Episode 6: Step-by-step guide to building a customer retention machine

Retention Podcast Ep 6 Simona 2

On this week’s episode, we are joined by Simona Ioannoni, Senior Marketing Manager at Brigit and previous Senior Marketing Manager at Haus, Stitch Fix, and Educent. Simona shares very valuable information on this episode, such as her macro approach to customer retention and how she’s seen the shift in the ecommerce space from a fragmented approach to a more unified strategy. She makes a fantastic point that the client experience faces the same customer through each step and so it must be seamless for each and every customer. After Simona sets the stage, she then walks Sarah and Mariah through her step-by-step guide to customer retention where she starts out with her first step of building out the customer experience by establishing trust and having clear communication. Her second step for brands trying to grow their customer retention strategy is to segment where you can and to measure key points so that you can understand your qualitative and quantitative data. Simona’s third and final step to her guide is to automate and change up your channel mix to present different communication outlets with your customers, whether that be through email, SMS, QR codes, or other creative yet subtle ways of communicating and engaging customers. Be sure to follow Malomo on your favorite streaming service and social media to interact with all of the content we are publishing- we want to hear from you!



Sarah Leitz, Mariah Parsons, Simona Ioannoni

Mariah Parsons 00:02

Welcome to Retention Chronicles, a podcast sponsored by Malomo, a shipment tracking platform that helps ecommerce brands turn order tracking from a cost center into a profitable marketing channel. On this week’s episode, we are joined by Simona Ioannoni, who has worked with many brands on their marketing strategy, including Educent, StitchFix, and Haus, and now works at Brigit. Simona shared so much valuable information on this episode, we barely had to do any of the work! Simona first shared her macro approach to customer retention and how she’s seen the shift in the ecommerce space from a fragmented strategy to a unified front. She makes a fantastic point that the client experience faces the same customer through each step and so it must be seamless for each and every customer. After Simona sets the stage, she then walks Sarah and Mariah through her step-by-step guide to customer retention where she starts out with her first step of building out the customer experience by establishing trust and having clear communication. Her second step for brands trying to grow their customer retention strategy is to segment where you can and to measure key points so that you can understand your qualitative and quantitative data. Simona’s third and final step to her guide was to automate and change up your channel mix to have different communication outlets with your customers, whether that be through email, SMS, QR codes, or other creative yet subtle ways of communicating and engaging customers. Be sure to follow Malomo on your favorite streaming service and social media to interact with all of the content we are publishing- we want to here from you! So welcome. Today, we have Simona here with us. And we're so excited for you to be on Retention Chronicles and to just chat about all things, retention. You know, today, I know we have a step by step guide that you created. So I can't wait to dive into that. But before we do, so, we thought it'd be great to have you intro yourself, your position, perspectives on customer retention, and everything.

Simona Ioannoni 02:17

Hello, thank you so much for having me join your podcast. I'm super excited to be here and to chat about retention with you. So I spent my entire career, just seven plus years, in marketing, doing retention, but retention for different companies. I started with Educents, which was an educational marketplace, very similar business model to Amazon, and then moved to Stitch Fix, where I was working on the CRM team and really touched and work with different parts of the customer lifecycle. So working on win-back campaigns, understanding who lost customers where, and then I switched over to first conversion. So from lead to first conversion, and then most recently at Haus, I've been really working on that first a second purchase, membership, and overall retention umbrella for, for the company. So a lot of retention throughout. I've seen like many different parts of it. And it's something that I love.

Mariah Parsons 03:17

Yeah, it seems like you have a hand in everything, which is so great for this because you have so many different perspectives, and we can't wait to hear about them. In your experience, why do you think that customer retention is important? You know, why should brands focus on it?

Simona Ioannoni 03:32

Yeah, so great question. Customer retention, I think, is super important because once you acquire customers and they purchase, they give you a chance, then if those customers have like- if you can make this customers, like your loyal customers, then they will come back, they will add so much value to your company. And those are the people that you want to really take care of, make grow- and yeah, for for the future. Let's take a look at the macro environment. So in the past, I think one of the buzz words was growth hacking and growth has seemed like a lot of attention. Because CAC was lower. It was kind of like a new industry. There were not as many players on the market. So it was like really easy to acquire new customers. And even if that company, there was like a leaky bucket of churning customers and churn was really high it was actually easier to acquire customers. So I actually think that retention has always been a little bit overlooked in companies and because it was always easier to acquire new customers but then today, we see a big shift and that sees that retention and customer experience as a whole as the new big, you know, drivers of value for customers and for LTV and for a lot of like healthy metrics within the company. And this is because there are a lot more players, a lot more competition to acquire, CAC is really high, and it's becoming unsustainable for companies to rely on that only to drive, you know, those those purchases. So now I think like retention and customer experience, which I put together, have a seat on the table, something that in the past, they haven't. So this makes me very happy because in the past, I feel like, so retention in general, or retention to me is like the overall experience as soon as you land on site, after seeing an ad, after being referred from a friend, that's when you should start thinking about retention. That's when you have someone's attention. That's when your customer gets to your site, and how do you keep them? How do you hook them into your- your business? How do you drive that first purchase? And how do you keep them coming back? But not because that's necessarily for the for, the business, but how do you make them come back because that drives value to their life? What is your company doing that is valuable for them? How is the experience flawless in a way that it makes it like a beautiful experience, just come back and brings joy and happiness to their lives? These are all buzzwords, but that's like the truth and what- and what that retention is about? So I'm actually like, really, it's very interesting to see this shift in the macro environment. And all of a sudden, that is like big, does big attention to retention. I think what I've seen in the past is that there was a lot of attention to first conversion. So from acquisition, you can- you know, you acquire leads. And then how do you make those leads? How do you convert those leads from leads to first time purchasers. And then there was a big attention to win back campaigns. So oh, our customers are turning, what are some tactics and strategies to win them back. But the whole middle of, of the customer experience was kind of forgotten, it was taken for granted. And so in my experience, retention was very fragmented, and it was seen as okay, retention is win-back h, retention is trying first and second purchase. But actually, if you think about the client experience, the client is just one. Retention should be like one big, overarching umbrella. And you should not think about the customer experience as fragmented, as it was in the past. And I feel this is changing. And of course, for smaller companies it's a little bit easier to have that experience under one umbrella for bigger companies, you need to start dividing and having people focused on different KPIs and different life cycle moments, but you should never forget that the customer is one.

Mariah Parsons 07:41

I love that perspective. And I don't think I've ever personally had it described to me as that, as having the fragmentation but in the past, but now it's becoming more of a unified front. And I think that's super interesting, as you know, we see more and more attention driven or attention given to customer retention. And so along with that, because you describe it, you know, at the macro level or the umbrella level, how then do you approach customer retention in that unified front? What do you really dive into first?

Simona Ioannoni 08:12

Yeah, so this kind of brings me to a step-to-step guide that I think is going to be I mean, from my experience, this is just how I approach new strategies or how I approach new retention problems in a new company, or anywhere. And I feel like the first very important thing that you should focus on to build a successful retention engine is the customer experience. And I mentioned this before, a little bit. But building trust is not only about you know, sharing your story and make customers care about your mission. And being a mission driven company. This is all extremely important. But when I talk about customer experience, I'm also talking about every single step that a customer goes through your website when they make, for example, the first purchase. That is incredibly important. And often in my experience, a little bit overlooked the most important thing is the first transaction they put something in the cart that click 'buy'- yes, so we got them- no, there is actually a whole other experience that comes before and after that will really make or break if that customer is assumed to come back if that person really loved purchasing on the site, if that person really loved receiving the product, if the person was able to consume the product in the right way. So let me give you an example. For example with Haus so Haus is like- Haus is a healthy aperitif brand and Haus really wants to change the way that the mo- the modern person drinks with an aperitif that has real ingredients and it's good for you. It's a very complex thing to market because it's something new, something you haven't heard of. The brand recognition is very important, it is what is making the the company successful, but then along the way, we have to make sure that when someone is hooked in, is interested to know more, than we give them throughout the purchasing experience all the information that they need to make not only a conscious purchase, but also they can consume the product in a way that they love it. For example, when you click purchase, then it might take a week for you to receive the product. And this is like Haus, but it can be also another another brand, what happens is that week you know? You're purchasing something for the first time, what are some information and next steps that we need to give you in order for you to enjoy that product? In an alcohol brand, for example, Haus can be enjoyed in many, many different ways. So before you receive the product, we want to make sure that we give you all the information that you need, not only to receive the product, for example, it's an alcoholic beverage, so you need to be home to physically sign to receive your package that is- that is like a friction in the experience that we don't have control over. So how can we make that as seamless as possible. So that, you know, that doesn't become something that doesn't make you purchase again. So, and some ways that we have done that was, for example, partnering with Malomo, and having clear transactional experiences and trying to, you know, have as clear as a as a communication as possible through transactional emails, which I think often are overlooked. But those are actually the emails that every single customer receives, because they cannot unsubscribe. And because they actual, they add value. So please don't overlook your transactional emails, that may seem boring, but they're extremely important, and those are the emails that people will look at. But throughout that process before they receive the first product, it's also on us to understand, okay, what is some information that we can give, what are some recipes that we can give customers so that when they receive the product, they know already how to enjoy it, and we increase the likelihood of them enjoying it in the right way. And that increase the likelihood of them trying it again, or recommending it to a friend, and just like really stay in contact with the brand. So this is what I mean with the customer experience. So first purchase, extremely important, don't overlook the step-by-step needy-greedy experience. I remember at Stitch Fix, we were very focused on first fixed conversion. And then when customers bought the first box, then there was like, seven days in which, you know, the stylist would make their picks, and then the box was getting crafted. And then customers would receive it. But when I started, there was no communication. There was like basically seven days of blackout before you received the box. And then I was like, okay, that's a very long time for you not to hear from us completely, or maybe receive a batch campaign trying to maybe purchase another box, but you haven't received the first one. And so it's just really think- thinking about where are you in that moment, like if you if you put yourself in the customer shoes, what would you want to receive? Like you don't want to hear for a week? Maybe no, maybe you want to know where are you, what's happening in my box, are the stylists picking my styles. And so that's what we started implementing. And that really helped just creating better expectations. And then really helping with one customer to recieve their first box to increase the the overall delight of the experience because they were a little bit more prepared, even if it was like a surprise and delight type of situation. So this is for the first purchase. But then the customer experience continues. What happens after that, were you happy where you're not happy, we should ask you. And if we're not happy, why you were not happy, we should understand you. And in these ways, you can just capture a little elements of the experience that will help you build, you know, the next product feature, the next marketing campaign, the next referral program. Like if you haven't, if you didn't like the produ- the product, we should not send you a referral campaign, you're probably not very likely for someone else. Those are like, you know, small things that sometimes are overlooked. Well, because one prioritization, two numbers might be a little bit small. So of course, you need to prioritize what are going to be the most impactful things. But having in mind, the customer experience is going to be your winning horse in general. I also feel like retention often is seen as just marketing communication. And in my experience, it kind of gets reduced to just email marketing, but it's a lot more than that. So make sure that you set yourself up for success, building retention as really a strategy, a strategy, part of your company that works with marketers that works with analysts, that works with product. Customer experience, a lot of it is product, and then emails and other marketing channels can help, doing a little bit of a lift to send you the right communication at the right time. But then the site is probably where you're going to spend the most of your time.

Sarah Leitz 15:02

That's amazing. You know, what's really great is a lot of what you said, it seems really common sense. But if you don't have someone focused on it, and you don't have someone really in it, day in and day out, you don't see it, you're in your work, you're focused on what you're doing. And it's so common. I've been in so many different companies that if you don't have somebody saying, what is the customer feeling? What is the customer going through, you don't see it, because you're just trying to get what you're doing done. And it's so important to have somebody who can kind of like, pull their head out of the clouds and be like, what is the customer experience? When you're talking about Stitch Fix and you're saying, you know, there's seven days of people not having any communication, and that's when they're the most excited too.

Simona Ioannoni 15:45


Sarah Leitz 15:45

And that's like a really important time to really think about what you're doing, how are you communicating with them? How are you getting really excited? And it seems common sense, but it's not always.

Simona Ioannoni 15:56

Yeah, a lot of, honestly, I think a lot of- when you think about attention, a lot of strategies are really common sense. It's really, it's really about putting yourself in the shoes of the person that is purchasing and getting your product. What would they want to see, what would they want to experience, something else that I want to mention is that as retention strategies, customer success, team, CX, is going to be your best friend, you absolutely want to work super closely with them, because they have the customer's ears, they hear day in and day out what they love, what they don't love. And they can be the biggest advocate and partners for you to develop new features to really provide and build a successful customer experience that is frictionless. So you know, at Haus, for example, there are a couple of examples. But at Haus, one of the main feedback we heard from customers was that it was very hard to manage the membership portal, it was really hard, they had to write to CX, the churn was really high. And so based on that insight, we just started digging a little bit more like okay, well, what is the problem that led to an overall redesign of the entire membership portal. And from 9% of overall CX inbound were about the membership portal, that almost came to, I don't want to say zero by like a very, very low number, that was like a great win. That was a great way for us. And there were a lot of questions and confusion about the signature piece, that you had to be home. So how can we actually add that into the communication on site? How do we better leverage email marketing to make that piece of information clear, those are very small things that you might overlook, but it would actually help building customer experience if- and if that first experience is great, then your job is a lot easier, because you don't have to go through win back campaigns, you just- customer will just come back because of that first experience.

Mariah Parsons 17:53

Yeah, and I think what this circles back to too- and in the customer experience- is asking the right questions as a brand, having their company and the team really trying to understand the customer. And so with that, how do you approach trying to ask the right questions? What are some examples that you're asking brands that you're working with on, what are our goals, what do we want to do, as far as understanding your audience and trying to then develop that overall strategy of approaching customer retention.

Simona Ioannoni 18:25

Yeah, good question. That brings me to my second point of my step-to-step guide, which is segmentation and audience understanding. Also, this is very simple. Every brand talks about segmentation. Every brand talks about audience understanding, it's something that we should not overlook, you really, really need to understand your audience, because it's going to be different from every other brand, that you work with. Example, working at Stitch Fix, we had, a lot of the time, set price sensitive leads. And so the reason why they were not trying Stitch Fix for the first time, or was completely different that why Haus leads are not trying Haus for the first time, you just really need to understand what are they thinking, what are they perceiving? What are the barriers to conversion, and then craft messaging about that understanding. What are some product features that can help, you know, addressing that concern? And that's like for the first half of the lifecycle, but then customers kind of evolve within their journey. So there's going to be a barrier to conversion or not. And then after, they evolve, they could become extremely loyal customers. And so how do you reward them? What would they want to see? Do they want more content? Do they want to feel you know, special through gifts, and membership and loyalty? Or you know, how long did it take to consume the product? Do they want you know, a bottle the Haus every month? Do I want a bottle Haus every three months? Those are all questions that you can ask them. I think surveys are an extremely important part of retention. So you always have to look at, you know, audience understanding from a quantitative perspective. So you can run, you know, out of fan models, you can really understand through data, what is like your, what is your life cycle stage? What is the lifetime of a customer's? Who are your biggest buckets? How frequently do they purchase? How much do they purchase? Are they- who is it who stops churning. So you can do, of course, a lot with analytics. But you can also do a lot with quantitative research. Don't forget to ask your customers what they think what they feel. And this is something that you cannot always perceive through data. So I think there should be like a very healthy mix of both set yourself up for success with measuring, make sure that you can measure those key points. First purchase, whether they're purchasing first to second, how long, who are the people that purchase the most, who are the people that don't purchase and why they don't purchase. And then who's about to churn? What do they care about? And so some of the behavior you can understand through quantitative, the why you can understand through qualitative research. An example, at Haus, for example, we were seeing, you know, there was like a big bucket of customers who tried Haus for the first time and they didn't purchase again. So that's something that you can understand just looking at the data and cohorts. But when we started asking through a survey, why you're not purchasing again, then it was super interesting. A lot of people didn't purchase just because they didn't finish the first bottle. It was not because they didn't want to, it was just because they didn't need it right now. So that as a retention strategist makes me feel okay, great. So they want to be served in another way. So I should not, you know, send them marketing communication, discounts, whatever your tactic is, yet, because they're not ready yet to make a purchase. And not because they didn't love the product its just because they are in a different lifecycle stage of their customer journey. So but then you wouldn't understand if you don't ask and a survey is one of the ways but you can also have pop ups online, that just ask questions. You can have little NPS surveys going out that are different parts of, you know, the site where you can add these little questions. You know, sometimes I like surveys, if they're not too invasive, you can have, for example, a standardized survey going out twice a year. But you could also have little questions and little pop ups on site every now and then. When someone is making an action and you want to understand why, then just have a little pop them and say like, do you like the experience here? Is there something that you would improve, and you'd be surprised, but customers will tell you what they want and what they don't want. And that's invaluable, invaluable information. Another example is at Stitch Fix, we were seeing, you know, I was looking at win-back campaigns and turn prevention tactics and and I was like, why, why are these clients- why are these customers not coming back? They've been, you know, with us for several months. So they liked the product, they purchased more than one. So, why are they churning? And one of their answers was we have too many clothes, we don't need clothes right now, that is something interesting for me to come back and think okay, so is there any other program that we could think about? Is there a way for us to collect their older clothes? Is there a way to help actually alleviate that that could become a problem as well. This is to say that a lot of ideas can come by asking and that is very, very important. The second part of this other step is segmentation. Once you understand the audience, then make sure that you segment. And if your company is small, based on resources, segmentation, I think the ultimate goal is to have a one on one personalized communication where we send you exactly what you want and the moment that you want with data science and predictive analytics model. Yes, you can start small and especially if you're in a smaller company, segmentation, I think can really become overwhelming very quickly because you could micro segment in a nanosecond. So make sure that you think about segmentation strategically and what are your main bigger buckets and focus on those it could be three it could be leads that need to do the first purchase it could be, okay, customer who purchases the first time high LTV clients turning labs. So, you can find like five segments that you want to focus on at the beginning. Make sure to craft the marketing communication directly to them understand your channel mix, understand how many of them you can reach via email how many of them you cannot how many of them you have an address, you wanna reach them with like SMS. So my recommendation is start small but make sure that you identify your biggest bucket and make sure you don't exhaust them with the least with communication that is not important.

Mariah Parsons 25:09

Yeah, it seems like, you know, as a brand, you want to provide those opportunities for feedback, like you were saying. And then, so once you have that data, where where do you go next after that? What do you do with that, in terms of you mentioned channel mixing, what are the next steps?

Simona Ioannoni 25:24

Yeah. So this brings me to my third point of the step-to-step guide, which is really understand and evaluate your channel mix and automation. Automation is going to be your best friend, especially at the very beginning. In my career, I spent a lot of years working just with email marketing, and email marketing is one of those channels, that is extremely important, because it's very cheap, it's very personal, you literally- someone gives you permission to receive a communication in their inbox, someone is interested in your emails, you really have their ear. So super important channel, it's a channel that can drive a lot of ROI very quickly, because you have the ear of a lot of people. And with a batch campaign, you can reach a lot of them- a lot of customers. Make sure to not exhaust the list, don't use your email just as a blast, because that is going to bring you very short term revenue. Week after week, after month, you are not going to see the same revenue, you will be exhausting your list that- that's not what you want to do. Automation is definitely going to be your best friend, make sure to identify those lifecycle moments that are pivotal to the experience. And this all ties back to the customer experience. So this is not a one to three step guide. Do one forget about two and three. No, everything is tied together. So what are those pivotal moments? Okay, someone comes to site, you want to send them a welcome email, you don't want to send a welcome email just because it's nice to do. No, that is literally the introduction to your company. So that should not just be an email, it should be a flow. What are those most important things that your customers told you they want to hear in order to make a first purchase? That's something you can automate, automate it! And then start like working on it to make it better to optimize second part after the first purchase. There's going to be a series of transactional emails that would really guide that first purchase. After that there shouldn't be like a black hole or batch campaigns, what can you automate after that? Are there any marketing post purchase campaigns that you can think about? What are the next steps? Is it a referral? Is it understanding if they had a good or a bad experience? Do you want them to leave a review? What's happening next- automate, automate, automate, when you understand someone's lapse, when you define, okay, I want to consider lapse everyone that hasn't made a purchase in the past 30 days, three months, six months, whatever your business demands, automate, have drip campaigns, have messages catered to that specific audience, that automation will just create a little bit of a relief, especially if you're the sole attention marketer to then go back and partner with your brand- brand folks to do seasonal and batch campaigns, which should be part of of your marketing as well. So automation, your best friend, at the beginning, it's just a little bit harder to see the value because you target less customers just like every day, a little bit, especially if you're working with smaller audiences. But in the long term, this is what it's going to make the difference a lot more than batch campaigns. Make sure to check your channel mix. So oftentimes, email channel is the only channel considered, especially after acquisition. But it shouldn't be the only channel. One, it's because usually about I think 40% of your audience is unsubscribed. So you have 40% of people who don't even receive your email. So you should really think about your channel mix. And today, there are so many new channels that you can think about. And I would just like push you to think about what are some new emerging channels that you can experiment. Don't think about traditional marketing channels as the only channels that you have available. Today we have, you know, email is one of the traditional but SMS is growing like crazy. How can you use it in a way that it's personal. I, for example, really love how The Nudge uses messages. They are an SMS first brand, and they use it for surveys to ask you what- what content do you want to receive about a city? And they send you a recommendation. It's a very, very clever way to use SMS and I've never unsubscribe because the content is so captivating and interesting. Another one is, you know, QR codes. Is there any way that you can- this is new channels that basically flourished during COVID and quarantine and now people are accustomed to use it. So this is a brand new channel, how can you use it? Can you leverage it? Yes, no? Is your product a physical product, the box, the container that should be another channel. Can you segment it? Can the experience be different for first time? Can the experience be different for members, for special audience, for high LTV, you know, VIPs, however you decide to call them, that is another channel, start thinking about all of this. And you will have just like an array of different experiences that you can really personalize based on different segments and really make the difference.

Mariah Parsons 30:38

Yeah, that's great. And I love that focus of trying new things out and seeing where there are possible other avenues for brands to really try and get a mix, an array of things, I think that ties into knowing your customers as well, maybe someone has a preference to getting an SMS notification versus an email or vice versa. It all kind of ties to each other like you said before, of this isn't one step that you just focus on and then move on. It's a continual strategy that you have to revisit multiple times. And relating to that I think the brand image that is put out there has to be consistent and appeal to their customers. So what ways have you seen consistent and an appealing brand image be able to grow customer retention?

Simona Ioannoni 31:25

Yeah, so I think this is brand recognition is extremely important. I think Haus does this really very well, where brand is really at the forefront of how the entire company comes across. And it's like really special to, it is special to see how the brand really talks to the mission, you know, being the drink for the modern drinker, a new way to drink. And I think the brand really reflects that. So when you know customers see, they recognize it, and they just see themselves buying the product and being part of that of the look of that aesthetic of what the brand emotes. And you want to be part of that journey. So at Haus, we've seen that as they're important for the overall growth also, because it just puts you apart and makes you feel part of a lifestyle that that is new. That is one of the things, the second one is so recently, we had a booth at West Coast Craft in San Francisco, which is like a fair where a lot of like independent small brands come and shared their products, not necessarily in the food and beverage space, but also artists and you know, painters and crafters, any type, every type of artists. And when people were passing by the booth, they just like immediately recognized it like oh, we've seen you around, or I've seen your someone's place. And that recognition of like, Oh, yes, I've seen you and I'd be wanting to know more is extremely important. So understand what makes you unique and grow your brand based on that. So I think that is extremely important for a brand. So unique and recognizable via marketing assets, good marketing, it can be growth, marketing, it can be email marketing, it can be anywhere, people will open, people will open people willing to act with the brand people will recognize you. And that extremely- that is extremely important to have that. In a world where everybody is fighting for attention, that is the key that would really make it or break it. If someone will say, oh, yes, I recognize this. Oh, yes. I've been loving this brand. Let me know more about it, so.

Mariah Parsons 33:34

Yeah, I love that, that sense of being unique and trying to stand out as a brand. And I think that also ties into what we were talking about earlier of just part of that customer retention strategy is establishing that trust in the customers that you know, this is what they want. And this is what they expect. And having that lifestyle like you just said. It's it's that inclusion piece, I think that really appeals to brands. And this is something that I'm curious what your opinion is about this topic, because we've seen multiple times with sustainable practices or a social mission. I think that really ties into that recognition piece or that lifestyle piece, where it's really appealing for customers to purchase from a brand that they trust and know is doing other things outside of just their product. And I know with your experience with Haus, you have simple natural ingredients and like you were saying, it's a healthier approach to drinking. So what do you think, what's the importance that you've seen, that sustainable and social mission projects or initiatives can have when developing that trust with customers?

Simona Ioannoni 34:41

Yeah, that some it's extremely important, especially the latest generation like younger millennials, Gen Z. They started being extremely careful and educated about buying and purchasing. There is a lot of attention and importance to not only the sustainability fact of that product and the packaging, which is super important. And we've constantly seeing it from Haus customers feedback that that's like something very important. But also what are you putting into your body. The food and beverage industry, I feel like hasn't been transparent for the longest time. And so today, realizing that that is not okay. And just like being transparent of who you are and embodying that it's something that will not only capture customers, but but if this is like what, who you are as a brand, that will really make people connect with you. And it's not just like a marketing tactic, I feel like today, you can really tell if something is real or not, even if someone is like very good at marketing it as like the best sustainable option you're like, hmm, I don't know, I feel like we are a lot more educated on the topic. And if we have seen a lot of fakes out there that we can ask ourselves, we can ask ourselves questions. And so being transparent, not because you have to, but because there is literally nothing to hide, which is like what's happening at Haus. It's a great competitive advantage. But it's also like part of the company. That's people being part of the journey. So to your question it is extremely important. And if this is part of the brand, then how can you make sure that that comes across through the site, through the messaging, to the bottle. Transparency, and when you don't really have anything to hide, that's something that you should, you know, pursue also from a marketing standpoint. So this is like one, one point. The second one is that a lot of ways that I think there are other companies out there to help you to be more sustainable in terms of packaging. And people will appreciate that. In the case of Haus, we have a beautiful box that we send. But do we need a beautiful box all the time, maybe there are other ways that we can explore sending smaller packaging, packaging that can be recycled, can be reused. The Haus bottle is per say something that you can reuse as a vase or as something else. So sustainability can be like really embedded in all the parts of of your company. And so I think that's like, incredibly important. And it will be recognized when its true and real.

Sarah Leitz 37:20

Yeah and I think I think you're so right. When it's part of the brand, you know it and I think it's one of the things, you know, when you see it, it there's a difference when it's the beginning of the brand. And it's in what you do. And it's when you say and it's part of who you are. And then it's different when all the sudden and it just shows up as like a campaign and also an it's part of the messaging. And where did that come from kind of thing?

Simona Ioannoni 37:44

Exactly. You're like, okay, let me just take a look like yeah.

Sarah Leitz 37:47

Okay, I don't know if i believe this kind of thing.

Simona Ioannoni 37:49

Yeah, exactly.

Mariah Parsons 37:50

And I think that's one of the things too, is, you said it so eloquently, you know, if you have nothing to hide, it's not a campaign and with how connected everyone is nowadays, especially in the E commerce space, but in just everyday life, it's really hard to get by if something is fake, it'll be out pretty quickly. And I think, you know, that's such a great point about the transparency that really does tie into the customer retention and just creating that, that experience for your customers. Because I think it just it, it's almost, you know, there's not quite words that you can tie to it. But it's just more of a feeling with that lifestyle approach. And I think that's awesome. And so this, this step by step guide has been so amazing, and you've had so many great experiences and giving great advice. But if there's one piece of advice that you'd like to hand down, or a resource or something that you've kind of taken along with you every step of the way, what would it be?

Simona Ioannoni 38:45

Ooh, this is a hard question.

Mariah Parsons 38:47

I know, its a hard hitter.

Simona Ioannoni 38:49

But my, really my advice would be really partner super closely with your CX team. They have the customers ear, and they will be your biggest advocate for anything retention that you want to build and to really ensure- ensure success. So that is like my number one recommendation.

Mariah Parsons 39:10

Well, that's awesome. I'm sure you know, Customer Success teams around the world will be very happy to hear that advice. But then, yeah, this has been so awesome. Thank you again for sharing a bit of your time with us and really just diving into you know, step by step process and everything customer retention.

Simona Ioannoni 39:27

Thank you.

Sarah Leitz 39:27

Thank you, this has been so great

Simona Ioannoni 39:28

This has been this has been so fun. So thank you for having me. I hope you can all find like some interesting tidbits. And yeah, go out there. Experiment understand your people. That's all that's all that matters, and it will bring success.

Mariah Parsons 39:44

This is a packed episode from Simona with so many of her great insights and perspectives and lucky for us there's minimal facts in this episode. So let's get to it. So Simona first mentions the previous businesses that she is worked with. And so I just wanted to list those in case those were missed, that's Educents, Stitch Fix and Haus. This is a fact that she lists and she had stated that she believes it was about 40% of brands have people in their unsubscribed category for their email lists. And I could only find a study from campaign manager that said, the average unsubscription rate is around 17% so there's definitely discourse to be had. And like everything, it depends on each instance, the size of the company, their marketing strategy, their retention strategy, and overall their customer base and how engaged they are. The last thing that I had to fact check was the example that Simona provides under under her third step in her step by step guide under her third step of channel mixing, and she names a service called The Nudge, which uses SMS to send you party and adventure plans for the city that you live in. If you sign up for their program, that's the end of this fact check but, like always, be sure to follow us on social media and streaming platforms.