VHT Re-Invents Itself as Mindful Using Brilliant Storefront - and Lots of Its Swag
Ever get stuck in customer service-call hell? You know the kind. The soulless music. The automated voice that breaks in every so often to mumble something about the “next available operator.” How the next available operator never shows.
Virtual Hold Technology Solutions (VHT) forever changed that in 1995 by inventing and patenting “virtual queuing” – the brilliant “hang-up-and-we’ll-call-you-back-when-it’s-your-turn” way to serve customers. In the years since, VHT grew from a simple callback company into the leading provider of customer experience solutions by leveraging the latest AI innovations. Not to replace human customer service reps, but to support them and give customers the greatest possible experience during what can be the most emotional part of a purchase. And today, it’s not just phone calls, but mobile apps, online portals, texting, social media – you name it. VHT was doing it.
Powered by a small but mighty team, VHT by 2022 had 300 global leading businesses as clients who get A+ ratings on their customer experience metrics across all these channels – and was saving tons of money on what previously was an expense sinkhole.
Seeking a rebrand with heart
But the name VHT didn’t capture the soul of the company, which prides itself on its heartfelt and empathetic approach to blending technology with human needs. In April 2022, it renamed itself Mindful. That makes it sound easy. But the actual rebranding had to be done with care and thoughtfulness. The company culture is vibrant, warm, and lively, and the team’s emotional engagement with it is an essential part of what makes Mindful so special.
A key part of the rebranding was building the World of Mindful swag store, an online store containing dozens of Mindful brand-customized t-shirts, hats, water bottles, cutting boards, aprons, and – of course – doggie bandanas, among other delightful swag.
“A core part of our brand is kindness,” says Becky Chastain, creative director at Mindful. “Building a branded swag store allows us to do something simple that can make someone’s day a little bit better. It’s a way to help people connect in a remote culture, when you typically only see people in virtual squares.”
What we did for Mindful
The hand-picked, high-quality swag from World of Mindfulness – designed and manufactured and shipped by Brilliant – regularly goes out to new Mindful hires just starting their first week, high performers who kicked ass on projects, clients who just signed a deal, or perhaps just to someone having a bad day.
“It's a simple way to make people feel seen and appreciated,” says Becky.
But although the World of Mindful storefront is sleek and professional, that’s nothing compared to what’s behind the curtains: Brilliant’s Storefront cloud-based as-a-service fulfillment solution.
Becky shudders when she remembers how they used to send swag out. It involved bulk shipping to various offices, custom building and filling boxes, and fulfilling all orders via Slack and Shopify. “It was all manual, and took time away from our regular jobs,” says Becky.
Mindful reaps the rewards
Today, Brilliant’s Storefront solution handles it all. An end-to-end solution to all of Mindful’s swag storage and distribution challenges, Storefront includes full-service warehousing and fulfillment for Mindful’s branded products. And its easy-to-use online store administrative interface gives Becky and her team full access in real time to information about inventory, orders, and shipping from anywhere at anytime.
How did Mindful choose Brilliant and Storefront from all the other swag makers and fulfillment and shipping firms? That was easy. Becky had already had the Brilliant experience at her previous company.
“I would choose Brilliant time and time again solely on the client success and customer service they provide,” she says.
Becky had been so delighted with her previous Brilliant “creative partner” (who would be called “account rep” at companies other than Brilliant) that she requested her again for the Mindful job. This time, however, she was assigned to creative partner Dan Falconi, “and there are not enough words to describe Dan and how awesome he and his entire team have been,” she says.
Building true creative partnerships
That’s not surprising, given the care Brilliant takes when hiring its creative partners – who are genuinely creative and truly partners, not just account managers or order takers. Take Dan Falconi, Becky’s creative partner. He’s spent most of his career at top advertising agencies, so he understands the importance of branding. But that’s not why Brilliant hired him. They loved the fact that he took a year off to work as a chef in a restaurant. “They got truly excited about that, because the essence of restaurant work is hospitality, and that’s the bedrock of what we do at Brilliant,” he says.
For his part, Dan loves collaborating with clients like Becky. “It’s great to have someone you can bounce ideas off of,” he says. “Becky took her lead on her vision of the brand, and I was a specialist in her back pocket telling her about new products, processes, and designs that were coming along.”
Today, Dan and Becky work closely together to keep the swag fresh. Becky’s goal is to move out new products every quarter, and “really push the envelope so this is a place where people are actively waiting for the next drop,” she says. “There are so many more fun things you can do other than slapping a logo on a water bottle and calling it a day.”
A successful launch of the Mindful brand
Building the World of Mindful storefront has been a game changer for Mindful. “Because it’s
fully branded, it feels like you are stepping into our world rather than a third-party site,” says Becky. Anytime you can provide a customized experience, it builds trust in your brand.”
From employees, customers, partners alike, Mindful has had an overwhelming positive response to the store, with clients actively reaching out because they want to shop there.
“I think swag represents pride,” says Becky. “Pride for where you work, or pride with who you partner with. As a creative director it helps me keep a pulse on how well it’s connecting with the most important people, and if they are “feeling the love.’”
Open for global business
Although the World of Mindful swag was hand-picked and designed by Brilliant for Mindful employees, customers, and partners, the storefront is open to the public as well, and the external-facing prices make the products attractive bargains.
Becky, for one, believes the sky is the limit when it comes to branding through swag. With Brilliant’s help, “we’ll be the StockX of swag!” she says.