Implementing i-Sight Helps The National Tobacco Company to streamline consumer feedback processes

The National Tobacco Company

Powerful Case Management Technology Propels The National Tobacco Company to a 99% Customer Approval Rating

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The National Tobacco Company Case Study Snapshot

The National Tobacco Company, part of Turning Point Brands, markets, manufactures and distributes more than 150 tobacco products from a brand portfolio that includes Zig-Zag®, Stoker’s® and Beech-Nut®. It’s the leading distributor of cigarette papers and cigar wraps, and the second-largest distributor of loose-leaf chewing tobacco in the US. The company’s Zig-Zag® brand, which dates back to 1879, is still the leading premium paper in the United States and Canada today.

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“Before i-Sight, it might take me a day or so to work up a spreadsheet and gather the data and get all the information that I needed. It’s right here at my fingertips now. All I have to do is drag and drop a couple of things into a query and, boom, I’ve got the information immediately.”

– Vicki Kamerer, Manager of Corporate Consumer Affairs

The Challenge

The National Tobacco Company strives to “make decisions and create work processes with the understanding that speed is a competitive asset and everyone’s time is a scarce resource.” With that in mind, the inefficient system the company was using for consumer feedback was not compatible with its vision and values. It was:

  • outdated and no longer useful
  • not robust enough capture all the data needed
  • rigid and unable to meet the changing needs of the department

The Solution

National Tobacco needed a better way to manage their consumer feedback, in keeping with their position as a market leader with a discerning, global customer base. They began looking for a case management solution that would:

  • streamline their processes
  • make them more efficient and responsive to their customers
  • provide the information they needed to manage risk and drive continuous improvement

The Result

i-Sight has made the consumer affairs team more efficient, effective and nimble.

  • Saved hours of employee time per week
  • Customer response time reduced by 85 per cent
  • Internal report request response time reduced by 98.9 per cent
  • Reduced number of complaints and identified the needed improvements easily
  • 99 per cent customer approval rating

Read the Full Case Study

The National Tobacco Company, part of Turning Point Brands, markets, manufactures and distributes more than 150 tobacco products from a brand portfolio that includes Zig-Zag®, Stoker’s® and Beech-Nut®. It’s the leading distributor of cigarette papers and cigar wraps, and the second-largest distributor of loose-leaf chewing tobacco in the US. The company’s Zig-Zag® brand, which dates back to 1879, is still the leading premium paper in the United States and Canada today.

With so many products and a global marketplace, National Tobacco considers consumer feedback to be an important element of ensuring quality and a culture of continuous improvement. Being responsive to customers is also consistent with Turning Point Brands’ philosophy and values that include, among other things, responsibility, speed and teamwork.

THE CHALLENGE

The company strives to “make decisions and create work processes with the understanding that speed is a competitive asset and everyone’s time is a scarce resource.” With that in mind, the inefficient system the company was using for consumer feedback was not compatible with its vision and values.

“The one we had was very outdated and wasn’t very robust. It was basic and really didn’t meet our changing needs,” says Vicki Kamerer, Manager of Corporate Consumer Affairs.

THE SOLUTION

National Tobacco needed a better way to manage their consumer feedback, in keeping with their position as a market leader with a discerning, global customer base. They began looking for a case management solution that would streamline their processes and make them more efficient and responsive to their customers while providing the information they needed to manage risk and drive continuous improvement.

The Consumer Affairs Department was looking for a solution that provided:

  • A quick and efficient way to respond to complaints, inquiries, compliments and product quality issues
  • Centralized information storage for quick, easy retrieval and response
  • An integrated word processing feature for generating response letters to consumers
  • The ability to capture all the data and identify different fields for categories of product
  • A mechanism for reporting on all of the fields captured
  • A web-based interface that could be accessed from anywhere, on any device
  • A collaborative solution that could be accessed by stakeholders in consumer affairs, management, quality assurance and research & development

The ability to respond quickly and efficiently to consumer feedback, especially complaints, is invaluable for a company that values its reputation for product quality and customer loyalty. “When you resolve something quickly consumers tend to be receptive,” says Kamerer.

Kamerer’s team began to research case management solutions and identified i-Sight as a good prospect. “We went to the IT department and they had also suggested i-Sight as an option,” she says. “We reviewed a few different companies to see what they offered, but after we saw the capabilities that were inherent in the i-Sight program we were attracted to that.”

In particular, Kamerer was attracted by i-Sight’s:

  • fully integrated word processing function
  • ability to upload file attachments
  • tracking of every activity in a case
  • case history all in one place
  • case escalation and alerts
  • ability to add and modify drop-down menus and pick lists
  • powerful reporting tool

i-Sight’s secure backup and offsite storage were also important features. “Once we added the toll-free number to our packaging, we collected a lot more customer information and needed to make sure we were protecting it,” says Kamerer.

Today, National Tobacco has an efficient, streamlined and secure way to collect, address and report on consumer feedback using i-Sight. The toll-free number goes to a hotline that initiates a case in i-Sight. The recipient of the call types in the comments section while talking with the consumer and uses drop-down boxes to select the product, category and issue, as well as product return and quality assurance information. A response letter is generated in i-Sight and sent to the consumer.  All activity is recorded in the case file.

When a consumer fills out the contact form on one of our product websites, the information is imported directly into i-Sight.  A consumer affairs staff member can correspond with the consumer from within i-Sight, and all electronic communication is tracked and recorded. Even physical “snail” mail is captured, recorded and responded to using the i-Sight system.

THE RESULT

i-Sight has made the consumer affairs team more efficient, effective and nimble. Having all case information in one place saves hours of time previously spent searching for information in different files, cutting and pasting from one tool to another and printing and organizing paper correspondence. “I think if I didn’t have i-Sight I’d need another employee,” says Kamerer.

  • Saved 40 hours of employee time per week

In addition to the increased efficiency and convenience of an all-in-one-solution for consumer feedback, the consumer affairs team has achieved huge gains in complaint response times since implementing i-Sight. Using the previous system, an acceptable response time was considered to be within two weeks, which was then reduced to one week. “But now, with i-Sight, if the consumer calls us today, they are sent a response no later than tomorrow. That’s a pretty big deal,” says Kamerer.

  • Customer response time reduced by 85 per cent

Since implementing i-Sight, the consumer affairs team has seen a vast improvement in the quality and speed of its responses to internal requests for information as well. “I’m very confident in the numbers we provide,” says Kamerer. “If somebody calls me and asks me for a report, I can confidently tell them I’ll have that for you in five minutes because I can produce those reports immediately upon request. Before i-Sight, it might take me a day or so to work up a spreadsheet and gather the data and get all the information that I needed. It’s right here at my fingertips now. All I have to do is drag and drop a couple of things into a query and, boom, I’ve got the information immediately.”

  • Internal report request response time reduced by 98.9 per cent

i-Sight’s reporting tool has helped consumer affairs examine trends and conduct root cause analysis to improve operations. “With i-Sight we are able to take a look at trend charts and graphs that let us know if we have trends that are based on seasonality, trends that are based on product… different kinds of things that would cause complaints to rise and fall. We just didn’t have any of that kind of reporting in our previous system,” says Kamerer. Through i-Sight’s reports, the team has been able to identify problems, make changes to processes and implement training to reduce the number of complaints they were receiving.

  • Reduced number of complaints and identified the needed improvements easily

Improved response times have led to happier customers, and consumer sentiment is important to National Tobacco. “We send a postcard out to our customers to ask them what they think about our service and whether they will purchase from us again,” says Kamerer. “We’re pleased with the type of service we are able to provide and the response that our customers show… we have a 99 per cent approval rating.”

  • 99 per cent customer approval rating

“I think if I didn’t have i-Sight I’d need another employee.”

– Vicki Kamerer, Manager of Corporate Consumer Affairs

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