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IRX 2017 Michael Kliger of on the luxury customer experience

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Michael Kliger of explained the upmarket fashion retailer’s approach to customer service when he spoke at IRX 2017. Here’s what he said about selling to a group of women that’s famously difficult to target.

Find the right partners

Developing partnerships with women is important to the retailer’s efforts to target its niche customer base. It works with women who, says Kliger, have “global attraction, they are something more than being beautiful, they have a cause, something to say, and they have talent”. They include Alexa Chung in a campaign for Prada.

Get it right

The customer is a 30 to 50-year-old professional who earns her own money, is often successful and often has children. She is more often found in countries where women advance further in professional careers, such as the Netherlands, China and Korea, says Kliger. Operational excellence is vital to targeting these luxury shoppers. “What you can’t underestimate,” says Kliger, “is that this customer expects flawless service. If you disappoint her, she’s gone. Our customer is highly valued by other retailers – we’re not dreamers ad we know she spends money with many of our competitors too.” That means that the website must work fast, be translated into seven languages, by skilled professionals. “These are are not translations, but emotions to be translated,” says Kliger. The website also offers eight payment methods including Alipay.

The customer doesn’t wait

Calls from customers are answered in four seconds, while swift delivery is vital. “Don’t let her wait,” says Kliger. The retailer has one warehouse that delivers worldwide. Orders placed before 4.30pm are dispatched the same time and, says Kliger, attention to detail is important. “We cannot afford a single item to be wrongly picked or not nicely packaged. Our own employees do the picking.” As a pureplay, has few physical touchpoints – of which the moment of receiving the parcel is an important one. “We over invest in packaging,” says Kliger, and in what he terms a “zero defect culture”. Performance is monitored through weekly net promoter scores and from customer feedback. “One single incident and she is leaving,” he says. “That’s what she’s used to, in hotels, offices, aeroplane travel: it works.” He adds: “The customer is always right – and we cannot over execute on her.”

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