How Sakura Forest brings customers closer
Social distancing is the new phrase that the pandemic has taught us. In-person interactions are reduced to the minimum to prevent spreading the virus. Kissing, hugging, handshaking, or even talking without maintaining six feet apart has become high-risk moves. Such distance may have protected our bodies, but humans are wired to be touched, and the lack of physical touch can pose harm to our wellbeings.
Some people, therefore, suggest replacing the phrase ‘social distancing’ with ‘physical distancing,’ emphasizing that even if we may not be able to see each other, there are ways to show care. Sakura Forest, Japanese skincare and health products retailer, shares the same view. They provide top-notch products and excellent customer service to resemble the vibe of old-styled Japanese general stores, hoping to bring happiness to people from a distance.
Having a presence in Asian regions such as Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, and Singapore, Sakura Forest receives customer inquiries on a daily basis. To deliver the best experience, they have been using SleekFlow to manage conversations and attend to the needs of customers. Tak Fai, Overseas Marketing & Advertising Manager of Sakura Forest, illustrates how SleekFlow has helped realize their vision.
After setting up our WhatsApp account, some customers told us, ‘You’re finally on WhatsApp!’ They felt heard.
Overseas Marketing & Advertising Manager
The significant challenges Sakura Forest once faced
Inability to collaborate and lack of scalability
Unlike companies with brick-and-mortar stores, Sakura Forest, which focuses on e-commerce, has no shop attendant to answer customers’ questions on site. It means that their customer service team is the first-line support. Apart from phone and email, the company also establishes communication channels on LINE, Messenger and WhatsApp. But as they were using the free WhatsApp Business App, which did not support multiple logins, only one team member was assigned to reply to messages on WhatsApp, splitting time between different job duties and failing to respond quickly at all times.
Limitations of sending broadcast messages
The other issue with WhatsApp Business App is the broadcast message limitations. For example, only up to 256 contacts can be selected in each Broadcast list and contacts in the Broadcast list need to save your number in their address book to receive messages. So every time when Sakura Forest wanted to send promotional offers or new product updates to customers, they had to send one by one, which was time-consuming.
Heavy focus on balancing human touch and automation
An Epsilon research indicates that 80% of consumers are more likely to purchase when brands offer personalized experiences, mirroring what Sakura Forest is trying to offer. What differentiates them from other competitors is their investment in cultivating customer relationships. They want to become a friend of theirs, rather than a machine that simply answers all the questions. Therefore, striking a balance between empathy and efficiency became a top priority.
How SleekFlow offers an excellent social commerce solution
Multiple logins for easier collaboration
After using the WhatsApp Business API via SleekFlow, which allows multiple team members to log into the same account simultaneously, Sakura Forest can now assign more members to reply to messages within or outside the standard office hour, enjoying a high degree of flexibility. With SleekFlow’s mobile app, they can easily check messages on their mobile devices anytime, anywhere. As their business continues to grow, the customer service team will surely grow larger in size and cross-team communication will rely more on the internal notes on SleekFlow.
User-friendly interface to broadcast messages with ease
What is better is that Sakura Forest is now free from most restrictions for sending blast messages. Designed to be simple and easy to use, the interface of SleekFlow allows team members to master the operation of a wide range of features in a short period. Before using SleekFlow, the team member had to spend a whole week sending just one message to 500 customers as the member had other job duties. But now, it only takes less than an hour. The analytics reports also provide valuable insights like open rate and response rate for measuring the effectiveness of a campaign.
Customized messages for a personalized experience
SleekFlow also supports personalization and customization. For instance, when sending broadcast messages, all Sakura Forest needs is to follow specific instructions and write the message in advance; they can include the customers' names in the message, bringing customers closer. Although they do not send auto-reply messages or use chatbot actively, they can still enjoy automation features offered by SleekFlow. With customers’ information in hand, once imported, birthday wishes and retargeting messages can be sent according to pre-set rules automatically. Maintaining loyalty and long-term relationships has never been easier.
Companies that frequently communicate with customers would find SleekFlow useful, especially those that plan to expand to Southeast Asian countries, where WhatsApp is highly popular.
Overseas Marketing & Advertising Manager
About Sakura Forest
Sakura Forest (さくらの森) was established in June 2015. Based on our concept of "Happiness Together", we provide products that keep each customer beautiful and healthy. Not only do we want to build a buyer-seller relationship but we also hope to build friendship and bring happiness to our customers.