Managing the Return Trip
Glance around any airport and it immediately becomes apparent that travel is back in full swing. Chalk it up to pent-up demand but people are either hauling out long-stored luggage or buying new bags and setting off on much delayed journeys. The time was ripe for Samsonite—the world’s best-known and largest travel luggage company—to innovate and enhance their customer experience.
Samsonite International is a luggage manufacturer and retailer engaged in the design, manufacture, sourcing and distribution of luggage, assorted bags, and travel accessories throughout the world. Founded in Denver in 1910, the company’s registered office is currently in Luxembourg City, Luxembourg. It operates under the Samsonite name as well as a variety of other owned and licensed brand names.
ReverseLogix, headquartered in Burlingame, California, is an end-to-end, centralized, and fully integrated returns management system built specifically for retail, ecommerce, manufacturing and third-party logistics organizations.
“Our consumer journey wasn’t super user-friendly,” says Julie Senterfitt, consumer experience manager at Samsonite. “We didn’t have a lot of reporting, or the ability to track a lot of things.” The company was especially interested in improving its warranty claims and repairs process.
Samsonite lacked visibility into what consumers experienced when they initiated a warranty.
“It was critical for us to develop a tool that would enable us to see consumer behavior related to the warranty,” says Stephanie Kalch, senior director of customer service of North America at Samsonite. “It would not only provide a better consumer experience, but also give us the information to make a better product.”
Samsonite is likely the most recognized name in luggage. But parent company Samsonite International S.A. also represents Tumi, American Tourister, Gregory, High Sierra, Kamiliant, ebags, Lipault, and Hartmann, among other owned and licensed brands. The company designs, manufactures, sources, and distributes luggage as well as business and computer bags, outdoor and casual bags, plus travel accessories throughout the world.
Samsonite surveyed the market to understand what types of returns management systems were available.
“It was key for us to find a solution that could easily integrate into our other systems, such as Salesforce and SAP,” explains Kalch. When they met with the ReverseLogix team and were introduced to their returns management system (RMS), Samsonite knew they had found the answer to their problems.
“Samsonite’s return and warranty process from the customer’s perspective was cumbersome and manual, so they needed a better front experience for the customer,” explains Chuck Fuerst, chief marketing officer at ReverseLogix.
Whether business-to-business, business-to-consumer, or hybrid, the ReverseLogix platform facilitates, manages, and reports on the entire returns lifecycle.
Once Samsonite implemented the ReverseLogix RMS, customers were subsequently able to go onto Samsonite brand sites and self-activate their warranties rather than rely on the company’s call or repair centers.
Meanwhile, Samsonite gained instant visibility into their returns and warranty volume in ways they never had before.
“We wanted to offer our customers a better warranty experience through a customer-centered interface,” says Kalch. ReverseLogix RMS helped the company achieve this initial goal, but it was only the beginning. The platform also provides Samsonite with detailed insight into the specifics of products being returned.
Samsonite can now spot trends if certain luggage components repeatedly register as needing repair. They can determine if a circumstance—for example, a faulty wheel or a broken zipper—is an isolated incident or a potential design flaw that needs to be addressed from a manufacturing standpoint.
This visibility equips Samsonite with the data to analyze and predict future warranty claims and consumer behavior, enhancing the company’s knowledge of product performance across the entire consumer journey and influencing future decisions.
FRIENDS ALONG THE WAY
The experience Samsonite customers have at repair centers is central to the overall brand experience. The company operates 400-plus authorized repair centers that run the gamut from independent mom-and-pops to actual Samsonite stores. Sometimes the store might only be a drop-off point but it saves the customer from having to package and ship a warranty repair to an authorized center themselves.
“Samsonite needed a platform that could help them manage the actual repair and returns process,” says Fuerst.
Service Centers also Benefit
While they’ve gained insight since implementing ReverseLogix RMS, Samsonite’s customers and service centers have benefitted, too. For starters, customers can now see if an authorized repair center is nearby.
“Samsonite also uses the solution at the service center level,” explains Fuerst. “The service centers’ experience and process associated with managing the repair volumes coming into their sites has impacted their businesses; it has sped up their ability to do intake or repair, as well as keep customers informed.”
The days of a customer not knowing the timeline of luggage repair are gone. “With our platform deployed in those service centers, Samsonite can keep customers automatically informed about what’s going on in terms of where their luggage is and each step of the process,” says Fuerst.
Even if a customer brings in a suitcase for repair that is out of warranty, Samsonite can still provide a quote or an estimate on parts. “What it would take to repair such an item is also in the ReverseLogix platform, so it greatly reduces the volume of calls or emails into the service centers because customers are kept in the loop,” says Fuerst.
FORKS IN THE ROAD
Having third-party repair sites gives Samsonite the ability to provide better coverage in terms of service but it does add a layer of complexity. It can be a challenge for any company to provide a consistent experience across a network of sites versus one or two central locations. The ReverseLogix platform enables Samsonite to address any difficulties that arise.
“By being able to track the productivity of repair centers, the Samsonite team can hold service centers accountable to quality assurance and turnaround time to ensure customers get their bags fixed and back in their hands quickly,” says Kalch. Onboarding new repair centers has become a much simpler process as well.
Visibility into what’s happening at the service center level allows Samsonite to determine if certain luggage components frequently need repair. They can then ensure the necessary parts are in good supply to keep the whole process on track. Such information could influence future design decisions.
“ReverseLogix allows us to hold ourselves, as well as our partners, accountable and helps us make sure we’re spending money in the right place,” says Senterfitt.
The fact that luggage has a long shelf life further complicates matters. Even if used frequently, years can pass before people consider buying a new piece and that doesn’t account for potentially long periods when it’s stored away.
However, Samsonite strives to repair and provide service around all its luggage no matter how seasoned it might be. It’s a characteristic of the brand whose name is synonymous with luggage.
“The analytics we’ve gained by implementing ReverseLogix RMS have enabled us to see trends across all our brands,” says Kalch. “Before, in our paper process, we could only see the component usage that we had.
“Now we’re able to know the brands, the collections, the components, the reasons for the breakage,” she adds. “It has enhanced our knowledge of how our products are doing out in the real world.”
ON THE HORIZON
Now that their new warranty and repair portal has proven to be a success, Samsonite is looking to scale the solution to include all of their consumer touchpoints and communications. They want to address ecommerce returns management to achieve a consistent experience for customers who buy a brand-new piece of luggage and then, for whatever reason, decide to send it back.
They also want to address ecommerce sales because Samsonite sells through different channels, such as Amazon, in addition to their own. They want to be able to manage all their ecommerce, and the accompanying returns process, through one platform.
“Samsonite now has a solid footing to build off of,” says Fuerst. “The ReverseLogix platform is configurable. That’s one of its strengths. It’s designed to be adaptable and its configurable workflows easily align with many different product types.”
Case Study: A Worthwhile Journey
Samsonite, a leading luggage and travel gear manufacturer and retailer, wanted to enhance its warranty claims and repairs process in order to take its customer service to a new level.
Samsonite engaged ReverseLogix and implemented its comprehensive returns management system (RMS), which provided insight into the customer experience through an intuitive and flexible SaaS platform.
Customer experience around Samsonite’s warranty and repair process has greatly improved. Warranty repairs typically get turned around in 24 hours because of the visibility Samsonite has gained into activity at the service center level.
Samsonite plans to scale ecommerce returns and ecommerce sales management using the ReverseLogix platform.