How Clove Achieved 3x ROI, 40% AI Automation, and 25% Cost Savings in Just 3 Months with Yuma AI

Industry
Footwear
Products
Shoes
Apparel
Socks
Accessories
40%

Automated

of all customer support tickets (and growing)
3x ROI

Reached

with Yuma in just 3 months
25% Cost Saved
with Yuma in all of customer service

Introduction

Clove is a Philadelphia based brand founded in 2019 with a mission to serve healthcare professionals through thoughtfully designed footwear. Clove’s name has a dual meaning - it’s logo features a c̄, which is the medical shorthand for ‘with’ meaning ‘with love.’

Today, Clove is one of the fastest-growing brands in the category. They recently launched their wholesale operations and are partnering with retailers globally to bring Clove on the shelf and meet their consumers where they are. In November 2023, they reached a significant milestone, having sold one million pairs of shoes. Behind their success lies an inspiring story that started it all.

Clove was founded by Joe Ammon, who saw his wife go through nursing school. He was beside her throughout the journey—from landing her first job in healthcare to when she lost her first patient. He witnessed the pressure and passion of being in medicine. Healthcare professionals respond to medical emergencies, step into 12-hour shifts, and often spend all day and night on their feet.

This personal connection led Joe to create a modern sneaker tailored for the intensity of hospital floors. Clove shoes are made for long shifts of walking and standing; they are water and slip-resistant and maximized for cushion and comfort. These characteristics have made Clove successful in this community from early on. Although they started out with producing shoes only, they’ve since expanded their product offering to apparel and accessories. The recent growth however, required instant and reliable scalability for the CX function.

“One of the biggest challenges with managing a CX team (specially one that includes part-time employees) is scaling up and down based on volume spikes and seasonality. Being able to use AI like an accordion whenever we need the flexibility is a huge benefit for us. That prompted our search for a trusted AI solution.” - Gabe Walker, Customer Service Manager at Clove

Problem

Clove started its AI journey a year before partnering with Yuma. During this period, they explored various options and even collaborated with a different company that didn't meet their expectations. As an early adopter of technology, Clove sought AI solutions earlier than most, particularly as their rapidly expanding brand started to strain their customer support capabilities.

“A year ago when we started to search for a solution, we experienced the highest backlog of tickets since our launch. Our response time skyrocketed, which was hard to see as we always prided ourselves in our above industry standard response times. At the same time, with the company growing we had team members taking on newer projects. That’s when we realized that we need a solution soon; but hiring takes months.” - Sarah Azzaoui, Director of CX at Clove(if the

With their previous partner, they saw some initial success just having AI in the inbox. They learned things like how many of their ticket topics, FAQs, and processes can be automated, which helped them gain an understanding of how to integrate AI into their CX.

Here’s the Clove team describing what didn’t meet their expectations: After the initial phase of implementation, we started running into some troubles with our previous AI partner. The AI was trying to answer and engage with every single ticket and topic that was coming in, so we felt that the guardrails were not working as expected.

The AI would try to use macros and policies in general for irrelevant tickets. So it wasn’t accurate. While it was technically closing many tickets, we’d end up just reopening the tickets to resolve them again. Often time our customers would get frustrated and confused because the AI provided information that was completely unrelated or incorrect. This means that rather than just taking a bit longer to provide accurate answers, our human agents were working with customers who were waiting for a productive reply for days and as expected became frustrated.

Getting a resolution from our AI partner within two days was acceptable, however this slowly climbed to 4+ days and it made it difficult for us to remain partnered. It was taking our team more time in the end, so we finally decided to discontinue and find a new AI partner. Which led us to Yuma AI.

Needless to say, we learned a lot from this journey of trial and error. This time around, we wanted an AI solution that had more guardrails and one that was going to be much more rigid in following instructions. Moreover, we knew this time that we needed a partner that’s going to support us through the whole process and solve problems quickly.

“We were one of the first customers of our previous previous partner. We learned what we needed out of an AI partner and that is really why we are now with Yuma.” - Sarah Azzaoui, Director of CX at Clove

Solution

Clove started using Yuma AI in February 2024, and it has since become an integral part of its CX organization. Additionally, Clove is one of the fastest merchants in Yuma's portfolio to achieve 40% full automation.

Thanks to Clove's prior experience, the Yuma team was able to set up the account very quickly. Clove’s CX Managers Gabe Walker and Rachel Young did a stunning job leading the charge from Clove’s end. Meanwhile, Yuma’s support team has maintained a quick turnaround time for support—usually in an hour.

“Yuma was frankly the only team that we met again, after the initial call. We were blown away by Yuma’s product in contrast to our previous provider and we were promised a 1 or 2 days turn around for support. I’ll be honest, I have heard that before and did not entirely buy it first. However, in just the first month or two I was so amazed by the product and the team’s support that all my worries disappeared.” - Gabe Walker, Customer Service Manager at Clove

Adding an AI solution to your CX stack is more than a technical adoption. It usually also means managing your team. So, when integrating AI, how do you manage the expectations of your amazing human team?

We knew that there was an opportunity to automate up to 50% of our volume over time due to the ticket commonalities and simplicity in the requests we received. Creating this space however challenged the CX leadership team to creatively engage their agents with the AI tool. This has been achieved through robust agent QA, automation set up, and creating a space for their feedback of the tools success.

We were very intentional about this from day one. We made it clear that there’s no AI vs human at Clove - we are all one team. That intentionality really set us up for success. In all honesty, it’s hard. I mean AI is still new; it’s been around for just a year and a half now. We’re still learning the full capacity and intricacies of AI. It’s not perfect but neither are humans. We are incredibly excited to have our entire CX team working with AI head-on. - Sarah Azzaoui, Director of CX at Clove

When asked about their favorite features of Yuma, they named ‘Templates’ and ‘Playground’. Templates make it easy for customers to start using Yuma and set up automation; they certainly helped set up Clove’s account. The playground is another popular feature amongst Yuma users. It lets users test and refine AI interactions before deploying them. It ensures that solutions work effectively in real-world scenarios. The team at Clove loves to simulate problem-tickets in the playground and test outcomes.

I am very passionate about building relationships with our partners. And if something isn’t right, I’ll always voice it. With Yuma, I never feel that the size of a business factors into to the level of support being given. As Yuma scales and lands bigger clients, I am confident that this will remain true. We won’t be pushed aside. That’s what makes Yuma a stand out AI partner and not just a plug-&-play tool - Sarah Azzaoui, Director of CX at Clove

Outcomes

Automation Rate

Clove has achieved 40% automation of its total monthly ticket volume in just 3 months since implementing Yuma, making it one of the fastest companies to reach near 50% automation. The top automated cases include shipment status, return or exchange orders, product issues, cancel orders.

Slashed First Response Time (FRT)

Clove has significantly reduced FRT after implementing Yuma. Before AI, what used to be an average wait of over 1 day (during peak volume times) has now been cut down to 3 minutes with Yuma.

ROI

Clove has quickly achieved a significant 3x ROI with Yuma, which highlights the substantial benefits of adopting AI today.

Cost Savings

Clove is saving up to 25% of CX cost by partnering with Yuma AI. With the automation rates continually improving without compromising customer satisfaction, the cost savings are expected to rise.

Time Savings

Clove is saving at least 60 hours a month by integrating Yuma into their CX, and that’s just after 3 months.

What to Look for When Adopting AI, According to Clove…

We asked them to share their advice for other merchants on AI adoption. the following tips are taken from their experience of over a year in trial, failure, and success.

Figure out what you want AI to do first

When adopting AI, it's essential to have a clear vision of what you want to achieve. AI can't do everything right away, and trying to implement everything at once will likely lead to failure. Focus on specific tasks (usually repetitive ones), whether they are simple or complex. Understand how AI will integrate with your team and avoid trying to tackle everything at once.

Dedicate Someone from Your Team

Assign a dedicated team member to oversee the AI integration. This person should focus on finding a solution and managing the integration process. While the AI partner is essential, they won't fully understand your products, processes, or brand voice. A dedicated internal person will ensure the AI solution aligns perfectly with your brand and starts solving the right problems.

Don’t Be Afraid to Start

Fear of failure can hinder progress. Accept that AI implementation won't be perfect from the start. Be willing to iterate and make adjustments. If a particular use case isn't working, don't hesitate to pivot. For example, if AI isn't effective on social media, try using it for FAQs instead. The key is to stay flexible and adapt quickly.

Start Small

Begin with a few small automations and perfect them before expanding. Overloading your system with numerous automations at once can lead to errors and overwhelm your team. By starting small and ensuring initial automations work flawlessly, you can gradually scale up without major issues.

Get Buy-In from the Entire Team

Engage the whole team in the AI journey. While one person may lead the project, it's crucial to involve everyone in quality assurance. Create a feedback channel where team members can report issues and suggest improvements. This inclusion creates a sense of ownership and collaboration, making the AI integration more successful.

AI is Not Plug and Play; It’s a Partnership

AI adoption is an ongoing process that requires a strong partnership. Besides having a robust product, it's vital to have a supportive relationship with your AI provider. Ensure they offer continuous support, involve you in testing new capabilities, and respond to your feedbacks promptly.

“It’s refreshing to have a partner that’s just really trying to make our experience with the product as successful as possible.” - Gabe Walker, Customer Service Manager at Clove

Conclusion

Clove's journey is all about taking the right risks and being open to new innovations. Since its inception in 2019, Clove has grown exponentially. However, their adoption of AI was not without challenges.

Initially, Clove struggled with an AI partner that lacked precision, resulting in inefficiencies and customer frustration. This experience underscored the importance of accurate AI guardrails and robust support, leading them to partner with Yuma. The collaboration has since transformed Clove's Customer Experience operations. With Yuma's AI, Clove achieved 40% automation in just three months, drastically reducing first response times (FRT) from over 1 day to 3 minutes and achieving a 3x ROI.

Looking ahead, Clove envisions automating a majority of customer interactions across various channels. This strategic use of AI is allowing Clove to focus more on newer business initiatives without the immediate need to expand its workforce.

“We're exploring automations across other customer touch points, aiming to extend Yuma's capabilities. This integration is perfectly timed, providing us with the scalability to focus on critical business initiatives, such as our B2B diversification. After a year of learning AI's nuances, we are confident in Yuma as our growth partner. This partnership offers us flexibility and efficiency, enabling us to allocate resources effectively without the immediate need for additional hires.” - Gabe Walker, Customer Service Manager at Clove
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