By Christina Dunn, copywriter, product educator and brand voice at Title Nine
Here at Title Nine, we believe in keeping it personal. Since the company’s beginnings, we don’t just serve the customer, we ARE the customer: founder Missy Park was a collegiate athlete in the 1980s who competed in men’s uniforms and shoes because there was a void in the market for women’s performance fitness apparel. She started Title Nine in 1989 to fill it.
Since Missy’s garage was the first office and warehouse, it should be no surprise that her drawl remains every caller’s first greeting. Stepping inside our East Bay home office, anyone might construe that “business as usual” is undoubtedly different, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. A full gym is in the center of the office, and quotes from “difficult women” cover the walls.
The difference in our customer experience goes far beyond the friendly voice on the phone when placing an order, our in-store customer events, or our 360 day return guarantee. Being the first women-focused sports and fitness retailer of its kind, every item at Title Nine, whether it’s from one of the brands we carry or our own product line, has been carefully chosen for and by women, by real users. Our sweat literally goes into testing hundreds of sports bras so we can offer what will truly work for our workouts.
Having started my own career here at Title Nine in the Customer Service call center — sometimes known as the heart of the company — I can vouch first hand that our approach to customer interaction permeates everything we do, perhaps is most readily apparent in how we ‘speak’ to our customer. The importance of “keeping it real” is something I personally feel very strongly about, whether we are discussing product or the brand. Even now, my approach often begins with my customer service roots: What would the customer want to know about this item? Where will she use this? How will it benefit her as she heads into her next urban, trail or life adventure?
We believe in abiding by “What Would I Want?” as our customer service philosophy. Each call center rep is educated on every new product with every catalog launch and is a product expert on their own, using their own personal experiences and those of their teammates to help better advise our customers. There is never a script: every interaction begins with assessing that particular customer’s needs, wants and desired end use. How many other retailers have all current gear on-hand and will e-mail pictures of items together to show whether or not they match? How many converse with their customers in the same manner as a friend sharing coffee or tea?
For good (and for bad), relating personally is our brand. That means, like a relationship, we won’t always get it right or agree. But we aren’t afraid of a little controversy because if our customer isn’t saying anything, we’ve probably put her to sleep — and there are simply too many incredible adventures waiting out there for that.