Designing a Happier, More Agile Global Customer Service Team


A fast-growing company can’t afford to waste time troubleshooting or dealing with problematic providers. While many providers drop a platform in your lap and move on to the next sale, Farfetch wanted a partner who would walk alongside us for the long haul.

Farfetch is the leading global platform for the luxury fashion industry. Founded in 2008, Farfetch began as an e-commerce marketplace, connecting customers in over 190 countries and territories with items from over 1,400 of the world’s best brands, boutiques, and department stores. 

I have been with Farfetch for about seven years. My main focus when I first joined was to enable a scalable workforce. My team supported multiple business units—B2B, B2C, and B2B2C—in 12 languages across 10 offices. Today, my role has evolved to Global Director, Workforce Optimization, where I oversee planning and forecasting, and the data analytics required for intelligent decision-making. We also explore solutions that ensure a strong return on our investment and enable AI and automation as we scale.

Scaling Up Revealed Weaknesses in Customer Experience

Back in 2018, Farfetch faced many challenges that highlighted our need for scalable solutions. We became a unicorn company in 2015 and were at the pre-IPO stage, growing by triple digits and opening offices worldwide. At the same time, we had a lot of service and quality issues with our contact center. We sometimes experienced audio delays of three or four seconds during customer calls, which was an awkward and unpleasant experience for customers and agents alike. 

We also experienced problems with expansion, as we couldn’t easily replicate our contact center systems in new countries. That’s a big deal for a global organization. We have teams in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Russia, Japan, and China, one of our top-growing markets. The Chinese government shut down our services every month because of compliance issues, and our customers couldn’t reach us. That was damaging to our brand reputation.

Our situation forced us to think about adopting a solution that would work for our immediate needs but still be a great fit in the coming years. That’s when we reached out to Talkdesk

We Watched a Platform Mature Over Time 

Or, I should say, we reached out to Talkdesk again. 

We initially looked at Talkdesk back in 2016. We’d performed an exhaustive search and compared 13 different customer experience vendors, and Talkdesk was in our top three. Working for a decade in this industry, you know what good looks like, and I knew they had all the ingredients to become the next big thing. 

Talkdesk would have been perfect for us if we had been a small business. But I didn’t think the platform was ready for the complexity of time zones, languages, and multiple teams in different markets that accompanied our global footprint. I continued to follow their progress in the intervening years, and they matured, just as I’d expected. So when it came time for Farfetch to rethink our solution again in 2018, I went right back to Talkdesk.

Using Talkdesk has changed our view of SaaS. Even though they are a SaaS company, I knew Talkdesk wouldn’t walk away after delivering their solution. They were very involved and present during the initial Proof of Concept, trying to experience our pain points. We signed a contract in June 2018, and by September, we were live.

The best providers feel like an extension of your team, with everyone working together to achieve the best outcomes.

The Talkdesk team stuck close to us throughout the implementation and deployment of Talkdesk CX Cloud contact center solution, working side-by-side in our offices for several weeks. We reviewed features and roadblocks in weekly meetings. More than a provider, the Talkdesk team felt like an extension of our team, with everyone trying to achieve the best outcomes from the platform.

Talkdesk has removed the unnecessary complexity of other cloud contact center solutions. Another significant benefit is the ease of integrations, such as with Salesforce. Integrations enable us to do more with our data, and because Talkdesk has a similar DNA to the rest of our ecosystem, the integration process was very smooth. 

How AI and Automation Helps Deliver the Best CX

I’m a big advocate for using automation to enhance human capabilities. We have expanded our use of the AI and automation features within Talkdesk, such as Talkdesk Agent Assist, of which we were early adopters. New agents can face a big learning curve during the first 30 days of a new job: they have to learn and memorize processes, and it can be unclear where to find information. Agent Assist offers agents real-time tips and information based on their conversation with a customer. It helps new agents feel more supported and keeps them motivated. Meanwhile, Agent Assist also helps experienced agents improve their agility and productivity using best practices from their colleagues. 

Automation removes repetitive tasks, making agents' lives easier and enabling them to be more creative in their interaction with customers.

Customers prefer to deal with happy agents, especially when our goal is to deliver a true luxury experience. Agents can help solve customer issues faster, giving them more time to upsell—“The bag you bought would look great with those shoes,”—leading to increased revenue and exceeding customer expectations. We have always tried to do this before, but it’s hard when you have a backlog of calls. Now we can upsell consistently. Automation removes repetitive tasks, making agents' lives easier and enabling them to be more creative when interacting with customers. Customers have noticed: we have seen a 25% improvement in customer satisfaction since implementing Talkdesk.

We were an early adopter of the Talkdesk Studio flow management system, and we continue to explore other Talkdesk products, like Talkdesk Knowledge Management. We’ve also put together an advisory team from Farfetch to make recommendations to the Talkdesk product team. Some advisory team members got so frustrated with our previous solution, so it’s great to see them feeling empowered to change the product roadmap by recommending features they know they will use. Talkdesk has incorporated many of our recommendations, and it’s wonderful to see this collaborative partnership thrive.

Better Service and Cost Efficiencies

In addition to happier agents and increased automation, Talkdesk has enabled us to meet our SLAs, which vary from market to market. On average, we have improved on our SLAs by 6-10%.

All of our reliability issues stopped once we adopted Talkdesk. We used to go without vendor support at certain hours in certain markets, but Talkdesk is always fast to identify and respond to issues. We always get things fixed quickly, which means Farfetch can continue to grow and expand with confidence, regardless of the country where we operate. The 24/7 support allows us to deliver better service to our customers without worrying about technical elements of the solution.

Our main expense is headcount, so productivity can be a big issue. We’ve seen a 30% growth in workload, but only a 12% increase in payroll, which speaks to the improvements in productivity and scalability. Using Talkdesk lets our agents work faster, and we have reduced handling/resolution times more than 50%. Between 2018 and 2020, we saw cost efficiencies of around 40%—half of which I attribute directly to Talkdesk. 

We performed a survey just after the Talkdesk rollout, and Talkdesk received a 98% approval rate among Farfetch employees—which is probably why employee satisfaction has increased 3X compared to our previous providers. Minor tweaks or configurations are less intensive for our admins and require less time compared to our previous solution. That has freed up their time to think about other features and improvements, including ways to enable automation and assist agents in making decisions faster.

A Robust Solution Enables Our Team to Stay Small and Tight

We used to change providers every couple of years because no one could keep up with our rapid evolution. Our needs as an enterprise company were growing more complex, but their tools would solve only part of the problem or be best of class in a specific region.

If we didn’t have Talkdesk as our global contact center solution, we would have to adopt multiple providers for various markets, which would be expensive and likely require that we double the size of our team to manage them. Stitching together a patchwork of providers and integrations would limit our perception and visibility of the overall business, and disjointed business intelligence would negatively impact our decision-making process. With Talkdesk, we can rely on one partner who understands our end-to-end business, and that’s very powerful.

I demand the best for Farfetch customers, which means I demand the best of my partners. It’s critical to be open about your problems when seeking a solution, and being transparent about our needs led us to Talkdesk. Our ongoing collaboration has improved the experience for our agents and customers alike.