In Part 2, we talk about where Esker fits in to RG Group’s broader customer experience strategy, and how automating order entry has changed the way the company thinks about all parts of its business. If you missed Part 1, you can find it here. Note: This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
Esker: Tracy, as the Director of Customer Experience at RG Group, I was wondering if there’s anything that you could tell me about how Esker impacts your customer experience?
Tracy: Gosh, so many ways. Everything is moving at the speed of light now, and when you get an order from a customer, they need confirmation right away. They’re not expecting to wait a day for that. With Esker, our response time moved from probably a day down to 90 minutes or less. And it’s only 90 minutes because of the volume of orders that we’re processing.
For the most part, we get customer PO’s and within an hour or so, we’re able to get acknowledgment back to the customer. A lot of the time it’s sooner than that. Given the demands of the world and the market changing around us, it’s important that we’re very responsive and show that responsiveness. Esker’s allowed us to do that.
The benefit of this automation spans beyond response time to customers. It’s just made us a healthier, more efficient organization. It’s even allowed us to pull orders that are generally keyed outside of our customer service team into customer service. All of our locations were manually keying things that could just be shot into the Esker solution. There’s been a lot of internal value beyond just automating. I could go on for days about how much the technology makes us think about how we do things. It’s really forced us to clean up a lot of inefficiencies since we’ve integrated, and it’s been wonderful.
Esker: So you talked a little bit about some of the benefits you’ve seen in terms of reduced order processing time and things like that. Do you have any data points around that?
Tracy: Off the top of my head, we were processing somewhere around 22 or 27% of our order lines using the old partner, and the rest was manual. I want to say about 60% of our orders are running through Esker. Our goal was to have at least 80% of our order lines automated in some way, whether that was through EDI, Esker or our website, and we are exceeding that goal now.
Esker: One thing that we like to ask our customers about are “proud moments”. Are there any specific proud moments that you could speak to in your career as a result of using Esker? Has it affected your roles or achievements in any way?
Tracy: Customer service is always changing and growing with our acquisitions, so the challenge was how to become more efficient. How do we find ways to automate things that can take the exhaustion out of the people that are doing the day-to-day transactional work? We wanted to better utilize our people in ways that you can’t duplicate through any kind of automation, meaning people being people and providing that important personal touch to our customer experience.
I feel like we’ve really done that, and I think that has given a lot of credibility to our team internally and certainly to Krystle’s leadership. She really spearheaded this thing, and as her supervisor, I’ve seen her grow and flourish. She’s been a tremendous project leader, helping the team learn and understand Esker, and that was really visible to people outside of our department.
For RG Group, the success of Esker and what it’s done for us has opened the door for other departments to consider automating. When you think about the complexity of order processing and all the things you have to think about communicating in your ERP system so that it comes out the way that it’s intended to, the fact that we can automate that level of complexity with a solution like Esker gave a new level of confidence to the organization and helped us think about other opportunities to gain efficiencies.
We’ve never done this kind of thing before as a company. Esker just took us to the next level. From that success, the rest of the organization and the other department leaders are saying, “Well if they can automate order entry and all that complexity, how else can we automate?” It is possible. People bigger than us are doing it.
I think that was the experience I really wanted for us and why we’ve been so excited about Esker. It really changed our approach to how we’re managing other projects. Sometimes you need something like that to shake things up. To me, Esker is bigger than just the automation and the stuff you see on the outside. It has helped us change as an organization more than we could probably articulate and has made us think through things differently. It’s been a really wonderful thing for us.