Have you heard about the 9 hr 37 min long marathon customer service call at Zappos which was a world record?
India’s largest online fashion store, Myntra recently witnessed what can be called an Indian equivalent of this call. There was a lady making an online purchase for the first time on the other side speaking to the customer service team of Myntra. The call went on for nearly three and a half hours and the lady from the customer experience department held on patiently answering all the queries of the prospective customer. This customer was actually an AmEx employee and she was thoroughly impressed by this customer experience at Myntra. She eventually bought stuff worth INR 30,000 along with some gifts for customer experience champion(whom she had spoken to) and gave excellent feedback.
Most of the brands practice reactive approach in customer service i.e. only when there’s an issue, an attempt is made to resolve it while Myntra takes a more holistic approach. Probably that’s what defines the customer experience at Myntra and separates it from others.
Even after the getting acquired by Flipkart, the department continues to expand and function with its imbibed core values.
On a daily basis, Myntra processes 20,000-25,000 orders from over 450 Indian cities which explains the enormity of task customer experience & logistics team is up to. To decode the functionality of both the teams and spill some beans on the secret recipe of a great customer experience, we got in touch with Sachin Arora, Head of Customer Experience at Myntra.
Here’s a case study on customer experience at Myntra and a guide on how to maintain loyalty among stiff competition in the market.
The unhappy customer
In online shopping, a customer’s unhappiness can be primarily attributed to the following reasons:
The customer experience team gets an average of 10,000 customers reaching out to them via email, social media and phone every month with one of the above issues. If the fundamentals of the team and the core philosophy of customer experience are not clear, it may lead to a disaster in such conditions.
The core philosophy
Customer satisfaction is hard to achieve and even harder to maintain. Folks at Myntra take a proactive approach to understand the customer’s pain points and wow points to excel in customer satisfaction. Sachin says,
We focus on providing the best experience to a customer when they come up with problems or questions or suggestions. We fondly call our team-mates interacting with the customers, 'champions'. They follow the golden rule of trying to get into the customer's shoes in all situations.
In fact, if you get a chance to visit the super awesome Myntra office in Bangalore, you’ll find these ten core values painted on different pillars and walls inside the office:
1. Customer Wow
2. Pursuit of Excellence
4. Do things differently
5. Follow your Passion
6. Data drives decisions
7. Respect, Equality and Transparency
8. Do More with Less
9. Continuous Learning & Growth
10. Work Hard, Play Harder
Beyond the transactional relationship
It is very important to take the relationship with the customer beyond its transactional nature. Sachin quotes an incident which took place recently. “Sometime back, a customer service champion received a phone call from a lady who had placed an order a day before. In normal circumstances, the order would have reached her within next 24-48 hours but she wanted it on the same day as it was her husband’s birthday and she had ordered a gift for him. Since, the case now rested with the logistics department, it was not officially in control of the customer experience team.”
He adds, “When our champion came to know that the customer is based in Bangalore, he went to the logistics department, collected the order on behalf of the customer (with prior permission of customer) and delivered the order at her doorstep with a birthday cake at 11:30 PM.” Later on, Myntra introduced structured programs to surprise their customers with wow experience based on the inputs from the customer experience team. This has lead to a much more meaningful relationship between the brand and the customer.
Logistics – An integral part of customer experience
Customer service plays a key role in online purchases and decides the fate of customer’s next visit. Once an order is placed online, there are two important touch points for a customer, one at the delivery and the other at customer service. Sachin explains, “Out of the two, it’s during the delivery that a customer meets a representative from the company. Faster delivery, better condition of goods and a smile on the delivery boy’s face definitely become the gratification moments for the customer. But more than that, it builds the perception about how he/she will be treated in case of any problem.”
For the same reason, all the delivery guys have been given Myntra gear from helmet to the shoe. This instills the belief in the customer and establishes a trust about the delivery person belonging to Myntra.
What makes customer go gaga over Myntra?
The collection at Myntra is driven by selection as they believe that a great selection leads to a great experience. Sachin says, “Great selection makes it very easy to look good which in turn leads to a great experience. We might not have each SKU(stock keeping unit) of a product but we’ll make sure that any product which connects with our audience is in stock.”
Other advantage enjoyed by Myntra (over any brand’s physical retail outlet) by virtue of being an online shopping store is the unlimited shelf space. This gives customer a variety of options to choose from.
When the customer experience team realized that almost 80% of customers were requesting returns because they wanted a different size, they introduced the 30 days exchange policy. The cycle which consisted of customer returning the product and then ordering the fresh one took more time (2 orders instead of one) and resources (logistics team visiting the customer thrice). This also left customer with a wow experience.
The era of social media
Myntra has a dedicated team who handles all the complaints/queries sent to their social media channels. Sachin mentions, “Social media is an important channel for customer support. The service is evolving and the customers are moving from phone and emails to facebook/twitter now.”
Whenever a complaint is shared on social media, a ticket is generated internally and a response is sent to the customer within minutes (similar to the ones on phone and emails). The idea is not to miss on any complaints.
The customer experience team makes sure that over 90% of complaints from phone, email or social media get a human response (and not an automated one) within 2 hours.
And the benefit of doubt goes to the customer
Sachin recalls one incident, “Recently, one of the customer ordered a reasonably expensive (~INR 5000) pair of Ray Ban glasses and reported that he has received them in broken state. With our quality check mechanisms it’s almost impossible but we gave the customer benefit of doubt and replaced them.”
Instead, the internal processes were revamped to avoid any similar situation in future and one more stage of quality check was introduced for such products. Sachin adds,
We do not run away from outliers, but look into them.
So, how does customer service impact sales?
When Myntra launched the 30 days easy exchange service, there was positive impact on their sales and a reduction in logistics cost.
Net Promoter Score(NPS) is a good parameter to guage the loyalty between a consumer and the provider. NPS is based on a direct question: How likely is it that you would recommend our company/product/service to a friend or colleague? The scoring for this answer is most often based on a 0 to 10 scale. Promoters are those who respond with a score of 9 or 10 and are considered loyal enthusiasts. Detractors are those who respond with a score of 0 to 6 - unhappy customers. Scores of 7 and 8 are ignored. NPS is calculated by subtracting the percentage of customers who are Detractors from the percentage of customers who are Promoters.
Myntra has its NPS score in 70-75 range for customers who have experienced exchange. The customer loyalty contributes to the returning customers on the store.
Myntra has over 600 people in its customer experience team taking care of inbound calls and outbound requests on email, social media and raising tickets.
Sachin works directly with the founder, Mukesh Bansal, on how to make things better for the customer. Mukesh always favour experience over revenue/scale and advises accordingly. He believes that once you start compromising on customer service, it’s a slippery slope ahead.
So, what are the benchmarks Myntra look up to?
Zappos, Nordstrom and The Ritz-Carlton are the brands Myntra look up to in customer service. Sachin believes that all three brands have done a fabulous job of structuring the customer service industry.
‘The New Gold Standard’ by Joseph Michelli and ‘Delivering Happiness’ by Tony Hsieh are recommended read if you’re looking for lessons in customer service.
Experimenting for Customer WoW
In order to track customer reactions and feedback and give a good shopping experience, Myntra recently launched a campaign called ‘Customer WoW’.
The team picks over 150 shoppers of Myntra (on a daily basis) and does something that would delight these customers. A box of chocolates along with a personalised note, the latest copy of a fashion magazine, a bouquet of flowers for a lady shopper are some of the ways the team reaches out to these shoppers (some loyal, some dissatisfied, some random shoppers).
As part of this program, they have launched a new pilot initiative where customers in parts of Bangalore who have shopped for jeans & trousers (bottoms) get an option to have the length of the trouser altered to their liking. Basis feedback from them, the company plans to roll this out across markets as a standard feature.
How was your experience when you shopped at Myntra? Comment below!