Can you introduce yourself?
I spent most of my career managing luxury business . My focus has always been about achieving results, developing team and retaining talents.
I founded TRAINING LUXURY almost 6 years ago, a company that I define as a group of specialists in training and coaching especially in the luxury industry. When I started working in training and development almost 7 years ago, as Global Retail Training Manager for the Ermenegildo Zegna Group, I thought that the luxury industry needed people understanding the reality of retail business, not consultants. Today I can say that I’m an experienced sales and leadership trainer at international level with a long background as Head of Retail for Ermenegildo Zegna both in Japan and Iberia.
I have worked in more than 30 countries from Japan to Europe, from South America to Middle East. Therefore it is extremely natural to me to interact with people from different cultures and backgrounds.
I worked with luxury companies like Prada, Tod’s, Saint Laurent, Dolce & Gabbana, Luxottica, L’Oreal, Capri Palace, Diageo, among others but also with multinationals as Apple, Tetra Pak, Pfizer, Novartis, IBM, Schneider Electric, Credit Agricole, Criteo, General Electric.
What the course “Audit of the Luxury Service” talks about?
« Audit of the Luxury Service » course explains what happens in the magic world of the luxury service area. It analyses both the perspective of the final customer and what the sales team needs to do to hope to match them. Moreover, it takes into consideration also the multi-cultural aspects of the sales. It also explains not only what are the audit tools but also how to really use them. Finally, it is also an input for the future leaders in this business: people more than processes are the key to succeed in business and the front line should be the main interest of the entire organisation.
During the past three years you were voted as one of the best visiting professors from the students. What is the secret of your success?
First, I’m honored to receive such recognition and lot of the merits go to the school to allow me to structure the program with a lot of support. It’s hard to say what captures students’ attention. Definitely I know what I didn’t like when I was a student: long one way speech from the professors. I treat the students as professionals: I expect their commitment and I’m ready to give them my vision and knowledge. So we work as a real team. We do a lot of activities involving students in discussions, team work, challenging situations, presentations. It allows them to experience different real life situations and …stay away form their mobile phones and social media for a while. I use also less power point slides as possible and I alternate tools to allow different people to learn according to their learning style and pace. This is extremely important considering the multi-cultural richness that you can find in class. Yet, we need to consider different cultural approach in learning between the more extroverted Southern European and North American cultures and more introverted Asian ones. Having worked with people of over 90 different nationalities, helps me a lot in that sense.
One of the services your company provides is dedicated to Retail Management and Customer Experience: why these two aspects are so relevant for luxury brands?
Today everything is about experience. It doesn’t mean that the product or the environment are not important, but the customer gives them for granted. They pay for it already. What creates the difference is the relational part of the service. To achieve memorable experiences, the entire organization (not only the staff in the store) needs to have a customer centrist approach. That’s why retail management has to focus not only on KPI achievement, but also on setting standards for superior customer service in store and follow up. Most of the recent researches show how the growth in luxury business will be more “organic”, as there are not several new markets to develop. Therefore, luxury companies should go for “Zero compromise for mediocrity”. We need more motivated people working in luxury, especially in the front line: educated, bright, brave, better paid and most of all professional. Sales associate in luxury environment have to be more similar to “service providers” than to “retail associates”. I tend to define them similar to “personal bankers”: at the end of the day the final customer is exactly the same one.
Any recommendations for our students?
What I can recommend is to be open and curious and learn as much as you can from everyone (professors, students, network). Studying in such multi-cultural environment is a bless. The time you spend at the master is a preparation for what you will face in the workplace. Sometimes working with people we don’t choose, studying on assignments we do not like particularly, making groups with colleagues of different nationalities, with different points of view, are the best way to prepare to the real business environment, because they will face exactly the same situations. So I like to think that the time you spend in class prepares you for the workplace and helps you to become better people and then better leader.
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