Case Study

DSW Drives 30% CSAT Improvement with AI Virtual Agents


DSW Shoe Warehouse is one of North America’s largest designers, producers and retailers of designer and name brand shoes and fashion accessories. Scaling a contact center from 50 agents to 500 agents in under 8 years is no small feat. Moving into the eCommerce space meant an influx of customer contacts. DSW partnered with SmartAction to implement a voice solution designed to keep up with the rise in expectations for personalized experiences.

Success by the Numbers

CSAT Improvement
Reduction in
Average Handle
Time (AHT)
in Annual Savings


Continued growth meant two things for DSW: long hold times and frustrated customers. This conundrum meant they had to either hire more agents (or Shoe Lovers, their designated DSW moniker) and building a second multi-million-dollar call center or find an alternative. Not willing to sacrifice customer experience for cost savings, DSW sought a partner that would push their organization towards a digital transformation. All the while, they needed to guarantee their path to customer service automation was comfortable.


DSW and SmartAction developed an AI virtual agent that automated its top repetitive interactions. Using SmartAction’s natural language understanding (NLU) engine and CX experts, DSW transitioned their call center from overwhelmed human agents to a combination of AI virtual agents and live agents.

Tim Harpe
The agent time we reduced represents a significant amount of savings that we can put back into our bottom line and we’re seeing that absolutely 100%.
Tim Harpe, Director, Customer Operations


As a result, DSW avoided incurring the expense of building another call center as additional live agent headcount was no longer necessary. Through authentication alone, DSW experienced an 85% success rate. This allowed DSW to save $1.5 million in average handle time (AHT) and call deflection. Most importantly, DSW has recognized a 30% increase to their CSAT scores due to the elimination of hold times.

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