That’s What She Said – Live From C3

By: Clarabridge Team

April 19, 2013

By Matt Cohen, VP of Strategic Accounts

If you’re a fan of “The Office,” you know that the phrase “That’s What She Said …” has become ingrained into our pop culture. No matter how many times Michael Scott said it, the phrase got people’s attention and made them laugh. Well, Stan Lucas, Director, Customer Insights  & CRM at Charming Shoppes, Inc., a subsidiary of Ascena Retail Group, Inc., and his team actually used “that’s what she said” as a catalyst for a major enterprise customer experience initiative.

As the owners of women’s apparel shops, including Lane Bryant, the customer insights team would always joke “that’s what she said” when learning about customer feedback. This led to 2011 becoming a breakout year for Charming Shoppes’ Voice-of-the-Customer (VoC) program. High volumes of feedback were being received at a record pace from multiple sources and the team spent hours getting buy-in and support from internal brand partners to implement a formal Customer Experience Management (CEM) program. Things were taking off fast and furiously.

But this sudden success came at a price (insert a car breaking audio file here!). There was a heavy burden of delivering on mounting needs and driving the business through actionable insights in 2012. The team was transitioning away from manual processes, and they were facing challenges with analysis of the feedback volume. Not everything was rainbows and flowers.

Stan shared the story “Behind the Management” (homage to VH1’s Behind the Music) in an excellent presentation at C3 today, a follow up to the wildly popular Youtube video Charming Shoppes, Inc. : Behind the Management.

Stan described the VOC team’s journey, expanding on how the team overcame these challenges by:

  • Reorganizing the team and pushing forward amidst internal organizational challenges, especially when Charming Shoppes was acquired by Ascena Retail Group, Inc. last summer.
  • Gaining buy-in from new stakeholders at Ascena and showing the value of VOC, not only for Charming Shoppes, but also for Ascena’s brands.
  • Analyzing VOC to understand customers’ reaction to the closure of Fashion Bug, and working closely with management to respond to and engage with those customers.

What started as a simple joke – that’s what she said – resulted in a CEM project that was one of the most successful enterprise-wise initiatives at Charming Shoppes. And while it experienced growing pains, Stan and his team persevered. As a result, the level of understanding gleaned from the VOC was invaluable.