At the 2013 Customer Experience awards the judges were on the hunt for a company offering an exceptional experience to customers online. Clothes2order, a company supplying clothing to businesses for uniforms, promotions and events, with all orders taken via its online ecommerce store www.clothes2order.com was selected as the winner. We found out what it is that made them stand out from the crowd…
“The most important thing we did was to have a plan to focus on our customers’ needs”, says managing director Michael Conway. An exceptional customer experience didn’t just evolve over time, Clothes2order set out a project to revolutionise their website, systems and internal culture to ensure the entire company was 100% focused on their customers’ needs.
The changes made led to sky rocketing satisfaction scores, and the resulting repeat business and word of mouth promotion has contributed to 70% year on year growth. This was recognised by the judges at the UK Customer Experience Awards, who commented that customer experience is embedded within Clothes2order, with a focused strategy visible throughout the organisation.
“We started from a good base. We had a pretty easy to use website with fast and reliable production. But we wanted to turn pretty good into the best”. This was the starting point of the project, which had four key aims; to make ordering clothing for uniforms, promotions and events online remarkably quick and easy; to ensure incredibly quick production in as little as 24 hours; to maintain quality assurance in a period of rapid growth; and to ensure all departments within the business were living up to the long term value of customer focus.
The project started off with a complete rebrand. A new logo, colour pallet and strapline were developed to centre all business decisions around a customer need. “‘Create a great impression’ was chosen as that’s what we strive to do – literally on the garments by adding a company’s logo or design, but more importantly at every touch point we look to leave a great impression on the customer. From the moment they land on the website to receiving their goods, we look to impress.” Having this embedded within the brand ensured that everything within the project from that point centred around creating a great impression on the customer.
Clothes2order identified that they wanted to build a website that was remarkably quick and easy to use. To launch this part of the project they undertook a significant usability study, working with a leading specialist agency. “This helped us identify both broad and specific ways in which to improve the website to better suit our target market”. Once thorough usability testing had been undertaken it was time to go to design. “Design may not seem a vital part of the customer experience, but as part of ‘Creating a great impression’ we knew we needed a website that not only worked well but looked the part”. As such the website underwent a thorough redesign as well as a full development implementing the learnings from the usability testing.
A ‘forget at your peril’ part of offering a great experience as a digital business is focusing on the service or product itself. Clothes2order knew that having a great looking easy to use website would be of little use if customers were not receiving a ‘wow’ service. As such, part of the project focussed on ensuring production could more than match any brand promises related to quality, speed and efficiency. A major investment took place worth over £150k in new plant and machinery, making sure that the most advanced kit, with sufficient capacity was in place. Clothes2order can now produce printed or embroidered clothing in as little as just 24 hours.
“None of this could have been delivered without a committed team striving to offer customers an exceptional experience” says Conway. “The keys to this success have been communication about the company’s vision, priorities and values; and rewarding attitude or actions that reflect the customer focus we’re striving for”. A whole raft of internal activities have taken place, from rewards, competitions, structured meetings and department metrics, all of which focus on ensuring every member of the team is constantly striving to create a great impression on customers.
Michael Conway – managing director, Clothes2Order