Case studiesRetail & E-Commerce
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How Oddbox matured (and sped up) their customer service using Retool


According to Oddbox, over 3 million tons of fruits and vegetables are wasted before they even leave the farm. In fact, that’s why Oddbox exists: their mission is to fix the UK’s food waste problem by rescuing unwanted produce and delivering it to tens of thousands of customers in fruit and vegetable boxes every month.

Tommy Newman is a Senior Product Manager at Oddbox, helping to empower internal teams to get odd—and otherwise wasted—produce to their thousands of customers.

With tens of thousands of boxes of fresh, imperfect produce going out weekly, sometimes issues happen—with the delivery process or with the produce itself.

That’s where the Oddbox customer service team comes in: They log complaints to gather feedback, identify trending issues, respond to customers, and understand the performance of their third-party produce providers.

This is the story of how Tommy helped customer service deliver better user experiences using Retool.

A lengthy—and faulty—customer service process

When Tommy joined Oddbox, the customer service team relied on a 5-page Google Form and spreadsheets to manage customer complaints. Once the form was complete, data from the generated Google Sheet was manually compiled into Data Studio and then processed.

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The process was faulty and time-consuming, affecting our team’s efficiency and customer service experience.

What’s more, using the Google Form just didn’t empower team members. The process felt like a black box with a lot of key issues:

  • A lot of time spent by agents logging complaints

  • Lack of detailed entries from agents due to time taken

  • Limitations on error checking for submitted complaints

  • Duplicate or inaccurate entries logged by different team members

  • Hard to find and change any entry details after initial submission

  • Delay between complaint logging and team insight (days)

  • Badly structured data

And the process was scattered all over the place: with manual lookups in different systems, it was hard to trust data was correct or up to date.

Ultimately, their customer service workflows prevented the team from responding to—and serving customers—efficiently. Because of the process, it could take days between logging a complaint and responding or providing insights to the customer or team.

Building the Customer Happiness Tracker

So Tommy decided to try Retool to fix the customer complaint logging process. After watching some lightning demos and diving into Retool’s docs to understand what he could achieve, he worked with a freelancer to develop an MVP.

After just one month of collaborating, the Customer Happiness Tracker app was ready for launch.

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I have a development background, but it’s been a few years since I’ve written any code. I didn’t know where to start creating an app from scratch, but Retool empowered me and gave me the platform and framework to get back into coding.

The Oddbox Customer Happiness Tracker, a Retool app, helps customer support agents log complaints so that Oddbox can capture and respond to problems more easily, improving the end product and making customers happier.

Here’s a look at how it works.

To begin with, an agent inputs the Zendesk ticket ID and the form automatically populates the data related to the complaint or customer issue.

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Agents are empowered with all the information in one place, they can see the context of the complaint thread, videos, and other relevant details. They can also see customer and delivery information all on one page. This helps them validate data and saves time because it loads automatically—they no longer have to dig through various data sources.

Within the tool, there are additional fields, like status, so agents can know if a ticket has been responded to already. “Before, an agent would see complaints in the spreadsheet with no knowledge of where they stood—our customer feedback didn’t actually fit into the workflow in an actionable way,” Tommy says. “Now, reps can also send complaints to other departments for follow-up or validation, and they always know that a complaint is up to date.”

What’s more, the Retool interface allows for easy categorization of complaints. Rather than an overwhelming list, it presents categories—like fruit or vegetable or type of complaint—one at a time so that agents can get to the relevant details quickly and easily. They can also relocate tickets and update them, such as if a customer found their missing strawberries under the melon in their box.

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To provide further functionality for the operations team, Tommy built a dashboard and gallery where they can visualize all the complaints filed in a day, or for a certain type of produce. This helps them identify trends and respond to bigger issues that may arise.

“All of this information feeds through into Oddbox’s data stack, which helps us track against our KPIs. Retool helps us link our customers’ on-the-ground feedback with our broader company goals,” Tommy says.

A streamlined process for faster customer support

Put simply, Retool simplifies the customer service process for us. We went from a long, error-prone Google form to an easy app with prompts, categories, and dropdowns.

Beyond the ease of use, Tommy adds that reducing duplicate entries and errors by automatically syncing with the database and flagging issues in real-time, means that customer service agents feel more confident and respond more quickly.

“Using Retool, we’ve seen more tickets logged by agents because it’s easy to use and updated automatically,” Tommy says. “And we now have better response times because the team has more visibility.” With that visibility, the team is more informed and can provide feedback to third-party vendors faster.

One surprising bonus for the team: the Customer Happiness Tracker helps onboard new agents because the form is easy to understand and information is clearly presented, so new hires can hit the ground running.

In the future, Tommy hopes to add guidance and prompts to the dashboard to make the process even simpler for agents, as well as to develop new apps to serve other Oddbox teams.

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