Darn Tough's Win-Win with Hark: Deeper Customer Understanding and 20% Cost Savings

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Darn Tough's Win-Win with Hark: Deeper Customer Understanding and 20% Cost Savings

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5 min read


Darn Tough Vermont, a leading performance sock company renowned for its commitment to comfort, durability and fit, has continually strived to elevate its customer support and operational efficiency. In line with their dedication to excellence, Darn Tough sought innovative solutions to enhance customer experiences while optimizing key performance metrics.

Their collaboration with Hark's Platform yielded remarkable results, showcasing a 21% improvement in average resolution time, a 23% reduction in average reply count, an 12% increase in one-touch resolution, and an impressive 47% decrease in average reopen rate in their first month utilizing the platform! Their team loves watching videos from their customers, cultivating a deeper understanding of them like never before. Further, Hark sparked the beginning of a new in-depth Voice of Customer program Darn Tough had never experienced in the past.


Known for manufacturing durable, comfortable, and stylish socks, Darn Tough has established itself as a trusted brand in the performance sock market. 

With a focus on finding creative ways to humanize their customers in a way that keeps their individual needs at the heart of all service interactions as they continue to grow and scale their service operations, the company recognized the need for operational improvements and explored avenues for increased efficiency and to understand their customer better.

The Solution

Darn Tough adopted Hark as their primary customer support intake portal, strategically replacing traditional channels like email and form, and deflecting from live support. This shift aligned with their goal of making customers still feel heard while providing unparalleled post-sale customer service.

The Results

The implementation of Hark yielded significant improvements:

Efficient Handling of Customer Inquiries

Hark's capability to efficiently manage customer inquiries contributed to a substantial improvement in average resolution time and a 20% reduction in Cost rer Ticket. By allowing customers to provide comprehensive context upfront, even during off-hours, Darn Tough's team could effectively prioritize, route, and resolve tickets promptly, ensuring timely support during peak periods.

Enhanced Customer Support

Hark's solution addressed challenges related to plain text, providing a more seamless support experience for customers to share their point-of-view. The platform simplified the process by allowing customers to create audio or video messages directly within their browser on either desktop or mobile, eliminating concerns about file size or format compatibility. This innovation significantly improved the overall support interaction, as customers could convey their concerns more effectively and in their own words. 

Reduced Interaction Count

Hark's platform streamlined interactions, leading to a notable reduction in the average reply count. The guided workflow prompted customers to provide comprehensive details in their initial inquiries, resulting in an average of 23% fewer interactions compared to traditional channels like form and email. This streamlined approach empowered agents to address and resolve issues more efficiently with the initial customer response which their team loved.

Improved Operational Processes

Darn Tough leveraged Hark to enhance their warranty process by simplifying the process and asking for videos and photos on the first touch. Hark helps facilitate the identification of trends and patterns related to specific product and service items, which helps their product team get a better understanding of areas for improvement. Custom fields in Hark's guided workflows allowed Darn Tough to collect structured data, reducing the burden on agents who previously dealt with data entry intricacies from traditional channels.

New Understanding of Customers

One of the most transformative outcomes of Darn Tough's collaboration with Hark was gaining a new understanding of their customers. Customers began sending videos, providing in-depth insights into why they were reaching out. Some videos delved into their history with Darn Tough, reasons why friends and colleagues love buying from the brand, requests for the return of beloved sock patterns, and overall a new level of detail that was previously limited by plain text. This richer form of communication allowed Darn Tough to connect with their customers on a deeper level, fostering a stronger bond and enabling the company to tailor its offerings based on customer preferences and sentiments.

Michelle Zimmer, Customer Service Manager explains the value of Hark to her team and customers:

"The additional context of tone that we get upfront in video or voice recordings, which is often hard to interpret in text, is invaluable to our front-line team. Hark has made understanding customers' needs easier and ensures our team can provide an elevated, efficient, and personalized customer service experience. Hark has helped improve our customers' experience with our service and has also helped improve the working experience for our agents, which is truly a win-win!"

Key Achievements

Darn Tough's partnership with Hark resulted in the following key benefits:

  • Efficiency Through Streamlined Processes: Clear communication facilitated by Hark led to a reduction in interaction counts, improving overall agent efficiency.
  • Enhanced Support: Direct customer feedback significantly improved the customer support experience and operational processes.
  • New Understanding of Customers: The introduction of customer-generated video and audio messages provided Darn Tough with a profound understanding of customer sentiments, preferences, and histories, enabling more personalized interactions.

Key Metrics

  • 21% improvement in average resolution time
  • 20% decrease in cost-per-ticket
  • 23% decrease in average reply count
  • 12% increase in one-touch resolution
  • 47% improvement in average reopen rate


Based on the success of Hark's implementation, Darn Tough has embraced the platform as its primary customer support intake portal. The Global Head of Digital Commerce at Darn Tough expressed enthusiasm about Hark's humanizing impact on customer interactions, noting its resonance across the organization. As they expand Hark on their website and extend its use to their new company, Wide Open Socks, Darn Tough looks forward to a continued partnership that not only resolves customer issues but also propels them toward a more efficient and customer-centric future in the performance sock market.

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