Q&A with Maria McCann about the future of retail at Aurora Fashions

Q&A with Maria McCann about the future of retail at Aurora Fashions

March 10, 2015
Q&A with Maria McCann about the future of retail at Aurora Fashions

We love to hear stories about the ways that Zendesk helps our customers accomplish their goals. It’s inspiring to see the creativity behind each implementation, and to hear more about the philosophies and experience that drive great customer service.

We recently chatted with Maria McCann, Chief Venturer at JoHo Ventures and responsible for helping Aurora Fashions, the London-based company behind the brands Oasis, Karen Millen, Coast, and Warehouse. McCann has a reputation for pushing for innovation in customer experience, and previously worked with brands like Spotify and ASOS.

You have a vision to bring visibility into the customer experience to the business at large, and also into the physical retail spaces. Can you tell us a little more about that?
When I think about the customer experience, and wanting our customer service platform to be the repository of all customer engagement, whether that interaction is physically in a store or in the digital space shouldn’t really matter. We’ve spent the last year getting a model going in the digital space of capturing, responding, and analyzing interactions. We need to stretch that out into other parts of the customer life-cycle and through more devices that customers use.

Are there any companies that you personally look towards with admiration or for inspiration when you’re trying to define a new customer experience?
So, I think there’s a multitude of companies who do certain things in very good ways. If you look at Amazon, they do effortless in a very consistent way, driven through technology. Apple has taken retail to new levels because they’re a technology business. They don’t really think like retailers. A company like Facebook gives a great experience to its consumers—without people really having to contact the company. I look outside the retail space to get inspiration. There’s also other, more niche retail players like Trunk Club or Pointer, which are up market or even self-service, but its obvious they are putting the customer at the heart of the experience.

What’s your strangest customer service interaction, either weird or wonderful?
It always still surprises me that companies throw money at customers when they often want positive attention. We had one really loyal customer who complained that a particular brand’s quality of clothing had reduced. Instead of ‘gestures of goodwill’ we set up a meeting between her and the product director over a coffee to chat about what was the problem. She was overwhelmed that we would do that and the brand got a tremendous amount of insight and was able to make some improvements. Because the customer could see change happening, the trust was restored and she bought more than ever. Never under-estimate the power of a cuppa!

Read Aurora Fashion’s full customer story for more insight into their brands and the new generation of retailers

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