1-800 Contacts doubles down on the digital customer experience
How 1-800 Contacts responded to record stay-at-home demand.
Hindsight may be 20/20, but 1-800 Contacts, the largest contact lens retailer in the U.S., had the foresight since back in 2018 to combine personalization with an efficient e-commerce and shipping experience, leaving them prepared for this year’s increase in online shopping.
“Before [COVID] our customer experience often started on the phone, but we are a digital-centric e-commerce player, and always centered around the customer experience,” said 1-800 Contacts CMO Phil Bienert. “We could not imagine a day without the benefit of using technology to scale our customer experience.”
Personalization was the focal point of 1-800 Contacts’ e-commerce transformation, and to help with that process they selected Redpoint Global as the platform to orchestrate the omnichannel experiences that serve as the foundation of the customer experience strategy. 1-800 Contacts is using Redpoint’s rgOne Customer Engagement Hub, introduced in June this year, that combines real-time data, analytics and orchestration.
1-800 Contacts selected the rgOne platform to personalize messages and offers in real-time across all customer journey touchpoints, while maintaining customer data privacy and security. As part of personalization, the rgOne hub provides a ‘Golden Record’ for each consumer — an ongoing record that provides the best context for engaging any individual customer at any given moment.
“We help brands adapt to shifting consumer behaviors through the power of harnessing consumer data to understand customer context in the moment and deliver experiences that are helpful, relevant, timely and personal,” said Redpoint CTO and co-founder George Corugedo.
The 1-800 Contacts brand has been operating for a quarter century, so the enhanced customer experience still needed to reflect the brand equity they had built, while combining the digital and non-digital customer journeys. This included the web experience, call center experience and mobile app customer journey.
Prior to this year’s surge of online demand, 1-800 Contacts operated all e-commerce internally with its own platform and did not bring a lot of external technology partners in its subscription-based business. This was due in part to strict regulatory requirements, including being compliant for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
“In the last nine months we have had a massive increase in demand with the stay-at-home orders,” said Bienert. “We have served a record number of customers with a 100% increase in new customers coming in. Tele-prescriptions over phone lines have increased 200 percent.” 1-800 Contacts is currently in the midst of its seasonal high demand as people use vision benefits that expire at the end of the year.
Biernet continued. “We were built for this. If we were not already engaged with a Redpoint-type platform, we would have had to [become engaged] immediately. We were already experienced, so we just put our heads down and got to work to serve all these customers.”
1-800 Contacts’ has also built out several online tele-medicine tools, including Express Exam, a rapid process that has become popular with first responders, frontline healthcare workers and customers unable to order new lenses from their doctors.
“As one of the original direct to consumer brands, 1-800 Contacts already knows the value of differentiated experiences,” said Redpoint Global Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer John Nash. “It is an approach that has proved invaluable during these turbulent times.”
Once again, 1-800 Contacts is betting that their foresight is going to help them with the increased demand, acquiring an Israeli app-based tele-medicine solution, 6over6 Vision, at the end of 2019. The app can do a full vision test, and is currently in the middle of the Food and Drug Administration approval process.
For 2021, 1-800 Contacts’ biggest priority is an ongoing testing regime to ensure high automation and operations performance. It also aims to implement a new business plan centered around orchestration and personalization.
“We are taking care of our highest volume of customers, but still need to dig deeper into the digital experience at the same time,” said Bienert. “We are still rolling out campaigns, but it has been perfect having Redpoint in our business stack. We are excited so far by what we see.”