Asses your capabilities as a company and be sure you can provide a consistently good experience to customers all around and then build on that to improve every quarter.
As part of my series about the five things a business should do to create a Wow! customer experience, I had the pleasure of interviewing Anubh Shah.
Anubh Shah is a 3rd generation diamond gemologist and jeweler. He is the cofounder and CEO of With Clarity. Anubh cofounded the company with his then fiance and now wife, Slisha Kankariya. His passion is in bridging the online and offline shopping experience to create the most stress free diamond engagement ring shopping experience. Anubh is well versed in not only the aspects of diamond cutting and production but also in crafting a seamless customer shopping journey online.
Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
Becoming an entrepreneur was all about positively disrupting the industry I grew up in. I’m a third generation jeweler in the diamond industry. My company With Clarity bridges the gap between online and offline shopping, replacing the uncertainties of traditional shopping with a hands on experience at home. Consumers try replicas of their favorite ring styles before they buy. I decided to start this company to change the way consumers think about and shop for jewelry online and eliminate the need to ever walk into a jewelry store again. Being an entrepreneur is not just about having an idea, it’s about effectively using industry knowledge and customer insights to solve a problem for a customer. In this way, you’re transforming and causing positive changes within an industry and carving out a place for yourself.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
Our funniest mistake when starting out was not being prepared for the volume holiday season would bring. This high volume caused a red flag to appear from our payment processor- in a way where we could no longer accept payments through the holiday season. Looking back this was not a funny situation, however now we can laugh at the surge in orders and how in the midst of being happy about the volume, we had handle within a day getting enough clearance to take more orders.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
My father is a great inspiration as he himself is a second generation jeweler in the industry. His expertise, vision and hard work are the ways in which I was able to model my career and make inroads into learning everything I know about this traditional industry.
Thank you for that. Let’s now pivot to the main focus of our interview. This might be intuitive, but I think it’s helpful to specifically articulate it. In your words, can you share a few reasons why great customer service and a great customer experience is essential for success in business?
Online shopping is taking off in a big way. Namely the convergence of online and offline shopping for Direct to Consumer brands is the hottest trend right now. A few years ago only about 10% of people shopped online for engagement rings. Now, this number has grown to over 14%. This is because retailers for luxury goods are getting savvy about the online shopping experience. They are offering more personalized recommendations, targeted customer service and access to images and videos online that really help to bridge the gap between online and offline shopping.
Customer service needs to take into consideration pre and post purchase interactions as well, so that customers have a good lasting impression of the brand. It’s also so that the brand is one which they can recommend to others.
We have all had times either in a store, or online, when we’ve had a very poor experience as a customer or user. If the importance of a good customer experience is so intuitive, and apparent, where is the disconnect? How is it that so many companies do not make this a priority?
The future of retail is seamlessly blending online and offline to create the best shopping experience. While it is stress-free to purchase a low cost item online, it can be stress inducing to purchase something that has a high dollar value and emotional value sight unseen online. The best retailers will be able to offer an online experience that alleviates the concerns about purchasing something a consumer hasn’t held in their hands. We offer a free at home preview that allows customer to see a highly realistic 3D printed ring customized for metal color, carat weight and diamond shape. Because we offer this service for free, customers gain confidence in our design and quality. This blend of online and offline that brings convenience to their doorstep goes a long way in blending the best of online and offline. Anticipate needs and wants before they become complaints. Ensure you see the customer as a partner is a successful shopping experience.
Do you think that more competition helps force companies to improve the customer experience they offer? Are there other external pressures that can force a company to improve the customer experience?
Shopping online means that a brand competes with thousands of others to get the fleeting attention of the customer. It’s essential to be at the top of your game for customer service to be memorable, viral and relatable for the customer.
Can you share with us a story from your experience about a customer who was “Wowed” by the experience you provided?
Due to a customs issue, when a delivery was literally late, we flew the ring to the customer so that they could propose in time. We understand that deadlines and company guidelines are on one side and the satisfaction of a customer is the other side. It’s important to balance both but always put the customer first.
Did that Wow! experience have any long term ripple effects? Can you share the story?
Our focus on customers has always been at our core and is the reason that we are known and loved by customers across the country. It’s also the reason that customers don’t hesitate to recommend us to friends and family.
Ok, here is the main question of our discussion. Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things a founder or CEO should know in order to create a Wow! Customer Experience. Please share a story or an example for each.
- Asses your capabilities as a company and be sure you can provide a consistently good experience to customers all around and then build on that to improve every quarter.
- Invest in a talented team who will love your customer as much as you do.
- Automate functions so you can tackle the complex problems manually and automate solutions for the simple ones.
- Think about customer pain points and build new site or service functions around those instead of things you thing would be flashy or interesting.
- Focus on the feedback you get from customers and take that into account when building and making decisions
Are there a few things that can be done so that when a customer or client has a Wow! experience, they inspire others to reach out to you as well?
Unicorn status is ultimately fueled by the relatability of a brand to their customer base. It is that deep, often times immediate and genuine connection that makes VC’s sit up and take notice of the brand. While some brands are made for the consumer by the consumer, like glossier, they provide a resounding confidence to the customer. Almost a guaranty before they even buy that they will love it. Other brands give people the simplicity of knowing that it’s a single product that’s made to make everyone happy like Casper. For these consumer facing unicorns, they have curated the perfect magical blend of convenience and satisfaction that is palatable for their targeted customer base. Once, this formula is achieved it’s easy to convince both customers and investors that the company will be able to consistently hit a home run. Backed with high paced revenue growth and the right supply chain that can help achieve high margins, these companies become winners to invest in.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Education equality enables all to start of with a great baseline.
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This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!