Australian online fashion retailer The Iconic is cutting jobs and relocating parts of its customer service to India despite a stated commitment to local jobs.
In a statement released today, The Iconic revealed it is cutting up to eight jobs “at this stage” of its 350-strong Australian workforce “as a result of improved customer experience measures”.
The online retailer said the reduction in roles will be made through voluntary redundancies.
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“The need to review the size of The Iconic’s customer service team is being driven by a steady fall in the business’ ‘customer contact ratio’ in recent months,” the statement said.
The Iconic attributes the fall in the number of customers needing to contact a customer service team member as “directly attributable” to its moves to streamline customers’ experiences on the retailer’s website by improving the returns process and order tracking.
The cuts come a week after The Iconic announced another $25 million investment and as it outsourced customer service roles to Hyderabad in India.
It claims the redundancies are not related to the Indian offshoring, which began in December.
The offshoring comes despite the retailer’s website claiming it has an “excellent team of local customer service consultants [located in our Sydney offices]”.
The Iconic said the Indian service provider it is using allows it to access new “Intelligent Chat” technology which provides online chat support and will enable faster response times to written customer contacts such as email and chat.
“Accordingly, the service provider extends the capabilities of The Iconic’s customer service team, rather than replacing it,” the statement said.
Adam Jacobs, one of The Iconic’s managing directors, said the redundancies were “bittersweet” for the company.
“On one hand, it’s tremendously exciting that we’re able to provide such a superior service and experience for our customers,” he says.
“On the other hand, though, it’s saddening that means we may have to lose a few members of our superstar customer service team.”
According to reports in Fairfax, Jacobs assured staff in November that the initial outsourcing would “free you guys up to focus on the contacts and customers that really make a difference” and that “you’ll do less simple/transactional contacts, and more meaty/high value-add contacts”.