Buying a swimsuit is undoubtedly an overwhelming experience -- a process that often leaves much to be desired. So three years ago I created Andie, a swimwear brand for women to connect with even at their most vulnerable.
That commitment to connection starts with customer service.
For many companies, customer service is a way to solve problems and move buyers to the checkout. But as people increasingly look to brands for more than just a transaction, customer service has become more than just a box to be checked. It has the power to transform loyalty, create long-lasting relationships, and keep consumers coming back.
To create a brand experience that sticks, we carved out three guiding lights for all customer interactions.
Develop personal relationships, not one-off interactions. When a customer connects with our team, we view it as an opportunity to create an evangelist. We’ve had women reach out when they’ve lost or gained weight or whose bodies have changed postpartum, and we want to find them a suit they can feel confident in.
To show our customer we know and understand them, we use customer service platform Gladly, which arms our agents with all the details they need to not just answer questions but connect with the customer on a human level.
Make your customer service team your product experts, so they can create life-long brand advocates and drive company revenue. We want customers to rely on our team both as friends and as the experts. We refer to our customer service team as Fit Experts -- because when the team knows the product inside and out, they can guide buyers to find their perfect fit.
This approach works. We’ve found that people who engage with our team have more love for the brand, as well as a higher repeat purchase rate.
We recently had someone reach out to return a suit, and she ended up ordering six more based on the agent’s recommendations. This woman was a cancer survivor and wanted more coverage for her double mastectomy scars, and we were able to recommend alternate styles -- and create a relationship that went well past that transaction.
The team and technology work together to positively impact outcomes. Direct-to-consumer brands want to scale the business while keeping customer acquisition costs low. In our early days, we relied heavily on social media marketing to acquire new customers, but we’ve since shifted more investment to customer support and lifelong loyalty.
When we first built our customer support team, we outsourced. Although outsourcing works for some brands, we quickly realized how important it was to have our agents in the office with us. As buyers share feedback, agents can sync directly with the product or engineering teams to prevent a one-time problem from becoming a recurring one.
Customer service platforms can help scale operations, while prioritizing keeping costs down. When we’re evaluating new platforms, it all leads back to creating a one-to-one experience with a one-to-many scale. With Gladly, for example, we’ve been able to add features like self-service, which allows customers to help themselves find quick answers, while maximizing the team’s resources -- providing a radically personal experience at scale.
When customer service agents are supported and given the right tools, they are no longer just the problem solvers; they’re the fit finders, the consumer advocates, and the business drivers, too.