Harnessing Loyalty? It Starts with Your Internal Customers

Produced by

Ann-Marie Clendenin

SVP Stores, Operations & Visual

Karlyn Mattson

EVP and Chief Customer Officer

Christine Tutssel

Axonify, Inc.

This discussion centered around the theme of "Harnessing Loyalty: It Starts with Your Internal Customers," executives from rue21 and Axonify. shed light on the critical role internal customer loyalty plays in driving success within the retail industry. Ann-Marie Clendenin, SVP Stores, Operations & Visual at rue21, and Karlyn Mattson, EVP and Chief Customer Officer at rue21, along with Christine Tutssel, CRO at Axonify, shared valuable insights on fostering loyalty within the workforce to achieve business objectives effectively.

Ann-Marie Clendenin emphasized the importance of clear communication and leveraging technology to engage and empower associates across a broad geography. She highlighted the significance of providing crystal-clear directives to associates, ensuring they understand key products, marketing strategies, and customer service expectations. She stressed the need for constant communication and setting clear expectations to drive operational efficiency and customer satisfaction. She noted, "We harness technology through Axonify to communicate with our associates. It's about not more communication, just crystal clear and calling down all that noise to single days, so that they understand and can expect."

Karlyn Mattson delved into the concept of harnessing loyalty to fully realize the brand's potential and cater to customer demands effectively. Karlyn emphasized the importance of understanding the customer base, identifying their needs, and aligning internal operations to meet those requirements seamlessly. She highlighted the collaborative effort required across functions to deliver products that resonate with customers. Karlyn stated, "It's really helping understand who is our customer? Where do we reach them and what are they asking for... It's what our customer asked for. It's what they require. It's what they want from us."

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Christine Tutssel from Axonify. echoed the sentiment of leveraging internal customer loyalty to drive sales team support and enhance communication strategies. Christine emphasized the need to provide comprehensive information to support sales teams effectively and enable them to understand the 'whys' behind operational decisions.

The executives also discussed the digital transformation journey within their organizations, emphasizing the shift from paper-based processes to digital platforms to cater to the evolving needs of internal customers. Ann-Marie highlighted the importance of adapting communication methods to align with the preferences of modern employees who rely on digital channels for information access. She noted, "Everything is digital, everything is on their phones. So in order to serve them, we have to give them information in the way in which they want to receive it."

In conclusion, the discussion underscored the pivotal role of internal customer loyalty in driving operational excellence and customer satisfaction in the retail sector. By prioritizing clear communication, leveraging technology, and aligning internal operations with customer needs, organizations can cultivate a loyal and engaged workforce that propels business growth and success.

In a rapidly evolving retail landscape, the emphasis on internal customer loyalty emerges as a cornerstone for sustainable business performance and customer-centric operations. As organizations navigate the complexities of the retail industry, fostering loyalty within the workforce stands out as a strategic imperative for long-term success.

APRIL 2024