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Deconstructing the Modern Consumer

Today, when customers interact with a brand, they aren’t just looking to buy a product or service. They expect a full-blown experience.

Video Transcript

– [Veronica] Hello, everyone, how are you? My name is Veronica Sonsev. I lead the retail practice at Chameleon Collective. I co-founded a conference called Commerce Next, and I’m excited to moderate this session. Technology has given us a lot of insights about our customers, but it’s also raised the bar in terms of customer expectations.

Even if you don’t compete with them, the industry Titans like Amazon, Uber, Airbnb, they’re constantly setting new customer experience standards. So, the modern customer is expecting brands to make it easy for them. They want you to know them, and they want you to help them find what they want fast.

So, this panel of marketing veterans is going to really dissect the ever-changing customer expectations and what they’re doing in their respective companies to elevate the customer experience in response to those requirements. So, I want to have each of you start by introducing yourselves, your role at your company, and how it relates to customer experience.

And Alan, do you want to kick things off? – [Alan] Yeah, for sure. Hi, my name is Alan Mansfield. I’m the head of Casino Operations at Funstage and online gaming operator focusing on casino sportsbook, and social casino products, and as part of Casino Operations, my department is responsible for automatic customer retention, promotions, social media, and casino management.

– [Arie] Hello, everyone. My name is Arie Tong. I’m the VP of Marketing at GlassesUSA. GlassesUSA for those of you who are not familiar is the leading online eyewear retailer in the U.S. We sell everything from eyeglasses, and sunglasses, contact lenses, focusing mostly in the U.S. market.

My team is responsible for basically engaging with the audience, from first impression all the way to engagement, consideration, purchase, loyalty, and retention. We deal every day with hundreds of thousands of visitors on our site and thousands of customers.

Over the years since the company has been established, we served over three million customers in the U.S. So, we’re dealing with a lot of different customers, visitors, and different personas in our site because the company’s so broad.

– Excellent. Louise. – [Louise] Hi, everyone. I’m Louise, Director of CRM and Retention at Lifesum. And we’re a subscription business, like a health and nutrition tracking app.

Oh sorry and…

– And what’s your role? Yeah.

– Sorry. My team we’re responsible for setting the engagement strategy, renewals, reactivation, user success, partnership deals, so anything involving touchpoints with our customers through a variety of channels.

– Excellent. – [Michelle] I’m Michelle Fischer. I’m with a company called Rebecca Taylor. We are a U.S. based women’s clothing brand. We started in the mid-90s, as a wholesale company and about 10 years ago really started our DTC business with stores and our eCommerce.

My role is I’m the Director of Digital Merchandising and eCommerce, really setting the onsite customer experience and working on retention.

– Awesome. So, let’s start by talking about the customer and then we’ll get into, you know, how we’re using technology to adapt to their expectations. So, you know, if each of you can start by kind of talking about who your customer is, and how they’ve changed over the last 5 to 10 years. And Michelle, would you mind if we started with you on this one.

– Sure. So, like I just mentioned, our business really started as a wholesale first business. We are in high-end retailers such as Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s. So, we started there about 20 years ago and really focused our efforts to growing our DTC business. What that provided an opportunity was to really learn about our customer that way. We had got the first-hand data.

So, we learned that our customers really starts with us in her mid-20s. Coming to pivotal moments in her life, so she’s getting engaged, she’s getting her first job. Our dresses retail at an average of about $350 U.S. So, it’s not an opening price point brand. So, what ends up happening is she starts to come back to us for other occasions throughout her life cycle and will shop with us really until she’s in her ’50s, 60s, we’ll get her for a long time.

We see a lot of mother daughters come in together, really the mothers sometimes buying their daughter’s like first special outfits. So, we really create emotional connection with our pieces. So, we’ve really learned that our top customers come back about three to four times a year.

But our biggest challenge at our company is, given that we have wholesale distribution, we really have to look at where else she’s shopping and what she’s doing with different touchpoints of our brand, not just in our stores and on our site, but her impression of us and our wholesale partners. So, we really have to figure out what’s going to make her shop with us and come to us first.

So, we really like to provide some exclusives, a larger selection, and figure out how to retain her with our emotional interactions when she comes directly to us.

– And has she evolved in the last 5 to 10 years or it’s just your the way you’re communicating with her has evolved?

– I would say it’s the way we’re communicating with her versus her evolution because she’s, like I said, she’s really shopping at a lot of different places for our brand. So, we have to evolve based on what her interactions are with other companies.

– Excellent. Louise.

– And so our company’s relatively young. In comparison, it’s only six years old. And our main customer is the millennial woman, who wants to lose weight, and based in the U.S. I would say most of the changes over the last few years have been more around diet trends and people moving more towards sustainable eating keto, clean eating, so, we adapt the product in that way to suit what our customers want.

I think their internal motivations never change. I think they’re enduring. Yeah, so.

– Excellent. Arie.

– Well, the way that customers buy eyeglasses haven’t changed much in the past hundred years. Still today, 95% of Americans go to the optician or the shopping mall to purchase glasses. So, what we’ve basically our marketing challenge and what we’re investing most is we changing customer behavior.

It’s taking people from offline into online and educate them about the benefits of buying glasses online, reduce friction in the sales process and really educate them also about the benefit of specifically our brand, GlassesU.S.A. Over the year we think what some of the brands that have really made an impact on eCommerce, is the fact that today the market have been educated over the years by a few large giants, such as Amazon, Walmart, and so on.

And the expectations of customer have really increased, whether it’s coming in regards to shipping, fulfillment, customer service, pricing, everything is very, very approachable, accessible mobile devices where everything is very simple customer have a lot of options today.

And in order to really keep up and continue our growth and really to successfully convert more people to shopping online for glasses and with us. We constantly need to level up the standards and come up with additional innovations to really provide them with added value.

– Awesome.

– Good. So, yeah, our customers… see it’s quite varied because our product portfolio is quite vast. I mean, in essence, to keep it short, what they all have in common is that people are looking for a form of entertainment, so to speak. Whether it is just to shut off after a couple of hours of work, maybe on a commute to interact with an app or to enhance their experience when they’re watching a football match, for example.

And I mean, how the customer has evolved, especially in the last couple of years is how they interact with our products. A lot of people now are moving to the mobile space. You’re looking over 70%, 75%, 80% of you interacting with our platforms. We are mobile, it was completely the other way around a couple of years ago and we have to adapt to that.

And they expect more in terms of what we offer for a content portfolio, I mean, the type that you have on your platforms, the sports that are offered in terms of sports betting, it has to be much more varied. And they expect you just to be more, let’s say transparent. The casino industry is one that has a certain reputation, depending on the region you’re interacting with, and you have to make sure that what you’re telling the customer is true, and you’re not kind of bullshitting them.

– Alan, I feel like what you’ve said, could translate to a lot of businesses. I bet you, most of us are seeing more traffic come from mobile. And I think you definitely see retail customers demand a lot more transparency from their businesses. So, it’s interesting, even from a different industry, to see how much of that carries into across the board. So, you know, getting a little bit more concrete.

What have you found like motivates your customers to actually have a transaction, play a game, or buy something from your company. Alan, do you want to start with that one?

– Yeah, I think it follows on from what I just mentioned in that what we see and what drives the customer to interact with the platform, whether it’s making a deposit or playing a game is, first of all, relevant content. And we have a large [inaudible] as I keep saying, but we need to make sure that we are telling the right people about the right content and giving them the right games, the, in essence, a slot machine that you press, you win, you lose, but there’s a lot more to it than that.

I mean, there’s a lot of varied content coming from a lot of fantastic providers, where the entertainment value has shot up. And some people like that some people don’t, depending on the region. And…

– So, personalizing the content that you’re giving them so that it’s relevant to kind of the type of gaming experience they like?

– Essentially, yes, I mean, yeah, again, to make sure, we’re highly regulated. So, we have to be aware that we are not driving the customer too much to have a negative experience. This is something that a lot of people perceive to have when they’re playing with table games or slots because a lot of the time they will lose. So, you have to make sure you are, let’s say, hedging your bets and trying to show them that this is normal.

It’s just an entertainment value.

– Awesome. Louise, it’s different, I guess when people are dieting. So, what is motivating your customers to subscribe, re-subscribe?

– So, we have a freemium model of our app. And so, I’d guess the internal motivator for our users to download Lifesum is a desire to lose weight or to be more healthy. We find that seasonality plays a big part into that. And new year especially is our busiest time of year when people are setting their resolutions.

And I’d say what would prompt someone to be motivated to upgrade to premium is around the quality of the content that we’re serving up, having locked features that are only available if you upgrade, and showing that we would provide value. Once someone has subscribed already, we want them to keep renewing their subscription.

So, making sure we always have timely communications and the right touchpoints and know our customers so that we’re only showing them relevant content.

– And are you finding any generational differences in customers? I know you mentioned millennial, I don’t know if you have, like…

– Yeah. I don’t think there are generational differences. I think it’s more down to someone’s exposure to like changing technology because anyone of any age could be more savvy with certain things. And I think as people use more apps and more technology becomes available, their expectations are increased of what each provider gives them.

– Yeah, I mean, expectations are only increasing across the board, like every great experience they have on any app or any consumer experiences the next expectation that they have. Arie, what do you think is the most important thing to consider when serving the modern customer and how has it manifested itself in the customer experience on GlassesUSA?

– I think today, the most important thing is to make the shopping experience much easier and convenient. Modern customer have a lot of options but don’t have a lot of time. Not every purchase decision that we’re making every day needs to be like a big decision and that requires a lot of effort.

Specifically in our case, for example, we sell, like I said many times already, but we sell eyeglasses. we saw in our audience, there’s young women, 18-year-old girl, women, fathers, grandmothers, everybody have a different persona.

They have quite a broad range. We have over 7,000 views in our site. We try to make the customer experience as personalized and as easy as possible by really kind of trying to predict in advance for the customer what will be the best most suitable product for his character because it’s really quite a broad options if you think about all the different personas that we can match and different eye collection needs and different…

how deep is the pockets, or what’s the preference for premium and so on. So, it’s really about making things as simple as possible as convenient. And I’ve always like provided with the best experience which is holistic, not just the selection, pricing, and ease of navigation.

It’s also the fulfillment and shipping, it will all experience of purchasing with us.

– And are there any signals you’re looking for to help you with the segmenting the different personas and is there anything surprising that you learned like you started kind of digging in?

– So, we put a lot of emphasis for really retaining customers. Obviously, constantly going in double-digit rates every year and spending a lot of money on acquisition and becoming more and more acquisition costs, are constantly increasing and margins have a way also of becoming smaller. So, it becomes much more important to increase lifetime value and keep customer engaged for a long time.

This is something that we really put a lot of efforts and emphasis this year. What we’ve learned when we have a very robust retention plan and communication through emails and SMS, and Messenger and so on, what we’ve learned is, in our case, becase glasses is not something that you purchase on a daily basis or a weekly basis, it’s something that you buy on a yearly basis or in our case, every eight months or so, is that we kind of noticed that the standard matrix of health with an email program, for example, of John and subscription and so on are bit less of an indication what we are looking for is engagement.

We look and we put a lot of effort in really increasing the the engagement of customers over time, we want to be there when the customer needs a new glasses which can take a year from now or even more. We still want them to be engaged with us. So, we put a lot of effort in the content, the education, how we communicate, how we keep them with us for as long as possible.

So, in the time when they actually reach this point of needing new glasses, we are the top of mind and we have established ourselves as the expert authority and as a trusted store for them to go if they’re like

[inaudible]

go to a store for eyeglasses.

– Yeah, you want to be top of mind because it’s so expensive to reacquire customers and, you know, I can’t remember like, how many times I’ve really liked something and I’m like, “Where did I buy it from again?” And it’s just like you lost that engagement.

– Once you lose them, then you need to acquire them, which is much more.

– Expensive. Yeah. I mean, that’s why we’re all here, right? Because retention is…as it gets more and more expensive to acquire customers, you want to retain them so that the customers you acquire end up spending more with you, it’s easier to extend that customer lifetime value. Michelle, let’s talk about customer-centricity because that’s one thing that’s kind of core to retention. You know, what does it mean to be customer-centric and, like how has that changed how you communicate with your customers?

– Similar to what Arie was saying, for us customer-centricity really means putting out the customer, thinking for her, making it easy for her, reduce friction in both the pre-purchase and post-purchase experience. So, whether it’s marketing communication or internal operations, we really are making sure to figure out how to make it an easier and better experience for her.

Like, we’re all customers. And we know what good experiences are. So, if something’s going to be harder for her to get what she needs, and when, we need to figure out how to solve for her and I think that’s the biggest thing is that we’re solving for the customer and reducing friction for her. Some things we’ve done on our side has really been in the post-purchase process in terms of tracking orders.

In the past few years, we’ve introduced new systems that have made it easier for customers to understand when their order’s coming to them, when they can expect it and also provide some more touchpoints with our brand. We have landing pages with more product to serve up and predictive intelligence, so to try to really get her back to upsell her. And then what we’ve recently implemented is even just easier returns, so you can go online, make your return easier.

These are all expectations that just don’t come from retail but come from Uber. We were talking about this yesterday that Uber, you know when your car is coming, you know what to expect, you know who’s coming for you. So, as a customer, you want to understand when your orders coming and what’s going to be easier. For us, it’s really helped reduce friction in her journey, we’re seeing less calls to customer service, asking when the order is arriving to their destination, and also reducing friction in the post-purchase journey for when they’re making the returns because they can easily do it themselves.

They’re used to these experiences on other brands. So, as we continue with that, we really just make sure to put her in the center as we look at new technology too.

– Yeah, and all of that is…kind of just like reducing the friction streamlining that experience. Arie, is there anything else that you’ve kind of seen in GlassesUSA that’s different or unique around the communications there?

– For communication in the GlassesUSA, like I said, we’re trying to be personalized as possible, and kind of communicate matching the right methods that [inaudible] right pricing, discounts, and so on to each of our customer, the visitors at this point. We’re using a lot of our data, connecting data and technology to really create this propensity model to try to understand our customers and what they’re likely…what their affinity to purchase specific product.

We have all kinds of these models, whether it’s Bargain Hunters, or luxury, or even propensity to become a buyer. And we use that really kind of make… And we apply the personalization on our website, and on our email, and acquisition, just to make the entire experience much more relevant to the customer.

– Awesome. Michelle, have you found anything different, you know, being an Omnichannel retailer, like how has that impacted your ability to serve the modern customer?

– So, we’ve had stores before we had our eCommerce business. We opened up stores a few years before. So, we have a little, some challenges just with legacy platforms. And that definitely creates friction in the customer experience. We would have customers come into stores to try to make returns and it wasn’t an easy process for them. So, what we’ve been doing in terms of technology in the past few years was making sure our POS systems align for our eCommerce and our stores’ business so that the customer could really understand and have an easier process when she’s interacting with the stores and we can get a full perspective of is she a shopper in both places?

Or how can we actually make sure that we can convert her in both places? The other really big thing for stores for us, we’ve opened up a few in new markets in the past few years and we’ve seen our eCommerce business grow in those areas. It’s really just a great marketing tool for us to have a real strong way for us to interact and create a one to one relationships. Our store managers really focused on clienteling. So they’re really creating and calling up the customers, making sure that they know when events are happening.

So, we see that resonate not just within our stores business, but also our eCommerce business as well. Our other really big opportunity with stores is that in the past few years as they’ve become a destination for more than just shopping, it’s been a big trend within retail as a whole. So, what we’ve started doing is a lot of in-store events, and they’re really based on each market. We have a store in Dallas, and our Dallas customer is really charity focused.

So, we make sure to have events that are shopping and that there’s an aspect of it that goes back to certain charities. And then in New York, what we’ve really done is a lot of services. So, last year, we started doing Saturday services at are New York stores, and you can come in for a free manicure, get your hair done and really make it something that can be a part of your life other than just shopping.

So, they really provided a great opportunity for us to connect with her in an in-person way. And we do work for our eComm aspect is to communicate to the customers in those regions that we are doing these events to try to connect that offline to online.

– That’s awesome. Because the customers don’t look at you as, like a retail business or eComm. They look at the brand holistically. So, it’s incredibly important. Alan, I’d love to kind of call on you, because I think international is also a big factor. There’s obviously like regional differences in customer behavior and also expectations.

You have a business that has customers all over the world. How have you reconciled this?

– Yeah, that’s a very good question. We still mostly deal with on a daily basis. I mean, so we have a lot of platforms that are…let’s say country-specific, so it makes it a tiny bit easier. But what we must be very aware of is that there is a cultural expectation shift depending on where you’re marketing to because people have a different relationship with the industry as a whole.

And you have to know this before you start building any kind of relationship with your customers. And then it goes on from there because based on that the needs, want and how they interact with the platform, what they expect, changes completely. And what we tend to do at the start is make sure that our content offering is correct, whether we’re an Eastern European market, maybe the Nordics, maybe in the U.S.

so they at least have the content that they want. And then the tonality shifts, depending on who are we talking with. If you are in a certain market, you can be more direct, you can be maybe less formal, more, let’s say fun with the customer. And whereas in other markets when they are less, let’s say, trusting of the industry as a whole, you have to be very, very careful of your wording and make sure you’re not promising something that they are not going to get on your platform.

So, just really to be as transparent as possible, and make sure you’re not giving them the wrong information.

– So, are those international differences factored into your personas or you just kind of almost put that as a whole filter across that region?

– Well, it’s more than just international because I would say that, whilst we do cater for this, as there is huge difference as to the type of groups who are interacting with the platforms in the international level. In the U.S., for example, you have a lot of women middle-aged interacting with some of the social casino apps, for example.

And then when you go to Eastern Europe, it is heavily geared towards, let’s say, males, middle-aged 35 to 50, so to speak…

– So, it even changes on the demographic differently so to say.

– Yeah, it’s very important to consider.

– Interesting, very cool. So, let’s talk about how you anticipate customer needs. Are, you started talking about segmentation, talk about the data you’re using to create the segments and better tailor that communication.

– So we like, actually in Vinnie’s presentation before, we actually have a centralized data warehouse that’s pool data customer, whether it’s analytics data, marketing data, purchase data, and so on. Basically, we pool everything into one major data warehouse.

And from there, we apply all kinds of algorithms and machine learning to kind of find patterns in the data. So, we can then identify different insights and customer predictive behavior. And we apply with different models.

We shift them with personalization tools, to our customer experience, whether it’s the promotion they see on the website, the product they see, promotions. We use it in our email marketing to make sure that we communicate within… provide you with the most relevant products and messaging. Again, in our case, because our audience and category, even looking at all of you guys and the audience, and this is a relatively homogeneous crowd, there is like 50% of you’re wearing glasses, but some of you may…

And this is again, if we look at different age group so different needs different styles, different pricing, different brands, there’s so many options and we’re doing as much as we can to provide each one of you. If you go and you should go and check out GlassesUSA, you probably won’t notice but many of you will actually see a different experience.

And if you continue to log and visit GlassesUSA and make purchases, you will see… and again, hopefully, you won’t notice, but you will see that the experience and what you’re seeing is different from one person to another. And in the end, this is also how we create a good experience to our customer but really provide them with helping them find the best product and the best offer for them, even without them knowing that we’re doing it.

It’s like transparent experience, which is much more relevant for them.

– Yeah, how many segments roughly?

– So, we in general with our segments, we have a few hundred segments again because of different order brands, prospect, customers. Like, there’s a lot, a lot of different segments that we currently use. Yeah, it’s quite a challenging task and my retention team is in the crowd, so they’re holding the torch and really dealing with it on a daily basis but it really is a very challenging task.

– Awesome. And Alan, you mentioned you have a lot of segments as well in terms of your customers. You know, once you understand who they are, how do you ensure you talk to them like people, that they don’t end up kind of feeling like a robotic communication?

– Yes, this really is the key question I’m asking and the team is asking you every single day because like Arie, we have hundreds and hundreds of tag groups per channel and then per instance, which is a lot. So, it’s highly segmented and we’re very granular in what we do, but that’s only the start, in my opinion, you need to then speak with the customer.

And it depends on how you speak with this customer. I have grown up working in brick and mortar stores, dealing one on one on a personal basis with customers. And I think one needs to consider this when you’re building your communication plan. Everybody has completely different experience with your platform. And you should be aware of that when you’re talking to the customer.

Some people will have very negative, okay experiences, some very good experiences. And that is a very overreaching indicator as to how you should then approach your communication. And it depends on what your goal is and who your segments are. It’s what we tend to do and what we’ve done a lot recently, is something we forgot about in the past is we are trying to build personas based on those segments.

We’re breaking it down into four or five key user groups and building a full story behind them persona building and it is quite common. But it gives the team’s a very clear understanding of who it is they’re speaking with, which then shift the tonality completely. It’s quite a lot of effort, of course, but I think it is vital and it gives the user the experience that you were speaking with them and not to them.

– Yeah. And it sounds like you’re building the personas, and get the layer on the local preferences, but then you also kind of touched on a really important point is like, what was their last experience? So, if your last experience is bad, and you speak to someone with excitement, that is going to seem strange, so it’s like, kind of, not only understanding the people but also understanding that last interaction and not…

– Exactly. Because people have a tendency to remember negative experiences. And when you ask a person when that person has an opinion of a brand, it is more negative. So, when they speak about you, most of the time, it’s in a bad case, and it’s very hard for people to recall a very good experiences unless it happens multiple times. And you have to make sure they have multiple good interactions with your platforms as they will have both good and bad.

And if the gap becomes too big, they will go elsewhere. All our industries are quite saturated. So, we have to make sure that what we do is right from the get-go.

– Awesome. Louise. So, let’s go beyond personalization for a second, because I think we kind of went really deep. How else do you use technology to better service your customer needs and their increasing expectations?

– So, with personalization, I’ll just continue on that initially.

– Yeah. And then we’ll talk about some voice technologies that you’re using it as well.

– Yeah. So, we collect lots of data about our customers. And part of our ensuring our customer success is being able to keep them accountable and give them feedback on what they’re doing and how they’re interacting with our app. So, we’re looking at what kind of foods they’re eating, how often they’re tracking, what time they’re tracking, and we collect all of this data. We use this in modeling, to prediction to give them nutritional feedback.

So, there’s lots of elements there where we’re using predictive technology, and also just creating micro-segments. So, we have over 1700 micro-segments for our customer base. They’re not all turned into target groups. But we know that we have lots of variety within how frequently people are using the app.

And some people are just using it for recipes, some people are using it to kind of track In terms of using AI, so, we’ve done some work with Alexa and Samsung Bixby, so we use voice recognition. So, we’re always looking at ways to reduce friction of how someone can come and interact with the app because people forget to track or it’s too inconvenient or they don’t want to like look up all the calories, so they’ll just be like, “Alexa, track this.”

And then Alexa will confirm what they want to add. So, that’s one way that we’re doing it. Another is combining real-time messaging with pre-scheduled messaging. So, using all the data we collect about the customer, and we’re striking while the iron is hot at certain points during their journey.

For instance, we have a large drop off when someone goes to track their first meal. So, we interact with them during that process to handhold them through. And also we want them to not just be one time trackers. It’s similar as being a one-time purchaser they’re less likely to come back again so we can use that real-time technology to interact with them.

– That’s great. That’s awesome. Arie, anything?

– So, we offer constantly monitoring and serving our customers on what would make their life easier or what they’re expecting. Specifically, in our…we’ve done a few things in past year, one of the biggest friction in buying glass, eyeglasses online is that not everybody have the prescription on hands for example, and they need to go to the optician.

So, we’ve released a mobile app this year that enable everyone to simply scan the existing glasses at home for free, and they get a prescription. It’s an FDA approved product, [inaudible] Another friction would be how glasses looks on me, which is very common in everything related to apparel. So we are now launching our home trial program that people can actually order, pay zero at the point of sale, get the glasses at home, take them for 14 days[inaudible] see how it looks, see how the quality is, and then pay after 14 days if they decide to keep it.

So, we’re constantly coming up with new innovations trying to lock and solve all kinds of friction for customers and provide them with easier and an exciting way of purchasing online.

– That’s great. And I think, like, these examples are good because it’s beyond personalization, such an important aspect of it. But it’s also, you know, all of those opportunities, you heard it in different examples across the board of reducing friction, but then also using that data to help better inform how you communicate with your customers down the road, which is awesome. Arie, while I have you, one of the things we talked about when we prepped is also how you found the channels that you’re using for communications have evolved.

You want to talk about that a little bit?

– Sure. So, I guess like everybody knows, it’s not new. In the past 10 years, everybody shifted to mobile app as well, majority of our traffic goes to mobile, but that’s also when we’re speaking about relationship and continue conversation with a customer. So, my assumption is that for most of you and including GlassesUSA, for years it’s always been email marketing.

And email marketing you have seen all kinds of brands over the past year. Ten years ago,open rates were 90%. Now we’re happy with…super happy with 15%, right? And also registering users have become different because people are now using more mobile devices which the overall experience and interfaces are different. What we’ve done at GlassesUSA, we’ve started to experiment with additional ways of communication, such as Facebook Messenger,

[inaudible] SMS. For example, SMS and Messenger are much more mobile native and also today people are very much used to this one on one communication and chatting. So, we found that people have actually on mobile devices react much better. Registration rates have increased, open rates are much higher than email, and I encourage all of you to also test different channels because people have changed, not everybody is using email.

Not everybody’s using email on a daily basis or on specific occasions. But mobile devices much more real-time, people are simply much more connected.

– And you change that based on the customer like, have you found that there’s like some subset of customers that want the email and then others that are more responsive to mobile or Facebook.

– So, with…again, in our case, registration to our website is not mandatory. So, we… But on the other hand, it’s very important to us keeping in touch because buying glasses is not a spontaneous purchase. It’s something that takes some time. So, part of our [inaudible] is really to incentivize people to register and again, in which way to… whether it’s through SMS or through email, it depends on their preference.

We provide them with the options, and hopefully, with more than one communication channel. And then we can really. orchestrate afterwards, which really channel is the best, how they communicate, when they communicate with which one and optimize based on that.

– Awesome.

– I think it’s also important to note that when we’re looking at communication channels, we should be more open to giving the user more channels where they can contact us actively when we just speaking via mail or whatever they can apply, of course, but we are establishing the communication there and with the Facebook Messenger or comments simply on posts that you’re doing Facebook, Whatsapp messaging a lot of people are using, they can contact you first, ask questions, maybe alert you to something that’s going on or just give you honest feedback.

And that’s just as important.

– Yeah, absolutely. Because we’re giving you a lot of valuable information. Do you take that information and put that in your customer database? Are you feeding in that feedback?

– This is more…we don’t kind of store it but we get the feedback from maybe customer support agents, people who are the social media managers who are interacting with this. They’ll give us this feedback directly, or report and say, “Okay, this is what’s popping up a lot, what we need to focus on, this one we need to change.”

– Awesome. Michelle, who owns customer experience at your company?

– So, it really falls under our marketing eCommerce team. We are a small team. And we really focus on the beginning to the end. That also includes, as Alan was talking about customer service, so, we own that department and they report into us. Like Alan was saying, we get the feedback from them.

They’re our customer face, even though they’re behind the phones, but they hear all the problems customers are having, where the friction lies, and what the biggest challenges are. So, they really help us influence our roadmap, in terms of what fixes needs to be made, even if it’s just small one, if it’s putting final sale in a different place, and making sure that the messaging is clear to her.

A big thing too, like Alan was mentioning, we incorporate what we do here back via social media. So, people will make comments on Instagram and they’ll be frustrated or they won’t have an order. So we really work to go back and get that information and have our customer service team reach out to these…

– Proactively.

– …proactively.

– That’s awesome.

– So, we will, if we hear a negative comment, we will go in. Through stalking, we really can figure out their order number and their information and make sure that they are happy ultimately, and usually what we will do is resolve the issue and really work with them on a retention method to make sure that they come back to us but…so that’s been something we used to have our customer service team out of house, we just brought them in house in the past few months.

So, it’s really been a great change internally and we’re looking forward to, as we go on to Optimum, feeding all the information into one central place for us to analyze why she’s reaching out.

– Awesome. So, you have customer experience all under marketing. Alan, yours is not but you have a way that you work with it. You want to talk about that?

– Yes, because I think the customer service agents, they have a big role to play in the online casino industry because we have a lot of things to deal with such as Ford, KYC, document uploads to make sure that they are first of all able to play and have the funds to play with the platforms. So, there is a lot of aspects, so it’s separate from marketing, but in terms of who controls the customer experience, I mean, for me and for us in our vertical, it’s everybody, its people from the development team to the programs or the platform, they all have a hand in this because from registration up until they eventually churn, they hit multiple touchpoints and all of us have influence on how their experience is.

So, I think…

– Do they have KPIs that are customer experience related?

– Not to my knowledge. This is outside casino operations but we work on that.

– Yeah. Awesome. Awesome. So, we’re kind of getting to the end. Let’s talk about like who does it best when it comes to customer experience. Michelle, do you mind if I start with you?

– Sure. I would say, I don’t think… they set the bar. So, I would say it’s Amazon, they really set the expectation in terms of fast and free shipping. And, you know, I just had an experience with them where I thought a package was lost, and they don’t even question you. So, they really put…they would have reshipped it right away. So, they really don’t question the customer and they trust their customer.

So, I think it’s something that’s a really big learning opportunity for all of us to take in because they’re really the ones setting the trends throughout the retail industry.

– Yeah, definitely. Louise.

– And I would say Spotify. I think the reason that they’ve been so successful in so many markets is because they’ve really invested in localization and they’ve done it really well. And it goes from having appropriate payment methods. They collect data and they have appropriate recommendation engines, the customer service is very good. Yeah.

That’s it.

– And they have so many data points, right? Because you’re playing music all the time. So, they really have the opportunity to personalize it. Arie.

– I would say Glossier, the cosmetic direct toconsumer company, I think they managed to break into one of the most tough category that have by giants and they’ve done it by initially starting a community and then they build products on top and for this community, and I think this is definitely part of like a overall experience like building from the ground up.

– Yeah, personally actually would have agreed with you and said Spotify because it’s the for me part of it the best customer experience. They’re very good at recommending new music. And from an industry standpoint, I like Paddy Power a lot because of the branding that they do. They have a great identity, they know who they are, and they know how to interact with their customer base and that for me is vital.

– That’s awesome. So, last question. And Alan, you get to go first this time. But what does the future have in store like, how do we see all of this evolving in the next 5, 10 years?

– Well, we will have to evolve because of regulations for different markets, but I won’t go into that too much. For me, the dawn of real-time is so important. And for us in Funstage, we’re working on getting this up and running so that we have maybe been behind a bit, but the fact that we can have a Omnichannel presence and to react pretty much instantaneously to how the customer interacts with their platform itself is so important.

– Okay.

– I’ll add to what Alan said in regards to regulations, we’re heading into kind of like a dark age. And I think when speaking about communicating with customers and prospects, a lot of things are going to change both GDPR, HIPAA now in California, CCPA, and so on. It start to spread in the U.S.

every state will have a different policies and regulation, something that becoming more and more interesting and all of us will need to adapt.

– I think customers will continue to expect minimum disruption in their lives, and even less as technology advances. They expect all services that they get to give them a seamless experience and to only show them relevant communications.

– So, more personalized, more…

– More personalization, predictive analytics more. Yeah. Personalized Medicine, personalized technology.

– Playing off of that, and what Louise was saying really about voice, I think that’s a huge new market and for all of us to figure out how that can play in because the voice you’re really top of mind, and you’ll become part of the daily life. So, really figuring out how to adapt our businesses to what voice can do.

– Awesome, great predictions. Thank you, all so much for spending time on stage and kind of sharing your experiences, this is really great.

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