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Unfortunately for this month I have to state that the learning curve is not as steep as in the first two months. Sometimes I also noticed that I fell back into old patterns. That's not an excuse, but I think that because of the frequent visits and the German I speak, I'm running on the spot. Nevertheless, I can also say that I feel a bit more comfortable when it comes to Business English. Above all, the hosting of meetings and the greater knowledge of certain topics give me the confidence to negotiate and explain fluently.
Amsterdam has once again shown its best side, especially when it comes to the weather. Even people who have lived here for a long time have spoken of a golden October. Almost every evening you could admire a great sunset. Especially the colors of the leaves that fall on the paths next to the canals are very beautiful. Together with the clear blue sky this makes a great scenery.
For me October is always something special, because I was born in this month. That's why I was so happy that my parents and my girlfriend Sarah visited me. Before work I was surprised with a cake in bed and the weekend was also great. At this point I would also like to thank my roommates Alisa and Eve, who celebrated together with me and my internship colleagues. On Saturday we drove out of town and visited an open-air museum in an old working village called Zaanse Schans (see October cover picture). For me this was a pleasant change from the crowded city. But it felt a bit strange when my family left again. I have to admit that I was a bit homesick and noticed that I haven't arrived 100% in the city yet. But I don't have to wait very long, because Christmas is coming soon (which you can easily recognize by the street lights and stuff in the supermarkets).
Golden October refers not only to the weather but also to work. I feel more and more comfortable and an integral part of my department. Right at the beginning of the month there was a great three-day workshop: the Costumer Service Summit. During this meeting, the most important markets in which adidas is represented came together in Amsterdam to work on the strategy for 2019. This was a great opportunity to meet employees from the US, Latin America, Russia and Europe and exchange ideas. It was very exciting how my colleagues from the Operations team managed to make the whole three days very interactive and to ensure a lively exchange between the participants. I am very curious to see how the thoughts about improving the experience for adidas consumers will be put into practice.
On the occasion of the summit my manager Carla gave me the opportunity to present the chatbot to the markets and to introduce myself properly. Normally I'm always nervous when it comes to such important presentations, but the family-like atmosphere made it very easy for me to speak confidently. I shared the most important updates and KPIs of the last months. Thereby we pay special attention to the CSAT (customer satisfaction), FCR (First Contact Resolution) and of course the individual consumer feedback. With a tool that helps me to consolidate and analyze a large amount of text feedback, I'm able to create a reflection of consumer opinion. This is not only interesting but also very important, because you should never forget that in the end the consumer needs to be satisfied. You shouldn't just add a feature because it looks cool, it has to add value. Moreover, I talked about which functions and use cases are currently implemented.
Later in October, the development of the chatbot for the most important countries in Europe was finalized at full speed. Meanwhile, adibot is not only available in the UK but also in Germany, France, Spain and Italy. It helps the costumer service agents to have sufficient time for more complex requests and to provide better service.
I am particularly proud that for the first time I can give a deeper insight into personal projects which I pursue in addition to my actual internship work. This is also the first time I've tried to structure everything and I think the writing helps me understand the situation better.
As you already know, my main task in the internship is related to the service bot. In October, I mainly took care of the rollout in Europe. The coordination of translations and the interaction of development, testing and production were among my main tasks. Every two weeks I also prepare a reporting meeting in which I analyze the performance of adibot and find improvements. Part of this monitoring is the communication of our work through a newsletter within adidas to raise awareness for our project. I also investigate similar chatbots in all kinds of areas, such as their user interface (UI), user experience (UX) or features/user stories.
In the second project in which I'm involved, I work together with another PO. For me it's very interesting to collaborate with two very creative and smart people who are also open to my ideas. Working for the commercial bot, which is more pre-sales related, is all about creating and improving the proof of concept (POC) and the minimum viable product (MVP). That's why I'm doing a lot of research for this project and familiarizing myself with the subject. Initially, the focus is on the improvement on the UI level and thus refers more to the usability of the bot. Nevertheless I have some meetings to get information about adidas processes, which are mainly related to product recommendations.
Creating a chatbot is primarily about building a flow. This flow is the essential framework of the bot and contains the messages that will be sent later. Different flows are connected to each other to provide orientation for the development team. The conversational interface (CI) is then developed on the basis of this flow.
Another part of my work for the commercial bot is to back up the business case. I'm looking for comparable chatbots and their KPIs. These are consolidated and then used in a comparison with the adidas KPIs to underline the potential of a sales bot. What particularly appeals to me about this is that, unlike the established digital product service bot, I'm involved in the creation process right from the start and can therefore gain an insight into both sides.
Another particularly exciting event was an ideation workshop that we had together with Salesforce. During this workshop the perspective lay on the UX of a chatbot. That means we discussed which elements of the CI have an influence on the consumer and which parameters have to be turned in order to make the experience more attractive. We talked about the use of emojis and pictograms but also about wording and use cases. In addition, we discussed at what moment a chatbot should address the consumer. Proactive in the buying process or rather reactive? Each of us knows the situation when on holiday you are approached by numerous shopkeepers and you're almost forced to buy. The situation is similar with online shopping, which is why a pop-up is rather annoying. isn't it? In any case, there is a need for a study in order to find out more about consumer behaviour. I'm convinced that it strongly depends on what the consumer's goal is and in which point of the buying process he or she is.
SIZE & FIT
I see a large part of my personal development in the size and fit project. Since my time at Needle and CIP, when I had direct contact with the end consumer, I have been fascinated by finding a way to determine the perfect size. In a company that produces thousands of shoes, it is very difficult to maintain a unified sizing. So some consumers are confused and don't know what size to buy. In addition to consistent sizing, the fit of products is also important. There are different dimensions which change depending on the person but also the product. For example, a running shoe which is used for running, i.e. functional, has to fit differently than a shoe worn for fashion reasons in leisure time.
Therefore I'm very happy that my manager Carla made it possible to connect me with Monique from the UX team. Monique examines the size and fit topic and during the weekly meeting with her I get a deeper insight into the approach of the UX team and get more information about the study.
Furthermore I was lucky to work with the PO for size and fit. Since the project is currently on hold, I am looking for usable data. This data should support the fact that adidas consumers have problems determining the right size and therefore send back many products or order several products at once to be sure they have ordered the right size. In my opinion, there is also great potential for cost savings here. Not only are there fewer returns that need to be processed in the warehouse, but also costumer service contacts. If the sizing process is even more consumer friendly and can be designed more precisely, the right products are ordered and there are fewer returns and enquiries.
When searching for data, I listened around within the various departments and ended up with post-sales / fulfillment. There I got a report that gives me insight into the return reasons. I can see what the consumers in Europe indicated when they returned products they bought in the online shop. There are different categories like material, functionality and size and fit. At the moment I am evaluating this data and have come across an interesting discrepancy, which I will investigate further in the course of November. So far I'm a bit stuck, because the track in the company is petering out and I can't find the relevant person.
I hope I can tell you more next month.
On my daily way to work I got into the habit of using the 20 minutes I spend in the metro for reading. I'm usually not a person who reads a lot. However, reading has become a routine and I've already been able to read 3 books. In the following I want to share them, as I think they are interesting for some of you. I hope I can read a book on a monthly basis from now on and share it with you.