An oasis for lovers of gardening and ethically-sourced homewares, Eden Gardens is truly a homegrown icon.
Their vision is “To be universally recognised as the world’s leading retailer of plant-related products that enrich people’s lives.” Seeing their success and impact to date, they can probably check that goal off the list.
More than just a garden store, Eden Gardens has cultivated a passionate community dedicated to improving quality of life through gardening, sustainability and beyond. From supporting charities like Father Chris Riley’s Youth Off The Streets and Cancer Council NSW, to supporting entrepreneurs through the Ignite® program, Eden Gardens is truly a fixture of Sydney’s wider gardening and business community.
Positioned as a leader in sustainability and horticulture, not to mention their popular onsite restaurant, Eden Gardens had to ensure their business continued to operate at a level of excellence.
With the business continuing to evolve, the team had to find a way to ensure the business’ reach didn’t extend their grasp. It was a mission that required careful thought and precise execution.
Down the garden path, or growing into something new?
To be “led down the garden path” is a phrase often used to describe being persuaded or manipulated into a course of action. It’s not too far of a stretch to say that Eden Gardens’ old, unreliable system was leading the team down a path that was not compatible with their growth goals.
Transforming the entire operations for Eden Gardens was no small feat. A looming task for any business as complex as Eden Gardens, it fell to Customer Service Manager Mael Dolez-Jacques to guide the business to its new chapter.
The Customer Service Manager title doesn’t cover the true remit of Mael’s role. “If I had to describe it, it’s very similar to Head of Operations,” says Mael. “So I’m coordinating the work, helping the heads of department for the retail section, logistics, the hospitality, and our production site as well. So it covers a bit of everything at Eden Gardens.”
Improving operations would take more than some pruning
In order to truly deliver incredible customer service, Mael had to dive into the heart of Eden Gardens’ systems and usher in an evolution, the first since the business opened in 2005. Partnering with Lightspeed, he sought to change how the business operated.
“I’ve just finished a project which was the implementation of a brand new POS system both in hospitality and in retail.”
“Now, this implementation was quite a big project for us because Lightspeed is only one component of the new system. We also renewed our inventory software and we changed our marketing management CRM software as well. That was a once in a lifetime change of software fleet for Eden Gardens.
“We’ve been open for 18 years and, and I think that’s the second time this has happened. So that was very important.”
As he guided the team through this important transition, Mael made sure to abide by the measure twice, cut once methodology. Given Eden Gardens has a multitude of different products and services, he chose to test the new POS system on their restaurant using Lightspeed’s Restaurant platform.
“This project kicked off originally with the implementation of Lightspeed at our restaurant. This implementation was the testing phase for us. So we wanted to make sure that the system works, that it’s robust, and it also fulfills our needs.”
“We were coming from a fleet of software that was heavily API-based. So essentially we purchased the software about a decade ago and the software was built from the ground up by an IT company. The API type of software is fantastic because it works beautifully for your business and you can change every single part of it to make it work the way you want it.”
However, this approach eventually proved to be a hindrance rather than a blessing
“The downside is that when your IT company leaves or when you cannot reach the person who developed this software any longer for any reason, then you’re stuck with a software that you cannot really integrate to anything without the costly support of another company.”
Taking a proactive approach paid off for Mael. He didn’t want Eden Gardens’ operations to be crippled by faulty software or an MIA third-party technician. To ensure customer satisfaction and smooth day-to-day operations for in store staff, it was crucial to remove potential problems and improve the team’s capabilities.
Managing the duality of customer and staff happiness
Customer happiness and employee happiness are in many ways two sides of the same coin.
A sub-par retail platform will erode staff confidence and happiness. Similarly, a sub-par retail platform will diminish customer trust and brand loyalty. If the system isn’t meeting either party’s needs, it can lead to a vicious cycle.
Eden Gardens’ previous legacy system wasn’t always reliable, sometimes leaving anxious staff making apologies to impatient customers.
After careful testing, Mael was able to roll out the new platform with full confidence that both staff and customers would benefit greatly from the transformation.
“I’m imagining they can now deliver a better customer experience. I cannot remember how many times I received calls over the weekend from staff members saying ‘Oh my gosh, the thing is not working. What should I do? The customer is in front of me and he’s been in front of me for the past 10 minutes and I cannot figure out’. Trying to troubleshoot over the phone was interesting”.
Fielding distress calls while customers were waiting was not a sustainable option. Recognising that this dichotomy between staff and customer had to be addressed, Mael and the team sought to reconcile any problems that could occur.
With the business’ intense focus on customer satisfaction, as well as Eden Gardens’ position as a leader in the community, a key part of the transformation was ensuring a balance between happy staff and happy customers.
A business in full bloom
With the new system firing on all cylinders, Mael no longer spends his time troubleshooting over the phone.
With careful thought, focus and dedication, the team were able to shepherd a transformation that would lay the foundation for Eden Gardens’ new era.
Want to learn how Eden Gardens leveraged Lightspeed to level up their operations and performance?
In this case study, you can gain an insight into the powerful tools Mael used to elevate Eden Gardens’ operations.
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