On the heels of a $1 billion valuation and $125 million fund-raise in March, Rent the Runway is addressing recent customer experience issues and social media complaints head-on.
The company has experienced a few tough public relations months, suffering an onslaught of member complaints on social media. Citing long call wait times and lack of email responses, frustrated members have taken to Twitter and Instagram to slam customer service, threatening to cancel their memberships.
Rent the Runway (which allows members to “update” their wardrobes with four pieces a month for $89 or rent unlimited garments for $159 a month) has exploded in popularity along with subscription services in general. (According to a recently released report, millennials are more likely to spend their money with sustainably minded companies, and are looking to new commerce models like rentals to fill the retail void responsibly.)
The surge in membership has presented new opportunities, like investor interest, along with scaling challenges. In addition to having issues getting a hold of a membership concierge to make changes, users have also called out quality control issues, like missing or late orders, and even damaged garments.
On Monday, the company emailed a mea culpa to members, saying it will launch a new tool to help them fulfill their membership needs, like canceling or pausing subscriptions. Instead of going through Rent the Runway’s overloaded membership concierge, members can now email the company at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org to change their preferences.
The company told Business Insider this week that it would be doubling the size of its customer experience team to help deal with the influx of member queries, presumably using some of that substantial funding from Franklin Templeton Investments and Bain Capital Ventures.
And in June, the company opened a new, 300,000-square-foot fulfillment center in Arlington, Texas, to be manned by 500 employees. According to Dallas News, the warehouse will speed up fulfillment times for consumers west of the Mississippi River. Previously, Rent the Runway’s fulfillment center in Seacaucus, New Jersey, fulfilled orders across the country.
In another bid for convenience, the company announced this week that it would be launching a partnership pilot program with Nordstrom, which will allow members to return their Rent the Runway garments to four of the retailer’s Los Angeles stores. “We’ll expect to see over time some loyalty improvement,” Maureen Sullivan, chief operating officer at Rent the Runway told Reuters, adding, “by having these physical drop-off boxes…we’re able to activate even more subscribers.”
Following the company’s plaintive email (which arrived in inboxes with the subject line, “We’re Sorry”), Rent the Runway tweeted on Monday morning that it would be hosting a live town hall on Twitter with CEO and co-founder Jenn Hyman to address “questions, comments and frustrations” about the service. Twitter users quickly began posting questions and comments using the hashtag, #RTRTownHall.