An interview with The Limited

interview lead

Putting the customer is a first core value for The Limited, the popular retailer of clothes and accessories for women. The Limited delivers Bizrate Insights surveys to their shoppers to better understand their customer’s experience. To find out how it working, we spoke with Dawne Brooks of The Limited’s Ecommerce team, who supervises its operations and contact center.

Connexity: Why did you seek out a solution like Bizrate Insights? What was The Limited’s motivation?

Dawne Brooks: We certainly understood the value of listening to the voice of our customers, and adding the survey component to our website helped us accomplish it. One of our major values is putting our customers first so it made sense for us to find a tool that could give us customer feedback, that we could act on in a holistic way.

Connexity: What was your experience implementing the Bizrate Insights Buyer Survey?

Dawne Brooks: It was a easy product to add to our site. We didn’t need to do tons of development, schedule IT meetings or do a lot of testing. It was a pain free, which is always good when you have a lean Ecommerce team.

Connexity: How many individual surveys do you receive each week?

Dawne Brooks: It varies about 1000 surveys are completed and 300-400 have written comments.

Connexity: Has the feedback you’ve received to date helped you make business decisions that put your customers first?

Dawne Brooks: Definitely, I’m the one who handles Bizrate Insights reports, and our team is very good at listening to and acting on customer feedback. I send out weekly and biweekly Bizrate Insights reports, which provide a high-level summary of what we’re learning. I also breakdown the survey results into categories that are important to each of us and share those results with various teams: IT, stores, Ecommerce, Promotions, Planning, Operations, Merchandizing, etc.

I know that my team, the Ecommerce team, has taken action on items that were identified through the surveys. And anything related to our stores goes to that team, who take appropriate action. We receive a lot of very kind messages, such as “I love this store”, but when a customer says she had a poor experience, then the store team uses it to uncover ways to improve.

Sometimes a simple is enough to resolve an issue. For instance, a few customers commented within the survey that they wish petite could be returned in store. That is the policy we changed based on customer feedback. We asked our contact center to email these customers and let them know that we now accept in-store returns.

Connexity: So it helps you get insight into what your customers think and experience?

Dawne Brooks: Yes, we get some really great insights from the surveys, which allows us to do grassroots work. Its the little things that count when your goal is to put yours customers first.

Connexity: Of the features and reporting capabilities, which do you find most helpful?

Dawne Brooks: The freehand column where customers can write whatever they want. I read every comment that a customer writes. Some of the comments are general, but a lot are very helpful – and we feel lucky to get our hands on it.

Connexity: Do you respond to all customers who fill out surveys?

Dawne Brooks: We use a best practices model that is specific to The Limited. Sometimes reviews of products and our website are purely personal opinion. For instance, a customer will say she doesn’t like a fit of the particular sweater, while others like to say they love it. This is a person expressing her personal opinion, and we take that into consideration in determining if we should answer. Anytime there is a problem with product quality, we will reach out and make sure she knows we’ll stand behind our product by providing a return or refund. We’ll also reach out if customers have any misinformation, such as believing she can’t use a promotion with a particular item when infact she can.

We probably respond to 10% of our customers who complete surveys.There’s another 10% that we use to provide feedback to the different departments with our company so they can take action.

Connexity: Because Bizrate Insights works with over 6,000 retailers globally, we can benchmark a retailer’s performance against the best in class. Do you refer to those benchmarks?

Dawne Brooks: We refer to your benchmarks frequently, especially when we need to understand how to compare to other retailers.For instance, we receive complaints about shipping cost – and so does every retailer. Nobody wants to pay shipping. However, when I looked at the benchmark, I could see our ratings little lower than retail in general, and we can use the benchmark as an opportunity to look at those costs again.

Another example where I reference Bizrate benchmark is with our weekly customer satisfaction and net loyalty ratings. I’ll compare these ratings to best-in-class benchmarks. It’s very helpful how we compare.

Connexity: Bizrate Insights distributes seller ratings to Google based on the reviews received. Is this something you value?

Dawne Brooks: Yes, definitely. Seller ratings are one of the benefits of working with Bizrate Insights. We want to make sure, we are doing everything we can to drive the traffic through Search. Seller rating generated from Bizrate Insights are a part of our search marketing and craetive.

We also display the Bizrate Customer Certified badge on our site. It’s important to let shoppers know that we care what our customers say about us.

Connexity: If you had three words to describe Bizrate Insights then what would they be?

Dawne Brooks: Valuable customer insights

Connexity: What advise would you give your peers in the industry in terms of using Bizrate Insights or any voice-of-the-customer solution?

Dawne Brooks: Good listening is the first step of serving customer better, and will lead to long-term growth. Over the past few years, retailers have become very promotional, but we continue to focus on our customers needs. What really will differentiate a retailer is listening to the customer, and provide excellent service based on what we hear. If your customer takes the time to tell you about an issue or their experience, you want to act on it, and make sure they see the change, the action, that resulted from their comments.

I love shopping at companies that hear me, understand me, and really care what I think. Using Bizrate Insights helps us to listen to our customers.