Homax enhances brand reputation with consumers and retail partners

Company profile

The Homax Group, Inc.
Consumer packaged goods

Bazaarvoice Solution

Connections

Client since

2011

About Homax Group

The Homax Group, Inc. has been providing home improvement solutions for professional contractors and do-it-yourselfers for more than 25 years. The company has more than 1,000 consumer products that include such top brands as Goo Gone®, Magic ®, Homax Products®, Stone Care International®, and Natural Magic®. Homax Group sells its products through retail channels across North America.

Summary

Homax connected directly with customers across retail partner sites to provide excellent customer care to end users and trade partners alike, while using insights gained to improve messaging and brand experience on the retailer’s site.

Solution at a glance

Challenge

Enhance brand reputation across consumer touch points while gleaning intelligence from consumer interactions to inform and improve company operations.

Solution

Connect directly with customers across retail partner sites to provide excellent customer care to end users and trade partners alike, while using insights gained to improve messaging and brand experience on the retailer’s site.

Benefits

Gain unprecedented access to active shoppers throughout the digital aisle to influence sales, derive valuable insights, and build positive brand reputation with both consumers and retail partners.

Servicing end users successfully today requires dedicated digital-social engagement across channels to provide the information and expert advice consumers now demand on every kind of consumer product on the market.

Servicing retail partners requires ensuring a positive retail shopping experience with your brand from start to finish. This means attending to traditional things like shipping, inventory, and ongoing promotions. However, since customer reviews heavily influence buying decisions across major retail sites, brands must also be prepared to address product issues highlighted by consumers.

Ray Mazur, CIO for Homax, and head of the company’s Customer Care, Insights, and eCommerce departments, said:

“Whenever we go through a line review with our top retail partners we always pitch new products in addition to working through the traditional line review processes. Just recently our top retailers have been asking us about reviews (positive and negative). Having the ability to respond to these reviews and being able to support our retail partners’ customers has been a big win for Homax.”

Homax group goals:

    1. 1) Enable hyper-focused attention to digital end users on all Homax Groups websites and across retail partner websites
    2. 2) Drive collaborative customer-centricity and information sharing across teams
    3. 3) Secure the best possible brand experience for end users that wins sales and secures status with retail partners

Solution

“A customer-obsessed company focuses its strategy, its energy, and its budget on processes that enhance knowledge of and engagement with customers and prioritizes these over maintaining traditional competitive barriers.”- Josh Bernoff, Forrester Research, 2011

Five years ago, Homax operated primarily as a call center. Today, end-user interaction is predominantly digital with touchpoints spanning email and chat, and responding to questions and reviews on both Homax brand sites and retail partner websites.

After a serendipitous discovery of Bazaarvoice at a Retail Partner Summit, Homax joined the Bazaarvoice Connections program, which enabled Homax to answer questions and respond to reviews about Homax brand products on retail partner websites. Because reviews and questions from end consumers have become a large part of end user interaction, Homax felt the pressure to deliver results for its retailer partners’ initiatives in this space.

Today, Homax has expanded its participation in Bazaarvoice Connections to engage with customers across its top tier partners in specialty retail, big box retail and grocery.

“With a retail customer partner, the importance of customer engagement elevates. It’s not our customer anymore – it’s our retail partners’. When we joined the Bazaarvoice Connections program, we up-leveled our training to ensure everyone knew our products in and out to ensure we provided the best possible answers on retail partner sites.”- Ray Mazur

Defining best practices for responding to reviews

Homax was one of the first brands to start responding to reviews with its top retail partner and quickly developed its own best practices and interaction guidelines. They learned that often positive reviews are better left without a response to avoid posting what appear to be rote, automated answers. Extremely positive, thoughtful feedback merits a note of appreciation in return, acknowledging something specific from the feedback.

Homax finds the most value, however, in responding to negative reviews.

“This brought our attention to the way end users are using a product. What could be perceived as a quality issue could actually be the difference between the ways a pro versus a do-it-yourself person uses the product. We can quickly protect our brand reputation by apologizing for their experience and offering tips on what pros do. “ - Ray Mazur

Staffing for success

The number one goal of the Insights & Social Listening team is to cultivate relationships with end users, providing a premium brand experience that they’ll ultimately be inspired to tell friends and family about. The team is responsible for interacting with end users through a variety of channels, including the Homax Group websites, retail partner sites, web chat, email, and other social channels.

Staff includes one manager and three dedicated insight reps. While the team’s time is shared between all supported channels, it’s estimated that they still spend less than 10% of their time on all Bazaarvoice Connections interactions. A critical component of the company’s dedication to excellent customer care, responding to consumer reviews and questions on retail partner sites, requires a fraction of reps’ time – a little bit that goes a long way.

Cross-organizational information sharing:

Homax also has a process in place for the Insights & Social Listening team to share intelligence gleaned from consumer reviews and questions across the entire organization. Insights gained from social data are shared on a weekly basis with Customer Care (the team responsible for supporting retailer partners), Research & Development, Quality Directors, and Brand Managers. If a question comes up, brand managers or product owners in R&D can access historical data or request that the Insights team connect with end users to compile more feedback.

Benefits

Bazaarvoice Connections provides brands unprecedented access to active shoppers in-channel throughout the digital aisle to increase share of voice, build positive brand equity, and influence sales. For Homax, Connections provides a critical platform to support the company mission to back its exceptional products with excellent service to end users and trade partners.

The ability to answer retail shopper questions allows Homax to support both professional and novice users with quality, expert answers and demonstrate the brand’s dedication to quality customer care. Homax’s answers have ultimately had a positive impact on sales on retail partner sites, as well as in stores.

A game changer for reputation management

According to Mazur, “Connections is HUGE for brand reputation management. With Connections, Homax can be far more proactive in relation to the voice of the customer when preparing for retailer line review meetings. With Connections we can work directly with the end user to better understand their experience, leading to far better communication of correct product usage and many other aspects regarding the products’ expectations.”

Ultimately, the insights derived from Connections help Homax maintain a strong, positive relationship with its top retail partners – and ultimately its place on all their shelves.

“Every little thing counts to get a win with the retailers.” - Ray Mazur

What’s next?

In coming months, Homax will expand the use of Bazaarvoice with additional retail partners signing on to connect brand suppliers with consumers, and respond to reviews as well as questions.

The company also plans to integrate insights and learnings into all of their social channels in an effort to become an even more customer-centric organization. To do so, Homax will be launching a self-service portal fueled by social content, which will allow employees to research social data within their specific areas of influence. Homax employees will be able to gain insights based on how consumers are talking about their products and brand and, ultimately, better serve their end users and drive more sales.

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