As Signpost’s CMO, one of the jobs I enjoy the most is connecting with our customers. Hearing their successes with our technology makes me proud. Recently, I had the absolute pleasure of connecting with one of our remarkable customers, Katherine Haliski. Katherine is the General Manager of Stores for Scandinavian Designs and Dania Furniture. A top luxury furniture brand, Scandinavian Designs and Dania Furniture is a family-owned company that has been in business for more than 50 years. They have 31 store locations in 7 states and have one of the most extensive assortments of European modern furniture with a focus on mid-century and Scandinavian inspired design in the world.
Katherine is one of the most seasoned retail general managers in the US and recently she spent some time with me discussing the business, her role and her mission for growing the retailer. I’ve captured our conversation below.
Andrea: Katherine, as the General Manager of Stores for Scandinavian Designs and Dania Furniture, can you tell me about your role?
Katherine: As the General Manager, I co-partner with my GM of Operations to ensure our stores have everything they need to successfully run their business. Together, we are responsible for all of our 31 U.S. store locations. Specifically, I am responsible for all things front-of-house which includes customer engagement, sales development, merchandising, inventory management, order maintenance and people development. With a front-of-house focus, I’m highly motivated to ensure our customer reviews are top-notch and accurate.
Andrea: Wow, that’s a lot of responsibility! Of all of those, how do you prioritize the projects with the most impact?
Katherine: It begins with our core mission, which is to be the industry standard for world-class customer service. We believe in the quality of our products through decades of craftsmanship, but also in the experience our customer has in purchasing those products. Customer satisfaction is our #1 priority. Even though it’s my job to ensure the facilities are fully operational, payroll is processed on time and the product is adequately stocked, our company strives to provide the highest level of customer satisfaction in the furniture industry; and cannot do it without measurement.
Andrea: Was that part of the reason you decided to seek out a technology that would allow you to manage the customer relationships more seamlessly across locations?
Katherine: Yes. Given our attention to in-store and online customer experience and how deeply we care about this, I wanted to ensure our online reputation was reflective of the quality of product and service we provide. When I looked across our stores two issues surfaced to me:
- Yelp was not reflective of all of the amazing customer service and happy customers that we have had over five decades. The perception does not match what customers really think.
- Given the infrequency in which customers were posting, it didn’t allow us to overcome the negative comments that were made, so we needed to increase not only the frequency, but recency.
Andrea: Since implementing Signpost, can you share how this helped you overcome some of those challenges?
Katherine: First, implementation was a breeze. Unlike other technologies, we got all 31 locations up and running in less than an hour. Once we did, Signpost has given us a lift in reviews and subsequently revenue. Here are some of the things that are making an impact:
- I love that I have a dashboard in a single platform which allows me to look at all of the comments and feedback about the customers at any time of day.
- Measurement on customer satisfaction is key. Without this we fly blind.
- The real-time feedback allows me to pick up the phone or email a store and either applaud them for a job well done or uncover areas of opportunity.
- I am not looking at different mediums for information. It’s a one-stop shop for information coming directly from the customers.
Andrea: How does your company think about Net Promoter Score (NPS)* and Customer Feedback?
Katherine: Signpost’s Account Management team created the ranking of average NPS lowest to highest by store location. Our corporate goal is ambitious, but we are all rallied behind this. I particularly love NPS since it’s raw, authentic and indisputable feedback of how your customers feel. I’ve never before been able to quantify this in my 28 years in retail.
Andrea: Signpost is an AI that manages the review process for you so that you can benefit from machine learning to drive better results, but to also save you time. Did you have any apprehension turning this over to AI?
Katherine: I had very little apprehension about turning this over to AI. Frankly, I’ve been in business long enough to know that in some cases the technology will outperform core human tasks. Driving reviews and managing our customer outreach for new customers, referrals and loyal customers is one of those areas. However, I do monitor the customer feedback to ensure the outreach is not intrusive and that we’re aligned with technologies that have the proper security certifications like Signpost, which is SOC certified.
Andrea: Katherine, thank you so much for you time. Is there anything else that you’d like to share?
Katherine: I think the most exciting aspect of this technology is watching our customers become ambassadors of our product. We work hard to ensure that the experience with our brand is best-in-class and it’s important for us to continue to grow our business in the same way that it has for many decades–through the positive experiences customers have had through the generations.
*For more information on Net Promoter Score, click here.