DSW Drives 30% CSAT Improvement with AI-Powered Virtual Agents 

Success by the Numbers

CSAT Improvement
Reduction in Agent Handle Time
Annual Savings


  • Scale organization to support a rapidly growing call volume
  • Provide additional self-service capabilities
  • Introduce AI without sacrificing Customer Experience


  • Intelligent Front Door to
    identify customers and route to self-service or live agent
  • Automating complex transactions related to order management, account management, and DSW VIP Rewards program.


  • Saves $1.5 million per year
  • 19% reduction in Agent Handle Time (AHT)
  • 30% improvement in overall CSAT scores
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. As DSW Shoe Warehouse aggressively moved into the eCommerce space, its successes resulted in an influx of customer contacts. Meanwhile, customer expectations continue to rise as retail customers demand personalized, omnichannel, and transparent experiences.


In the face of continued growth, DSW was tasked with either hiring more agents (or Shoe Lovers, as DSW calls them) and building a second multi-million dollar call center, or turning towards automation in part due to long hold times and call volume experienced. They recognized the importance of the lasting impression their Shoe Lovers provided to DSW’s customer base and didn’t want to sacrifice any more customer experience for cost savings. DSW sought a partner that would push their organization while ensuring that their path to automation was comfortable.


DSW partnered with SmartAction and developed a Virtual Assistant initially to greet the customer in a personalized and contextual manner, identify and authenticate unknown callers, discover caller intents, and route to the right Shoe Lover. Just through authentication alone, this resulted in an 85% success rate – which represented a major handle time savings for DSW. From there, DSW added several self-service destinations, including order management (identify order status, update shipping address, assist with returns, etc.), account management (password reset, etc.), and rewards management (update account addresses, etc.).

DSW Drives 30% CSAT Improvement
“Every time we grow demand, we can’t grow people. So that’s why we turned to SmartAction – to help us continue to grow our support functions as we grow our business.” -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. They were also able to save $1.5 million in agent handle time reduction and call deflection. The Virtual Agent played a pivotal role in reducing DSW’s average agent handle time by 2 full minutes, which represents a huge gain in their ability to scale in the next few years without adding additional staff. Most importantly, DSW has recognized a 30% lift on their CSAT scores within their contact center due to the elimination of hold times by offering customers self-service.

Tim Harpe
Director, Customer Operations
“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%.”
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