FOCUS Bikes is part of Derby Cycle AG which was acquired in 1997 by Dutch conglomerate Pon Holdings BV. Pon operates in the automotive and transport sectors through many subsidiaries worldwide. Other bicycle brands managed by the group include Cannondale, Cervelo and Santa Cruz. Derby Cycle is one of the three largest manufacturers of cycles in Europe and also includes the brand Kalkhoff. FOCUS builds sports bikes such as e-bikes, road bikes and mountain bikes. The company was founded by Mike Kluge, cyclo-cross World Champion, in 1993 and currently employs 120 bike enthusiasts worldwide.
The company strongly believes that riding bikes connects people and they actively like taking part in spreading that joy. The vision is to make all people feel the happiness of a great ride. Their mission is to inspire people to ride together. Although they create bikes for many, it’s important for them to connect with the individual.
That fundamental belief in caring for individuals comes shining through when it comes to customer service at FOCUS Bikes. Care is a consideration for their consumer service agents as well as for the customers.
FOCUS Bikes sells globally via retailers in 18 countries. In order to provide the best service experience, the customer service team is organized in two departments: retail dealer customer care and consumer care. The consumer care team also focuses on developing and improving the webshop. As part of that webshop overview, the team bridges the gap between the consumers and the dealers in cases like ‘click and collect’ when orders are placed on the website and the customers collect at the dealership. The retail dealers are a critical part of the FOCUS Bikes experience. To maintain a high level of customer satisfaction, the dealerships assemble and accessorize the bicycles and they have the type of gear that customer’s need to have a great ride experience.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, FOCUS Bikes was growing at a very healthy pace. However, as the pandemic settled in and people anxiously looked for ways to stay healthy and entertained, the cycling industry exploded. Getting outdoors and exploring the world on two wheels was not just good exercise but a way for people to try and forget about all the limits and restrictions the pandemic presented in everyday life.
During the boom, the demand for bicycles outpaced production and getting a good bike, nevermind the perfect bike, was a challenge for many. The pandemic introduced a new audience to FOCUS Bike, one that needed more support to help them understand what bike to purchase. These buyers needed extra support in finding the right bike for them.
Even before the pandemic, customer service was a competitive differentiator for FOCUS Bikes. The support team prided itself on offering highly personalized customer care that requires time to really connect. Agents pride themselves on adding personal touches to the communication like knowing the best paths to ride in local areas, often sharing their own personal experiences and giving advice. Customers often buy multiple bikes – either for themselves or their families.
This increased demand for new bike purchase information as well as an increase in customer support requests from a growing customer base overwhelmed customer service agents and left customers waiting.
FOCUS Bikes decided they needed a way to reduce the workload on their agents in order to give them back the time they needed to offer the personalized service they felt represented their brand and added value to their customers.
The team decided a chatbot could really help them guide their customers to the answers they sought for the common, repetitive questions. They wanted a chatbot that provided the same quality service their agents provided and a company that shared the same values and bike-riding enthusiasm as FOCUS. They also wanted a chatbot that gave their agents the ability to manage the bot themselves and provided a ‘FOCUS Bikes’-branded experience for customers. After meeting with several providers, FOCUS Bikes settled on the vendor that ticked all their boxes and WATT-SON was born.
Self service gives agents the time they need to focus on growing webshop sales
The FOCUS Bikes team worked closely with the Dixa’s chatbot customer success team and onboarding to go-live in only 3 weeks. Using their existing FAQ content, WATT-SON started with 27 solutions in two languages: English and German. The customer service team were able to phase out the telephone number from their website as well as the use of automated email answers and used the Dixa’s chatbot to guide customers to find answers. With the extra time gained, the support team were able to shift from repetitive requests to valuable webshop support. This allowed them to help customers and dealers with purchases as well as offering high quality post sales support.
Multilingual chatbot helps grow customer service internationally
FOCUS Bikes ambitiously continues to grow internationally and will rely on their Dixa chatbot to help them extend the great customer care their customers have come to expect. The service team will be adding Italian, Spanish and French soon to help services these markets as effectively as they do their English and German-speaking customers. Once WATT-SON is up and running in all 5 languages, the team will review the solutions and KPIs and continue to refine their chatbot conversations as part of their overall customer care experience.
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