Founded in 2006, Ridestore is an online-focused retailer of snowboard, ski, and outdoor apparel. Although Ridestore is a privately held company based in Sweden, the organization serves Europe and North America under three brand names, with team members scattered remotely across the world.
Unpacking the origins of the Ridestore brand
The Ridestore story started with two brothers, Emil and Linus Hellberg, who struggled to find quality gear to ride in. Surprised yet inspired by the lack of options locally, what initially began as a small project importing gear previously unavailable in Sweden quickly snowballed into something special.
After a few years of selling the big brands, Emil and Linus heard tons of great product ideas from their circle of friends using the items – and yet, it seemed those big brands weren’t listening. Surely the best people to create products with are those who ride, roam, and follow their passion every day?
It didn’t take long for Emil and Linus to throw out the e-commerce rulebook, and shift towards making their own line of snowgear, with the feedback and passion of the rider community at its core. By changing direction, this resulted in the birth of their two brands, DopeSnow and Montec.
Today, Ridestore has come a long way since its inception in the Hellbergs’ spare room, and online revenue generated in 2022 alone amounted to over US $39 million dollars. Despite the monumental growth, the ethics of Ridestore have remained the same: the customer is the heart of the brand.
To ensure that Ridestore is able to maintain their world class reputation for customer satisfaction, the brand had to invest an incredible amount of time each year to hire highly skilled customer experience specialists who were happy to work seasonally during the peak ski season – that is, until they found Vervoe.
The issue with hiring skilled candidates for short term roles
As a means to prioritize the experience of their customers and to continuously provide the customer experience that Ridestore is known for, the organization was only too happy to take on additional team members during peak trading hours.
To provide further clarity on just how much Ridestore invests in temporary staffing during the busy winter season, 2022 saw their team expand from 30 members to an eye-watering 138 people – all as a strategy to maintain their renowned level of customer service.
During the peak trading season, Ridestore customer experience representatives are expected to field questions that can vary anywhere between locating an order to recommending the best ski areas.
While customer support is predominantly conducted via written communication such as email, live chat and social media messages, the team is given a great deal of autonomy to avoid impersonal “canned” responses based on templates.
In turn, Ridestore required a high skill level from their seasonal customer experience representatives, particularly in relation to how candidates communicate, problem solve and manage their time.
Despite their best efforts and good intentions, Ridestore’s existing recruitment methods were slow and inefficient. In turn, the result was a heavy time investment for the internal recruitment team, making it hard to find the needed amount of top talent for the period that additional staff were most needed.
Ridestore was primarily relying on a survey tool and Google Sheets for candidate tracking and scoring. Once selected, candidates were then taken through employee onboarding through Eduflow.
Unfortunately, most of this existing process meant that every stage of the recruitment journey was manually graded by the internal recruitment team, and the process wasn’t very efficient for both candidates and hiring managers alike.
According to Nynke Oud, CX People Group Lead at Ridestore, it was time to invest in a tool that could help them streamline their process.
“Due to the seasonal nature of the role, we need to hire new customer experience representatives every year. Unfortunately, the significant amount of people required in such a short time frame made our existing recruitment processes very time consuming. We knew there had to be a better way.”
How Vervoe helped Ridestore to streamline the hiring process
The goal was to gain efficiency as a recruiting team while simultaneously improving the quality of their candidates. To build a skills assessment that was capable of hitting both those goals, Ridestore partnered with Vervoe.
Ridestore measures efficiency of their recruiting team by tracking recruitment hours and success of interviews, calculated through an interview to offer ratio. To better prepare the organization for the peak season recruitment drive, Ridestore needed to find a way to build an effective Customer Experience skills assessment to identify top talent in this field while minimizing manual input.
When consulting with Stacie Garland, Director of Assessment Solutions at Vervoe, Nynke was very clear that one of Ridestore’s top priorities was maintaining the company culture, and that this needed to shine through any skills assessments issued to potential employees.
In conjunction with feedback from the existing Customer Experience team, Vervoe created a skills assessment that leveraged the EVP (employee value proposition) assets to set the tone for what their team is like, and what to expect from Ridestore as an employer.
Once this was established, the tailored Customer Experience skills assessment included a brief multiple choice assessment that a candidate must pass with a 100% score. If a candidate is able to meet these requirements, the new recruitment process sees them receiving a secondary skills assessment, followed by a job interview and ideally, an offer of employment.
Vervoe delivered increased efficiency and higher customer satisfaction
The implementation of Vervoe skills assessments brought about significant positive changes for Ridestore.
In 2022, Ridestore spent 551 hours on recruitment for the winter high season. In 2023, this figure shrunk to 291 after partnering with Vervoe. Needless to say, the team were thrilled with a 55% reduction on recruitment hours simply by embracing skills testing, and were well on their way to unlocking greater efficiency.
Interestingly, the customer satisfaction (CSAT) score also improved to an impressive 4.76, indicating high levels of approval with the new hiring process. The overall score of the recruitment process based on feedback from final hires also increased from 4.58 to 4.85, reflecting the improved quality of the recruitment process.
Furthermore, Ridestore reported that 71% of the hires made using Vervoe were of good quality, and would be rehired again in the future. This demonstrated the effectiveness of Vervoe in helping them identify high-quality skilled candidates who were a good fit for their seasonal customer experience team.
Ridestore also praised the ease of use of Vervoe and the personal support provided by the Vervoe team, which helped them seamlessly integrate the platform into their recruitment process and achieve their hiring goals. According to Nynke, Ridestore views Vervoe as a partner, and not just another recruitment vendor.
“I would recommend Vervoe due to the ease of use, increased efficiency in the hiring process, quality of hires and the personal support from the team. The level of assistance we’ve consistently received from Customer Success has been incredibly helpful, particularly from Caitlin, Simone, and our biggest supporter inside of Vervoe, Magan. By simplifying and automating our recruitment process, we’re seeing results we couldn’t have dreamed of.”