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By Christophe Kuhner
on 13 Dec 2016 11:52 AM
  • Digital transformation
  • Grande Distribution
J-C Deconninck, CEO of Generix Group, opened this year’s Perspectives Day by discussing the importance of the human element and the client’s perception of this human element throughout their buying journey. This discussion is necessary in order to understand the client’s needs and thereby to meet their demands. Today we are surrounded by constant digital transformation and automation, so how do we keep on top of this to ensure that our businesses maintain the human touch that is still so important?
 

How to lose a customer

Let’s take Jenny, for example. Jenny spends a lot of time traveling for work and loves being able to order anything she needs via the internet. Buying her clothes online through TheGarmentCapsule allows her to spend her small amount of free time doing the things she enjoys doing rather than losing time and patience in a check-out line. Jenny is what we would call a loyal client and orders products on a very regular basis. One day, on a whim, she orders a new pair of shoes, knowing that with the guaranteed two-day delivery she would receive the item before her departure to France for business. She also receives an alert on her smartphone confirming said delivery date. However, when the day arrives the package is mysteriously nowhere to be seen, with no update given on its whereabouts. Two days into her business trip, Jenny receives an email stating that she can pick up her package at a delivery point in her city. Unfortunately, when she finally makes her way to the delivery point five days later, not only does she have to wait 20 minutes for her package to be located, but the customer service leaves much to be desired. Following that experience, she stops opening emails from TheGarmentCapsule, and then ends up unsubscribing completely when she discovers a new and convenient online store that promises amazing customer service. 
 
So where did TheGarmentCapsule go wrong? Why were they not able to uphold their promise? How would they have been able to avoid losing such a loyal client? These are the types of questions that companies need to be asking themselves in order to recreate a human and personal touch all the way down the chain.
 

What can a lost customer teach us?

The moral of the story is that nowadays every single link in the supply chain represents the brand and the brand’s image. The experience may be perfect along the chain, but the last link is often the one that has the biggest, or at least the longest lasting, influence on the customer. This example can also be translated into a physical store experience. You may have had an unsavory experience in the store itself, but the warm and friendly human connection at the end of your visit, such as the cashier’s smile, may change your entire perception of the brand.
 

As important as the product itself

In this age of digital revolution it is important to see how the weight of each component has changed and how the supply chain has become as important as the product itself. As J-C Deconninck puts it so astutely, “The supply chain is nowadays an essential element of brand representation. An element that is actually as important as the product itself.”
 
The main challenge for any business is to have a high line of visibility along the chain, which will help mitigate and manage risks throughout the journey, but to also ensure that each link is considered just as important as the next. And with any form of digital automation that entails a customer’s satisfaction at the end, there is the necessity to maintain a form of human touch that personalizes each transaction. 
 

Every step is important

To quote J-C Deconninck once more, “The supply chain has to be considered highly significant.” It is of the utmost importance for any company to keep this in mind in order to keep their client promises. We can sometimes get swept away in the effort of digital expansion, and forget the how important every single step of the supply chain has become.
 

Christophe Kuhner

VP Field Marketing & Communication & Product Marketing Manager « Sales Marketing »