The Iconic's chief operating officer Anna Lee discusses how the online retailer keeps up with growing customer expectations in 2019.
What do you find are some of the biggest expectations from online shoppers in 2019?
Customer expectations have never been higher, with competition in the Australian and New Zealand retail market heating up. Customers deserve to have a seamless and inspiring online shopping experience - they want a great UX because this saves them both time and hassle. Customers want to interact with a brand they trust; one that sticks to the promises it makes and one that is there for them to support as best possible should a problem or question arise.
We’re proud to have been the first retailer to significantly raise the bar on all these fronts, but at the same time we also know we have more to do. We must ensure we stay ahead of the pack in an era of what our CMO, Alexander Meyer, calls ‘commoditised convenience’. Creating reasons for our customers to love us beyond price and convenience is what will be key for all players and something we’re incredibly passionate about. We want to be a brand known for style and substance - a brand that stands for something. This isn’t something easily achieved overnight, but we’re certainly on the journey. Our latest Swim Show is testament to this and was dubbed the ‘most body-positive runway in the world’.
How does The Iconic manage these expectations?
One thing we stand by at The Iconic is ‘progress, not perfection’ - we’re always building and we’re always learning, and we couple this humble and pragmatic culture with a progressive approach to building the future of retail across ANZ. Customer feedback and our NPS are the guiding beacons in our business and it’s through this active listening that we’re able to truly create the shopping experience our customers want. Not only do we act on customer feedback by building new tech product features to make their shopping experience more seamless (e.g. our visual search tool, Snap to Shop, was built from a customer pain point of wanting to be able to snap a photo of a product and shop similar or the same item instantly), we also take customer feedback direct to our buying team, for them to factor into their planning strategies.
We sometimes don’t get things perfect, so at times we won’t meet all our customers’ expectations. However, the most important element for managing customer expectations is our caring customer service team, who are at the forefront of customer relations and are empowered to resolve each customer problem. We want our customers to know that if they should ever have a problem, they can contact us and we will listen, care and act to fix the problem as quickly as possible. We have over 100 team members dedicated to customer service based in our Sydney HQ, Sydney fulfilment centre and in Manilla, who together work as a single unit to deliver the most prompt and helpful customer service possible through phone, chat, social media and email channels. We’re proud to share that our customers consistently rate their interactions with our team at customer satisfaction scores of over 90%. We aim to resolve every interaction as soon as possible, with first time resolution one of our most important metrics. One the great things at The Iconic is that customer contact reasons are shared across key cross functional departments and we all work together to ensure that feedback loop is kept to fix any gaps identified from customers.
What are some of the strategies/tactics The Iconic has in place to maintain customer satisfaction? How do you remain competitive in your customer service?
At The Iconic, we want to be the #1 go-to destination for fashion and sports for Australian and New Zealanders. In order to achieve this, we continually invest in partnering with the best brands to create the best product assortment, building the best infrastructure and hiring the best talent.
We’re also always looking for the fastest ways to deliver the latest tech innovations for a seamless shopping experience to our customers. Product innovations such as our Snap to Shop, Find Your Fit and Follow the Brand features, while investing in developing our app and personalisation tools, are key to ensuring we stay one step ahead of our competitors. We’re proud to have achieved over 2 million mobile app downloads (making The Iconic Australia’s most downloaded fashion app) to date and receive 13 million online visits per month (making The Iconic one of Australia’s most popular shopping destinations).
How and why do you maintain such a fast delivery time?
Fast, on-time delivery and free returns are important parts of The Iconic’s DNA, but what matters is we’ve created a reliable delivery service while giving our customers a number of delivery choices. We hold our Sydney fulfilment centre and marketplace sellers to high on-time dispatch standards, and have incredibly strong relationships with our delivery partners. It’s only by working hand-in-hand that we are able to fulfil such an exemplary delivery offering, this is certainly not without challenges, but we know delivery is important to our customers; so it’s one of our key priorities.
What do you think is the biggest 'don't/faux pas' in customer service for online retailers?
One of the biggest faux pas when it comes to customer service is if you make a mistake, you try to deflect it or have no ability to fix it. We aim to keep every customer happy in every interaction with us. It’s also important for us, as a business, to learn from our mistakes. We’re all only as good as our last customer’s experience. Being true to your customers and creating a brand they love is an unbreakable formula, and not making this the forefront of your strategy is a big risk.