Smit & zoon works on customer experience at all levels
Elske Swets, Manager Communications & Marketing and Projectleader Customer Research | Smit & zoon
Smit & zoon was founded in 1821 and has grown into a leading developer and producer of chemicals used for leather applications for well-known brands of shoes, cars, furniture, clothing and bags. In recent years, the company has been characterized by strong growth and internationalization. In 2017, the organization carried out a customer satisfaction survey (CSS) for the first time in five years to measure whether the connection with customers was maintained during this transition.
Despite positive experiences with Integron in the past, a market exploration was nevertheless conducted, in which we also spoke with another agency. “In the end we chose Integron again. In addition to the international research experience, the added value in the follow-up to the research was decisive. Integron in particular endorsed our philosophy that especially in that part of the process difference is made, ”says Elske Swets, Manager Communications & Marketing and Project Manager CSS at Smit & zoon.
“In addition to the international research experience, the added value in the follow-up to the research was decisive. Integron in particular endorsed our philosophy that especially in the that part of the process difference is made.”
Sessions at strategic, tactical and operational level
The follow-up of the research took shape in three interactive sessions at all levels within the organization: strategic (management), tactical (department heads) and operational (sales). Elske: “The strong point of these sessions is that they translate research results into concrete questions. Answers have been formulated at every level to questions such as: what do our customers expect from us and how satisfied are they? Are our customers loyal? How can customer experiences be further improved? And where are we at the moment and where do we want to be in 3 years? ”
In such sessions it is important that the person who takes care of them has sufficient seniority. “We have experienced it as a plus that the people at Integron turned out to be the right sparring partner at every level and sometimes thoroughly interpreted the sound of our customers. Now it is up to us to secure the output of the sessions and use it to achieve our daily goal of being as satisfied as possible customers. ”
Due to her project responsibility, Elske was present at the tactical and operational session and at the former she was also present as department head. “Within my department, communication with our worldwide network of agents is a top priority. We want to inform this group as good and as fully as possible about developments within our company. One of the results of the session is that this is now partly done through conference calls in which our CEO tells the agents about these development and answers questions. ”
“At every level, answers have been formulated to questions such as: what do our customers expect from us and how satisfied are they? Are our customers loyal? How can customer experiences be further improved? And where are we at the moment and where do we want to be in 3 years?
More than 40 Sales Managers and Sales Technicians from Smit & zoon participated in the operational session. “They are closest to our customers, so this was literally a customer dialogue. It was confrontational sometimes, but also instructive because, as in the other sessions, you can learn from colleagues as well as from customers. After the session, each Sales employee from the Integron Consultant received personal feedback through email with recommendations for improvements based on the research results and the content of the session. Because the Sales employees are spread all over the world, it was a good thing in terms of logistics and costs that this session could take place via Skype. ”
Smit & zoon is satisfied with the research results, which exceed Integron’s industry benchmark on both satisfaction and recommendation behavior of customers. “Despite our expansion across borders, we have retained our Dutch sobriety. We have not celebrated it extensively. We did, however, pay some attention to it. From an article in our staff magazine to a presentation at our customer event in Shanghai; few of those involved could have missed it ”.
Shortly after the investigation, another CSS was carried out according to the same set-up, but for Codyeco, an Italian peer that was taken over by Smit & zoon in 2018. “In the future we will integrate this into our central CSS, but for now we think it is important that we can compare the results of both studies. A fun activity, because our new Italian colleagues are also well assessed. ”
Smit & zoon looks back positively on the completed research. In the CSS that Integron carried out among the stakeholders within Smit & zoon according to their perception of Integron, CEO Hans van Haarst praised Integron’s ability to rise above the research results in order to come up with meaningful recommendations for improvement. “It was therefore decided to give the customer satisfaction survey an important place on the agenda and to carry it out with greater regularity from now on. This gives us enough time to work on areas for improvement so that we can do everything we can to be even better assessed during the next measurement, ”Elske concludes.
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