For many brands, customer service is siloed as one team — or even outsourced to an external agency. But DTC jewelry brand Jane Win has found that centering customer service is the key to growth and retention.
The strategy was implemented early on in the pandemic’s shutdown, when Jane Win experienced shipping and fulfillment delays that had to constantly be relayed to customers. During those days, contacting the customer service team was the best way for Jane Win shoppers to get in contact with the brand — many of whom did to get on the waitlist to receive their products. The influx of inbound tickets highlighted how powerful CX interactions can be for engagement and retention. Since then, Jane Win’s customer service employees have sat right within the marketing department.
At this week’s Modern Retail DTC Summit, Jane Win founder and president Jane Winchester Paradis explained why she’s a big believer in integrating customer service into the rest of the company’s operations. “Customer service has been its own entity for a long time,” Winchester Paradis said. In April 2020 the waitlist was so long, Jane Win’s staff “used customer service to help [the customer] come along with us and have empathy for where we were,” Winchester Paradis said. The staff would personally respond to all inquiries to make sure they were kept up to date about orders.
Winchester Paradis herself was in contact with customers, as well as working to get orders fulfilled. She was also posting on social media about the trials and tribulations of running the brand. At the time, distribution was done out of the showroom.
“I was picking and packing 50 or 100 orders a day, while being on customer service talking to people,” she said. Winchester Paradis herself uses Instagram to interact with followers by showcasing her days at the brand’s showroom and sharing styling tips. This has led to the Stories and Reels to garner thousands of views and dozens of likes, along with quick responses. “People are connecting with the pieces and me,” she said.
These days, Jane Win gets up to 1,000 customer service emails per month, making the communication a fertile ground for new marketing ideas. As Winchester Paradis described it, customer service is often the main touch point between customers and the retailer. Rather than customers scanning a static webpage with product pictures, Jane Win saw customer service outreach as both a way to keep customers happy but also a way to make more direct contact with customers and retain them.
She said another way to keep shoppers interacting with the brand is by taking the opportunity to troubleshoot processes like returns and exchanges. “Instead of returning, would you do it for store credit and we’ll add on a certain amount of dollars,” Winchester Paradis said. “Doing that one-on-one via email has been really effective, as opposed to being automated.”
Winchester Paradis said that all these tactics also led to more customers coming back, and helped keep return rates low – at about 4%. “The idea of spending a quick $70 to acquire a new customer and then not getting her to shop one more time, that’s a shame on me,” she said.