illy caffè



illy caffè North America a division of illy caffè S.p.A, is an international provider of super-premium coffee known for its distinctly balanced taste and innovation in the coffee industry, including a unique espresso system.

The company uses Qstream’s microlearning solution to assure that its associates have the essential brand and product knowledge to deliver the best possible customer experience and ultimately improve sales.

The Challenge

Ubiquitous mobile access and analytics are clearly transforming the way that industry leaders develop and sustain successful sales teams. Like most organizations, illy caffè sales associates are a mobile group whose on-the-go workday creates challenges when it comes to keeping abreast of new information from headquarters.

Management needed an efficient solution to reinforce the level of product knowledge essential to the illy brand and ensure that sales associates were prepared to deliver the best customer experience – in a way that was both effective and non-disruptive to time in the field. Management also needed a way to identify any knowledge gaps to address them proactively.

The Solution

illy caffè deployed Qstream with its internal North American sales staff as well as quality assurance, technical and administrative team members. Using the Qstream knowledge reinforcement app on any mobile device, illy caffè associates responded to Q&A-based scenarios via their smartphone or tablet every few days, with challenges that took just minutes to complete.

The scenarios reinforced associates’ understanding of technical and scientific information for coffee products and preparation methods – from the bean to the cup. Based on their responses, participants competed for points on a leaderboard.

Qstream’s analytics engine then sifts and analyzes response data to provide continuous real-time management updates, comparisons and trends on team capabilities, as well as targeted coaching actions that contribute to management’s ability to remediate gaps.

The Results

In a 16-week program, illy caffè found that the approach delivered 100% engagement, and increased essential brand and product knowledge among sales staff by 15%.

“The engagement and feedback of our team as well as the Qstream analytics have shown this to be an effective method of building high-performance teams. Our staff embraced the convenience of Qstream, and there was a general sense of camaraderie and friendly competition among individuals and departments.”
“Our most seasoned associates found value in the way information was presented through the Qstream solution. It was a fun and flexible way to maximize staff knowledge essential to the customer experience.”
Mark Romano, Senior Director of Education, Quality & Sustainability at illy caffè North America –

The management dashboards and insights extracted from sales rep data also enabled illy caffè sales executives to identify and address the needs of a strategic market segment by reinforcing key product knowledge required by the team to be successful.

For example, the program flagged an opportunity to provide more information to sales associates about decaffeination – a product attribute that represents a competitive edge, particularly in the natural products channel.

Based on the enthusiastic response, illy caffè plans to expand the use of the Qstream knowledge reinforcement platform to include the consumer-facing staff at its branded cafés, where in-depth coffee knowledge is important to delivering an authentic brand experience.

About illy caffè North America

illy caffè North America imports, distributes and markets illy products throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico. With global headquarters in Trieste, Italy, illy is a leader in providing super-premium coffee known for its distinctly balanced and beautiful taste, produced to the industry’s highest quality standards. Its full range of roasted coffee (whole bean, ground and single-serve), espresso machines, artist-created cups, and other accessories can be experienced at leading cafes, hotels, and restaurants, and purchased for the home at higher-end retailers and at

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