How JOANN Helps Today’s Crafters Find Their Creative Happy Place

JOANN has been an icon in the crafts and fabric industry for nearly eight decades. A lot has changed but one thing hasn’t: Our dedication to putting customers at the heart of everything we do.

We aren’t only in the business of selling craft supplies. We’re in the business of helping people find their creative “happy place,” whether that means joining a 3D printing class or one of our many Facebook groups for crafters. And this has never mattered more than it does today, when we’re all searching for ways to stay happy and discover new outlets amidst so much uncertainty. 

To do this, we’ve evolved our customer service to meet the needs of today’s generation of crafters and makers. This means figuring out how to go above and beyond in each interaction, centering our brand experience on the customer and delivering memorable moments. 

Offering Exceptional, Personalized Customer Service

Customer service isn’t just about fielding questions and finding the right answer. Every interaction is an opportunity to connect with and inspire. We should be offering solutions and assuring them we’re here to partner with them through the entire crafting process. This involves really getting to know our customers on an individual level – from how they like to communicate to their favorite products

With the help of platforms like Gladly, we’re able to support customers across voice, email, SMS, online and chat, and the experience is seamless for them and our agents, who can easily switch channels depending on volume or customer preferences. 

Connecting across the entire customer experience takes more than being available across channels. It means keeping the conversation focused on the person, not the task. We’ve invested in technology that puts relevant information at agents’ fingertips, showing them conversation and order history, product preferences, loyalty status and more. This enables informed, personalized conversations with each JOANN customer. And it’s led to a 25% lift in conversations with the same number of team members, allowing us to foster meaningful and lasting relationships at scale. 

Ultimately, our goal is to support our customers no matter the type of interaction. We’ve restructured our customer service experience to offer every possible channel, provide easy access to them and ensure JOANN team members are available to offer tailored support.

Connecting with Customers on Their Favorite Channel

JOANN was founded with a focus on communication channels that mattered then: Mail and phone calls. In the last decade or so, we’ve seen a massive shift to digital and, unsurprisingly, it’s completely changed how we communicate and connect with customers. Customers today expect short wait times and swift responses, so brands need to meet this shift. 

Sometimes that means giving customers self-service tools to find answers on their own. There’s a misconception that offering self-service is about moving customers away from live agent support. But really it’s a channel customers want to use. A Harvard Business Review study found that 81% of customers attempt to handle things on their own before reaching out to an agent. Self-service typically gets them what they need quickly. At JOANN, we’ve seen an 80% success rate. 

We’ve also been able to continue delivering the same radically personal experience, even when agents aren’t involved. Through self-service, we can leverage context from customers’ current behaviors to provide them with more accurate, personalized, real-time answers. And it gives our team a better understanding of why questions are asked in the first place. We’ve learned that creating a positive customer experience is not just about answering every call, or responding to every email – it’s about providing the most useful information so customers can find answers themselves. 

Going Beyond the Purchase, Online and In Store 

At JOANN, we’re also thinking about the customer experience more broadly than purchases or returns – we’re on a journey to become a destination store. We provide products customers need to realize their creative vision, but we’re also a place where they can come together as a community and learn from each other and our staff. 

In our stores we’ve introduced things like the craft creator, a kiosk where customers can put their personal touch on a project, and maker studios with 3D printing, cutting and engraving services. And we offer in-store classes where they can discover new ways of sparking creativity.

We’ve also found ways to use digital tools as an extension of the store, starting with online tutorials that help customers become expert crafters wherever they are. And we’ve seen firsthand how powerful it is to create a community on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, where crafters can come together and chat with team members and with each other to solve problems and share inspiration. 

At JOANN, exceptional customer service means so much more than a timely email response. It’s become a core brand pillar, where the focus is on creating seamless, one-to-one relationships with today’s customers at scale. In the end, we’ve had to reimagine every single touchpoint we have with our crafters, whether through the call center, stores or online, to help them create a truly happy place wherever they are.

Drew Chamberlain is Director of Operations and Customer Experience for JOANN