A job with a nationwide audience

He calls it one of the appealing – and challenging – aspects of his job as a Manager Customer Journey: “Everything we do as a team is seen and used by possibly millions of people all over the Netherlands.” So, no pressure there for Jelmar van Voorst, who went from Design Pathfinder at Jumbo Tech Campus to manager at the business side of Jumbo in just 5 years. He tells us about his job and about what drives the evolution of Jumbo’s user experiences.  

Not a typical day in life

Before he joined Jumbo, Jelmar didn’t realize how complex supermarket logistics are: “On the surface, a supermarket looks simple enough. But once you become curious and dive into it, you will find out quickly enough how complicated our supply chain and all the other processes are.” He loves the variety and challenge that come with his job. ”We are in a constant dialogue in which we try to manage and exceed our customer’s expectations taking into account what’s possible from a technical and business perspective.”

But what’s most important in his eyes is that he and his team are the ones that give Jumbo customers a voice within the organization. Jelmar: “We try to immerse ourselves in the lives of the customers that shop with us. More and more people are starting to realize how important that is. And when enough of us do, we can become the most customer friendly organization in the world.”

A long-term professional goal

Jelmar used to work as a designer for different agencies and as such he was deployed at Jumbo for a while. During those years, he started to feel the need to work on something for the long term and not just go from part of a project to part of a project. When the opportunity to work at Jumbo Tech Campus presented itself, Jelmar grabbed it with both hands. He became a Design Pathfinder in the technology team. This was the first step in what Jelmar calls “A process to help give the UX expertise and department a more strategic role within the organization.”

From designing UX solutions to managing customer journeys

The transition from designing UX solutions to managing and rethinking the entire customer journey came natural to him. “Although my scope is a lot broader, there are many similarities between what I do now and what I used to do.” He emphasizes that designers already pay a lot of attention to the user experience. The big difference for him was that he is now managing a team with business targets and outcomes.

In late 2020 he became the Manager Customer Journey. In doing so, he had to leave the Tech Campus behind. This change also marked his transition into managing his own team.  To support him in that, he was invited to join the Management Development Program, together with a small group of selected colleagues. Jelmar explains: “Combined with the coaching from my colleagues from the management team, this helped me with the transition to being a team leader and to adjust to my new role quickly.”

Opinions in abundance

As Jumbo continues to grow, perfecting the customer journey becomes not only more complex and challenging. Jelmar: “My family, my friends, everybody has an opinion about Jumbo. Almost everybody in the Netherlands either has shopped with us or they still do. So, what we do makes a real impact. People have an opinion about what we do, about how we arrange and facilitate our customer journeys. They speak their mind about those subjects, to us and to our colleagues at customer service.” Jelmar talks about his job with great enthusiasm, stressing the responsibility it bears. “It’s our job to do something with that feedback and to lower or even remove any type of threshold for our current and potential users.” 

Trusting avocado’s

More and more customers are doing or consider doing their grocery shopping online. But there are some big differences when you do your shopping online. According to Jelmar a lot of it revolves around perception: “If you’re used to shopping in a supermarket and you want to have a nice and fresh avocado, you pick up the one that looks best and squeeze it just a little to find out if it’s ripe enough to eat. Online, there’s no squeezing. You will have to trust the shop to deliver that perfect avocado to you. And we will do what we can to earn that trust.”.

A supermarket just for you

Jelmar is quite keen on making the experience as personal as possible. He and his team are continuously researching ways to make that happen. He would like to see, as he calls it, having your own private Jumbo Supermarket at your fingertips. “How cool would it be, when you are allergic to certain types of foods, to only see products without those ingredients? Or when you want to lose weight, we could show a healthier and leaner version of every product.” When filters like these can be implemented, Jumbo can provide customized experiences for all kinds of target audiences. Jelmar: “We could then optimize our service based on the needs of people with smaller households, limited budgets, people that want only biological or sustainable products and so on. The possibilities are endless. The only thing we are weary of, is making decisions for the customer, so the user must be and feel in control all the time.”

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