What happens when you, and the rest of the world, are forced to shut the doors to all your retail stores with a day’s notice?
Kate Showalter, the Senior Director of Customer Service at Crate & Barrel Holdings, shared that “when you take away what you have deemed impossible, you realize what you can really do.”
I am excited to share some highlights about my conversation with Kate on Radically Personal, a podcast by Gladly where we talk to leaders of today’s most innovative and inspiring brands about their approach to delivering radically personal customer service. My conversation with Kate spanned across tons of interesting and thought-provoking topics—from turning your contact center into a revenue center, customer service innovation, and most notably, how COVID-19 has impacted their business and accelerated their digital transformation.
Like many brands today, the digital e-commerce experience at Crate & Barrel Holdings is their new flagship store, and for Kate and team, that means ensuring that their customers at Crate & Barrel, CB2, Crate & Kids, and Hudson Grace still receive that same level of customer service that they would in-store.
But being able to pivot from in-store to 100% online doesn’t happen overnight and takes bold, innovative moves to ensure success.
Kate taught her team how to become natural sellers by shifting their mindset, from being focused on reactively helping resolve customer issues, to actively listening to the customer and responding by anticipating their needs.
We also chatted about how launching text message (which started as a test) has become the preferred channel for customers to interact with and driven incredible efficiencies even when contact volume is up.
But at the nucleolus of everything the team does on behalf of the Crate & Barrel, CB2, Crate & Kids, and Hudson Grace brands is the way they embrace opportunities to go above and beyond to provide these outstanding customer experiences. Kate recalls a time where she helped a customer pick out lasagna dishes for a dinner party she was having, and the next day she brought her a lasagna, all because of this amazing conversation they had about her party and because she had felt that Crate & Barrel had helped her make her event a success.
“It's about the people, and the connection, and the interaction, that you're using technology, and tools, and metrics to measure that, but those things aren't what it's about. What it's about, is that interaction.”
Crate & Barrel Holdings is a leader in the industry, and it’s no surprise because of how they treat their customers. Even when those in-person experiences aren’t available, they still ensure customers feel known and heard throughout their online journey.
Kate, thanks again for being such a great partner and true innovator in the space.
As always, thanks for reading and do let me know what you think, and what you’d like to hear more of.