Calyx Flowers Replaces ‘Robotic’ Service Reps With Retention-Focused Call Center

When Mark Ranalletti and Kap Wallingford purchased Calyx Flowers in summer 2015, the husband-and-wife team sought to pivot the online flower seller from a customer acquisition-focused brand to a customer retention-focused brand. The new Calyx Flowers team wanted the customer service atmosphere to focus on employees, replacing a former system that Ranalletti described as “robotic.”

With the company suffering from a nearly 20% year-over-year sales decline and going through multiple owners in its 30+ years in business, Calyx Flowers partnered with call center SaviLinx in October 2016 to make this shift a reality.

The SaviLinx call center has enabled the flower seller to:


  • Focus on customer retention;

  • Collect daily reports on orders, questions and customer attitude; and

  • Gain customer feedback on customer service experiences.

“We’re not interested in a one-and-done customer,” said Ranalletti, CEO of Calyx Flowers in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “We’d rather have customer retention because we’d rather keep a customer than always trying to replace them with new customers. For us, the overall objective was making the customer-facing front-end shopping experience easier with less steps to check out on our web site.”

While Calyx sells 75% of its products online, SaviLinx’s team of “Super Q” client service representatives manage order balance, customer requests and order inquiries for the other 25%. Ranalletti noted that using the Super Q team benefitted the brand since its sales volume comes in peaks and valleys. During the holiday season, they can rely on the team to handle the large volume of orders, for which a full-time in-house team would be too expensive to keep on staff. Additionally, having full-time representatives wouldn’t be cost-effective during the company’s slow seasons.

Ranalletti also indicated that customers even write or email him and Wallingford to send feedback about their experiences with Calyx CSRs.

“Having a live person to talk to is just a necessary part of trying to connect with customers,” Ranalletti said. “With the training that we’ve worked on and their ability to learn the system and product, it may not be the primary way we get orders, but it’s important for that specific customer, because that is their primary source. It’s a real delicate balance, but one that we feel pretty strongly that we need to have.”

On top of call center requests, SaviLinx identifies corporate orders and has established a protocol for transferring them to Calyx for direct follow-up. The SaviLinx team also provides Calyx with daily reporting to help manage the business, including information on orders taken, types of questions, and even disposition of the callers. Prior to working with SaviLinx, Calyx’s former call center only showed whether a customer called and the time of the call.

“October was a great time to start,” Ranalletti said. “By the time you’re into Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the rest of the holiday season, you’ve got some well-seasoned reps who understand what’s in front of them. They know how to work in the system, what the customers are like and what the product issues are. They did an exceptional job taking a lot of information over a short time and relaying that to be able to handle issues.”

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