Patagonia’s Efficient Repair Process is Driving an Effortless Customer Experience
When Patagonia was founded in 1973, they were a small company that specialized in climbing tools. Since then, they’ve grown significantly both in the range of products that they offer and the geographies they serve. Patagonia can be found across continents, conducting ethical business as a B Corporation. While they’ve retained their alpine roots and continue to make high quality climbing equipment, Patagonia also sell a wide range of outdoor sports apparel and equipment.
Sustainable Clothes, Unsustainable Process
Patagonia are outspoken environmental activists and are dedicated to sustainability. They provide repair guides that allow consumers to fix their old equipment and also recycle equipment that is beyond saving. In addition, Patagonia provide their own repair service. For Patagonia’s team in Japan, “delivery time management” of the repair process was inefficient because it “took a long time to input and manage data.” As Patagonia USA and Traction are long-time partners, Patagonia Japan looked to Traction to help them drive greater efficiency with the Salesforce platform.
For example, if a customer wanted to repair a torn jacket in Patagonia’s old system, they would go to a Patagonia store and receive a form which they had to fill out and return. From the store, their jacket would be shipped alongside the repair form and processed manually at every stage of the repair journey. Each time the jacket moved between facilities and changed hands, Patagonia staff would manually enter the item data into Salesforce to find the appropriate record. All of these bottlenecks kept the customer from taking their jacket outdoors, leading to an experience that didn’t reflect the quality of the Patagonia team and brand.
Traction and Patagonia found a way to repair the old process by leveraging Service Cloud and a custom-built application. Employees access Salesforce in-store, logging a case and collecting all data when customers first report the product issue. The custom application generates barcodes from Salesforce Cases, allowing Patagonia to eliminate bottlenecks in item processing. If a customer is having a jacket repaired, the barcode will be applied to that Case, and at each stage of the repair process the jacket’s barcode is scanned for quick identification and processing. After scanning the barcode, all relevant information about the jacket pops up on a single screen, so reps never need to navigate away from the Case record.
With their new Service Cloud solution, Patagonia are driving end-user adoption and data quality as customer data is entered in Salesforce at the earliest customer touchpoint. Patagonia has full visibility over each individual repair item, reducing the need for communication between customer service and the repair center. By reducing manual labour and work time required to process items, Patagonia have improved their employee experience. Most importantly, they’re ensuring that customers get their Patagonia products back faster and are delivering an experience that demonstrates to their customers how much the care.
“Traction helped to solve our most significant problem for our repair service, which was delivery time management. There was no room for improvement using our previous system because it took a long time to input and manage data. However, our new system provides all the repair management such as status, location tracking, work time, and other things in an easy to use workflow. Now we can take actions and shorten our delivery time. Since all The Traction team members were skilled and worked fast; we enjoyed working with them and trusted their input.” — Takeo Hirata (Director of eCommerce Japan) & Hanae Mizuno (SFDC System Administrator)
Project Insights from Julien Witz, Strategic Solutions Manager at Traction
We gained a lot of valuable experience in working through language barriers. When you are reliant on a translator for communication, there is a lot of value in leveraging visuals to bridge understanding. We built out detailed wire-frames and proof of concepts that we could demo to stakeholders to minimize miscommunications. In the final build, everything that end-users would interact with was translated from English to Japanese.
Project Insights from Patagonia’s Takeo Hirata & Hanae Mizuno
Traction provided a prototype system in the early phase that helped us develop the application smoothly because we could get an actual feel of the user interface, finding missing requirements before the development phase. This model was very effective and will definitely work for future projects, too.