Interview with Andrew Zaenglein, Success Manager at Vionic Group — An EnjoyHQ Case Study

Andrew Zaenglein shares the challenges behind understanding what makes customers successful at Vionic and his strategy for helping multiple teams get access to customer feedback

Sofia: Why don’t we start talking about you? Tell me a little bit about what you do at Vionic.

Andrew: Vionic is a comfort shoe wear manufacturer which originally started in Australia. I began as the customer care supervisor but have now moved into more of an administrative role, working between teams but most closely connected with the customer care team and the digital product team (who deal with e-commerce and email marketing). The company has somewhere between 100 and 150 employees. Our customer care team consists of four full-time agents and a supervisor.

I was looking for a way to centralise all our feedback when I discovered EnjoyHQ and I’ve been using it to pass customer feedback on to the product teams who work on the styling and the engineering of the shoes.

There are two product teams. There’s the ‘Fit and Feel’ team who make sure the shoes fit well and that the benefits we promote are engineered into the shoes. Then there’s the product line team who are in charge of expanding our range. They keep up with the trends and also listen to what customers are asking for.

Sofia: What was the problem you were trying to solve when you started looking for something like EnjoyHQ? What was happening at the time?

Andrew: The customer care team were getting a lot of requests from our digital product team, our physical product team, our engineering team and our styling team. They all wanted to know how customers felt about the shoes and the website. Often, they’d get customer comments from one of our wholesale accounts or a store and they wanted to know if we were hearing the same things.

I had gotten a little tired of hearing customer feedback first hand, noticing trends and knowing that even if I shared it with people or made notes in our help desk system, it was not going to have much of an impact. I’d tell customers I was passing on their feedback but it never really went anywhere.

Also, when you’re working with a lot of customers you can remember one, maybe two stories but seeing the big picture is really difficult. It was also hard to say how widespread the issues were. We wanted to be able to track feedback and look for trends, not only from our e-commerce customers but also from feedback coming in through key accounts and online product reviews. We wanted to bring it all together and track it.

The feedback was coming in through so many different channels that we couldn’t get a proper overview so we started looking for a tool that would bring it all together, make it easy to share and trackable over time since the teams are all working within different timeframes.

I still consider us to be in the early stages of designing internal processes to manage feedback, partly because first I needed to learn what kind of feedback everyone wanted and how it related to our customer care program. Then I needed to find the key players. I’m still working on that because in many cases I don’t interact with a lot of the teams who will benefit from a system like this. By finding the real movers and shakers in the company and getting them to tell their teams about it, I get the help I need to grow it. People respond differently to a meeting request from them than from me. Finding one or two people to help you is key.

As a growing company, our customer care team is struggling to keep up with a growing customer base. We’re always looking for ways to reduce ticket volume, meet our customers’ expectations and solve their issues. Just making the website and the shopping experience easy and seamless has benefited everyone. We’re constantly looking at what our customers are contacting us about in order to provide solutions.

Sofia: What would be your advice to anybody trying to improve the way they use customer feedback within their organization?

Andrew: Firstly, get to know your individual customers better. Who are they and why are they coming to you? Why are they selecting your product and how can you continue to serve them?

Our customer care team and our digital product team are under the umbrella of the marketing department and they do a great job of marketing the brand. They also do a lot of market research which involves various surveys and third-party studies. To me, coming from a customer service perspective, all that research will only take you so far if you’re not listening to what your customers are saying.

Marketing is great for getting new customers but you want to keep your current customers happy too, especially since Vionic is not our first brand name. I wasn’t here when we transitioned from the original name but we still get a lot of comments from customers asking if we’re the same company. They’re looking at our current product line for shoes they’ve worn out and want to replace. Those customers will feel neglected if they’re not catered for. They’ll think that, as we’ve changed our name, we’re changing who we’re making shoes for and that’s not the case.

Unless you’re listening to those customers and reading their comments, it can be easy to miss something like that. That’s going to affect your brand perception. I think it’s all connected. Knowing your customers on a very personal level is very important and should impact on everything you do.

My advice on how to improve customer feedback within the organization is, as I already mentioned, to find the right people that can act on the feedback early. Get them to help you build the process and bring their teams in. I think this is critical. I’m still working to gain traction but I have one or two people in the company who have been really enthusiastic about it. The earlier you can recruit those people, the better.

The second piece of advice would be to really take the time to learn who is going to benefit the most within your organization. Find out exactly what feedback they want and how involved they want to be with the process. Some people will bring research questions to me but they just want to see the results. Others really want to work with the data themselves. Making it easy for all of them is crucial and requires you to really know the tools inside and out.

Finally, I think it’s important to focus on customer feedback from a strategic perspective. In my case, I really wanted to look at every piece of feedback but it was impossible — there’s just too much coming in. It’s easy to get really enthusiastic about it and want to give every customer that kind of attention, but it’s important to take a step back and gain a broad overview in order to detect themes. To be able to organize large amounts of feedback efficiently, with a tool like EnjoyHQ, is where you want to be.

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