Brian Kershon’s Journey to Exceptional Customer Service at Zenni Optical With Gladly

Gladly Team

Read Time

4 minute read

The brands known for loyal fanbases reach that status thanks to intensive care given to the customer experience. When companies go above and beyond to surprise and delight their shoppers, that investment comes back tenfold in customer loyalty.

Gladly CEO Joseph Ansanelli recently sat down with Brian Kershon, Director of Global Customer Service at Zenni Optical, to discuss the glasses brand’s commitment to white-glove, radically personal CX. Below, we break down key takeaways from Brian, including what sets Zenni’s CX apart, how ecommerce can reflect in-person service, and the key to always putting the customer first.

Zenni Makes Newsweek’s “Best CX” List for the 6th Year in a Row

Recognized for a sixth consecutive year by Newsweek Magazine as one of the best service operations in 2024, Zenni Optical has solidified its reputation for providing quality, efficient service built around a strong organizational culture and expert agents.

From Brian Kershon: “We always feel like there’s an opportunity to keep getting better — and yeah, being recognized by Newsweek Magazine is a way to validate that. [But] I don’t think there’s necessarily any major secrets to being good at customer service — I think customers want high-quality support. They want it relatively fast. They want it at their disposal when they need it, where they need it. And I think we’ve done a really good job of building out our support [for] our customers.”

Focusing on the Fundamentals: CX doesn’t have a secret formula. What customers want and expect is obvious — the only difference between brands that do and don’t succeed is in how much time and resources they invest.

Zenni Relied On Opticians’ Expertise to Create a Digital CX

Between eye exams and finding the right style of frames, customers may prefer to stop into a store for a simpler glasses shopping experience. But Zenni designs ecommerce CX that’s equal to in-person support by recreating those brick-and-mortar elements in the digital space — leaning on the real experts, their opticians, to help devise the ins and outs of the experience.

From Brian Kershon: “[We want] the customer… to feel confident that they made the right choice for the financial investment they’re making, so we’ve tried to take some of the best principles that come from that brick-and-mortar experience, but then roll it into this ecommerce space. Our agents are highly trained, we work very closely with our in-house opticians, and we’re able to create that confidence that we want our customers to be able to have.”

Don’t Ignore the Experts on the Front Lines: Nobody knows your customers better than the agents who communicate with them day in and day out. Frontline employees, like Zenni’s expert opticians, are not just boots on the ground to handle support issues — they’re a resource for insider knowledge on how to construct and optimize the customer experience.

Zenni Prioritizes Both Agents and Customers

Agent experience is a proven contributor to overall CX success — something provable in data and the outcomes of positive support center work environments. In fact, our 2023 Hero Experience Report found that 37% of agents identified “assisting customers in resolving service issues” as their biggest workplace motivation.

From Brian Kershon: “We want our agents to be excited about the work they’re doing and we want to be able to remove any blockers that get in the way of delivering amazing customer service.

I wanted to make sure that we had the right solution in place to empower our agents to be able to give them that level of visibility that they need, that 360 view of our customer, to make things out there. I don’t care how much empathy you have, you could have the patience of a saint. If you’re frustrated with your tooling, eventually it’s going to come across in customer service. We wanted our agents to be excited about the work that they’re doing.

So for us to be able to remove any of those blockers that might get in the way of their ability to deliver amazing customer service was key, and that’s why we chose Gladly.”

Agent Experience Is the Key: Zenni listens to their agents when they express what would make them most effective at their jobs. They do everything in their power to bolster those factors, using solutions like Gladly to optimize and automate simple support processes. The improvement in workplace satisfaction translates to even more glowing reviews from customers who feel taken care of by their expert support team.

Following the Zenni Model of CX Success

Zenni’s story shows how highly regarded CX in brick-and-mortar stores can translate to ecommerce — by delivering on customer expectations and prioritizing agent empowerment. What’s highlighted here only scratches the surface — they also talk about:

  • Preparing for generative AI and automation in the support center
  • Nurturing in-house employees to take on greater roles and responsibilities within the support team
  • Incorporating brand partnerships to further customer affinity
  • Creating a customer success culture that is ingrained in every employee from day one

Listen to the full episode of our Radically Personal podcast to hear all about Brian’s quest to bring Zenni into the upper echelon of CX.

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