Unlocking Customer Satisfaction: Lessons from Gianluigi Zarantonello

What would your company do if a client called one of your stores to enquire about an ecommerce order?

Perhaps the Store manager or the Sales assistant would invite the customer to write an email to the ecommerce customer service. Would that be the best experience for the customer? Surely not.

In today’s ever-evolving landscape, the biggest challenges companies face in optimizing customer satisfaction often stem from organisational processes and systems.

Surprisingly, 80% of customer issues don’t originate from ecommerce websites or store interactions but rather from the headquarters’ procedures and systems.

Gianluigi Zarantonello

Let’s break down the customer experience into three phases: pre-sale, purchase and after-sale. Companies predominantly invest in the pre-sale phase, focusing on training sales assistants for conversion rates, increased order values, and cross-selling, which are some KPIs that are frequently used for measuring performance of retail teams. But how many of us have been trained to solve customer problems when they arise?

Another interesting point that Gianluigi made is that we need to map the activities in the process against the people who will manage those activities. In the model below we can see an example of mapping the customer journey against the departments involved.

Fashion Customer Journey Mapping

The role of techology in Customer Experience of Fashion Brands

“Why should we adapt our processes to technology? Shouldn’t technology adapt to our needs?” questioned the Sales Director during the implementation of  a new information technology system of a fashion brand I was working for at the time. Back then, I humoured him, but looking back, my response would be more structured.

Moreover, while it’s clear who’s responsible for generating a sale, the resolution of customer issues is less obvious. When a problem arises, customers may contact a store, a customer service number, send an email, or connect via social networks. Are these channels seamlessly organized to provide a unified customer experience?

To ensure a positive customer experience, the client-facing team needs reliable, fast, and streamlined support from an ecosystem of applications and processes. Only when the back-end processes are well-defined can we achieve a truly satisfactory customer experience.

As we venture into 2024 and beyond, with integrated sales processes across multiple channels (omnichannel) and various actors contributing to order fulfilment, technology becomes both an ally and a disruptor.

As shown in the chart, technology changes at a faster rate than companies. This misalignment often results in companies lagging behind consumer expectations. Companies must acknowledge that consumer behaviour evolves with technology, and they cannot remain static.

Martec Law, Technology Gap

Gianluigi emphasised the importance of not just understanding the Customer Journey Map but also mapping roles and responsibilities. Vital contributors, often in the back office, are sometimes not involved in the definition and planning of promotional activities, implementation of new systems and customer facing applications. For instance, consulting IT on implementation timelines for commercial promotions or consulting the bricks and mortar stores staff in discussing digital activities. 

In conclusion, Gianluigi’s lesson inspires a deeper look into our processes and a sincere acknowledgment of the unsung heroes in our companies. Let’s redesign our processes, adapting to technology while keeping customer satisfaction at the forefront. My sincere thanks to Gianluigi for this insightful lesson, and my apologies for drawing inspiration from it to share these personal observations.

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