How Canvas On Demand Creates Amazing Customer Experiences

Gavin Jocius and Hannah Anderson

With any brand, a smooth customer experience is key. When it comes to the retail industry, the bar gets raised even higher, as customers are increasingly mobile and online shopping has upped the ante more than ever before. When they have questions or if something isn’t quite right, your customers don’t hesitate to reach out. This is what makes it so important to prioritize enhancing the customer experience through social care and service. Our friends from Canvas On Demand — Gavin Jocius, Executive Vice President, and Hannah Anderson, Social Media and Content Marketing Manager, join us today to discuss how Canvas On Demand constantly wows customers by delivering amazing customer experiences on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

“Social customer service is always the first to know if customers are happy or not. What I love about social is that you get immediate feedback — both good and bad. We empower our social team to make decisions without hampering them with strict protocols or rules. That has allowed them to act quickly and adjust to complex and nuanced concerns.”
– Gavin Jocius, Executive Vice President, Canvas On Demand

Canvas On Demand has been in custom-art business for 15 years. For the last four years, we at Sparkcentral have had the pleasure of calling them partners. We have been consistently impressed at their dedication to their customers and are pleased to share their customer engagement and care insights with you today!

Canvas On Demand is known for delivering excellent care and engagement on top of superior canvas prints. What makes providing a best-in-class customer experience and top quality customer service an important part of your brand?

Hannah: A great customer experience is in the DNA of who we are at Canvas On Demand. We’ve been around for nearly fifteen years and have built our reputation as the leader in the art space with hand-crafted photo-to-canvas prints and world class customer service. The photos that many of our customers choose for their canvas prints represents a special time in their lives. From family or wedding photos, quirky cat portraits, to the first love letter from their spouse, to art from the kiddos, our customers have entrusted us with some of their most treasured memories. It’s a privilege to hear the stories and see the photos surrounding the special memories of our customers.

Technology and the way consumers interact with retailers has changed since your business began. How has your social and mobile strategy changed in recent years?

Gavin: In eCommerce you MUST embrace change, so our strategies have been in a state of constant flux. When we first started, users would mail in their photos for us to scan. Now, images are predominantly sent via mobile devices. Users have come to expect fast service, quick image uploads and easy checkouts. The mobile customer is always on-the-go, and it is up to us to keep up to their pace.

“Sparkcentral has allowed us to stay on the cutting-edge of social media support and give our customers the fast and incredible service they have come to expect in our on-demand world.”
– Gavin Jocius, Executive Vice President, Canvas On Demand

With the changes you’ve experienced lately, what are your predictions for the next four years?

Gavin: Users will continue to expect fast, simple and personalized eCommerce experiences. Customers will expect orders to arrive quickly and be able to contact someone across different emerging channels if they have an issue with their order.

What are unique challenges your team has faced? How have they overcome these challenges?

Gavin: One of the greatest challenges we face is during Black Friday and Cyber Monday when our volume grows exponentially. With so many customers contacting us at the same time, we need to leverage a world-class CS tools to keep on top of things. Dealing with these challenges comes from years of experience and looking at the data of prior years to find out our peak volume mobile and desktop hours. We try to learn from past mistakes and get better each and every year. We do, however, have to remind ourselves that every holiday shopping season is different, and, despite all our planning, we need to be flexible and adjust in real-time.

In our Winter is Coming webinar, you talked about the importance of providing a quality customer experience all year long, but especially during the holiday season. Is it true you spend most of your year preparing for the winter holiday season?

Hannah: We do! We spend ten months preparing for two months. As with many eCommerce companies, the holiday season of November and December are the busiest of the year. In nearly every decision we make, we have to ask, “But what does this look like at holiday?” This includes everything from projects that need to be prioritized to the structure of the social care team.

“While there are have been numerous times that the social care team has made me proud, I’m most proud of their drive to continually craft a quality experience for everyone who engages with Canvas On Demand through our social channels. This dedication to wow the customer is inspiring.”
– Hannah Anderson, Social Media and Content Marketing Manager, Canvas On Demand

It’s clear that Canvas On Demand is highly invested in social care. But you also invest resources in the marketing side of social media. How have your care efforts impacted your marketing strategy? Do you draw inspiration from social media interactions?

Gavin: Social CS is always the first to know if customers are happy or not. What I love about social is that you get immediate feedback — both good and bad. We empower our social team to make decisions without hampering them with strict protocols or rules. That has allowed them to act quickly and adjust to complex and nuanced concerns.
 Hannah: To add to that, our social team is unique as it’s a hybrid between the marketing and customer service departments. Each team member is keenly aware of the marketing goals and has an active voice in sharing feedback and insights with the marketing team. The social care team is able to do more than just answer customer’s questions: with an active working knowledge of marketing’s goals, we are able to craft the customer experience in line with the overall marketing and brand goals for an effortless and seamless customer experience.

“I measure success by customer lifetime value. If we create an amazing product and unforgettable experience, customers will continue to come back.”
– Gavin Jocius, Executive Vice President, Canvas On Demand

Where do you see moments of opportunity that are specific to eCommerce retailers?

Gavin: People are now walking hard-drives with their digital lives in their pockets. We try to design intuitive mobile marketing campaigns that make it very easy for users to upload photos directly from their phone to become canvas prints.

Canvas On Demand has been very active in social customer care for years. What advice would you give to someone who is just starting off in social and digital care?

Hannah: Work hard and develop a solid work ethic. Be attentive to the on-going trends and relevant conversations around social care. Ask questions and actively listen to the answers.

Where do you find inspiration for customer care and engagement strategies? Are you a fan of particular individuals in the space?

Hannah: My inspiration for customer care has it’s roots in the Golden Rule. While strategies are necessary in providing the direction and goals of the team, at the end of the day, we are engaging with real people. I’ve followed the work that Tony Hsieh and the team at Zappos has done for years. They literally wrote the book on outstanding customer care. We are inspired by their unwavering commitment to an exceptional customer experience. Add to that JetBlue (hello, pizza!), and Warby Parker.

Many thanks to Gavin and Hannah for sharing these insights! Don’t forget to check out Canvas On Demand to order custom-printed canvas artwork for your home, office, or friends. They are “committed to delivering more than you expect” and their dedication to their customer care experience is proof (as are the lovely canvases we’ve ordered from them)!

If you’re interested in learning more from Canvas On Demand and Zappos about how to prepare your social care team for the holidays, watch our Winter is Coming webinar. For more examples of leading retailers and the tactics they use to create successful social media teams, download our exclusive Retail Customer Service Playbook today!

Originally published at on April 4, 2017.