Integrating Social Feedback to Maintain Transparency

Customer Experience
Customer Experience
2013 Customer Champion Leo Minervini, chief information officer, Carlo's Bakery, sweetens the customer experience by using social chatter to improve and personalize each transaction.

Though Carlo's Bakery has been operating for more than 100 years, it was TLC's "The Cake Boss" that skyrocketed the New Jersey establishment to national fame. To adequately serve this overwhelming influx of customers, Leo Minervini, CIO, recognized the need to move this multi-million dollar business from its "paper and pen" methods to the cloud, turning the family bakery into a social business.

Because Minervini wants employees to focus on building wedding cakes, not IT infrastructure, he led the business to the cloud in order to streamline the order process, while also implementing solutions that listen to customers via social. Carlo's Bakery aims to make each customer feel like family, and social listening allows the brand to constantly improve the customer experience.

"Many customers and fans have high expectations," says Minervini. "Because we are competing on both a small and large scale, we want to leverage social media to give a look into the business and maintain a level of transparency. The show has given a view into the business and we want to continue the path of transparency, because at the end of the day, if a customer or fan has had a poor experience, we will work with them to make it right."

Minervini ushered in a new era at Carlo's Bakery by emphasizing the need for communication inside and outside the bakery. By integrating social and mobile technologies, Minervini brought his vision for an expanded, interactive environment to life, allowing staff to focus on delivering personalized service and satisfying customers at all stages of the cake building cycle.

Today, Carlo's Bakery's has attracted more than 400,000 Facebook fans and 70,000 Twitter followers-not including the "Cake Boss" social sites-so Minervini led Carlo's Bakery's partnership with to implement tools that allow him and his executive management team to listen to what customers are saying and construct business decisions to better serve the customer. Using Chatter, a tool similar to Facebook's newsfeed, disparate teams can connect, coordinate, and recognize fellow employees by posting photos of their creations. Customers can also use Chatter to upload photos of cakes they enjoy and collaborate with bakery staff. Minervini also launched a new order management app called Cakeforce, which allows sales clerks and cake consultants to service customers with their iPads and take orders anywhere. This deviation from the bakery's original "paper and pen" methods allows staff to spend more time working on cakes, as decorating a cake for someone's event remains a deeply personalized service at the heart of Carlo's Bakery.

Minervini's leadership comes from 15 years of experience in the customer service and enterprise business process. By applying his knowledge to the family owned bakery, Minervini has transformed the customer experience and engagement, growing the business by more than 150 percent over the past two years. Productivity has also increased by 65 percent, while the margin of error has been reduced by nearly 30 percent, thereby improving customer satisfaction.

Minervini strongly believes and emphasizes that, with the right technology to serve the customer, Carlo's Bakery will only continue to grow and keep the customers happy under his guidance and leadership.