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How has Rakuten France decompartmentalized its customer service knowledge?

We were looking for a simple, scalable tool, and Mayday came up with an intuitive, easy-to-use solution.

Portrait of Loïc Peeters
Loïc Peeters
Head of User Care

of adoption by councilors


published articles of procedure


one week less of training

Rakuten France, a shopping platform that combines tech DNA and Japanese values

Rakuten, the world leader in online services, created the first marketplace for professionals and consumers in Japan in 1997. Today, Rakuten offers an ecosystem of 70 digital services in fields such as e-commerce, telecommunications, Fintech and AI.

A key player in French e-commerce and a pioneer in the circular economy, Rakuten France is a generalist shopping platform offering new, used and refurbished products. Driven by an optimistic vision of commerce, it contributes with Club R, the most generous loyalty program in French e-commerce, to the purchasing power of more than 12 million members thanks to a unique model that enables them to earn money back on their online purchases.

Rakuten France also supports more than 10,000 professional sellers and partners in their digitalization, via its many online services. Among these, Rakuten Fulfillment Network, launched in 2022, gives them access to a global network of experts providing the simplest, most efficient and cost-effective response to their e-commerce logistics needs.

Rakuten's DNA is resolutely tech. Its 350 employees in France work every day to put innovation at the service of more inclusive commerce. A corporate culture enriched by a Japanese heritage: among the values shared by the entire group are the "Shugi", the fundamental principles of solidarity, ethics and professionalism that have made the marketplace such a success.

Innovation, a priority: customer service in the image of Rakuten

At Rakuten, customer service, known as User Care, is a driving force in terms of innovation. The department has placed great emphasis on setting up a dedicated team to manage harmonized knowledge, i.e., documentation on customer service procedures, through tools like Mayday or by integrating generative AI tools. 

In addition toa customer service team of 20 people, including 10 dedicated to user contact, Rakuten France also has a team of 76 external employees in Madagascar. These advisors are called ambassadors, as they both carry the voice of the customer for the in-house teams, and embody Rakuten's values on a daily basis in their treatment and responses to users.

As far as content creation is concerned, there are currently two people in charge. However, this number is likely to increase as team leaders take over some of the content creation.

Most customers contact Rakuten France via forms powered by Zendesk. Nevertheless, customer service offers a wide variety of contact points, such as call, chat, Whatsapp, Twitter or Facebook.

Putting knowledge back at the heart of customer care

The increasingly frequent innovations linked to this tech DNA have necessitated the adaptation of practices for updating and disseminating procedures to ambassadors.

Rakuten France has therefore decided to rethink the role of knowledge within its customer service department.

In 2020, only 3% of customer service procedures were available to ambassadors, and these were not regularly updated. 

The training courses were organized face-to-face and synchronously at the service provider's premises. Trainers produced PDFs, often in the form of flowcharts.

  • A complex training path.
  • Little interactive, little personalized content.
  • Difficulties in updating content and communicating, as existing tools were not adapted.
  • An outsourced team sometimes disconnected from the in-house team due to a lack of harmonized methodology.

Loïc Peeters, Head of User Care, and Terez Duhameau-Kolarovicz, Customer Care and Payment Methods Director, have decided to set up a dedicated knowledge center, to which Carole Kimbouana belongs.

One of the first projects to overcome the problems mentioned above was the adoption of an internal knowledge base.

Three criteria have been established to facilitate selection:

  • Easy to set up and create content
  • Flexibility in administration
  • A tool focused on the user experience

Rakuten France turned to Mayday, a solution created by and for the customer relations industry. The teams were particularly impressed by the simplicity of content creation and editing.

Team adoption of the solution, a key factor in optimizing coordination with an outsourced contact center 

After 4 months of implementation, the adoption by all advisors was a key issue. Indeed, there is sometimes a gap between the level of information and training of the internal team in France and that of the external team in Madagascar, who do not necessarily have the same methodology or the same reflexes.

The knowledge base helps to re-establish alignment with the service provider andimprove customer knowledge.

The company uses several levers to encourage this adoption: 

  • Interactivity: ambassadors can send feedback, which is managed in a feedback center. Editors, for their part, can push notifications to alert on key subjects, share urgencies, and above all track the opening of these notifications.
  • Mayday's integration with everydaytools, such as Slack, where a simple command can be used to find an article, or Notion, where content is automatically sent to the knowledge base.
  • The occasionalanimation of the service, by mobilizing ambassadors around knowledge, during challenges - egg hunts, quizzes, rewards...
  • Continuous improvement of content: the rapid evolution of markets and products means that knowledge needs to be updated regularly.

Rakuten's knowledge managers write content on Mayday for internal and external teams. This content is also used to train customer service staff, either when new employees join the company or on an ongoing basis.

Flexibility and ergonomics: the results of Mayday adoption

The creation of a dedicated knowledge center, combined with the choice of a knowledge-base tool, has had a definite impact on :

  • Knowledge quality through content obsolescence management - end-of-validity date, feedback from the field, prioritization of updates using automated analysis tools.
  • Quality of response: ambassadors have a better understanding of customer issues, and are able to respond more quickly and appropriately.
  • Productivity KPIS : better answers help to achieve the famous "once and done", i.e. resolution from the very first contact.
  • Team trust, a prerequisite for retaining talent: ambassadors have a dedicated space where they can find answers to their questions.
  • Training time: onboarding time for ambassadors has been cut from 3 weeks to 2 weeks.
"The advisor doesn't have to wonder where the information is, it's inevitably in Mayday"
Loïc Peeters, Head of User Care, Rakuten France

More broadly, the knowledge base has triggered a paradigm shift at Rakuten:

  • Knowledge has become a business issue: the knowledge base breaks down silos and enables better collaboration between teams.
  • The written word is favored, creating a history and aligning the discourse of all Rakuten France teams. 

What next?

In the short term, Rakuten's User Care service wants to concentrate on maintaining its knowledge base:

  • Managing obsolescence: while Mayday makes it easy to identify content that needs updating, you still need to edit the content.
  • Tool integration: Mayday connects knowledge to the tools used by Rakuten's teams. The different teams jointly identify the next integrations to be developed.
  • Creation of content templates to facilitate knowledge creation by the ambassadors themselves.

In the medium term, Rakuten would like to combine artificial intelligence with its knowledge base (spoiler: Mayday has already planned everything!).

To create better content faster :

  • Help with writing articles
  • Optimization of existing articles

To minimize ambassador search time:

  • Full integration into their tools.
  • A proposal of items according to the type of form or customer lifecycle.

Mayday is the omnichannel knowledge base for customer services. If, like Rakuten, you want to collaborate more effectively with your contact centers and put knowledge back at the heart of your strategy, ask our teams for an ROI study here.

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