Sarah Figgins showing us some “shoe love”
Love Your Customer and they will love you back…
Sarah Figgins repeatedly emphasized her drive to care for her customers and it got me thinking about her revolutionary approach to cracking the consumer code.
We chatted a little further about some of the things that make the difference when conversing with customers and making them loyal members of your shopping community.
Could you please expand further on the CARE factor?
Shopping online is no different from visiting a shoe store explained Sarah; providing that interpersonal touch is what makes us standout from the rest.
We don’t have time for faceless bureaucracy and customer services will frequently pass concerned customers straight to me. That concerned bride worried about matching up her ivory dress or the women getting prepared for a big event – I aim to help them all.
We’re setting ourselves apart from other online businesses; for us it’s not just a computer screen, checkout and card details. We contact our customers and ask ‘are you pleased with your shoes and what made you choose them?’ or even liaise regularly by email.
How do you get the buy in from the staff?
Everything we do on a daily basis is geared towards caring so it becomes a natural way for everybody to think. It’s about giving a damn and making the customer feel great.
Our staff are not simply selling shoes, we prefer acting like fashion consultants. We ask the right questions:
- So what do you need these shoes for?
- How do you want to look in them?
- We have similar styles that might work if you are interested?
- What colours or fabrics would you prefer?
For our team it’s not just getting the client over the line for that sale. We want them to be ecstatic and really excited about that shoe they have just purchased. As most lovers of fashion will tell you, shoes are so much more than items to cover feet. We employ staff that genuinely share our passion and believe in what we are selling.
We validate the purchase; it’s about respect for the client and giving them shoe love.
Being completely transparent with our customers; with our weekly newsletters we let them know who likes what in the office and what they are wearing. It’s about giving that connection with the person behind the monitor and it’s a personal experience.
Tell us more about putting the human face into digital?
Everything is going digital and it can be extremely easy to be lost in the proverbial sea of cyberspace. We have always set out to breed a culture orientated around the care factor – that’s our term for customer service. We support one another and I love helping out on the phones, chatting with clients and resolving their shoe related issues.
What we do is substantially more than simply sound public relations; I enjoy including little letters or memorable notes with client orders. For example a bride on her wedding day might receive a message wishing her all the best and ‘hugs and kisses’. It is not an act, we do care and we are interested which helps make us standout from other suppliers and designers. I like to think that if I wasn’t running this business I would be a regular customer so it works perfectly for me.
Service is what you make it, take your clients to heart and they will do the same.
How do you use client’s feedback?
Collecting feedback and actually using it are two completely different things. We dedicate ourselves to developing the next season’s shoes based on our customer’s opinions. If you were to buy a pairs of shoes, we would phone up and find out what you liked about them.
Recently I was talking to a gorgeous girl from Queensland and she said “have you thought about putting a review on your site about your product, I want to let clients know how good it is?” With the launch of our new look website; we added a plugin which allows our clients to give feedback and a rating.
When our clients go online it’s fantastic they can read someone else’s review about the product. We really do listen to what the client wants and let them listen to each other too.
What do you learn from Bridal Expos?
I had so much fun! Talking about shoes and weddings really gets me excited; I was able to get great direct feedback from the bride-to-be. There are so many tall brides it helped me realise that I might be designing too many high heels for wedding events. I’m now engineering an entire kit of low heel and flat bridal options as a result. You never stop learning or developing your business mindset. This form of feedback from events is essential for me as the designer.
Tell me a little about your marketing tool used for events?
At bridal expo’s, fashion expo’s, spring races and other events we give out shoessales.com.au flip-flops. It’s a fabulous, quirky marketing tool. The women love them and get so excited when they receive them. We use our ShoeSales black hummer in promotions & events as well. Staff will hand out flip-flops from the boot or random giveaways and we’ve even given away a boot full of ShoeSales shoes to a lucky winner! At such events staff carry i-pads and have clients sign up as a VIP. They demonstrate the navigation around our site, showing casing our products. Girls are always eager to check out new shoes. We are also looking to do more cross promotions with 100% Kylie (Kylie Minogue Tribute Show). Lucy Holmes, the star, is an ambassador for ShoeSales and is devoted to our peeps. She is well known for her love affair of shoes, so the fit is just perfect. We hope to be involved with her upcoming touring events, spreading the shoe-love to her audience.
What keeps you enthusiastic and fresh?
Recently at the bridal expo a girl came screaming over to the stand; she finally found the perfect colour to match her purple fabric (had already been to 20 retailers who hadn’t attempted to help). You can imagine her excitement – hugs and kisses all round, it really made it all feel worthwhile and that I had made a difference.
We also helped Beth Walker (a local musician); her dress was traditional and she wore red glitter high heels with a platform and red rose bouquets. It was completely breaking all the traditional rules, her bridesmaids had short black dresses on with the same red heels; red bouquets and all the boys had black suits with red converse sneakers. We were excited to have the rights to showcase her wedding on our website.
Beth was so grateful. It was fantastic that we helped make it happen because everyone else that she was spoke to screamed “red shoes what are you doing!”; we are happy to give anything a try and were delighted it came off.
The thank you’s and the testimonials that our clients send in to us, really puts the spring into our step. Our passionate clients even post pics on our page sporting their new purchases, sharing the love. This drives our team to be the best and more. A little gesture of a simple ‘wow, thanks ShoeSales’, makes what we do so satisfying. To know that our efforts have been above the expectations of our clients and that they in turn have taken time out of their hectic day to express this – is the bomb for us!
On a final note…
We want our clients to use the product and feel great about their look. I don’t want anyone to buy a pair of shoes and not feel fabulous when they wear them… It’s not about how many units we can sell, it’s about making a difference in someone’s life and we make our clients feel special. That’s how I feel; I like taking it to another level.
For more information on ShoeSales.com.au visit their website .