DSW Reduces Handle TimeNearly 8% in Just 1 Year

Learn how Shelf is improving business outcomes with modern knowledge management.

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To keep up with a flood of online shoppers following the global pandemic, Designer Shoe Warehouse (DSW) turned to Shelf to deliver trusted and convenient-to-access answers to an overwhelmed support team. The result? A 7.8% improvement in handle time across their team of 500 associates. Customer satisfaction has improved, and trainers have more consistent, easier-to-manage content.

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Training Leaders

have consistent, easy-to-manage content.

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Support Associates

have reduced AHT by 7.8% (20 seconds).

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CS Leaders

enjoy higher customer satisfaction scores.

DSW Featured in New GenAI Success eBook

“Our average handle time has improved 20 seconds one year after implementation that we attribute to Shelf. In the contact center world, even 2 seconds is a big improvement.”


-Stacy Ross-Fox,

Senior Manager of Customer Service DSW

How Shelf Transforms Knowledge Management for Contact Centers

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About DSW

DSW is one of the most successful retail brands in North America, posting billions of dollars in sales annually. With over 30 years in retail and over 500 locations in the US alone, DSW continues to add the same personalized touch from their early days of brick and mortar. At DSW’s shoephoria! Center in Ohio, you’ll find a passionate team of shoe lovers—like 15-year veteran Stacy Ross-Fox, Senior Manager of Customer Service. She describes building customer support from the ground up:

“I was here when we first started our online call center and only had 6 agents. My fun fact is I took the first call here at DSW! My main passion is projects, process improvement, and managing our training and QA teams.”

The Challenge

Growth in online shopping reached a tipping point for DSW following the coronavirus pandemic. To keep up with call volume, DSW needed to make associates more efficient—without increasing costs. Stacy notes new employees were struggling to navigate multiple knowledge sources:

“Associates were saying things like ‘It’s hard for me to find this’ or ‘It’s not fair that I got this wrong, I thought this was the right process’. So we created a policy where if it lives in the blue folder and you did not do what’s in the blue folder, then you got it wrong.”

But challenges remained. Stacy knew something had to be done.

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The Solution

DSW chose Shelf because it came highly recommended by their contact center technology partner, and it integrated seamlessly. Stacy explains why placing the right knowledge in the right place was such a big deal for DSW:

“We were looking for a knowledge base, but we didn’t want an additional system, somewhere else you had to click—we already had 15.”

With Shelf, associates no longer have to waste time digging through the internal drive…or even switch tabs. The solution also helps automate work to keep content up-to-date and accurate at all locations.

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Tim Harpe, Director, Global Support Operations at DSW recalls Shelf as the obvious best choice:

“Shelf initially stood out. Our contact center partner came back and said, ‘Shelf is who we really recommend, best-in-class. If you’re going to do it, start the conversation with them’.”

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“From a migration standpoint, it was very, very easy” explains Andria Hale, Training Supervisor at DSW. Andria credits the Shelf team with the easy migration as well as helping create time-saving decision trees from long process documents. She admits she was initially a bit nervous considering they were on a time crunch and had so much information—about 500 PDFs to start:

“Migration was perfect, implementation was amazing. When we went through the initial process of migrating I thought ‘maybe it really IS going to be easy’. Sure enough, it was literally as simple as drag-and-drop.”

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The Results

DSW lowered its average handle time 7.8% in the contact center
a whole 20 seconds—in one year using Shelf. With an agent population of 500, the ROI of Shelf is simply astonishing.

Assuming an average loaded cost per agent of $20k per year, the added efficiency is the equivalent of 39 FTE agents—or $780,000 annually. Andria points out how thrilled she is with the results:

“Our average handle time has improved 20 seconds one year after implementation that we attribute to Shelf. In the contact center world, even 2 seconds is a big improvement.”

Support associates around the globe can find what they need quicker than ever before and finally have a knowledge solution they can personalize and call their own. Andria also loves the improvement she’s felt in other customer metrics since the rollout:

“Our CSAT has improved for both voice and written, because our associates now have the resources they need right in front of them.”

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Continued Impact

Because Shelf is easy for anyone to use, DSW’s trainers now use the platform to conduct new hire training at all their locations, keeping all content consistent. With a centralized hub to track how knowledge content is being used, DSW can even report on empty searches to understand any additional content they need to produce. For DSW, Shelf has already improved efficiency in training and support—a noticeable impact Andria appreciates day-to-day:

“Shelf has helped us tremendously, and I’m not kidding.”

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GenAI Success Stories

Read these 9 examples of Contact Centers already using GenAI to improve performance and deliver better customer experiences.
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