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The path to customer centricity: Take it from someone who's been there | Bazaarvoice Summit 2014

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Learn from one company's successful experience how to become more profitable and competitive by putting your top customers at the center of everything you do.

Learn from one company's successful experience how to become more profitable and competitive by putting your top customers at the center of everything you do.

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  • Employee-First culture: 263 hours of training for full-time employees (versus industry average of seven!)
    Salespeople get paid 50-100% higher than industry average
    Less than 10% turnover
    Employee First Fund
    Speak in detail to fill the other guy’s basket…and how that applies to our BV relationship
  • We have structured our company around some very basic and fundamental business philosophies about treating employees, customers, vendors and the community with respect and dignity — we call them our Foundation Principles™.
    They were formalized in 1988, after we opened our Houston store. That store made us take a look at our business a little harder. Our Chairman and CEO, Kip, struggled with how to clearly communicate our culture so that all the employees in the Houston store would act and make decisions using the same set of values and knowledge as the employees in the rest of the company.
    In a moment of inspiration, he referred back to a file he had started many years ago called his “philosophy epistle file” where he’d saved various anecdotes, musings and philosophical phrases that he admired beginning in high school, through college and up to this time in the business. He invited the entire Houston store staff over to their Manager’s home and chose many examples to communicate the message that no matter how big the company became, our guiding principles and values would stay the same. Kip was so nervous to be sharing all of these ideas that were so near and dear to his heart – but to his surprise they were incredibly well-received by the team!
    Over the years, the philosophies that Kip shared that night were condensed into what are now our Foundation Principles. By understanding and supporting these principles, we can all respond in unison to similar circumstances. In other words, we act as a unit, all working in the same direction toward the same goal. Retail is far, far too situational to attempt to achieve anything through inflexible rules and policies.
    So, instead of using the typical phone-book-sized retail procedural manual to guide our decision making, we use these Foundation Principles™ to keep us on track, focused and fulfilled as employees.

    Wow, that’s pretty cool isn’t it? Here’s the best part. We didn’t script that video or ask our employees to behave any differently than they normally would on any given day. This is our culture.

    We want you to know “we get it.” We understand that this group may be skeptical about that kind of culture existing in a “warehouse” but it does at The Container Store distribution center. This is real, folks!

    Our TCS yummy culture may appear carefree and serendipitous, but this kind of magic doesn’t happen by accident.

    It takes lots of work and intentional activity.
  • End users: Online Merchandising, Buying, Inventory Control, Creative and Customer Solutions. In this day of constant complaining, we love that our customers take the time to share positive feedback. We often reply publicly or just send a quick little thank you email. That goes a long way and helps them feel so special. We also respond to almost all of the 1 or 2 star reviews and often send replacements, refunds or gift cards.
  • After seeing the value of ratings and reviews and the great relationships we established over the years
    With the Intelligence product we could build insights from ratings and reviews and house those insights in an highly interactive and personalized interface to drive improvements in product and marketing innovation. In addition, those insights allow us to work closer with our suppliers in delivering high quality products at the best prices.
  • Annual sweepstakes from mid-February through early May
  • We have this feature incorporated into our Expert Tips & Ideas section of our site, so it’s not as visible as the other programs. Although we don’t seem the same level of interaction, we’ve had over 1600 customers share their tips and ideas with us. I love this one about how you can position your hangers to figure out what you’re wearing and what needs to go!
  • We discovered that there was an issue in the hooks on this item which was one of our best sellers.  We started receiving notifications that we had 2 star or less reviews.  This caused us to go back and look at the history of this item and the histogram and we could clearly see the sharp decline in reviews.  We contacted the vendor right away and they figured out the issue, and corrected our existing inventory.  We then contacted all of the customers who had reported an issue and replaced their product.
  • The second celebration I’d like to share is a big one! We made one of our BEST sellers (and customers favorites!) even better. By using the word map we were able to clearly paint a picture to our vendor how much our customers loved the boxes, but really disliked having to spend so much time removing the sticker.  The vendor agreed to change the adhesive of the label!
  • We received an alert concerning a 2-star or below rating for this product collection.  The word map clearly showed us the issues with the totes so that we could determine the problem.  We have an amazing relationship with this vendor and contacted them, sharing this information.   The vendor completed extensive testing and discovered there were quality issues with the material used for the watertight seal.  The seals were failing over time and it not only resulted in water getting into the totes but the latches were breaking.  They worked on a solution and sourced a superior material that is more dense and has better integrity so multiple totes can be stacked- without quality issues.  This vendor hadn’t heard from any other retailers with quality concerns.  Our entire collection of Watertight totes has now transitioned to the new seal material.  We have updated our copy online and we contacted each customer who communicated their concerns to share the product design improvements and offer replacements. 
  • We’ve also been able to optimize our product and marketing desciptions. Reviews from customers who purchased a Large Metallic Cylinder Trash Can were trending negatively. Upon analysis, it was revealed that customers believed the item was actually metal, and in looking at the copy it was clear that the wording was misleading. The copy was immediately updated to change the name to Large Cylinder Can and the description called out the materials of the canister. We know customers use different words when describing our products and so it’s important that we reflect that on-site. Bazaarvoice not only helps us validate our copy but also identifies ways to improve it going forward.
  • When preparing for a buyer meeting, I found these reviews on our Sunny Trolley. Customers for all 3 colors talked about how it folds up for easy storage, and we didn’t even have this listed – but it was one of the main reasons the Buyer selected it. We added copy bullet “Folds up to six inches when not in use” – and have on our reshoot list to show it folded.
  • Our Vendor read this review (and it was a 4 star one!) and thought the customer had a great idea. They are updating the design!
  • December 2013 Fluid interviewed over 3K digital shoppers and found that the more money spent, the more advice was sought.
    They also noted that almost half of customers only spending less than $25 still read reviews before purchasing.

Transcript

  • 1. #bsocial14 The path to customer centricity: Take it from someone who’s been there Brandy Rinehart
  • 2. The Path to Customer Centricity Brandy Rinehart Online Merchandising Director The Container Store
  • 3. Agenda • History of the Container Store • Why We Chose Bazaarvoice • Why We’ve Been Successful • Overview of The Container Store Programs – Ratings & Reviews – Question & Answer – Stories • Generating & Leveraging Content • Celebrations & Benefits
  • 4. History of The Container Store Then…. And now….
  • 5. History of The Container Store • Founded in 1978 • 66 Stores nationwide with more opening this year! • Named by FORTUNE magazine to its annual list of 100 Best Companies to Work For®, 15 years in a row • Employee-first culture
  • 6. Why We Chose Bazaarvoice • At The Container Store, we want to be special and different. We strive to offer a retail experience unlike any other. • We really LISTEN to our customers! • We needed a way to extend the level of service customers have come to expect when they are in our stores, to our online shoppers. • The partnership between The Container Store and Bazaarvoice just seemed like the PERFECT solution!
  • 7. Why We’ve Been Successful • Involvement – Buyers & Assistant Buyers: 1 and 2 star review alerts – 3, 4 and 5 star reviews are also reviewed • Taking it a step farther – Reach out to customers personally – Follow up with Store teams – Distribution Center follow-up – Post public responses • Commitment – Every single customer comment or question is read – Buying teams dedicate time each week to Bazaarvoice • Education – All new employees within our Buying Department receive training on Bazaarvoice and the Intelligence tool. – Reminding Buyers that there can be power in negative reviews!
  • 8. Our Goal? HAPPY Customers! • We wanted to not only listen to our customers, but provide them with the BEST service possible. – Unlock actionable insights – Laser focus on driving product and marketing innovation – Easily deliver insights to the right decision maker so they can take action
  • 9. Fiscal 2013 Ratings & Reviews Summary • Over 18K submitted reviews • 74% of products with review content • 4.55% average rating • 4% rejection rate • 11% of visits interact with content – +96% conversion lift for those visits – +88% revenue/visit lift for those visits
  • 10. Ratings & Reviews Submission Trends
  • 11. Fiscal 2013 Question & Answer Summary • 1,807 questions and 1,806 answers • 6% rejection rate for questions; 1% rejection rate for answers • Average time to answer is 40 hours
  • 12. Stories
  • 13. Generating Content….
  • 14. …Then Leveraging Content
  • 15. CELEBRATIONS & BENEFITS
  • 16. Reduce Return Rates by Identifying & Fixing Product Defects Quickly
  • 17. Improve Product Usability by Enhancing Features
  • 18. Regulate Quality Control Issues with Vendors
  • 19. Decrease Customer Service Costs by Identifying Copy Gaps Early
  • 20. Customers Remind Us When We Forget
  • 21. Our Vendors Pay Attention, Too Almost perfect.. I wish they had done a completely square door w/ a ribbon pull tab for the other side instead of having a little notch for your finger to open it.
  • 22. Food for Thought… Source: December 2013 Fluid survey
  • 23. Questions?