Any time you hear, “It’ll be the happiest day of your life,” chances are it’s in reference to your wedding day. Celebrating with family and friends, raising a glass in a champagne toast, and marrying the person of your dreams—what could be better?
Now imagine this: your spouse-to-be loses their luggage on the way to your ‘I do’ destination. It’s not their fault, of course, but the last thing you want to do is drop yet another small fortune on an ill-fitting, last-minute rental—or worry that your partner will have to resort to khakis and a tie borrowed from your soon-to-be father-in-law.
That’s where The Groomsman Suit comes in. The Chicago-based startup is making a name for itself by taking the guesswork out of suiting up. Co-Founder Jeanne Foley realized the need to reinvent the industry while planning her own wedding in 2013. Foley admits she and her husband were disappointed with the lack of options for rental tuxedos and faced sticker shock on the price. Their experience planted the seed for The Groomsman Suit’s mission—to provide men with a high-quality suit or tuxedo that could be purchased for less than the cost of a traditional rental.
“Women have so many options when you’re in a wedding, and for men, it’s always been this very daunting, inconvenient and expensive process,” said Co-Founder Diana Ganz. She and Foley are longtime childhood friends who’ve joined their expertise to create a company that’s as personal as its beginnings.
Finding the right solution
In the early days following The Groomsman Suit’s 2016 launch, Foley and Ganz felt the growing pains every startup faces. They handled customer inquiries through a seemingly endless thread of Gmail exchanges and calls on their personal cell phones – often at all hours. After an unsuccessful attempt at launching an office-wide phone system to offload some of the traffic, they started searching for software that would streamline the process.
Soon after, they came across Zendesk, or as Foley called the omnichannel solution, “a life source.”
“Having a call with Zendesk and having it explained so simply, and to have all contacts in one spot… It was sort of like ‘Thank God. This is it, let’s try it out,’” Foley said, adding that getting the system up and running was easy.
Since The Groomsman Suit has taken minimal funding, it was also an accessible option for a bootstrapped operation. “With a lot of other platforms, specifically with Salesforce, it was gonna cost us ten grand to just get started,” Ganz said.
The Groomsman Suit rolled out Zendesk Support, Guide, Talk, and Chat in 2017 as an all-encompassing customer service solution. Ganz credits the launch with helping legitimize the company by allowing it to establish clear operating hours without sacrificing customer service. At the time, agents were handling approximately 340 tickets per month, with a first reply time averaging 9 hours. Today, the team knocks out 1643 tickets per month and have managed to wean its first reply time down an avg of 6.5 hours.
Profiting from self-service
Providing an unmatched level of service and establishing consistency with each client is the backbone of what The Groomsman Suit is able to do using Zendesk—important because the following year saw ticket volume triple alongside the company’s sales. Foley and Ganz initially created a set of macros that their team relies on to keep the company’s brand and message standardized when communicating with customers. They also built a help center so that customers could self-serve common questions, and saw immediate adoption. The final step was to enable Zendesk Chat by embedding the Web Widget into their help center.
“It’s kind of amazing because we’re able to give a resource to every type of customer. Not everybody wants to call. A lot of people don’t want to email, because they want this instant gratification of having their question answered. Chat is perfect for that,” Foley said.
According to Ganz, the help center has been the most impactful thing for business so far. It has allowed The Groomsman Suit to handle increased sales and customer inquiries, without having to hire additional staff. The help center’s impact keeps growing— at the beginning of 2019, the help center got close to a thousand views a month, double what it had in October, 2018. Thanks to the tickets it deflects, the team has been able to hold steady at four agents to monitor chat and hundreds of calls and emails. “It’s actually a huge reason why we’ve been profitable for the past two years. That is unprecedented for a company like ours that’s growing so quickly,” said Ganz.
Since adopting Zendesk, agents have decreased the average first response time by 28 percent. Meanwhile, sales have literally skyrocketed—the company’s monthly sales have grown by over 350 percent. In fact, the company is projecting over $5 million in revenue this year.
“We really have tried to build the company in a very sustainable way operationally and Zendesk has been a huge part in that,” Ganz said.
Keeping it personal
With an efficient internal operation established, Foley and Ganz are able to focus on enabling the exceptional customer experiences that, from the onset, have powered the company’s growth.
“In the beginning, we didn’t have any money for marketing, so every relationship that we were making with our couples was incredibly important to us,” Ganz explained. “We built the Groomsman Suit to be a multi-million-dollar company on a lot of customer love.”
They recalled an instance where the lost luggage scenario actually happened, leaving a groomsman without his suit. Undaunted, The Groomsman Suit overnighted him one and found a local tailor to hem it on the day of the wedding. Ganz said being able to make those decisions quickly, to go above and beyond the call of customer service, is part of the beauty of being a startup. “We’re trying to be more than just the brand that sold them the suit. We’re trying to be there every step of the way,” she said.
So, what’s next for The Groomsman Suit? The co-founders realize they have a unique niche as a group of females running a menswear business, so Ganz says she sees their company organically growing into one that can outfit women in suits as well. “I just think it’s a really special thing to work with my best friend and figure out everyday where this thing is going.”