Subscription Box Basics with Julie Ball

Feedback Strategies with Mario from Cratejoy

May 11, 2020 Julie Ball Episode 25
Subscription Box Basics with Julie Ball
Feedback Strategies with Mario from Cratejoy
Chapters
Subscription Box Basics with Julie Ball
Feedback Strategies with Mario from Cratejoy
May 11, 2020 Episode 25
Julie Ball

#025 - This is the third and last episode of the three-part series with Mario from Cratejoy. In this episode, Julie and Mario talk about customer feedback, strategies on how to get it, how often, and what to do with it.

Mario currently leads Seller Success at Cratejoy. Before Cratejoy, Mario spent time in management consulting and has experience starting, operating, scaling, and selling subscription box businesses.

Links:

Sparkle Hustle Grow
Cratejoy Business Blog
Typeform

Show Notes Transcript

#025 - This is the third and last episode of the three-part series with Mario from Cratejoy. In this episode, Julie and Mario talk about customer feedback, strategies on how to get it, how often, and what to do with it.

Mario currently leads Seller Success at Cratejoy. Before Cratejoy, Mario spent time in management consulting and has experience starting, operating, scaling, and selling subscription box businesses.

Links:

Sparkle Hustle Grow
Cratejoy Business Blog
Typeform

Julie:

So you want to launch a subscription box and don't know where to start? Girl, you are in the right place. I'm Julie Ball, a subscription box coach and your host here at Subscription Box Basics, a podcast for new and aspiring subscription box entrepreneurs that want to avoid overwhelm. So grab a coffee, some pen and paper and let's have some fun! Hey guys and welcome back to Subscription Box Basics. I'm your host Julie Ball and today's episode is the third episode in a series with Mario from Cratejoy. He is the Senior Director of Seller Success. And then the last two episodes we talked about pricing strategies, we talked about product pitfalls, things that will just break you in the end, you know. And today we're talking about feedback, how to get it and what to do with it. So without further ado, I'm just going to jump right back into the conversation with Mario Barrett of Cratejoy.

Julie:

This can be a scary topic because we all want to hear when we're doing well. But none of us want to hear when we're not doing well at something. Like if someone doesn't like the box, especially if they email you in all caps and tell you they don't like the box, it doesn't feel good. So today I'm talking to Mario Barrett at Cratejoy and Mario, what do you think about getting feedback? Um, what do you see people in the industry doing now? Like how often are they asking for feedback? How are they gathering it? And then we'll, we'll take it a step further of like what to do with that information.

Mario:

Yeah. So, um, you have two people or two types of people out there, people that don't ask for feedback and people that do ask for feedback. So in the the asked for feedback camp. Um, as we break it down, we can go into the details, but they're asking all the time, like literally all the time. And it's almost through every channel they engage with you on, whether that's in an email, like a newsletter that they're just trying to update you on, whether that's in support, whether that's just any routine product feedback or individual box feedback. They're trying to get you to tell them more because they're trying to learn. And the most successful box are the ones that are learning from their customers and engaging with them and figuring out how do we adapt our product to serve their needs. And I'm happy to talk about what I'm seeing people do that I think super, um, innovative and super successful because it's not only, yeah, so like, but I mean on the marketplace side we say if you're not asking people for reviews, you're missing a huge opportunity to show the value proposition of your box from the consumer content side.

Mario:

So every month you should be asking, I mean, you can ask everyone or you can find your, like your stores, your, your like most rabid customers and say, Hey Julie, you love the box every month. Go leave me a review on Cratejoy. That would be a huge win for me. Please do that if you love it and it helps us grow. We can deliver better services and products to you as we grow. Please help me grow this business and like really have that type of touch point and that type of relationship with your customers. So it doesn't matter where you're selling eBay, Amazon, Etsy, if you want reviews, which means you have to deliver a good experience. The next thing that people are doing is they're asking for actual product feedback. So they're sending followup emails every single month that is break. They break apart all the products in the box, they take a picture and then they ask you rate each product, tell me what you liked about it, what you didn't like about it.

Mario:

If you want to see more of that, if you want to see less of that. And so what they're building is a database per customer about what customers are interested in and that data is extremely powerful because this is what you can use to negotiate with vendors and brands in the future. As you start to grow, say, look, this is my audience, this is who buys from me, this is my brain package. And every single month that I put your product in the box, I will give you detailed feedback based on my customers on what they thought about your product. And that is an invaluable to these brands because they don't get that feedback and it's, it helps them get better too. So these are things that you can do and, and that helps like the buyer, your customer feel like they're empowered too because you're soliciting their feedback. I mean anytime a brand asked me like, how did you like this? Like what could we do to make it better? I want to tell them, I want to say, Hey, this is awesome. Do nothing. I love it. Or it's like, Oh, you know what? Like the, the shoes ran small or like they something ran out or like I didn't like the way the shirt fit or whatever it is. Like I think that's very powerful and you should like not be afraid to ask people for their, their opinion on your product.

Julie:

So are they asking for each month's box? Like they're sending out that same survey?

Mario:

Yes.

Julie:

Wow. Okay.

Mario:

Yeah, and I mean you can do this pretty easily pretty quickly and like Typeform and it looks really nice.

Julie:

Yeah we use Typeform.

Mario:

Yeah, and I, I think they look great and you can be really fun with it too. Like you can be on brand, so if you have like a quirky brand, you could be like, if it's not from like zero to 10 it's from like mud puddles to unicorn. You can do like really catchy things. It'd be on brand so you can actually communicate with people in a lot of different ways. You can leverage social or feedback, which some of these brands are building on communities. They definitely do that. And so they're not just like being like, "Hey, tell me what you think about this lipstick or whatever it is". They're watching how people communicate with one another about how they're using the product and they're actually able to adapt their product and then start engaging the audience with, "Oh, you're actually using this for this way or this is how you'd like to engage with the box. I didn't think about that". And they it start to adapt.

Julie:

I love that. I right now what we do is we send out a survey only twice a year. So it looks as though, or it sounds as though that might be something that we need to ramp up for Sparkle Hustle Grow is ask for more feedback more regularly. And I love the idea of actually putting images of the, the items so they can see what that item was and leave specific feedback that then you can share with the vendor. That is such good advice. Thank you for sharing that. Um, we will leave a link in the show notes for Typeform. Typeform is a survey software essentially you can create quizzes, surveys, questionnaires, all kinds of things on there. But you also could use something as simple as what like Google docs or Survey Monkey, something like that. But type form if you upgrade and allows you to brand it with your colors, with your logos and, and have some really kind of more advanced features which might give you some of that feedback that those vendors want. And if you spoonfeed vendors information like that, they're probably going to be more willing to work with you. Not only on like custom products maybe, but on pricing. Yeah.

Mario:

Oh yeah. You're, you're a marketing service at the end of the day. I mean, not, not directly, but indirectly. And you want to be able to convey that message. Like we're not just sending your products, we're actually advocating for people to use your product and the way that it's intended to be used. And then we won't give you information back on how they used it. I mean, it's like pretty powerful.

Julie:

Yeah. One of the biggest ways that we use feedback is we have a private Facebook group for our subscribers. And if we're looking at a product, and maybe there's three or four versions of it, maybe different colors or maybe different, um, different print, we will post it in there and ask them to vote on it. And so that's a really super easy way to, one, get some feedback because they're going to tell you if they like it or if they don't. Um, they're going to, to help you pick the one that you eventually land on. You know, if they, if more people voted for print A overprint B and that decision is no longer weighing on your shoulders, you know, they've made that decision for you.

Mario:

Yeah, that's a great idea. Even before you order anything and you know, you're going to have great customer satisfaction.

Julie:

[inaudible]. Exactly. And then the third thing that does is it makes your customers feel heard. It gets them involved in the process of picking the items. And as a consumer, I think that's super fun. But as a business owner, I want them to make those decisions for me. I want them to get involved so I don't want to disappoint them, you know what I mean?

Mario:

Oh yeah, I agree.

Julie:

So we've got ask people for reviews. That was your first piece of advice. Your second one was ask for product feedback. And then my third one was ask them what they want. You know, let them vote on things and you can do that in a private Facebook group or you could do that on your public social media. Those when we post those on our social media, they're always one of the kind of categories of posts that get the most engagement. People love to tell you what they want. They love to share their opinion.

Mario:

Oh yeah, I agree. And you know the, in the one, the thing that I've seen is, and I think, I don't know if you all do this, but like how, how more of the influencer crowd that has started boxes are leveraging their channels is they're doing like personal unboxings with their private community where they can actually help you use the product and engage with you and they do like a Facebook live and so you can ask questions. It's kind of, it's very unique and cool and not everyone can do that because it really depends on the product that you're selling. But it's just another way to engage. I think the day it's, you know, engaging with that customer, making sure they had that connection with you and they want to keep buying from you and your box.

Julie:

Yeah. I'm glad you brought that up. We actually do that. We do the video on our Facebook page and then we do it for our private Facebook group as well. And I like to tell people why I chose it and how I specifically use those products. Um, and it gives people ideas like maybe if the intended use of the product wasn't something that they would need, but if I show them well I also use it for this, it kind of opens their mind to liking that product a little more. It also opens the conversation for customer service. Cause I always say in those videos, if you have a problem with one of your products, like if there's something that's broken or if there's something that's missing, you can email us at support@sparkle hustlegrow.com and give us a chance to make it right. And by saying that, um, we, we do get emails if there was something missing. Cause we're, I mean, our boxes are still hand packed and we're human. We're going to make mistakes sometimes, but by kind of bringing it to their attention that we want that chance to make it right really, um, helps us with our customer service.

Mario:

Yeah. That's brilliant.

Julie:

Thanks. Brilliant. Um, okay, so we've talked about some ways that you can get feedback. Let's talk a little bit about, you know, what to do with it. As you mentioned, you can provide feedback to vendors to kind of strengthen your relationship. You can use it to make decisions. Um, so what do you think about when you get bad feedback? What do you, what do you do with the bad feedback?

Mario:

So bad feedback is interesting because it depends how you qualify bad feedback. So like bad, like if so unhappy feedback can still be good feedback or it could be bad feedback. Um, and so like if someone's not giving you constructive feedback, that's one thing. And so you always want to try to like turn anything around to be constructive and to understand like the, like the root of what someone's trying to like convey to you. And not just like, I hated your product, but it's like, what exactly were you hoping to get? Get out? How did we miscommunicate you're like, well, what can we do to improve? And like, and you want it like turn them around from like an attractor to someone who's positive and who wants you and wants to promote your brand. And if you can give them that ability to, to kind of turn that around that, that's always very, very helpful. But it's not always possible. Um, is there any other way you're thinking about feedback here? Because like when I think a bad feedback, it's like I don't like your or it's like you have a terrible company or I mean some of it you're just like, thank you so much for your time.

Julie:

Right. Have a good day.

Mario:

Please don't let the sunshine in anyone else either.

Julie:

Yeah. And I mean some bad feedback comes in, like you said, it's not even constructive. It's just they might be having a bad day. They might be taking it out on you. And some of those customers, we don't, we don't want them as our customer because we're not gonna ever make them happy. So sometimes we're okay with letting that customer go. It's kind of like a breakup, you know? Um, but I'll tell a quick story about how some negative feedback actually helped us make a new business decision is we had a, in our private Facebook group, we had a subscriber complaining that she had enough stuff but she still wanted to be a part of the community and she still wanted the trainings cause we provide books and trainings. But she had, her desk was already overflowing with stuff and she wanted to kind of go a more minimalist way.

Julie:

And you know, the first time I saw it I was like, well I guess we're not the box for you. But then, you know, 10 or 20 deep people were saying, me too, I just, I get so much value out of this community and the training is, is why I really subscribe. Then, you know, when we started started seeing all these other people saying, me too. Then we realized, okay, this is a conversation we need to have. How can we retain these customers but not overwhelm them with the stuff? And I say this stuff I'm going to do, this is my air quotes. Um, all the things that are inside because we'd like to think of Sparkle Hustle Grow was more than just a box of stuff. So out of that somewhat negative feedback was born our mini mailer and our mini mailer includes just the book, the training and the community. They don't get any of the office supplies or the tech gadgets and even, you know, wow, this isn't the biggest stream of revenue for our business. It did retain some really, really good loyal customers and it's a great profit margin. So it was, you know, a win win for everybody.

Mario:

That's a great example, Julie. I mean that the bad feedback to actually turn it away to down sell someone and keep them and like really extend, expand or extend or LTV, which is amazing.

Julie:

Yeah, we were really lucky in that we were able to kind of take a step back from being hurt from the feedback. And that's something that I really think we just need to talk about for a quick second is, um, I think a lot of us, since this is a hustle for us and this is um, this is something that we are growing. It's homegrown. You know what I mean? We're building this business from home. A lot of us are responding to the customer service emails. As you know, we're also the CEO and the operations manager as you mentioned, like we wear so many hats and it can become really exhausting to deal with um, customer service, especially if there is a common problem that you're fixing over and over again or if it was just a bad shipment or whatever. Um, so I think it's important to that if this is something that really is a struggle for you, that might be one of the first things that you delegate is that customer service is to let someone else handle the customer feedback and the customer service.

Julie:

And then they can provide you with a big picture, say, Oh, and this month's box, this was the favorite, this was not the favorite and this or this is a common problem that I'm seeing in customer service. Let's talk about it and let's address it. So if this is something that if customer service and bad feedback is something that really puts your mind in the wrong place or like you know, it really brings you down, then I would say consider delegating that customer service. Um, so that you can take that off of your plate and focus on your business.

Mario:

Yeah, that's a great idea. That's usually the first thing that we see go for sellers who are scaling. It's, it's the customer service because like once you do it for a while, you kind of get it and you, you, you know the themes and you're hopefully put a process in place. It's easily repeatable and then someone else can pop in there and pretty much like operate from day one. It's like the lowest bar as far as what someone needs to be trained on.

Julie:

I agree. It was the first thing I outsourced.

Mario:

Oh yeah. It's and you get so much time back to which is sanity. I would think sanity too. Cause like it can be like demoralizing sitting in support if people are upset. It's just sometimes not fun.

Julie:

I agree. Okay. So we've talked a little bit about how to get feedback. So using things like Typeform, using things like surveys and social media. We talked a little bit about what to do with it to actually use it to pivot if you need to, to improve things to change your business. Is there other, any last bits of advice, um, that you'd like to share about getting feedback and what to do with it?

Mario:

Yeah, so the only last thing you can do with feedback is like you, you want to have it as like when someone's really happy, you need to save that and you need to take credit and you take those wins and use that for like quotations on your website or anything you can like use to market your product. Because if you're going to go pitch and try and get some earned media or if you're trying to do anything in that realm like you want like positive subscriber feedback, let's say you're trying to go to a company and like pitch like, "Hey, you should buy a hundred boxes from me this Christmas for your employees. This is what my customers are saying and you have like all this positive feedback on best box ever changed my life". Best thing in the world, like Oh perfect for the like dad of two kids like and it fits their profile. They're like, Oh wow, people actually like this and so you can leverage it. That's a tool you shouldn't like let go away and squander.

Julie:

I'm so glad you brought that up. We do that here at Sparkle Hustle Grow and we have folders like virtual folders called love notes. And so we've got one in our project management software and then we have a shared iPhone album that each of my team has access to. And if we see someone that posts about Sparkle Hustle Grow or is raving about it or has left a good review, we'll screenshot it and we'll put it in our love notes folder. And not only is it there and handy for just like what you said, if you are approaching a company to pitch them for a bulk order or if you need to show some of these, um, some of those love notes to a vendor for example, it's all right there. But also if you're having a bad day and you start to read back through those love notes, it can really shift your perspective and really kind of raise your vibe back up so you can put your game face back on and get in the game.

Mario:

Oh yeah, that's a, that's a great, great piece of advice there at the end because you do need that. Sometimes you need that. You're, you're sometimes like sailing on a boat by yourself in the middle of the ocean and it's good to no, some people are out there that appreciate.

Julie:

Yes. Yeah, it is. Awesome. Well thank you so much Mario. This has been so fun to interview you and to have you on the podcast talking about some of these really important topics. Um, if people want to get more information about you and Cratejoy, where's the best way to, to follow like industry trends and what's going on?

Mario:

So to follow what's going on, we try to post as much as we can in Subscription School. That's the, uh, the open group on Facebook or the Cratejoy merchant community. So if you're over, I think it's a hundred subscribers, you can join the merchant community group. And so everyone in there is a got over a hundred subscribers. So the things they talk about can be a little bit different than the Subscription School group. Um, on our blog we try to update it with, uh, with anything that's coming in out as far as our business blog and Cratejoy.com I think forward slash sell is that website and that should have some relevant information for anything related to subscription boxes in general. And most recently we posted a kind of like resources for Covid-19. So if you're a small business and you need to get access to things like go there, we're trying to figure out things like we can get you to help otherwise email us sellersuccess@cratejoy.com and we'll see what we can do to help you.

Julie:

Awesome. Yeah, I shared that blog post and I'm in all of those groups, so I will make sure that all the links will be in the show notes for everyone to follow along. Thank you again, Mario. I really appreciate your time and thanks everybody for listening and we will see you in the next episode.

Mario:

Okay. Thank you so much. Appreciate it.