In a recent LinkedIn Live conversation I had with Zvi Baida, Chief Customer Officer at Shufersal, one of Israel’s largest grocery retailers, we spoke about how he and the leaders at Shufersal handled the shift in consumer behaviors and demands during the pandemic.
During the time of lockdown where folks were worried about access to food, water, and medical supplies, Zvi and his team faced new challenges. They had to think through how to handle increasing supply demand without sacrificing the quality of their customer experience.
Zvi expressed a concern that we often have as customer experience leaders—how can you serve the people and maintain integrity while doing so? We had a great conversation that I think you’ll find value in, as the world around us continues to shift.
How Shufersal Redefined Their Relationship with Their Customers During This Critical Time
As the CCO, Zvi is responsible for customer care, the customer philosophy behind the work, and for developing relationships with a core group of consumers.
Zvi, who actually has a background in law and private investigations, ultimately moved into the business sector after deciding he wanted to become more involved in the business world, rather than being behind the scenes as an investigator. After being an executive assistant to Shufersal’s CEO for four years, he became the company’s first CCO. This was a new position that was developed in response to social protests in Israel regarding cost of living — specifically, in the food sector.
Through response to the public outcry, Zvi and his Shufersal team realized they had to evolve and redefine their relationship with the consumer. He explains that it wasn’t only Shufersal, but also competitors, and the industry as a whole that had to make changes — especially considering the power of the public voice when amplified through social media. “We understood that in order to be here for the next 60 years, we have to redefine our relationship with the consumer,” says Zvi.
Leaders Must Balance the Needs of Core Customers and the Greater Public
During the March 2020 lockdown, Zvi shares that Shufersal’s demand for online services went from about 15% to 100%. He explains that they had no other option but to determine how to adjust, stating that “it was like a war room with all of the executives and managers.”
Zvi explains that during these intensive meetings, he and the team enacted leadership bravery, by choosing who they were going to serve, what they were going to do, and how to do so. Zvi explains that they faced a dilemma on whether to focus on existing customers who were loyal to Shufersal during the years, or to expand services and welcome new customers so they could serve the larger community—especially considering there were a limited amount of delivery services. He says that they focused on creating as many delivery slots as they could, even saving a specific portion of delivery slots for the elderly generation who were at most risk.
According to Zvi, their driving decision was to take care of people’s basic needs; they believed they had a social responsibility to do so. In addition to acting fast with customers, Zvi shares that they maintained constant communication with employees to stress the importance of their work, considering many of them were essential employees. He also wanted to ensure that they were provided with proper equipment, that they knew what was going on, and that they felt cared for.
What Do You Know Now That You Wish You Knew Then?
“I would say perspective, life perspective. That you look not in the micro but in the macro. […] I think to myself, you know, when I have a little slump, I remind myself of where I was one and a half year ago, years ago, just putting it all into perspective. And that helps you absorb and swallow things much more easily. That’s something that if I would have known before, maybe my life could have been a bit easier.
About Zvi Baida
Zvi Baida is the VP Customers & Service of Shufersal Ltd since 2016. Zvi reports directly to the CEO and he is a member of the executive board of Shufersal. Zvi leads the company’s Customers Strategy and customer centricity transformation
Initiating and Establishing the Customer and Service Division of over 500 employees.
Zvi graduated from The Interdisciplinary Center with a Bachelor’s of Law and Tel Aviv University in Israel.
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