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"Methodical and reasoned": Wonderbox’s expansion decoded by its CEO Fabrice Lépine


10/19/2018

Wonderbox is experiencing a very significant and rapid European growth. The quality and variety of the services offered being the heart of the company's value proposition, its CEO, Fabrice Lépine, explains how this expansion is managed in order to maintain high quality standards.



Fabrice Lépine, graduation ceremony 2017, Ecoles Nationale Les Mines, Nantes
Fabrice Lépine, graduation ceremony 2017, Ecoles Nationale Les Mines, Nantes
The gift box market is very competitive with a perpetual renewal of offers. How do you maintain a permanent level of innovation that matches your customers' expectations?

The only way to stay ahead of demand and constantly innovate is to listen. We are constantly listening to the market, our customers and our partners. In addition, we have opted for the diversification of our offer and a presence as close as possible to the field. When we enter a foreign market and buy a brand, we keep that brand because it already has a certain notoriety. We are also looking to determine what efforts are needed to create our own brand recognition as a result of our partnership. This reciprocity dynamic is a very powerful lever for innovation.

Wonderbox is present in several European countries, in addition to innovation, the challenge is adaptability to the local market. What is Wonderbox's strategy to stay in touch with local cultures and habits?

Indeed, our growth is significant and constant, including internationally, but it is methodical and reasoned. At the beginning of July 2018, we acquired a company in Portugal with 25 employees. Last year, we also acquired a company in the Netherlands with about 30 employees. In recent years, we have had quite a strong external growth, even if our organic growth continues. These brands have a real regional identity and reputation on which we must rely. They are as close as can be to the culture since they are the result of it. Our international expansion will therefore consist in remaining faithful to these local roots while bringing our own expertise, experience and quality standards. For example, it would not make sense to add the Wonderbox brand to a graphic identity such as that of Vivabox in Belgium or GiftForYou in the Netherlands. We keep the brands we buy, which does not prevent us from launching Wonderbox in these countries and from launching Vivabox in France, Spain and Italy, for example.

Your European growth being mainly driven by external acquisitions; how do you export your control processes to these new markets?

First of all, we do everything we can to encourage feedback from customers and partners. All this allows us to maintain almost daily contact with our partners. As a result, in the event of an alert, the latter rises extremely quickly. Upstream, our partners - historical or more recent - are rated by mystery shoppers and dream testers (400 each year). All this is monitored very carefully.
Our quality control tool gives us a 360° view of our activity, both for our customers and our partners, in France and abroad. We have access to the entire history of a customer/partner relationship, regardless of location. We have therefore chosen to use the same tool in all the European countries where we operate.

Customer satisfaction depends on the local service provider (hotel, restaurant, leisure centre, etc.). How do you guarantee quality that meets your customers' demands?

When we talk about quality in our industry, we are essentially talking about the quality of content, and therefore the quality of the delivery and delivery of the customer experience. At the beginning of the Wonderbox adventure, we relied directly on quality labels. At the time, these gift boxes were still a very young idea, we were building our reputation, it was essential for us to be able to control the quality of our services by relying on external labels. We quickly realized that quality was at the heart of our product, since we are an intermediary, an aggregator of offers that we provide to our customers.  Therefore, the control of what is upstream is extremely important.
This starts with a rating of our partners, via the opinions that come from our customers and those we find directly on the Internet. These two data combined allow us to know if a partner X is often chosen and if the comments are relevant to the services presented. We have set up this internal rating, as well as extremely precise specifications respected by our sales representatives.

The after-sales service is at the service of both quality control and customer satisfaction. Is this service managed in the same way in all countries?

After-sales service is in and of itself an essential part of our business. First of all, in the support of the client, their choices, etc. But also, in this spirit of permanent quality control which allows us to maintain high standards for all services in all countries. More specifically with regard to foreign countries, within the after-sales service and our call centre, we have counterparts on each position, country by country. We are constantly striving for consistency in internal processes and the centralisation of processes means that there are not any differences in terms of after-sales service from one country to another. This way, we ensure that we have a convergence of best practices, regardless of the country in which we operate. Everyone works according to the same processes, whether in Level 1 or Level 2. Level 2 concerns specific claims or requests requiring higher authorizations, in terms of commercial management. It is based in Paris for France, in Madrid for Spain, in Brussels for Belgium etc.
The objective is to meet all requests. For this purpose, four years ago, we recruited a customer relations manager, who manages all our contacts (calls, emails, letters, social networks). Our tools also allow us to retrieve all the comments that can be found on social networks, about our brand, or on sites like TripAdvisor. We monitor everything. If we find a negative comment, we will treat it as if the person had called us, and preferably within the same day. Whether our customers are French with Wonderbox or Belgian with Vivabox, they will be dealing with the same interlocutors.



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