A recipe for success: Fody Foods and the journey toward automated customer support

How has Heyday's automation helped this small but mighty marketing team focus on what matters? We spoke to Francine Sternthal, VP of Marketing at Fody Foods, to find out.
By
Tess Boissonneault
September 21, 2020

There is a common misconception that people with digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and celiac disease cannot indulge in delicious food. Fody Foods has turned this notion on its head with its gut-friendly edible products. 

The Montreal-based company, founded by Steven Singer, makes and sells an array of trigger-free foods for those with even the most restrictive diets, including its top-selling pasta sauce (with no onion or garlic!) and delectable snack bars.

Today, Fody Foods is a highly successful company, and its products are sold in nearly 6000 grocery stores across North America, including Whole Foods, Walmart, Metro, Publix, Sprouts, Loblaws, and Kroger. Though retail is still its biggest sales-driver, the company also has a healthy Shopify ecommerce store, where customers can order their preferred products directly from the source. 

In light of COVID-19, Fody Foods saw a substantial uptick in demand for ecommerce activities - and needed to find ways to scale its operation on the fly. Heyday’s chatbot proved to be essential in this journey, helping Fody Foods to automate repetitive tasks. That way, Francine Sternthal, VP of Marketing at Fody Foods, and her team, could focus on value-driving activities across the organization.

Here, Francine describes how chat has become key ingredient for Fody Foods' success.

How does chat fit into your customer journey today?

Our customers are incredibly important to us, to the point where our founder still answers the customer service line so he can gather direct feedback. 

In order to maintain this rapport and up our customer service game, we implemented self-serve options where it made sense, and that's where Heyday’s chatbot has really made a difference.

A lot of the inquiries we receive from customers are about dietary restrictions and product ingredients. For us, it is a priority to speak to our customers one-on-one about these topics and offer them personalized service.
Chat has been a great complement to this effort, in that it automates a range of other customer service tasks, like order tracking questions, freeing up time for these live conversations.

Heyday’s chat has also been valuable in providing relevant answers to a range of other customer questions. We have a ton of information on our website, but sometimes our customers enter the site with a specific question in mind. With chat, we can deliver automated FAQ content to offer immediate responses, around the clock. 

What added benefits of chat are you seeing that you weren't necessarily expecting?

One of the benefits that we weren’t expecting is that our customers have really appreciated being able to get support through our mobile app. With the app, we can provide answers to a range of questions even when our customer is on the go.

Another invaluable benefit has been the chat’s ability to come up with immediate answers to order tracking questions.

We have saved about 30% of our support time allocation each week by automating this element of our customer support, which has allowed us to focus more on proactive marketing activities, like developing awareness campaigns for people with digestive issues, growing our communities online through Facebook groups, and building out our brand awareness. 

How have your customer behaviours changed in the past few months?

Through the pandemic, people have been more conscious about their health and, at the same time, seem to be experimenting more with their purchases. This has led to a HUGE increase in our number of first-time buyers, all of whom we are committed to retaining.

One thing that hasn’t changed is that our social media—specifically, Facebook and Instagram—have continued to be the key mediums for customer engagement. Food is such a visual product, so we’ve stayed connected with our client base with photos and recipes.

Canadian Food and Beverage retailers experienced a 107% spike in online sales from February to April this year, according to Statistics Canada.

What's one standout chat feature that has really helped you this year?

Order tracking has been absolutely crucial. Having the chatbot up and running to help customers get up-to-date information on their orders was key; this gave us more time to adapt our supply chain and order fulfillment strategies. Heyday’s chatbot has been really vital to our success in these times as we adapt and pivot on the fly.

How does the Shopify platform support your goals as a business today, and into the future?

Fody Foods has been on Shopify since day one. We are a small but mighty marketing team and we do everything ourselves - with the exception of a few key outsourced resources, so we really need a simple platform that requires minimal development. Shopify is that. 

We have a very healthy and active ecommerce channel normally, and when our site traffic skyrocketed during the pandemic—from searching, finding and purchasing—Shopify and its various plugins helped us to scale our business and keep up with the growing demand for our products.

What makes Heyday a great partner for Fody Foods?

As a fellow Montreal-based company, the local element of the partnership is important to us. Beyond that, I know that our success is important to Heyday: you can really feel the responsiveness and enthusiasm of their team. We were a beta client, so we worked closely together to work towards our shared vision of success. 

Overall, achieving a degree of automation for small teams like ours is so important - it has empowered us to pursue impactful and interesting projects that serve our community of Fody customers. 

Want to know how to make automation work for you and your team? Reach out to us at sales@heyday.ai or check us out on the Shopify App Store.