Personalization Is the Key to Customer Experience
We spoke with Reyes Eguilior, Customer Service Manager for EMEA at Havaianas, about customers’ changing needs and the successful creation and implementation of their chatbot in partnership with Sitel Group®.
“She is 30 years old and seriously in love with her Havaianas collection. She was born and she lives in Rio de Janeiro and is very proud to be Brazilian. She loves to learn about new cultures and countries and has spent time in London and New York. She started working at Havaianas as an intern and today she is a social media coordinator.”
This isn’t talking about a real person, but the award-winning chatbot that Sitel Group® developed for Havaianas. Her name is Iana and she is described as half mermaid, half chatbot and expert at solving customer problems. The development of her personality and tone of voice, which are fully aligned with the Havaianas brand and its customers, has been fundamental to its success. The main objective? To offer an innovative, efficient and unique customer experience (CX) across the brand’s digital channels.
Reyes Eguilior, Customer Service Manager for EMEA at Alpargatas (Havaianas), walked us through the implementation of this chatbot on the Havaianas website and other channels at a time when customers are demanding a highly personalized experience.
From Your Experience, How Important is the Customer Experience in a Sector Like Retail?
In a world as competitive as fashion, where the customer has many options and the markets are saturated, the customer experience is a differentiating factor that brands can leverage to gain market share and, above all, build customer loyalty. We have to ensure that the customer’s experience with our product is simple, transparent and fun; to turn the purchase into a shopping trip full of good memories.
At Havaianas, Have You Noticed Any Changes in Customer Needs in Recent Years?
I think the change has been remarkable and COVID-19 has accelerated this. The rise of the digital era has only made consumers more impatient and unfaithful. It has resulted in them demanding certain things from brands that were unthinkable until a few years ago. The customer wants to be heard. The client/brand relationship is more emotional, with high demands for brands regarding their mission and social responsibility. Today, customers have a lasting impact on what brands plan to do. There is an ongoing conversation and the demand level is extremely high.
How Can we Guarantee Customer Loyalty in Today’s Digital Age?
Simply put, it is not possible to guarantee it. Customer loyalty is an ongoing relationship that brands must commit to. However, the most successful brands in terms of customer loyalty put the customer at the center of everything they do. We’re in this for the long-haul: those who manage to put the customer at the heart of their business, weaving them into their company culture and operating model, will win. This happens by changing the company vision and building solid pillars that combine technology, equipment, processes, information and data. Additionally, I believe that one of the key pillars of success is making sure we “close the loop.” We collect a lot of information from our customers but rarely do we act on it. This is the last and most fundamental step in strengthening the customer relationship.
How Do You Create a Memorable and Lasting Customer Experience?
Through authenticity and honesty. We are going back to basics. The big challenge is making each experience unique for each customer, so here, personalization is fundamental.
What Tools or Approaches do you Think will be Essential in the Future of Customer Experience?
Personalization is, in my opinion, the key to the customer experience. We are no longer talking about calling the customer by name or sending them a discount for their birthday; it’s about tailoring content to each individual’s interests. We are on the opposite side of traditional marketing, where brands bombarded customers with commercial content. Now, that concept is unthinkable and uncomfortable. Customers want brands to know them and generate relevant and meaningful content that fits with their world views. Today, trust is the best tool we have.
In Partnership with Sitel Group, You have Implemented a Chatbot on Your Website that has Already been Recognized for its Innovation. What Can you Tell Us About Iana?
Iana is a member of the team. For us, she represents the essence of Havaianas and is a fundamental part of our strategy. We are confident that, with time and the right training, Iana will help us by offering valuable content, acting as a personal shopper and generating sales.
How Was the Process of Creating her Personality? Why is it Important to Give Her the Right Tone of Voice and Identity?
We inherited Iana’s personality, created by our partners in Brazil, to be full of essence and have the Brazilian accent, one of our brand differentiators. The adaptation process was fun and very stimulating; the Sitel Group team did a great job. The most challenging and essential part is finding the balance between the brand and the identity of each country. We have to get the message across—and the spirit of the brand—in a way that the customer internalizes it and can make it their own. We also have to make sure that we’re using the right words and expressions, and that her way of asking or answering questions is as neutral as possible for all audiences. This is a daily process; you start to pick up on things and make small adjustments constantly. The key to success is continuous improvement. Iana is alive and learning, but she cannot do it alone.
What Results have you Observed Since its Launch? How has it Improved the Customer Journey?
Iana needs to be able to answer the most common questions quickly and easily. We still have one small step to go: to integrate the chatbot with our CRM to make the information available and personalized. We plan to do this before our peak season, which is in the upcoming months and throughout the summer.
Currently, the retention rate is around 92%, which is exceptional, and 98% of the interactions get a response, which are very positive results. Customers interact and chat with Iana and ask her personal questions, which she can answer as we have generated a great personality and story. It is still a little early to see results in terms of efficiency, but our intention is that Iana frees the team from the most common questions so that they can focus on solving more complex problems or questions and add value.
In that sense, we are very grateful to have been able to count on Sitel Group to develop and implement this chatbot solution with no disruption to the end customer experience. Thanks to Iana and the intelligence it incorporates, we can easily and quickly identify the points of friction in the usability of our online store, in addition to errors and faults in its content. All this, although invisible to the customer, makes their experience better and better.