Pair Eyewear designs and sells glasses with customizable tops that customers can take off, changing their glasses every day like they change their clothes. Since being funded on Shark Tank, Pair Eyewear has seen tremendous growth with annual revenue growing 10x year over year since 2020. Their team has scaled from five people to over 220 worldwide, 150 of whom are customer experience (CX) team members. To fuel their growth, the company also raised a $60M Series B funding round in 2021.
One of Pair Eyewear’s most important goals is serving their customers and providing the most joyful glasses experience possible—which would not be possible without their CX team. That’s why the company brought on Ben Segal to lead customer experience: When he joined the company, he hoped to mimic the innovative approach Pair Eyewear takes to glasses in his customer experience work.
A growing team—with growing pains
At the beginning of 2022, the CX team was about 150 people and growing—with plans to double by next calendar year and continue driving business growth. “Because we're 100 percent e-commerce, the customer experience team is critically important to allowing our brand to provide experiences to our customers,” says Nathan Kondamuri, the company’s Co-Founder and Co-CEO. “Customer experience is a revenue driver.”
As the leader of the CX team, Ben measures success by looking at three key areas:
- Efficiency: Is the team hitting SLAs on their various channels?
- Satisfaction: Is their CSAT over 95%?
- QA: Are they following rules and policies and delivering on a quality experience
But when he joined the company, the CX team wasn’t hitting its goals in those three metrics. Customers waited roughly 48 hours to hear back from a customer service representative over email, there were many days the team simply wouldn’t turn on live chat because they couldn’t support the channel, and phones were sent to voicemail. Ben decided to conduct a SWOT analysis to understand where—and how—the team could improve. “A lot of what needed to be done, as it turns out, was rolling out a best-in-class tech stack to empower the team to provide their customers with a service as exceptional as our product,” he explains.
Ben found several issues that needed to be addressed:
- Information about CX wasn’t centralized: When he joined Pair Eyewear, the team used spreadsheets and documents, and processing CX data was a manual process to download and sift through tables or look at tickets one by one. “There was information all over the place,” Ben says.
- Leaders lacked visibility and insight into empowering their team: With a growing team, it was hard for Ben to have visibility into how his team was doing across the board. “I lacked oversight and couldn’t identify areas to support my managers and team,” he says.
- There was a lack of transparency: Because of how they managed team data, individual CX members didn’t know how they were doing in real-time, and accessing data about their performance was out of their control.
- Scaling quickly meant homegrown solutions just didn't cut it: The team is growing quickly, making them feel the pain of existing solutions even more. “You can get away with hacking together a solution, but if your team is growing significantly, it will just end up slowing you down,” he says. “That was a pain point I didn't want to live through.”
- There was a time lag in accessing data: At the end of every week, someone would have to do a data dump, transfer the information to the team leads, and hope that it made it into each individual’s one-on-one.
- There was no structure to one-on-ones: With a lack of data access, team leads didn’t have guidance on how to structure their meetings. As a result, one-on-ones lacked structure and the employee experience varied across the department.
- Managing a remote and globally distributed team was increasingly challenging: Pair Eyewear’s team is distributed across US cities and overseas in the Phillippines and the Dominican Republic. “As a CX leader, it's difficult to manage a team that's spread all over the globe,” says Ben.
Without the necessary visibility into their team’s data, CX at Pair Eyewear couldn’t understand the consequences of their actions or how to improve their performance—and the customer experience suffered as a result. “At that point, we were looking at a 48-hour backlog on email and 2-3,000 tickets in our inbox just waiting to be handled,” Ben explains. “Although agents were constantly working, they didn't have a sense of how they were doing compared to others—and thus lacked any incentive to work harder.” So Ben set out to improve his team’s metrics and ability to lead each other to success by finding a tool to help him.
Managing a successful implementation
“I felt that if we're going to try to improve our core CX metrics, it would start with transparency in the data—after all, agents need to know how they’re doing before we can ask them to improve,” Ben says. He wanted a solution that would be fast to implement and provide visibility into data and real-time updates. He also hoped to give individual agents a look at their work, allowing them to set goals, empowering managers to be better coaches, and enabling communication on the team.
“Pathlight addressed so much of the functionality I was looking to add to our best-in-class tech stack that it became a no-brainer,” says Ben. When it came time for the rollout, Ben had to consider every tool he’d implement for the team, what the time investment each would take from him, and what support he would get from his vendors, too. “Luckily for me, the Pathlight team was incredibly helpful in building out our platform,” he says.
Starting the rollout, Ben partnered with Pathlight to set up his team’s org chart and map goals for individuals and the team. Then he alerted the team that they’d be working with a new tool and trained them on how to use it. Finally, they integrated Pathlight with their other tools to pull accurate and relevant data: Zendesk for efficiency metrics, Stella Connect for CSAT metrics, and Maestro QA for QA metrics. Ben and his team had a way to track their three core indicators of success and real-time, accurate data—all in one place.
Managing the rollout did require some change management, however: “When a team has never seen this kind of data, it can feel overwhelming at first to be held accountable for something you didn’t even know existed,” explains Ben. So he took the rollout slowly and made it clear that folks wouldn’t be evaluated on their performance data at first. The first goals of the rollout were to get a pulse on performance and then start improving it.
With the team grounded in the idea that Pathlight could help their career, they were open to it—and once they started to see things like badges, goals, and recognition in Pathlight, they felt empowered by the data. And the team saw results—fast: “After we implemented Pathlight, we saw a night and day difference—our backlog disappeared, and our SLA dropped to under 24,” Ben says.
A one-stop shop for agents and leaders alike
Pathlight now acts as Pair Eyewear’s one-stop shop for agents to see their metrics daily. Ben also uses it daily, whether he looks at the daily Health Score email or digs a little further into the data inside Pathlight. “Our Pathlight Health Score is the one thing I look at in my inbox every morning—I love how informative that one metric is for me,” he says. Pathlight also helps all managers at Pair Eyewear better support their team members.
And during high volume periods, like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Ben can respond if the Health Score dips, scheduling quick one-on-ones with team members who might struggle during the high-pressure times.
Using Pathlight provides the team with visibility that other tools don’t: For example, in Zendesk, where agent visibility is limited, team members couldn’t see how they were performing unless a leader shared that information. With Pathlight, individuals have constant visibility into the metrics that matter to them. For Michael Clayton, a Phone Team Lead at Pair Eyewear, Pathlight helped set expectations in his role—and encouraged him to exceed them, earning him recognition by the leadership team and a promotion. “Pathlight helps communicate to my manager and other leaders when I’ve put in a level of work worthy of advancement in the company,” says Michael.
In today’s remote work environment, managing a team can be challenging, but since implementing Pathligh, Ben can manage his distributed team with ease. “Pathlight has been invaluable in managing a remote team,” he says. “Where it may have been a nice to have in a pre-pandemic world working in an office, it's a must-have now that we’re working remotely and have BPOs in different countries.”
Pathlight also helps Pair Eyewear leaders pay attention to an amount of information that might otherwise feel impossible. “Pathlight allows me to say with confidence that I know what’s going on, how our agents are doing, and how our customers are experiencing Pair Eyewear,” says Ben.
And, as a result, Ben and other leaders can identify top performers and those who are struggling—then focus on coaching those who need it.
Slashing SLAs and seeing CSAT scores soar
Ultimately, Pathlight helps Ben and his team provide a superior customer experience. “Our end goal is to provide a great service to customers, and Pathlight is how I'm able to ensure that we're doing that,” Ben says. Since implementing Pathlight, several metrics have improved:
- The team increased CSAT from under 90% to 95% and above.
- Customer response times (SLAs) fell from 48 to 24 hours.
“It’s really hard to have a positive conversation with a customer when that conversation starts with them waiting,” explains Ben. “When we started using Pathlight, our average first response time was over 48 hours, and we’ve since cut it to below 24 hours—during the week, we average at five to seven hours.”
While customer experience is Ben’s team’s priority, he also focuses on employee engagement and satisfaction. “Our CX reps are focused on excelling in their careers—and it can be hard to know how they’re doing without information about their work,” he explains. “Pathlight gives them the data they need to know how they can best grow in their careers. Seeing folks like Michael earn promotions because they have visibility into what they are accountable for, and can push themselves to excel—that’s what we want our team to experience.”
Global growth, supported by Pathlight
As Pair Eyewear continues to scale, doubling its CX team in the next year, they’ll expand customer offerings, including more languages, time zones, and even more innovative products. For Ben, this growth represents many opportunities to expand, learn, and overcome challenges: “There are a number of things that will keep me up at night while we grow,” he says. “I believe that Pathlight will help us maintain visibility and data so we can focus on building the best in class customer experience we want to deliver,” says Ben.
“By helping me focus on my team and CX reps focus on helping customers, Pathlight will continue to contribute to our growing business and revenue, customer satisfaction, and career growth for the team at Pair Eyewear,” Ben explains. “And we’re just getting started—there’s no limit to what we can achieve.”