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9/5/2012
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Movado Builds Customer Ties With Repair Process

A move to Web-based processes made repairs easier and let the watchmaker build closer customer connections.

Known for its trendsetting status symbols, Movado makes some of the world's most beautiful--and expensive--timepieces. But even watches like the $3,000 stainless steel and tungsten Vizio need to be repaired from time to time.

And that's one area where the company, which strives for perfection in its designs, knew things could be improved. "From a corporate standpoint, we wanted to step this up," says Movado CIO Frank Morelli, who's also the senior VP for global business processes. "We wanted to take something that was fairly mundane, getting a watch repaired, and take this to another level from the customer standpoint."

The watchmaker's repair process was largely a manual endeavor in which customer support workers entered data about the watches needing repair into an aging legacy system.

In many cases, just identifying an older model watch could take hours. "When you think about repairs, we've got watches that may have been built 25 or 30 years ago," says Morelli.

Revamping the repair process was one part of a three-phase move to Web-based processes, and it made repairs easier for customers and more efficient for employees.

In phase one, Movado built a website that authorized repair centers could use to order parts. The site linked to Movado's SAP environment, which stores product data and links to external services like Sabrix tax and Paymetric credit card processing. Phase two stood up an e-commerce site that let customers buy products directly from the company. "We had websites to show our product, but we didn't do any business on the Web," says Morelli. "This got us onto the Web with a platform."

Phase three, which began in the fall of 2010 and went live last November, moved Movado's repair process online. Customers can now go to a service website, fill out a form about their watch, describe the problem, and choose an appropriate, pre-priced repair package. That saves up to 10 minutes of employee data entry. The system links to a database with a catalog of images of Movado products, which customers can use to identify their watch model, or staff can use if information is missing.

Movado wants perfection, even in how it handles repairs
Movado wants perfection, even in how it handles repairs

The system is also speeding up the repairs. Previously, estimators would create a unique order for each watch that came through the door of one of Movado's global service centers. Now they can choose from templates based on the most common repairs.

Movado relied heavily on SAP templates for tasks like creating an order, but IT had to do a lot of integration of workflows--watch received to repair estimates to ordering parts to repair and return.

Data from the e-commerce and repair sites is proving valuable. Movado uses it in CRM campaigns and to identify potential focus group participants. It also looks for repair trends that might suggest a recurring problem--"particularly on the newer watches that might even be in the field for a year or less, that we can get right back to the product development people on," Morelli says. The data is also used to track the efficiency of repair personnel.

No one wants to have a watch in need of repair. But Movado hopes it can build a closer customer connection during the repair process. It may even be a chance to explain to people that owning a watch is like owning a car, Morelli says. "It doesn't run forever," he says, "and it will need some kind of service once in a while."

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