Behind the Conversations: Orsi Szentes, LABFRESH

5 min read
Messenger image

All businesses engage in conversations with their customers in one form or another.

Conversations are either pre-written or pre-strategized and can range from simple text message reminders to using DMs for business or even all-out chat marketing.

You generally only encounter the end product of these conversational strategies. There is little to no focus on the people behind these messaging campaigns.

In our Behind the Conversations series, we put the people that brought these conversational experiences to life in the well-deserved spotlight.

This time around, we talked to Orsi Szentes about the messaging campaigns at menswear company LABFRESH.

Please, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?

My name is Orsi and I am the Head of Growth at LABFRESH. We create life-proof menswear: a collection of wardrobe essentials made of cotton, improved by the latest innovations in textile technology.

In a previous life, I studied and worked in luxury fashion in a variety of roles, such as management, buying, marketing and consulting.

I have been with LABFRESH from the very beginning, so seeing (and helping) it grow from the ground up has proven to be an incredible journey.

In my current position, I focus on e-commerce, email marketing, branding, content, copywriting, experimentation and everything in between. I love the variety that my role offers.

What does your day normally look like?

We have a small but efficient team, so it’s all hands on deck. At any point in time, I have up to 10 big projects running, which I manage and execute, sometimes with the help of external partners.

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My favorite projects to work on are always when we try out new things at LABFRESH. For instance, at the moment you can find our posters all around the city of Amsterdam, as part of a wild posting advertising campaign. Those types of experiments are great fun!

We work with quarterly goals, projects, and weekly tasks, managing it all via Trello. My day usually starts with catching up on emails and Slack messages, which set the tone on what I’ll be working on that day.

It’s no secret that I am not a fan of meetings. I find them wildly unproductive so I avoid them whenever possible.

Can you tell us a little more about LABFRESH?

LABFRESH started out in 2017 as a Kickstarter project, and it became the most funded Dutch fashion project in the history of the platform.

Since then, we have become the leading technical menswear brand in Europe.

Our hero product is our white business shirt. It’s made with 100% twill cotton that repels stains - even red wine. Thanks to its antibacterial quality, these shirts stay fresh for days and need no ironing. Our motto is: ‘wear more, wash less, buy less’. A different take on sustainability!

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We create products that look good and last longer, in order to reduce waste and fight fast fashion.

Our collection has expanded considerably, since. Casual shirts, polos, t-shirts, and socks are now also available, with many exciting new categories to be expected in 2020.

What role does messaging play in LABFRESH’s business model?

LABFRESH is unique in the sense that we are a fashion brand that behaves like a tech startup. Our product is different from anything you can find on the market, so selling it can be quite a challenge. The technology, the benefits, and the pricing need explaining. It’s not something people are necessarily used to.

This means that communication (verbal and visual) has been crucial for us since the beginning and has evolved a lot.

We use a lot of video content in our communication, both on our website and in our advertising. We do this because it offers an easier way for us to convey our message.

Documentary-style content has been working really well for us, again, because of its personal angle. Infographics, icons and other graphics are also heavily used to explain our complex production processes, for example.

I would say we found our tone of voice pretty quickly. It is informal but informative, factual yet witty. This makes us both approachable and trustworthy when it comes to communicating our sometimes complex innovative approaches.

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What are some unique messaging user experiences you’ve seen in other businesses? Have you heard of BB, KLM’s smart flight assistant, for instance?

I use a lot of different software and apps and always try out new ones. One thing that’s a key deciding factor for me is the support experience.

No live chat? I’m pretty much out immediately.

I’m also all for an AI chatbot, but only if I can easily be transferred to a human agent. Chatbot FAQs are also great.

I enjoy Klaviyo’s support system: you submit a ticket, then you immediately get a popup with suggestions of topics that may answer your question. If yes, great; if not, your ticket is forwarded to their support team. Great for both parties.

I haven’t heard of BB (simply because I would never book directly with an airline, I’d rather compare prices first), but I do love KLM’s Messenger bot. I think it’s great that it reminds people to check in, sends them their boarding passes, etc.

It’s basically the perfect use case for a chatbot because it’s functional so people don’t mind the “intrusion” on Messenger, which is such a personal channel.

Would you consider experimenting with messaging in similar ways at LABFRESH?

We use Messenger as the live chat tool on our website. I’m a big fan, so far! The convenience for visitors in receiving our reply directly in their own Messenger app is unbeatable. It’s also easy to integrate with most CRM tools.

When the whole Messenger marketing thing started, we experimented with it, but quickly found that our customers didn’t like the “attack on their privacy” - to quote one of them.

Perhaps a bit dramatic, but I do think it’s not necessarily suitable for all businesses or personas. I would like to use it for shipping notifications, which would be useful and not all too intrusive. Perhaps in 2020!

Do you think messaging can play an important role as a marketing channel, as well?

Absolutely, for the right type of business and audience, yes. I think the key to this is to remain relevant through personalization and by sending the right messages at the right time.

I can imagine it would work great for customer retention and encouraging repeat purchases with the right type of products.

Any thoughts on developing LABRRESH's conversational experiences in 2020?

We have no plans as of yet, but we would definitely start with something functional and convenience-driven, rather than focusing on sales. Simply because of the feedback we have received from our audience, so far.

We do like to gather feedback from our customers across multiple touchpoints. I’ve really been enjoying Typeform’s conversational forms for this purpose. It makes the experience a little more human and helps with completion rates, too.


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Jonas van de Poel

Customer Success & Content Marketer at I AM POP. Poet, linguist, polyglot and wordsmith armed with fountain pen and ergonomic keyboard. Wears shades at night. Dreams in breakbeat at 174 bpm.