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The Iconic, Accent Group discuss what’s next in customer obsession

While many customers know what they want, and are willing to pay for it, the next step of good customer service is giving customers what they don’t know they want, according the The Iconic chief executive Erica Berchtold.

To Berchtold, that’s the next real challenge. 

“I’ve never been satisfied with just giving the customer what they want – I want to actually focus on giving them what they don’t know they want yet,” Berchtold said on a panel with Accent Group chief executive Daniel Agostinelli and Scentre Group chief executive Peter Allen, hosted by the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce.

“Getting ahead of that and saying, ‘Hey, you don’t know what you don’t know yet, but actually you’re going to want [this]’.”

Part of this is getting ahead of styling trends, but also buying trends. This is one reason The Iconic launched its Considered edit, allowing customers who seek more sustainably sourced clothing to do so and to educate those who hadn’t considered it.

“This is something where we’ve decided to get ahead of the bulk of the consumer sentiment and invest into products with sustainable attributes, and allow customers to shop via those attributes,” Berchtold said.

“[It’s] becoming increasingly important to consumers from an emotional point of view.”

For Agostinelli, fostering a customer-obsessed culture has always been important to Accent Group, and has been one of the most important considerations driving the business’ direction over the last few years. 

“Forever we’ve had a culture of being customer-obsessed,” Agostinelli said. 

“I mean that in every respect. We try and create the right environment, and in our little world that’s about music, it’s about how the store looks, it’s about the offer and how we present it, and most importantly it’s about the team behind the counter.”

“We put a lot of emphasis on our people. It’s the people at ground level that make it all happen, so the real test of management and what we do in the business is to rally those troops to do what they need to do.”

To Accent Group, attracting customers is all about relevancy – both of their offers, and of the brand itself. If a retailer fails to remain relevant, while its competition is, customers are going to switch. 

“Unless it’s a real offer, and it’s exciting to them, [customers] aren’t going to respond,” Agostinelli said. 

“We’ve already got same-day delivery and all of those things, but we’re about to launch next-day, after-hours delivery, so the product doesn’t end up getting thrown over the fence.

“That’s something [ahead of] the market, and we’re trying it. We’re also about to launch Saturday delivery – this will come at a cost, but the customer is prepared to pay, as they are with same-day delivery.

“That’s the kind of innovation that we’re trying to lead.”

This story originally appeared on Inside Retail Australia.

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