On a regular basis, IFA Paris organizes conferences about creativity and luxury open to the public and its students. It is called “Rendezvous of Creativity and Luxury”.

Chapter 1: Customer Services Experience by Jill Ann Blumenfeld, Customer Experience Director at La Vallee Village (part of the Value Retail Group)

On March 17th 2016, Ms. Jill Ann Blumenfeld, Customer Experience Director of La Vallee Village, came to the fashion school Paris’ campus to share her experience with the IFA Paris’ students about retail and customer experience.

With many years working in the luxury industry, serving brands such as Bottega Veneta and Vertu, Ms. Blumenfeld gave IFA Paris’ students from different programs such as MBA Luxury Brand Management, MBA Fashion Business or Bachelor Fashion Marketing, a deeper insight into the field of customer experience. Ms Blumenfeld mentioned that in the current context luxury goods are more easily accessible thanks to their ever growing presence online. However there is still a huge appeal for brick and mortar stores as customers like to experience a tangible connection with the goods they purchase.

Ms. Blumenfeld also talked about the key to success for a brand regarding retail environment, visual merchandising and staff. “Retail is detail”, a quote that puts into relief the necessity to provide a homogeneous shopping experience to all customers through the creation of precise service based SOPs. Ms Blumenfeld also mentioned that “selling luxury is like playing a game of chess, vision and patience is needed”.

During her talk, Ms.Blumenfeld gave a small explanation about how the customer service of La Vallee Village operates day by day and recalled a few anecdotes during which her team encountered what she calls “difficult” customers. To deal with these specific profiles she explains that one should always “let the customer pour their heart out and share their griefs with the brand before attempting to do anything. A bad experience can always be compensated with gifts such as a free lunch or an additional discount coupon. The ultimate goal is to make the guest feel that he or she is supported even though there is no solution to the problem. Customers just want to be listened to!”

In the conclusion of her talk, Ms.Blumenfeld explained why customer service is the top priority to increase sales, especially for luxury brand. She shared some tips on how to motivate the staff, as they are the soul of the store, the most important part in the buying process. Ms.Blumenfeld stated that the essential of selling luxury is being consistent, predictable and reliable.