Philippe Groensteen began his career at Ikea at a time when the brand had only a few stores in France. Everything is then possible to conquer Kazakhstan Email List the French market. After 6 very informative years as an operational, he joined Leroy Merlin and for almost 10 years, he has been the national customer service manager, i.e. nearly 3,500 people. Carried by his athletic mind, the collective energy, the generosity and the dynamism of his collaborators, he shares with us his journey. You have been responsible for customer service including loyalty and many relational axes at Leroy Merlin for more than 10 years, what have been your main challenges?

I saw that the main challenge was to make the experience and the customer journey a reality. These concepts systematically evoked by the brands are unfortunately still little materialized from the customer’s point of view. For economic reasons, business takes precedence over the customer experience. In this sense, if the customer experience seems to be a culture for all, few brands apply it. The second issue is the personalization of the customer relationship. Working on the person is central but requires a huge investment for retailers, who do not always have the means. We also do more personalized mass management than personalized relationships.

What is the tool/application that you cannot live without?

Faced with this issue of customer consideration, a new challenge is emerging: the development of loyalty programs.Faced with a common client observation of a lack of generosity in their programs, there are two schools: that of Decathlon which preferred to stop it to work with the communities and on the other hand that of Monoprix which chose to sublimate it to bring more loyalty. The causes are, in fact, often multiple and complex. However, the loyalty program must evolve. If the customer insert brings turnover, the economic balance is no longer found for the brands. Worse, the benefits no longer satisfy customers.


The retailers’ business model is evolving, challenged by pureplayers and their outbidding of services. The loyalty program must illustrate the brand’s knowledge and proximity to its best customers. It is therefore a question of doing otherwise; to mark with personalized attention. Retailers mustnurture collusion with their best customers. Indeed, the future of customer relations is the community. Brands such as Michel et Augustin, Zodio and Airbnb have understood this well. As retailers, we will also have to bring unifying moments that our communities will want to share with each other. The brand will then become a pretext: a support for the comfort of a collective experience.

What model or brand inspires you to develop your profession and your practices?

Interior decoration – Leroy Merlin What major changes have you observed in the customer service business over the past 10 years? Digital has changed the perception of the market and consumer practices … Whether through express delivery, the immediacy of a quality chatbot … the web is leading us to rethink the place of the human being and the value of the “physical” as differentiating elements. Customers have stronger product knowledge. By visiting the store, they no longer wait to collect more details but to obtain the right solution. To differentiate themselves, retailers therefore have no choice but to deliver good customer service.

How have you adapted to meet new consumer demands? First of all, it is essential to be able to trace the customer journey as a whole: from pre-sales to after-sales service. By deciphering it and comparing it to a target course, we select the moments of enchantment to sublimate or, conversely, the irritating elements to remove. This mapping is essential to plan and achieve a new customer experience. The latter then materializes through disruptive choices, applied quickly and by working on two key elements: the customer and the employees. To achieve this, the best solution is to provide an element of reassurance: add a human touch to each chosen touchpoint. It is essential to give meaning, strengthen the brand’s DNA and bring value to the customer.


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