Have you noticed that everyone is talking about Customer Experience? Major product, service and delivery companies are working very hard to measure and to improve upon the factors that influence Customer Satisfaction. They know that positive experiences and satisfied customers will have the behaviors they want: more likely to continue to purchase or renew, more likely to continue to purchase, and more likely to share positive references to their peers. However, all the insight, focus and commitment to satisfy customers can be quickly wasted when a bad return experience erodes memories of good experiences.
At the Reverse Logistics Association annual EMEA conference, Jean Mork Bredeson,
Managing Director of SERVICE 800, global expert of Customer Experience measurement, lead a discussion on the impact of Customer Experience on logistic strategies. “It takes great effort to create satisfied customers,” Bredeson offers. “And it only takes a few lapses in attentiveness to shift a good experience to a poor one. Just a few ‘Dissatisfiers’ can wipe out great progress toward greater customer satisfaction and loyalty. It takes a clear understanding of customer expectations and an inclusive strategic design of logistics processes to yield a truly customer considerate environment.”
Senior Program Manager of Intel’s Global Reverse Logistics Business Solutions Development group agrees. “At Intel, our responsibilities for identifying current and future Reverse Logistics requirements have continually kept the opportunity to delight customers in mind. For example, Intel’s Channel Warranty Replacement Program was designed to make uncomplicate product exchanges. By understanding how Intel products move within customer organizations, we learned that a simpler exchange program could strengthen our customer relationships.” Kiernan continued, “As we made it easier for customers to exchange products, we learned more about industry segments and the health of our products. The resulting data continues to be shared in our organization, helping us continually improve on the ease of doing business and how our well our products are serving specific segments.”
Director of Returns and Repair for Home Depot is clear about how important the role of Customer Experience plays in designing processes for product movement and repair. “We found and continue to prove that customers who have had a problem that was well handled will return and even become regular and loyal customers“, Holden attests. “Making returns easier and even supporting our associates’ quick decisions in the field is revealing patterns to continued purchasing.”
Establishing the right processes that suit all the roles isn’t an easy objective. Holden continues, “It takes getting all the parties to the table. We have to listen carefully to our customers and to understand their expectations. Since our customers tend to be working on specific projects, this can be difficult. From collecting and mining return disposition data, we gain great insight. With what we learn, the Home Depot Returns and Repair team goes to the right parties to share the knowledge. We engage with the merchants. We sit with our buyers as often as daily, not semi-annually like some organizations. We all understand that managing cost is fundamental, but we use customer insights to get a balanced process. We’re seeing returns becoming easier and our customers coming back to buy.”
At Bose, Jan Jaspers,
Supervisor or European Return Logistics, sees every return as an opportunity. “Bose has the unique disposition of welcoming returns,“ Jaspers explains. “Receiving a product back, testing and preparing it for resale in our proprietary channels is our chance to find a new customer. Bose has acquired significant numbers of new customers in this way, making it easy for new customers to experience a Bose product and to come back to Bose to buy upgrades or related products.”
Customer demographics and feedback play a significant role in this Bose philosophy. “We work very hard to learn about the customer experience associated with each return.” Jaspers continues. “We press our retailers to provide what they can, especially failure reason details. All this data goes regularly to the Bose R&D department that use it for product improvement initiatives.”
From the speakers’ descriptions of how their respective organizations have been benefiting from customer feedback and customer experience metrics, Bredeson surmised, “It’s clear that Customer Experience metrics have great potential in strategy setting. Solid logistical processes can be significantly more productive and cost effective when on-going customer perception and feedback are considered. It isn’t just about cost management anymore.”
Director of Returns & Repair, HOME DEPOT, email@example.com
Ryan Holden started with The Home Depot in 2003 as a store sales associate. He has held roles of increasing responsibility including bulk distribution center Operations Manager, Manager of Return to Vendor Contracts, and currently Director of Returns and Repair Business. In Ryan’s current role, he is responsible for secondary market goods, company repair programs, and return to vendor business functions.
Global Reverse Logistics Business Solutions Development, INTEL, Bernard.firstname.lastname@example.org
Bernard Kiernan has been with Intel Corporation for over 20 years in a variety of roles from Quality Management, Services Management, Project and Program Management. Most of this time has been in the Reverse Logistics organization in the design, deployment and management of Reverse Logistics solutions across Intel’s broad spectrum of products. Senior Program Manager within Intel Corporation’s Global Reverse Logistics (GRL) group with responsibilities for identifying the current and future Reverse Logistics requirements of Intel Business Units and the development of Business Solutions which delight the customer and deliver value add Reverse Logistics services.”
Supervisor - European Return Logistics, BOSE, email@example.com
Jan Jaspers is Supervisor - Return Logistics for Bose Europe and leading a global project to create excellence within return logistics. Jaspers is been with Bose for 10 years, the most recent 4 years supervising the return logistics operation for Europe. Jaspers manages the crediting team, the refurbishment team, spare part team area and the repair logistics department.
Jean Mork Bredson, Managing Director, SERVICE 800, firstname.lastname@example.org
For almost 30 years, Jean Mork Bredeson and SERVICE 800 have been working with IT and technology trade associations to build standards, collect Customer Satisfaction and Customer Expectation metrics, and to build benchmarks and insights though consortiums of member companies. Based in Minneapolis and London, SERVICE 800 collects customer feedback from customers around the world in 30 languages every day. As Managing Director, Bredeson brings hands-on service delivery experience for General Electric and Xerox to her leadership role at SERVICE 800 and to Operations Improvement projects for global service companies.