From Robotic to Empathetic

How Rent the Runway Revamped Customer Support with Empathy-Driven Scorecards & Agent Evaluation Workflows


Rent the Runway, founded in 2009, is a transformative force in the fashion industry, offering a shared designer closet known as the "Closet in the Cloud." Their mission is to empower women to feel their best every day by providing various rental and subscription services from numerous designer brands. Initially, Rent the Runway faced challenges in their QA process, such as agents sounding robotic, repeating responses, and struggling to provide personalized solutions. Customer feedback via CSAT surveys indicated a need for a more customer-centric approach.

The Need for Change

Rent the Runway recognized the need for a QA transformation due to customer feedback pointing out robotic interactions and repeated responses. The company aimed to shift away from strict policies towards a more empathetic and agent-empowered approach to enhance customer satisfaction. Empathy and personalized problem-solving became central to this change, aligning with their mission of providing a "Cinderella experience" to every customer.

Empathy as a Driver

Empathy became central to Rent the Runway's QA efforts to address feedback about robotic interactions. The company aimed to move away from rote apologies and instead provide personalized, specific empathy to create a unique and empathetic experience for each customer. This shift aligned with their value of providing a "Cinderella experience" and required loosening policies to allow agents to find tailored solutions.

Empathy in Scoring

Rent the Runway revamped their scoring system to include  resolution-specific questions, assessing the effectiveness of problem-solving & more empathy focused questions. Both sections included “partial credit” answer options– so agents could still receive credit for finding solutions for the customers or providing empathetic responses even if they didn’t provide the “best” solution or “most empathetic” response. This allowed agents the opportunity to learn and grow while not feeling discouraged over more binary yes/no scorecard answers.

Scoring Methodology

The question arose of how could Rent the Runway’s QA team ensure consistency in scoring despite this more subjective look at agent performance? Despite the subjective nature of partial credit answers and empathy evaluation, consistency was maintained through clear guidelines and specific expectations for agents. Regular meetings with graders and weekly team discussions helped align scoring criteria and ensure consistent evaluations.

They also took advantage of MaestroQA’s GraderQA tool– a workflow in which a random sample of already graded tickets are surfaced to a “benchmark grader” for review. The benchmark grader re-grades the ticket (without seeing the original score) and the system generates an alignment score between the original grader and the benchmark.

Macro Adjustments

Rent the Runway adjusted macros by removing rote apologies and encouraging agents to use them as building blocks. Agents were encouraged to create their empathy statements tailored to each conversation, promoting personalization and creativity while still maintaining consistency.

Collaborative Coaching

Rent the Runway transitioned from a critique-focused QA approach to collaborative coaching by providing extensive feedback during grading. Agents also received one-on-one coaching sessions with their Team Leads via the MaestroQA coaching platform, fostering collaborative and individualized development. The integration of Guru as a knowledge base further supported agents in delivering exceptional service through information sharing and To-Dos tracking.


The changes had a positive impact on both agents and customers, resulting in improved CSAT scores and a reduction in comments about agents sounding robotic. Agents became more empowered to solve customer problems, contributing to increased customer satisfaction and improved agent morale.

Cost vs. ROI

Rent the Runway justified the investment in the QA transformation to leadership by emphasizing the importance of retaining customers through improved service. The company recognized that it was more cost-effective to keep existing customers than acquire new ones. By focusing on providing a "Cinderella experience" and enhancing customer satisfaction, they believed that the long-term benefits would outweigh the initial costs.

Long-Term Benefits

Rent the Runway sees the value in retaining customers through improved service because it aligns with their mission of empowering women to feel their best every day. By creating a unique and empathetic experience for each customer, they strengthen customer loyalty and brand reputation. The long-term benefits include higher customer satisfaction, increased customer retention, and a stronger competitive position in the fashion industry.

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