecommerce agency, they help their clients manage storefronts on platforms like Shopify and marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, or Walmart. This includes tasks like:
- Listing products (and optimizing those listings)
- Warehousing and order fulfillment
- Running PPC ad campaigns to drive traffic and sales
- Reporting and data analysis
But they don’t just support their own clients. As part of Sojourn’s services, the team also handles the pre- and post-sales support for their clients’ customers—and their client roster has been growing. For every one ecommerce client they landed, they’d take on multiple storefronts with thousands of customers.
The Onsite Support portal of Roomietec, a Sojourn Consulting Services client.
They needed to get ahead of this growth, before it became a problem.
In mid-2022, Sojourn had a dedicated team of four people acting as the “helpdesk” for their clients’ customers. They handled shipping issues, broken items, sizing questions, any of these sorts of common retail issues. Before implementing Onsite, the Sojourn team received all these inquiries by logging into the messaging portal for each marketplace. So, if a client had an Amazon store, Sojourn’s team had to log in to that client’s Seller Central account to read any customer communications. And if that client also had a Walmart store? That was another window open and another inbox to manage.
One more login to deal with, per agent, per client, per selling channel…
To make matters worse, the Sojourn team relied on these portals’ internal ticketing systems. There was no consistency across these platforms. They experimented with email forwarding, but in some cases it didn’t work as intended, with each reply to a message just generating a new ticket. This exacerbated the headache of keeping track of open issues. It was so severe that they sometimes averaged only 1.15 messages per ticket, with single-message notifications and disconnected messages filling their inbox.
“It was semi-manageable,” said Carver Ryser, Sojourn’s Head of IT (and one of the four people handling support issues). Semi-manageable also meant semi-annoying: for Carver & team, that meant many windows open at once and a lot of hunting for previous messages. As Sojourn continued to grow, Carver began to see that things would quickly get out of hand if they didn’t act.
“It wasn’t going to be sustainable long term to have more and more clients come onboard and keep switching between multiple different accounts … we wanted to grow into something that would be easy to scale up.”
Add to this the pressure of mandatory 24-hour SLAs for Amazon sellers, and the need to get organized with a proper workflow couldn’t have been more pressing.
In July 2022, Sojourn began investigating ChannelReply to consolidate all these messages onto a single platform. This would solve the timesuck of cycling through windows and browser tabs and staying organized within those conditions, but it was only one piece of the puzzle. ChannelReply could only work if it was connected to a helpdesk.
ChannelReply threading an Amazon conversation and displaying order data and actions in Onsite Support.
The Sojourn team explored a number of options before finally narrowing the search down to two solutions: Onsite and Zendesk. While Zendesk is a big name with a great track record, Onsite had two things going for it that ended up tipping the scales. Easier integration with ChannelReply, which they were intent on using, was a big factor. Beyond that, though, Onsite had a tighter integration with Amazon in particular, making setup a much less daunting prospect. And, as Carver noted, if things ever get sticky, “the Onsite support team is very good about helping us anytime we need, and working with us.”
With Onsite and ChannelReply becoming Sojourn Consulting’s platforms of record by early 2023, the support team really started to find their groove. Carver soon saw the benefits of that seamless integration with ChannelReply. The improvement to ticket threading has been dramatic, and by toggling off certain types of message that don’t need to show up in Onsite, he keeps the helpdesk’s inbox uncluttered.
ChannelReply prevented approximately 3,158 of Sojourn’s support conversations from being split into multiple tickets in October 2023.
Beyond a unified interface for all messages and a single ticketing system to track all issues, they’ve been learning about all the little ways Onsite helps to create a more powerful brand image for their clients. For those customers they’re doing fulfillment for, they drop a branded insert in the mailer with the product, directing buyers to an Onsite support portal for any issues. Carver noted that leaving Amazon and Walmart out of the process greatly reduces returns, which is pretty much the only support tool those services have to satisfy customers that aren’t really theirs. With Sojourn acting on behalf of their clients, they can work to solve problems instead of issuing refunds.
Carver also mentioned another highlight for him: being able to integrate with their customers’ email systems within the Onsite platform. By connecting through their mail domains, they can answer support requests as members of the sellers’ teams, giving a much better experience than portal messaging for everyone.
While Carver and his team feel they’re just getting started on what they can achieve with Onsite, they’re thrilled with what they’ve already accomplished in such a short time. The numbers tell a compelling story:
With Onsite Support and ChannelReply combined, Sojourn facilitated a 3.8x increase in caseload without having to add even one new team member.
Carver and his team’s newfound efficiency has been a bright spot in a year of growth. In 2023, Sojourn created and optimized more than 7K listings and closed over $22 million in sales for their clients. None of that could be possible without their team of four people successfully handling more than 15K support requests.
It isn’t just good news for Sojourn clients, though. Rolling everything into a single interface, auto-responding to Amazon customers, and having a tightly controlled customer support workflow has created a kind of ripple effect of operational improvements for Sojourn. As Carver told us,