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CaratLane’s journey from online to omni-channel: Enhancing customers’ and employees’ experience

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Benjamin Rajkumar, Head of People Function at CaratLane, talks of the rewards and reverse mentoring, the scorecards and skillsets that work to bind teams operating across the brand’s omni-channel operations

While CaratLane’s journey began as an online brand, with the vision of making beautiful, high-quality jewellery easily accessible to women, we soon realized that customers wanted a more tangible experience, beyond the digital. Listening to customers, understanding what they truly want and delivering smooth experiences had already allowed us to maximize conversion and run an efficient business. So, we set about transforming CaratLane into an omni-channel brand, keeping our people at the heart of our omni-channel strategy. Here are some things we do for our people who create moments of magic for customers, designing our jewellery, building the technology platform that enables true omni and enabling it all to come together seamlessly.

“At CaratLane, we let people create their own lane”

Benjamin Rajkumar, Head of People Function at CaratLane

Reverse Mentoring

Omni-channel operations can be complex with multiple systems and processes. We invest just as much effort as we put into our consumer apps, into our internal applications. We spend time learning from our best salespeople, our ‘Trailblazers’, each quarter, in a reverse mentoring session. Many new initiatives and policy changes are made based on this learning.

People are at the heart of CaratLane’s omni-channel strategy
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Align rewards

At one of these sessions, we learnt that our incentive scheme, that was to encourage sales and customer experience, was creating friction and leading to non-omni behaviour. Since a person is incentivized for the sale closed by him/her, the tendency was to bring the customer back to that channel, rather than let the customer choose where she wanted to transact. We solved this by ensuring that everyone who played a role in converting that customer had the sale attributed to them.

Provide a scorecard

We have a scorecard for just about everything, even one for managers to measure what we believe are important aspects of being a manager. Our scorecards are like guides to mastery, they tell you what to improve on, what benchmarks you can aspire to and so on. They also ensure fairness. Everyone knows exactly where they stand vis-a-vis each other, and the scorecard is the basis for future opportunities. People are in control of their destiny, and not dependent on a manager to open doors.

Foster collaboration

We have embraced a Cross Functional Teams (CFT) way of working to put the customer need or business opportunity at the centre and not be distracted by our roles and job definitions. We have a CFT focused on eliminating friction for customers, one that powers our store expansion, one solving for gaps in our product catalogue and even one working on enhancing the experience of our people. To bring in focus and rigour to this CFT way of working, we have embraced Objectives and Key Results (OKRs).

Creating an environment where individuals are not confined within pre-defined roles has become a key differentiator for CaratLane as an organization

Establish purpose

Our business is not selling jewellery, but helping people express their emotions, celebrate milestones, make memories last forever and so on, through jewellery. This gives each of us a higher purpose. This purpose is broken down into a set of ‘L1 metrics’ at the company level and these flow down the organization through OKRs and our performance management system to ensure everyone is clear about what is expected from them, how their work is aligned to company goals and why their work matters. We also have a hierarchy built into these metrics to clarify what needs to be prioritized if ever we need to make that choice.

Unleash potential

At CaratLane, we operate with the firm belief that each of us has the potential to do great work, but are often stuck in the misalignment between what we are good at, what we love doing and what the organization needs us to do. We saw the magic that was created when we were flexible enough to allow employees to tread non-conventional paths, letting their skills, passions and aspirations define the roles they take on. This led us to adopt ‘Create Your Own Lane’ as our employee value proposition. Creating an environment where individuals are not confined within predefined roles has also become a key differentiator for us as an organization in our search for talent.

All these factors seamlessly intertwine and propel our organization like a well-oiled wheel. Each element, from our customer-centric approach to our collaborative and innovative culture, works in harmony and it is this very cohesive synergy that enables us to create meaningful experiences for our customers, cultivate a vibrant and engaging workplace, and ultimately thrive as an omni-channel brand.

(The Specialists is a new column for top professionals in the jewellery industry to share best practices and learnings. All content is solely the opinion of the author and does not represent the company’s viewpoint.)

The Retail Jeweller India Magazine

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