Ever taken the Loot Crate customer feedback survey that we send out at the end of every crate month? Sarah Stern heads up the team who is compiling all of your thoughts and opinions on what we do, and working to make your experience better! We chatted with Sarah about this process, and her own corner of geekdom…
Hi Sarah! Tell us your exact title, and what it is you do at Loot Crate?
Hello Nicole! I’m the Director of the “Customer Experience Research, Insights & Strategy” team (yes, it’s a long name…we go by RIS for short). The best way to describe it is that we do lots of types of research (surveys, focus groups, customer interviews, website usability studies, data analysis) to learn about who our Looters are, how they experience Loot Crate, and to discover opportunities to improve the service and products. Our work focuses on different elements of the experience – the products in the crate, the website, our branding, and key elements of the service like what happens after someone signs up for the first time, or the shipping and delivery. We work very collaboratively with lots of teams throughout the organization, since they are the folks responsible for making sure our research and recommendations turn into reality, and we are quite well known for using a TON of post-its.
How long have you been with Loot Crate, and what were you doing before you joined the team?
I have been at Loot Crate for a little over two years. Before I worked at Loot Crate I was doing similar work at DIRECTV’s Innovation Lab.
Every month, you and your team craft the surveys that go out for folks to give feedback on their experience. How has that process evolved over time?
It’s true, we are the humans behind all those satisfaction surveys. When I first started at Loot Crate we were’t getting too many responses, and no one was really looking at them, so the first thing I did was tweak the format of the questions and work on upping our response rate by giving the satisfaction surveys their own dedicated emails. Over the last few years, we have continued to tweak the rating scales and the questions we ask, and introduced asking questions about what franchises people are interested in. These surveys have become a really important part of our curation process….and yes, we really do look at all that data, so thank you to all the Looters that fill them out and please keep them coming! Seeing how people rate items helps us not only understand what people liked and didn’t like, but it really helps us make decisions about what goes into future crates. Next up on the evolution of those surveys is improving the design to make them mobile friendly and to make them inline with our new branding. Eventually, I would love to get them into a Loot Crate app, to make it even easier for people to take them.
What about the subscription box model do you think appeals to fans the most? (Taking into account your studies, of course!)
Subscriptions are everywhere, for everything – it kind of blows my mind, to be honest. For fans, it’s an easy and convenient way to build and grow a collection without having to put too much money or effort into it. People are busy with their lives and really love getting that gift at their door every month; it’s a way to treat and reward themselves. When I first started at Loot Crate, I would hear people at work describe it as “Christmas every month” and I thought that was just some catchy marketing tagline, but I soon started to hear customers actually describe it like that whenever we did interviews.
What are your particular favorite themes or crates that have gone out in the past couple of years, in any of our crate lines?
There’s a bunch that I love, and I am definitely an original Loot Crate kind of girl. The Horror Crate (Oct 2016) because I love 80s horror, definitely Invasion (Jan 2016) because of the Facehugger plush and the Multipass, Cyber (June 2015) for the Terminator Endoskull, and even though it hasn’t arrived yet, I am really pumped for the Investigate Crate (April 2017)… because duh, Stranger Things and Jessica Jones.
And if you could create your own crate (anything at all!) what would it be?
I am not so sure this crate would have mass appeal, but it would have to be an 80s Cold War crate, and would include things from Rocky 4, Gotcha, Gymkata, WarGames and Red Dawn. I already have a collection of Rocky IV figures I got from NYCC a long time ago, but I still need the Fight Gear and Training Gear Ivan Drago figures to complete the collection.
What is the last great movie you saw, TV show you watched or book/comic you read?
I did a Logan/Get Out double feature last month, and that was pretty great. And Colossal was awesome – everyone should go see it! And I am very excited for Baby Driver. And I am a few episodes behind, but I have really been digging Riverdale this year. And super excited for the return of iZombie. And Fargo. You should’t have asked me this question, because I will go on forever.
Outside of Loot Crate, what do you personally geek out on? Any hobbies/interests in particular?
I’m definitely a movie and TV geek – I could watch or talk about them all day, and I have spreadsheets to help me prioritize and keep track of what I watch. This year will be my fourth year going to Fantastic Fest, a genre film festival in Austin. It’s basically a week of what feels like your eyes bleeding, in the best of ways, because you are watching like 4-5 movies a day. I also go to ATX, which is a TV festival; last year I saw Tom Fontana and David Simon interview each other, and got to visit the Panther Field House and see a Friday Night Lights reunion. Other than that, I am very obsessed with my dog Calvin; once in a while you can find a photo of him on the Loot Pets Instagram.
As part of your work, you’ve conducted a lot of face-to-face meetings with Looters to get their direct feedback on products. What have you learned from the Looters during those sessions?
That is a tough question, we always learn so much whenever we talk to Looters. They are not shy about giving us their opinion – good, bad and everything in between – and that is why we love them. I can’t speak to anything too specific, as we are pretty serious about our customers’ privacy in our research. I’d say one of my biggest takeaways, thinking about all the different interviews we’ve done, is how powerful it is to connect through the things you love. Often times we’ll bring in small groups of people who don’t know each other, but they are always able to bond once they start talking about the shows, movies, games and products they love, and not just because they like the same stuff, but how it has shaped their lives and become a part of who they are. We’ve also done interviews with families, and it is really powerful to see kids and parents talk about what a bonding experience it is to be able to share the unboxing experience and have a special time with each other each month.
You’ve also worked at our booth at some conventions and experienced that interaction with Looters. What is one of your favorite experiences in that setting?
I really love working at conventions. Even though it’s always fun to meet Looters, it’s really humbling to meet people that have never heard of Loot Crate and to explain to them what it is. When you work with something day in and day out, you get really used to it – you feel like everyone must know what Loot Crate is and you lose a bit of objectivity – so it’s nice to be reminded about all the room we still have to grow.
What is the most rewarding part of your job, and what is the most challenging?
Hmmm, maybe I will start with one of the challenges first… as you mentioned, my team does a lot of surveys. Unfortunately, they’re a bit of a double-edged sword. They are pretty easy and fast to get out, so we get asked to do lots of surveys; however, they aren’t necessarily always the best approach to learn what we need to learn. Often times, talking to a smaller amount of people and digging really deep can get you a ton of insights and data. As far as the most rewarding part of my job, it’s to see the team I work with do a really kick a** job. As a manager, it is really rewarding to see them do such a great job and be respected by their peers, and to see them learn and grow in their profession.
Thanks so much for chatting with us Sarah!