Twiddy & Company Q&A: Customer Experience at the Speed of Information


When the COVID-19 pandemic caused call volumes to spike for Twiddy & Company, CIO Blake Stockslager knew the vacation management company needed a more robust cloud contact center solution. And it needed it up and running — fast. After deploying the Genesys Cloud platform, Twiddy & Company can confidently deliver on its promise of “Digital Southern Hospitality.”

I recently spoke with Blake about the process and plans for using digital and artificial intelligence (AI) to improve its customer experience.

Can you tell us about Twiddy & Co. and why you decided to prioritize a contact center transformation?

Blake Stockslager: We’re a family-owned vacation management company on the Outer Banks of North Carolina with a little over 1,100 homes in our portfolio.

Six years ago, we were on an analog system that was difficult to scale and maintain, so we made a shift to another on-prem system that we had hoped would be able to scale with us 2-3X during our busy summer months.

How did the COVID-19 pandemic affect your day-to-day operations?

Stockslager: When the pandemic hit, our call volume went from roughly 200 calls per day to 1,100 calls per day. It was unprecedented growth; and from a hardware perspective, we peaked capacity instantly. This was due to county officials cutting off access to the Outer Banks to non-residents. Owners of the properties we manage called in high volumes to better understand what was happening from a regulatory standpoint.

And vacationers wanted to understand if they would still be able to visit. Our bridges were closed for two months, and we saw 8-10X the normal call volume. We staff our own contact center – it’s all local folks on the Outer Banks.

How did you overcome this?

Stockslager: We worked with a technology consultant to find an easy-to-use, cloud-based call center solution. We really didn’t want the hardware burden, we needed our staff to work fully remote, and we needed a solution that could scale with us during the busy vacation months.

Genesys said that it could get us migrated in 60 days. I smiled and laughed internally. There were hundreds of call flows; there are over 100 employees to train; there’s the admin side of running a platform; and there are integrations with our telco provider. And you know what? It happened in 62 days. I’ve been in telco for years — and I was thoroughly impressed.

With Genesys, we’ve eliminated several steps and technologies that were redundant. One example is softphone configurations or other peripherals to the computer. Not only are we using voice and SMS messaging through Genesys Cloud, and we’re investigating chatbots, but we improved our call flows and integrated it to our data platforms like Salesforce CRM. And, because we were able to integrate our call center into our databases, we’re able to use some pretty advanced features and start making data-driven decisions.

What does customer experience (CX) mean to you? What is your philosophy when it comes to the customer?

Stockslager: We’re all about the experience. It’s the difference from “Hi! How can I help?” and “Hi Mr. Cook, are you excited about your vacation next week?”

With technology, we can know who you are and have your information pulled up so that we can cut down on the number of transfers, because we can route you to the best person — whether you’re an owner or renter. It’s the speed of information and access to information that allows us to deliver that personalized touch.

How has the cloud enabled your company to deliver better CX?

Stockslager: We have a small IT team, and we have to wear several hats at times. The fact that Genesys Cloud is point-and-click with an easy GUI makes our resource pool so much bigger. And, because it’s cloud-based, we can use any device and our agents can connect from anywhere. We used to be a Windows PC solution, but now that we’re web-browser based. We have Chromebooks, which have saved a notable amount of money on hardware.

We’re always watching trends and watching for changes in behavior from our customers, which brings the opportunity to test new ideas. We’ve made a couple of changes that support a theme of “Digital Southern Hospitality.” This has been accomplished through new communication mediums like SMS, live web chat, voice or email.

What are the biggest opportunities for digital and AI within CX?

Stockslager: There are definitely many, but I think it has to be helpful and relevant without being intrusive. User experience will drive the customer experience — and the opportunity there for us is an efficient way to scale with the demand. For example, Twiddy & Company will always strive to provide southern hospitality to our guests and owners. Our team is made up of amazing people local to the Outer Banks.

To keep up with the volume coming at us, we can utilize AI to address a good portion of the needs and concerns of our customers. This gives us the opportunity to focus our efforts on things that machines can’t do, like make a personal connection with someone. That’s not to discount AI capabilities. I just mean that, to keep up with the demand, let’s identify what a machine can help with and have our people do what they’re best at: Delivering southern hospitality.

Read the Twiddy & Company case study to learn more.