SOURCE: Avaya Inc.

November 24, 2008 07:30 ET

Online Cosmetics Retailer Eyes, Lips, Face (e.l.f.) Rings Up Sales and Customer Satisfaction During Holiday Season With Avaya IP Communications

Small Retailer Turns to Avaya IP Office to Meet Big Business Customer Service Demands of Cyber Monday

BASKING RIDGE, NJ--(Marketwire - November 24, 2008) - This holiday season, the ability to deliver great customer service could be the key factor in determining which online retailers grow their sales and succeed in a tough economic environment.

A retailer that is well prepared for this holiday season is New York City-based Eyes, Lips, Face (e.l.f.) (www.eyeslipsface.com), a leading online cosmetics retailer and small-medium enterprise (SME) that relies on Avaya Internet protocol (IP) communications to help keep customers satisfied and sales rising all year round -- and during the holidays.

e.l.f. has grown its online business by letting consumers purchase high-quality cosmetics, including lipstick, eyeliner and blush, at a discount and in convenient and affordable packages. As the company continued to attract business -- growing significantly to attract hundreds of thousands of customers -- it faced customer service challenges due to its use of an outsourced call center based on the other side of the country. e.l.f. realized it would have to gain greater control over its contact center if it was going to have more efficient operations and satisfied customers.

Improvements took hold when e.l.f. implemented an Avaya IP Office software platform, which is an IP communications solution for small and medium enterprises. ICCS & Co., LLC (ICCS), an Avaya SMB Expert BusinessPartner that manages information technology for e.l.f., recognized the challenges at hand and recommended and implemented Avaya IP Office for the online retailer, which enabled e.l.f. to bring its contact center operations in-house. The first improvement was speedier service, as customer inquiries got routed swiftly to the right agents with minimal hold time. This enhanced customer satisfaction and increased sales by helping deliver faster answers to customer questions or sales and return inquiries with the professionalism expected of a first-class retailer.

"Our entire New York City office is just 30 people, with 20 serving as dedicated customer service agents," said Joe Shamah, president of e.l.f. "But even though we are a small enterprise, we have big business demands all year round, 24/7, and we approach our customer service in that manner."

Savings and efficiencies in e.l.f.'s customer operations also improved significantly, as it cut its expenses related to contact center outsourcing by 80 percent. Additionally, the reporting capabilities of Avaya IP Office allows e.l.f. to make the best decisions regarding its customer service resources. Reporting gives e.l.f. a better view of the quality of its agent interactions with customers, and allows them to more effectively assess which resources are required and where.

Ramping up for a hectic and unpredictable holiday season

e.l.f.'s focus on customer service grows more intense upon the arrival of Cyber Monday, the first Monday after Thanksgiving weekend that is regarded as the kickoff of the holiday shopping season for online retailers. While this year's holiday shopping season could be tougher than usual due to the economy, e.l.f.'s combination of low prices and high quality actually attracts greater customer attention to its Web store, necessitating a flexible operation that can be quickly modified to meet any holiday shopping scenario.

"Avaya IP Office gives us the best way to handle the rigorous and unpredictable communications workloads of this holiday season," adds Shamah. "For example, the system's 'hot desking' feature lets us have new agents log into existing communications set ups, so if we need to increase a shift from 8 hours a day to 16 hours, we can let one agent leave and another one come in using the same set. This keeps business flowing even as customer inquiries are peaking."

Routing customers to the right expert is particularly essential during the holiday shopping season. Avaya IP Office helps ensure that questions -- ranging from cosmetics advice and color choices to the status of orders -- get routed to the best available expert with minimum wait times. This can help boost return customer visits, improve sales, and even reduce losses from product returns, since agents are more readily available to provide instructions, tips or alternatives for products being considered for purchase or return.

Another essential strategy that e.l.f. can now take advantage of is the ability to expand or contract agent resources based on the shifting demands of the holiday shopping activity. With Avaya IP Office in house, e.l.f. has a flexible IP platform to add temporary customer care agents as required for the holiday season. These new agents can be set up quickly, and easily trained to handle customer inquiries, new promotions or other customer service aspects of e.l.f.'s holiday selling season.

Avaya business partner ICCS will play a key role in defining e.l.f.'s customer service strategy for this year's holiday selling season.

"We trust ICCS with our Information Technology management, and the fact that they are an Avaya BusinessPartner made our decision to go with IP Office easy," said Shamah. "Along with our IT, ICCS manages our Avaya IP Office solution with great efficiency, enabling us to focus our full attention on our business, and give us peace of mind as we embark on the upcoming holiday season."

About Avaya

Avaya delivers Intelligent Communications solutions that help companies transform their businesses to achieve marketplace advantage. More than 1 million businesses worldwide, including more than 90 percent of the FORTUNE 500®, use Avaya solutions for IP Telephony, Unified Communications, Contact Centers and Communications-Enabled Business Processes. Avaya Global Services provides comprehensive service and support for companies, small to large.

For more information visit the Avaya Web site: http://www.avaya.com.

About ICCS

ICCS has been serving the small and mid size business community for more than 15 years and is proud to offer complete IT and telecom solutions to businesses in any industry. ICCS works with businesses to understand their individual needs and design a technology and communications program that best matches those requirements. ICCS strives to present the most cost-effective technology and telecom options for a business, and helps companies of all sizes grow by providing cutting-edge solution design, implementation, and award winning support.

For more information, visit the ICCS Web site: www.iccsllc.com or email: alan@iccsllc.com.

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