Last week we spoke with Fab COO Beth Ferreira. The flash sales site gets tens of thousands of new users per day, and it reached 2 million registered users within its first seven months.Last month Fab was generating $200,000 per day in sales at an estimated annual revenue run rate of about $75 million.
When a company is growing so quickly, it’s easy to make new customers feel neglected. But Fab has a track record of turning most users into repeat buyers.
Ferreira tells us how Fab keeps people coming back for more.
Make People Smile
It should be intuitive: make customers happy. Fab makes it a top priority and has a tag line: “Smile (you’re designed to).”
“We’re in the business of making people smile and that starts at the front end,” says Ferreira. “It also means that when someone purchases something, we’re there for them. So if something doesn’t go the way we hope it would or if there are any issues, we can help quickly.”
Service Is Forever
“Obviously we’re a retail company and we care about sales,” says Ferreira. “But our sales are meaningless if people don’t come back. A sale comes once but service is forever. Our philosophy on service is it’s all across your entire purchase. Once you click that purchase button you still need to be taken care of.”
One Of Your First Hires Should Be In Customer Service
Fab has an ever-growing team of 17 customer service people. The first customer service employee was hired by Fab pre-launch, says Ferreira.
“Fab’s customer service team is called Crackerjacks,” she says. “On the surface it sounds frivolous but the definition actually means ‘quality.’ We hire customer service people who we believe are empathetic and understanding to match the quality we’re looking for.”
Don’t Hide From Customers
“Our phone number is front and centre on all of Fab’s social media accounts and on the website,” says Ferreira. ” We’re not hiding it. Over the holidays we were writing ‘Give us a call’ after almost every tweet.”
“We have people answering emails and phone calls all day long. We also have people moderating social media — mostly Facebook, Twitter and blogs,” says Ferreira. “In the event something happens, like a shipment is late, we proactively reach out to customers and keep them updated. Those messages either come from me or [cofounder] Jason directly, and when something goes wrong we always give the user store credit.”
Use Tools To Manage Inbound Requests
“We use Assistly to manage email,” says Ferreira. “Assistly is cost effective and it’s a great product.” Assistly was acquired last year by Salesforce.com and it is customer support software for businesses.
In addition to giving store credit when things go wrong, Fab also runs compelling promotions that benefit users regularly.
“We do expedite shipping or offer free shipping on occasion,” says Ferreira. “If you purchase something you occasionally get free shipping on the next item. Also, if you make the Facebook integration active we’ll give you $10 store credit. Fab creates viral marketing promotions and tries to build features our users will really benefit from.”
“Over the holidays we thanked our top customers by sending them thermoses, mugs and yo-yos,” says Ferreira. “We sent nearly 8,000 gifts.”
Founders Should Be Devoted To Customer Service
Despite having a team of 17+ Crackerjacks, Fab cofounders Jason Goldberg and Bradford Shane Shellhammer answer tons of customer emails on a daily basis, says Ferreira. Goldberg, who is CEO, writes a handwritten note of thanks to every customer who makes a purchase too.
Fab’s customer service starts at the top, which makes it trickle down to every employee in the organisation.