KEEN Footwear Gave its Customer Support Team the Last Two Weeks of December Off. Here’s How Simplr Made it Possible:


KEEN is an American footwear company with a mission to make the outdoors more inclusive and accessible for everyone. As a company that prides itself on its fan-first ethos, KEEN ensures its employees are taken care of so they can take care of KEEN’s customers. 

Historically, KEEN’s Customer Support team worked through the final months of every year, including Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the holidays, to resolve high ticket volumes while the internal teams took a break. Since partnering with Simplr, email backlogs are kept at bay and customer interactions seamlessly flow with KEEN’s internal standards.

In 2021, KEEN recognized the dedication its support team poured onto its customers over the last few years. As a reward, the company granted its support team the last two weeks of December off to recharge and come back into the new year feeling refreshed! 

For this feat to happen, KEEN’s team fully trusted Simplr could fill in for their absence and continue to deliver its exceptional customer service standards. 

“This year, we’re fortunate enough to be able to lean on Simplr to fill in for many of our activities and continue to ensure an exceptional level of customer service while the team recharges to hit the ground running in 2022.”

Jessica Province, Fan Service and Experience Manager, KEEN

We sat down with Jessica Province, Fan Service and Experience Manager at KEEN, to learn more about the company’s decision, why it was important, and what made it possible. 

Read our Q&A below:

How many people needed to sign off on the approval for the decision to give the last two weeks of December off? Did it require CEO or board approval?

Our CEO and board were in full support of this decision, as it ties into who KEEN is as a value led brand with a fan-first ethos. 

What indicators from the team helped you realize they needed a significant stretch of time off?

The stretch in and around Black Friday/Cyber Monday has always been among the busiest time for our teams and burnout can become real given the push all year long.

In prior years, if we could have given the team significant time off after that weekend as a reward for their incredible work in the past, we would have. Over the past couple of years, in particular, we’ve all been through so much that any extended time off is hugely beneficial, especially around the holidays. 

This year, we’re fortunate enough to be able to lean on Simplr to fill in for many of our activities and continue to ensure an exceptional level of customer service while the team recharges to hit the ground running in 2022. 

How much will it cost the company to staff replacement reps?

KEEN doesn’t look at this through the lens of cost for replacement reps, but rather, what is the right service level to give our fans the highest service levels, especially during peak sales or activation periods. Simplr is a solution that provides just that – we can amplify and supplement our service team when and how we need to in a turn-key manner, which did require significant product and brand training so KEEN feels confident that our brand is best represented even if it’s not within our “four walls” at the brand.

What kinds of challenges has the CX team endured over the course of the pandemic?

It’s remarkable to think about how much the practice of customer service has changed over the past couple of years. Almost overnight, all in-person customer support channels shut down and everything switched over to digital. At the same time, the level of service that consumers expect on digital channels has reached almost unimaginable heights because of the bar set by companies like Amazon. That means that customer service specialists on digital/virtual channels are dealing with a surge of volume unlike anything they’ve ever seen, while also having to deliver consistently excellent interactions every single time. That’s a lot of pressure!

When you add everything else on top of that–the switch to working from home (which presents a unique problem for CX organizations in terms of what platforms can and can’t be used remotely), the continued anxiety of the pandemic, and the rollercoaster ride of the economy–being able to maintain a focus and positive relationship with work is a challenge for all of us. This again makes me so grateful that we can give the team this time off this year to take a break from it all. 

How has the CX talent market changed over the same time?

The labor shortage is an issue that has hit customer service particularly hard. Finding high-quality customer service talent has always been a challenge, and the current environment does not make it easier by any means! That being said, I am super fortunate to have an amazing team here at KEEN Footwear made up of a group of absolutely incredible specialists. I think we have been able to navigate through the turbulence better than most. 

KEEN also operates from a family-owned and community-based mentality – we attract and retain talent based on our brand, thoughtfulness in our values along with a dynamic and thriving culture. 

In January, KEEN’s internal support team returned without a backlog of tickets to tackle. After a much deserved break, they are ready to hit the ground running and be there for their customers!

Jessica Province, Fan Service and Experience Manager, KEEN

Jessica is a high-energy leader who is passionate about bridging gaps between customers and companies. She enjoys ensuring each touchpoint of the customer journey is engaging, efficient, and effective. Jessica has over 7 years of experience building and motivating dynamic teams, moving KPIs and streamlining the customer experience to increase overall satisfaction and customer retention.

Learn more about KEEN.

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