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How Customer Experience Generates Revenue with Philippe Roireau - Honest Ecommerce Ep. 10

Philippe Roireau, Head of Partnerships at Gorgias, joins the show to teach us about how we can turn customer service into a revenue generator for our eCommerce store.

Philippe previously operated an 8-figure Ecommerce company as a co-founder and worked at Google and Microsoft in various sales and operations positions.

He is now helping dozens of leading Ecommerce brands become more successful through improving customer experience.

Want to give Gorgias a try? Head over to gorgias.io/electriceye for a second free month + white glove onboarding!

In This Conversation We Discuss:

  • [3:55] Decluttering customer requests
  • [8:20] Measuring how many sales are drive through your customer service department
  • [13:40] The importance of multi-channel support
  • [17:10] When a store might need additional help with customer service
  • [25:00] The difference between Gorgias and other similar services
  • [31:20] What every merchant should be thinking about when it comes to customer service


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Philippe Roireau

If you're not delivering quality, if your shipping time is very long... You also need to know and be aware of what's going on there because you're going to lose a lot of money by having a lot of bad comments accumulating themselves on your ass.

Annette Grant

Welcome to Honest Ecommerce where we are dedicated to cutting through the BS and finding actionable advice for online store owners.

Chase Clymer

I'm your host, Chase Clymer.

Annette Grant

And I'm your host Annette Grant.

Chase Clymer

And we believe running an online business does not have to be complicated or a guessing game.

Annette Grant

If you're struggling in scaling your sales Electric Eye is here to help. To apply to work with us visit electriceye.io/connect to learn more.

Chase Clymer

And let's get on with the show.

Annette Grant

On today's episode of Honest Ecommerce, we talk with Philippe Roireau, Head of Partnerships at Gorgias, about turning your customer service into a revenue generator for your eCommerce store.

Chase Clymer

Hello everybody! Welcome to another episode of Honest eCommerce. I am Chase Clymer alongside Annette Grant.

And our first guest whose last name I cannot pronounce, my good friend Philippe from Gorgias. I'll let him let us know his full name.

Annette Grant


Philippe Roireau

Yeah. Philip Roireau from Gorgias. Yeah. Involved with the Shopify world for quite some time already.

Chase Clymer

Yeah, he gave me that tongue twister and I couldn't figure it out. He asked me if I knew how to roll my R's, which unfortunately I do not. So, Philippe is a merchant turned Head of Partnership at Gorgias.

Previously, before that, he worked at an eight-figure eCommerce company. He's done some work with Google and with Microsoft.

And now he's helping dozens of people lead their eCommerce brands to become more successful through improving their customer experience. Welcome to the show.

Philippe Roireau

Well, thank you so much for having me. And the intro, the name was fine in the end.

Annette Grant


Chase Clymer

We got it. We got it done. Awesome. Cool. So tell us a little bit about Gorgias and how you ended up there.

Philippe Roireau

Yeah, absolutely. So Gorgias is about two years and a half years old. It started as a Chrome extension to help you type your emails faster directly in Gmail.

And after working for several months of trying to find a market for that product, they realized quickly enough that there was a gap in the Shopify world for helping merchants manage all their customer interactions and automating, as much as possible, those customer interactions in order for a merchant to be able to spend their time more efficiently on things that drive money to their business.

So, a few months or several months of development, and about a year and a half ago, the product really found its product-market fit and it started to be adopted by the Shopify merchants.

And yeah, the funny story is I was one... or the first large customer for Gorgias as they were starting to have a very good product for Shopify.

So, we had big issues in our course regarding customer service that was managed through Zendesk. And we asked our Shopify MSM if there was any other solution out there that could help us declutter our department. And they said, "Yeah, Gorgias. It is upcoming, you should check it out."

So, I worked with them and to see them very closely for over a year and a half and then I joined a few months ago --13-- because it's a very exciting and fascinating product as Head of Partnerships.

And as you mentioned, my job is to enable agencies, Ecommerce, and influencers with the latest practice around customer experience.

Annette Grant

Oh, can you elaborate a little bit you said like "declutter the Zendesk" Can you give some specifics there for our listeners?

Philippe Roireau

Yeah, well. And we're recording this right now in the middle of the holidays, right?

Chase Clymer


Annette Grant


Philippe Roireau

So, the volume has been up for a lot of merchants in the last few weeks. And this increases the volume of inquiries that the merchants are getting from their customers.

Truth is that the volume fluctuates quite a lot around the year depending on the seasonality of the business.

But when you're hitting some peaks, like the holidays, it creates a massive influx of new requests from your customer on every channel, and you need to be able to answer all of those requests.

But if you're --you might be-- a merchant, feeling like you're really under pressure and under the water with requests from thousands of customers that are being left unanswered or not accurately answered.

And this just piles up. And as it piles up, you feel like you're losing control.

And one of the only solutions that you see, potentially, or that we were seeing with our store before we installed Gorgias, is that we just had to close the tickets by putting in an autoresponder is not answering at all or accurately the concerns of our clients.

It's really about being able to answer faster our clients on every channel but with precise information and custom information about really what they're asking.

And most of the time we know, as a merchant, it's a lot of, "Where's my order?" "What's your return policy?" or "How can I buy those things?"

So these are really recurring questions that we should actually be spending so much time on, or at least not have our entire customer support team focused on that.

Chase Clymer

Absolutely. I will admit we've used Gorgias on a few of our clients’ stores and the level of automation that you guys have in place currently --and I know your goals moving forward with what you're trying to do-- is outstanding. It's pretty cool seeing "Where's my order" get populated and answered automatically once you kind of get that all flushed out within your business.

Philippe Roireau

Yeah, that's correct. And that's really part of the mission of what we're trying to accomplish with Gorgias.

We're trying to transform customer service from something that costs money to something that can generate profit for your business.

And the first step or the fundamentals of it is really automating your customer service as much as possible, while staying on-brand tone(wise) and not feeling overly robotic or like it was a bot answering.

So it always needs to feel human, on-brand tone, and deliver your clients with what they're expecting in terms of answers. But that's the first step for creating profit for your support team, instead of seeing this as a call center.

Chase Clymer

Yeah, that's a great way to look at it. A lot of people think that customer service and returns and everything that's kind of post-purchase is just the cost of doing business. And it's not necessarily a way to increase your business, which is a terrible way to think about it.

Philippe Roireau

Yeah, you're correct. And if you're only seeing those type of questions always coming into your customer service --Because they take a large proportion of what actually they ask-- like, "Where's my order?", Return/exchange, and so on. And all of your team is focused on answering that.

And then you see that the only way to scale your customer service department is by adding more team members to answer those same old questions. I mean, you're having an issue because then it's not really profitable to scale because your overhead just explodes.

So yeah, automation is the first step. And on the road to driving profit, there are also turning your customer interactions into actual sales. So how do you measure how much sales are driven through your customer service department?

So once you understand that this is where customer service becomes fun in some way and that the CEO starts to pay attention.

It's like, "Okay, what if your customer service agents are not answering 'Where's my order?' anymore because we automated most of that?"

And now they're starting to behave more like retail sales associates and helping your clients really buy what they need or point to the right product that fits the size if it is clothes and so on.

And yeah, behaving more like sales reps, and then how you measure that. So this is where customer service becomes interesting.

Chase Clymer

Yeah, absolutely. I kind of want to go back, though, to the beginnings of Gorgias. Because this is... I mean, I didn't know that until this call.

And now I'm like, it's funny, because so what you guys... You built the app originally, and it was like autoresponders for Gmail, right?

Philippe Roireau

Yeah. So it was a Chrome extension that allowed you to take... to type-in Gmail templates, and that would fill itself with some variables, such as the name of the person that is going to see the email and so on and with like hotkeys. So you would...

Chase Clymer

Like a Text Expander? Or a little more robust?

Philippe Roireau

Yeah, exactly. So it's a quite robust Text Expander that allows you to insert clippings in your Gmail/emails. And actually this product is still around and there's still a Gorgias Chrome extension out there.

Funny enough, it's still doing about like a $100k or so. By many standards, it's still a decent, successful small app. But definitely, our focus now is helping Ecom merchants.

Chase Clymer

Well, I think that just explaining how that works, it might be even like relevant to some of our customers before they make the jump into using a managed platform like this.

So, essentially what that product was doing was, when you identify certain emails that you're getting in all the time and you're building that system in your business around responding to that email like "IUSA, it's a customer service inquiry. Where is my order", right?

You're going to get hundreds of those. Instead of sitting there every time and typing out a new email, wasting 20 minutes per email, replying to those people, Gorgias came along and they made a text expander-type extension where... --the way we do hotkeys in our business is like is *whatever. So *shipping and it auto-populates all that information.

And then all you have to do is drop in the variables. And that saves you arguably like 90% of the time. And then fast forward two years. Now, Gorgias integrates directly with Shopify. And those emails come into your customer service inbox, it reads it with AI and responds to that.

Now, it's not even a text expander, there's no human interaction. It's just going. It sees "Where is my order?" It sees who it's coming from.

It finds their order number, it finds their tracking number and it auto-populates an email and sends it back. No manpower needed other than setting it up and making sure that templates are on-brand with your product and what your company does.

Philippe Roireau

Yeah, that's correct. So it all starts by having template answers to your most commonly asked questions. So you can think about it like, what's the most

Frequently asked questions you have in your business, the ones that usually you would go out and build an actual FAQ page for. But who reads FAQ pages anyway? Everybody just rushes to talk to support.

So we're taking those FAQs and we're transforming them into customized answers that provide detailed information to your clients. And yeah. Our biggest... --So you mentioned AI here.--

Our biggest challenge this year and ambition is to have a very strong layer of machine learning that will detect what is the topic of all the tickets that are coming in then will allow you to easily set up a canned response that will provide the customer with his detailed information to that topic.

So there might be 100 ways to ask "Where is my order?" The current method is really by figuring out the keywords that are incoming in the system in order to categorize an email.

But in a few months from now, --So we're working on this currently-- we will just be able to select the topic like, "Hey, I want everything that is about "Where's my order" to be answered with a message that is like, "Hi, first name. Here's when your order shipped out on that exact date. Here's your tracking number. Here is your tracking link. And all of that is done automatically.

Chase Clymer

Annette's mind is blown.

Annette Grant

Yeah. I'm like, it's amazing! So, I have a question. Does Gorgias only link to emails currently, or do you also have something that links if they have chat instead?

Philippe Roireau

Yeah. It's a great question. So actually, the eCommerce operators will know better than anybody else, how important is the multichannel support.

People are asking questions, obviously by email, replying potentially to an email that you sent out for an email platform such as Klaviyo.

But also they will get back to the fulfillment center, they will contact you potentially through live chat if you install it on your website, Facebook comments, Instagram, Instagram DMs, Whatsapp, SMS...

So your clients are looking for something that fits what they're used to that is easy for them and convenient for them to reach out at any given point.

So, to your point, it's not just email, we cover all communication channels. So we will manage your communication on Facebook comments.

So every comment that is placed on an ad... And maybe we can talk about Facebook comments a little bit later.

So, managing your Facebook comments well is a great great way to turn people that are engaging in your ads into visitors on your website and buyers.

So if you can turn people that are engaging positively on your ads to visitors and buyers. You're going to reduce your CPMs, increase your ROAS and just, in general, your performance of your social spend will be improved.

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Annette Grant

Yeah, I actually just had someone scolding me earlier, in a good way, but I had actual messages on my Instagram feed about products. I'll be honest, a lot of times I pay more attention to the DMs that come in versus just, questions on the post because they kind of get lost in the shuffle. I honestly like wanted to pull out my hair.

I'm like, "There's no way you can be everywhere at once and I've been focusing primarily on emails and that's not fair because I get most of my customers from social. Why am I spending all my time and resources in just email when social is such an important part?"

So I'm glad to hear that you guys are diverse like that. So for our listeners, and even for myself as a store owner, what is that tipping point for an online store in general, Phil, that you think that they need to pay attention to bringing on a third-party? Someone else to help them. In the beginning, it was just myself I was doing all customer service.

Then the next progression for me was --I have my-- automated emails and I actually gave those to a virtual assistant but now I'm at that tip... I think I'm at a tipping point where I have social to answer, I have emails, I have in-person customers... What do you suggest is that tipping point for store owners to bring on someone else?

Philippe Roireau

Yeah. Well, that's... Your following a path that we see and I experienced myself as well that is common is the first hire that you'll do as a store operator is a VA.

And the first task that you will outsource is your customer service. And that's the correct thing to do. Because that's not really necessarily productive for you to spend your time answering all your customers.

You absolutely want to keep an eye on what you're saying because you want to understand how your brand is perceived.

But yeah, that's not the best use of your time you want to get your customer service outsourced either to a VA or then you might bring it back end if you feel that there's an opportunity to generate more cash/generate more sales by having better processes in your customer service department. This might be a tipping point.

Let's say you're having 100 or like 50-100 customer requests per day, and you feel like you're doing a good job answering them and it's like semi-automated. But then you're starting to think about like, "Okay, how can those interactions start driving more cash and driving more sales?"

So either you look at somebody to help you operationally and that will help develop those processes to drive yourselves or you'll work with potentially with a company like us that can train your VAs on how to act like this or you can take it yourself... It's really about building the processes.

So the level two agents --that will process refunds and things like that-- is really there to build like high-end processes around customer service. He shouldn't... If you're bringing somebody in the... If you're hiring somebody in the United States to do customer service, they should never really touch the "Where is my order?" ticket.

They should train your overseas staff. They should manage refunds and touch things that do money, build processes and find new ways to drive sales.

But yeah, I would find this the tipping point, either if you think that your VAs are touching too much money overseas like if they're actually processing refund orders, something like that.

Or if you feel like there's an opportunity for you to drive more cells that will actually pay for the salaried person that you're about to hire. So you need a certain volume for that.

And I know it might be around 50 orders a day. So if you're driving 50 orders a day, you might actually be like a mid-six-figure business. So yeah, on the path to a million-dollar is a great way to it's a great moment to think about having like internal help to build processes and business.

Chase Clymer

Absolutely. So when you're talking about working with third parties to build out these processes, I'm assuming that like, a new customer signs up for Gorgias, you guys are going to come to the table with like, "Here is these templated, tried and true, processes that all eCommerce businesses need to use."

What's like that onboarding for that company that hit that tipping point, like Annette has and they're moving into these, automation and these elevated customer service experiences?

Philippe Roireau

Yeah. And it's, it's great that you're mentioning this because one of my missions for 2019 is this whole onboarding process that we have developed at Gorgias, which basically consists of: First, understanding and analyzing business things such as, "What is your average shipping policy? What is your return policy?" and then making recommendations on timed responses and then making recommendations on automation.

So these will be like the basic setup that we will do with our clients. With our more high-end clients, we will do this first step of the automation but then we will follow them into opening new communication channel as well and we will help them be more responsive to their clients.

They might not be used to doing a good job through chat because they don't have breaks/first-time replies. It takes them too much time to answer a chat. So we'll work with them towards achieving this service level that you need to have to be able to handle chat properly.

Likewise, opening new channels on Instagram to make sure you're monitoring everything that's going on there, on your Facebook comments and so on. And then once it worked, the last thing is removing autoresponders on your email campaigns.

I cannot stress how important it is and how frustrating it is for a customer to have an inquiry, to reply to a promotional email you received from a company and the head would be like, "Hey, this is like an unmonitored email. Just follow this huge process to talk to somebody."

So we'll work with our clients toward like opening new channels. And the last thing is we'll work with our clients to start driving more revenue to sell.

So we will roll out new Facebook Comments Strategy Management Practices. I know it's a long word, right? Facebook Comment Management Strategies. So yeah.We'll do that.

We'll set up like chat campaigns to follow the customer in their journey on your website and always have like targeted messaging that helps them towards purchasing and also set up like statistics and measurement to understand how well Your team is doing it closing deals, basically.

So it's three steps. One is we automate. Second, we open new communication channels, make sure everything is monitored. And third, we help monetize customer interactions. This is what a full onboarding will look like at Gorgias.

Chase Clymer

Absolutely. And I think I need to chime in here and say, Gorgias is not sponsoring this podcast in any way. I just like the app and I've spoken with Philipe a few times before.

And I'm just a believer in what they're doing. There are other apps out there in the ecosystem that can solve some of these things, as well as just I'm friends with Philip and he's on my podcast.

Philippe Roireau

Yeah, they're great other apps out there. I invite you to check them out as well. There's Zendesk, that has been around for quite some time. And there's also Freshdesk, Reamaze, Help Scout.

I think the difference here is we're talking about and to Shopify merchants right now. And from the inception of Gorgias, like everything was developed around the Shopify merchant.

So that's a little bit where we stand out or where we're different than the others. Zendesk will be maybe more corporate-like, for big, Magento 2 clients that needed the RP integration. And the others might have other specialties. But for us, it's really like about making life easier.

Chase Clymer

Yeah, I've set up a Zendesk integration before and it was not fun.

Annette Grant


Philippe Roireau

(laughs) Yeah, it's not great

Annette Grant

Can you talk to us a little bit about your fee structure and how that works with our listeners?

Philippe Roireau

Yeah, and that's also a little bit of a different point is we're a little bit like Shopify. We're scaling with the merchant.

So, our first pass is like $50 a month. But then it's really about the volume that you're using on our servers and the volume of requests that you're sending to our team.

So, at $50 a month, you'll have all the features and access to the platform. But then if your ticket volume grows substantially, costs will go up a little bit as well. So it's anywhere between $50 and $500 a month.

But a $500 a month really, you're like a high, seven-figure business. So you're doing like several million dollars in revenue, usually to have that amount of tickets to justify this monthly cost.

But this I think is important to mention: Yes, it's a software but we're also Ecommerce people. We get it and we love it. We're really here to make the life of the merchant easier only through the software, but also through the kind of consulting that we can provide along the way.

Annette Grant

Awesome. And at that $50 does that include the multichannel also?

Philippe Roireau


Annette Grant


Philippe Roireau

And multi-channel is so important. People are leaving... So we've talked about it already, but people are leaving money on the table, especially on Facebook. They'll go out and they will spend maybe $1,000. And they...

Well, we have obviously, we've all seen accounts. They're spending $10,000-$30,000 on their Facebook, but they're really not doing a great job at monitoring what's going on with their ads.

They're generating hundreds, if not thousands of comments. And a lot of those comments there.

If you have a legit brand and a legit business, they're positive comments that show a certain intent to buy from our brand. How many people will go look at your ads right now? And if you're good at creating engagement on your ass, look at the comments.

How many people are commenting, "Oh, I need this? I love this." They're tagging their friend and they're like, "Hey, we should get that for our puppy" Or something like that.

Annette Grant

(laughs) Right.

Philippe Roireau

Why are we not engaging more with these people? And why are we not giving them an incentive to go visit our website right now when they're interacting with us?

The one that I think we have currently that shows that when you start engaging with discount codes on Facebook comments that are showing this positive interaction and content, it can really help drive revenue up.

I can only stress how important it is for merchants to listen to what's going on on their ads and use everything that's positive to turn it into visitors.

But the downside of that is... Not the downside, but the other side of the metal is really; If you're not delivering quality, if you're shipping time is very long, you also need to know and be aware of what's going on there because you're going to lose a lot of money by having a lot of bad comments accumulating themselves on your ads.

So we're helping you reduce the presence of their of those comments. But in the end, you know, it's all about building a trustful business for the long term. And that has to be done through operational excellence.

But yeah, transforming positive comments into buyers is one of the key strategies that we're pushing to drive revenue to Gorgias for our clients.

Chase Clymer

Yeah, I think you showed me that at A Day with Shopify in New York. And we're like, "Yep, that's money."

Philippe Roireau

Yea., This morning, we did a strategy call with a pretty large TOD guy. And we've seen the results because we created the strategy that we use. It's just, it's pretty simple.

We're taking all the positive keywords that are happening on Facebook ads, we're creating a rule that will isolate and tag every positive interaction on Facebook. And it will have its own views.

So then we'll see in a queue, in a perfect view all the positive comments with a new purchase on it.

And then we're just like replying with different macros that always include the same comments. At the same time, they're the same discount code that is like FACEBOOK10 or something like that.

So it’s very easy for the customer. That's easy to remember. And then we're just measuring how much this coupon has been...

How many times it has been used and how much money to trade it? When we account for that, we're talking about improvement in ROAS to like 3% to 4% So it makes a difference when you're selling.

Chase Clymer

Absolutely. So now that we're on the brink of 2019. And we're going into the new year. What do you think is going to make a great customer experience? What are the few things that every merchant needs to keep in mind as they're starting the new year?

Philippe Roireau

Yeah. So first, are you building a brand? Even if it doesn't have a brand name, are you building an experience that your customers will be happy about? That's the first question that anybody needs to ask themselves right now.

And it's really three things. Brand, for me, equals your product quality or design times your operational efficiency, like how fast can you get it to the customer and in which shape does it get there. And then it's also your customer service.

So customer service times operations, times product quality, equals your brand. So are you putting enough effort into building something sustainable beyond just pouring money into ads?

That's the first question that every merchant should ask themselves right now and where are they falling short? Is it on the product? Is it on the operation? Or is it really on taking care of their customers like post-purchase, or even pre-purchase for that matter?

And then once you figure out where you're lacking, like, January, might be a slower month for a lot of purchases.

It's a great way to work on making those improvements in your business. When it comes to customer experiences, there's a lot that's going on right now; Between loyalty points; Between review programs, customer service... How do you make all these components that can drive engagement to talk to one another and be successful? That's really a big topic.

What's your tech stack for customer experience? What it will look like in 2019. I think January and February are great moments to assess that because a lot of their hurdles (that business) would have experienced this year, most probably are happening right now with shipping and delivery issues.

So ask yourself, "How do you work in January and February?" So that the next holidays and next Black Friday, oh your customers are happy and they will be getting their package on time for business and in the quality of how they're expecting it.

So yeah, as a merchant, it's really all about how much will your customer value evaluating your brand? Because they're not... If there's one thing, it's that customers are not faithful at this age.

They'll go for the next brand the next time around for sure if their experience was not a great one. So you want to increase the LTV through the brand's value.

Chase Clymer

Absolutely. I think that you've hit the nail on the head and I can't thank you enough for joining us on the podcast today.

Like I said earlier, Gorgias is not sponsoring this. I just really enjoyed the app and Philip has a lot of great things to share. Where can people get ahold of you if they want to reach out and learn more?

Philippe Roireau

Yeah, well... Absolutely. I'm on LinkedIn, on Facebook. I'm quite vocal in the Shopify plus groups. But also just by email, you can write to me at phil@gorgias.io.

And yeah, for all the listeners of Electric Eye even though that's not sponsored, if ever you guys want to try the platform, and you've listened to this podcast, just go to gorgias.io/electriceye and contact us through there.

And we'll give you the second month for free and we'll also provide you with a full White Glove onboarding. So you'll really experience the VIP set up because you've listened to this podcast.

Chase Clymer

Oh, that's amazing.

Annette Grant

Yeah. Awesome.

Chase Clymer

Thanks so much for sharing that with our listeners. Awesome. Well, hopefully, everyone gets the ball rolling when this comes out in 2019 and turns on some light switches for people and they start automating this customer service to turn that support into a sales channel.

Philippe Roireau

Yeah, that's, that's exactly what we're trying to evangelize and hopefully, merchants will jump on board.

Chase Clymer

We can't thank our guests enough for coming on the show and sharing the truth. Links and more will be available in the show notes.

If you found any actionable advice in this podcast that you'd like to apply to your business, please reach out electriceye.io/connect.

Annette Grant

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