Automating the professional onboarding process with Sales Cloud and Commerce Cloud
Patagonia grew out of a small company that made tools for climbers. Alpinism remains at the heart of a worldwide business that still makes clothes for climbing – as well as for skiing, snowboarding, surfing, fly fishing, paddling and trail running. These are all silent sports. None require a motor; none deliver the cheers of a crowd. In each sport, reward comes in the form of hard-won grace and moments of connection between us and nature. Our values reflect those of a business started by a band of climbers and surfers, and the minimalist style they promoted. The approach we take towards product design demonstrates a bias for simplicity and utility.
A ‘Pro’ is someone who works for a Patagonia approved organization as a professional or competes professionally as an athlete. The Patagonia Pro team consisted of 5 people who qualify and manage up to 10,000 professional athletes and outdoor enthusiasts. If accepted into the Pro program, members are offered discounts on Patagonia gear and access to special information, programs and deals. Those requesting access to the ‘Pro deals’ would submit a form on the website that would then end up in the inbox of these 5 individuals. The pro team would then need to qualify the pro by going back and forth on email to confirm that they were eligible. Once confirmed, the Patagonia employee would log into their E-commerce system (ZADMIN custom E-comm) and update their E-comm user with the discount code and only then could the user begin to purchase items at their appropriate discount level. The process was lengthy and cumbersome and involved a lot of emails back and forth between the company and the Pro. The process would not scale without adding more people to manage the growing number of requests.
The Pro team dealt with over 60,000 emails per year from people regarding the Pro Program with 20,000-30,000 requests to enter the program. When the volume of requests grew too high, they would simply add another person to support the process. There was a need to automate to allow the program to scale. The team had to manually log in to ZADMIN to activate and deactivate new Patagonia Pros. It could take months to qualify and process a Pro’s application and a Swivel Chair existed between ZADMIN, Outlook and Commercialware. Systems were Silo’d with little to no visibility or reporting as ZADMIN and Outlook had zero integration and the team was unable to report on who, when and why Pros were accepted or not accepted into the program. When their status would expire, they had to manually deactivate their account in Demandware. Slow response to requests and/or human error could mean a less than typical Patagonia service experience for the customer. Further to this, there was limited ability to track or follow up with Customers that had not completed the process but had been interested in the Pro Program.
Traction worked with Patagonia and Demandware to create an automated process whereby a Pro applicant could request Pro status in a quick one or two step process. By filling in and submitting a request form on their new Demandware website, a call to Salesforce is triggered. First, the populated Whitelist in Salesforce will be checked for two types of customers; a partner domain customer who will receive instantaneous approval and pro status, or an email address/domain customer who will be sent an email. These customers will click a link in the email that will automatically provide their pro approval status and bring them to Demandware to begin shopping. If the customer is not found on the whitelist, a lead or contact application is created and a Visualforce web form is leveraged to capture information and attachments that will initiate the qualification process in Salesforce.
Automated work flow triggers email notifications and auto-responses at application submission, with an automatic approval triggered by certain criteria. Demandware discounts and association to appropriate discount levels are automatically activated based on the Pro’s type and level. Reporting and time-based workflow activates and deactivates discounts with automated emails notifying Pros and the Patagonia team of account expiration and pending activations.
Traction developed a Visualforce form that is accessed in Demandware. The form allows applicants to attach qualification documents for approval. If the applicant exists already in Salesforce then a new application record is attached to the contact. If the contact does not exist, a lead is created and the application record is attached to the lead for qualification.
List views, queues and reports have been created that allow Patagonia to see and report on who has submitted applications as well as those who may have begun the process but not completed or submitted their forms. Validation rules are set whereby at least one supporting document on each application must be submitted for certain types of applicants.
Certain specific email addresses or email domains are automatically accepted into the program but need to be validated with a return email authentication. Using workflows, an automated email with authentication link is sent back to the whitelisted email address or domain applicant. By clicking the link, an automatic update is performed in Salesforce and the integration to Demandware will activate and update the discount code. Whitelist and Pro codes are managed in Salesforce through custom tables.
In addition to email address/domain whitelisting, there are two partner portals that provide access directly to the Patagonia Demandware instance. If Pros from this channel wish to be added to the program they are automatically accepted upon submission of a request, without the step of an email link validation.
Salesforce is integrated such that the process is initiated via Demandware. Only customers with a Demandware user ID may initiate the process. A Visualforce form is accessed within Demandware and once the application and workflow processes are complete in Salesforce the Demandware user record is updated and the discount activated, offering the Pro the correct discount based on their code. There are additional calls from Demandware to Salesforce at every login to ensure customers still have an active Pro status.
Renewal emails are automated to Pros, reminding them that their account expiration date is upcoming.
At the time of publication, Patagonia’s Pro project had just gone live. The project is resulting in hundreds of hours per week in time savings and improved experience for Patagonia Pro customers of Patagonia based on faster response and action during application. With the activation and deactivation processes also streamlined, the overall onboarding of Pros is far more efficient, with less time taken to process each individual Pro.
Patagonia now has reportability and metrics into the process, including approved and in-progress applications and application drop off, offering them better insight into where bottlenecks are occurring.
A decrease of an estimated 60,000 emails and email process through Outlook is taking place with Salesforce. This is improving visibility and reduces requirements for human action as many actions are automated based on applicant criteria. Agents can focus their time on the cases that truly need attention and let the automated processes deflect those that do not need human intervention. The ultimate result has been a better overall Pro experience.