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How CPG's Best Brands Use Real-Time Customer Experience to Grow Faster

April 17, 2024

At The Consumer Packed Goods (CPG) Digital Transformation Summit, we learned how digital transformation is completely altering how the industry does business — for the better.

Leaders with experience working for Heineken and Coca-Cola HBC provided the what and why: 'What are CPG companies doing differently in this digital age?' 'What happens if businesses don't adapt?' 'Why is digitalization the solution right now?'

To continue that conversation, 'the how' was next: 'How is CPG scaling business?' 'How can companies leverage real-time customer experience (CX)?' How are the biggest brands in CPG using CustomerGauge's operational management tool?'

That's why we hosted CustomerGauge Live! How CPG's Best Brands Use Real-Time CX to Grow Faster.

Our Vice President of Education and Services, Cary T. Self, and Vice President of Product Management, Trishaala Chengappa, shared five use cases on how CPG uses real-time "always-on" customer feedback to scale business and increase marketshare.

Ready to see how? Let's dive in.

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The Digital Feedback Shift

While many businesses are still behind in adopting a new digital strategy, big CPG brands have stayed ahead of the game as far back as 2020 (Coca-Cola HBC, we're looking at you!)

This shift from the old ways of collecting B2B customer feedback has made an incredible impact on these companies' bottom line.

CustomerGauge's Digital Feedback Shift

Cary touched on the then vs. now, explaining how this transition to what we're capable of doing now has made customer data accessible to everybody in an organization.

"It's no longer the drawn out feedback and analysis cycle and by the time you get the information out to the different parts in the business, the information is already old news and you've got to start again.

I think that just makes it so incredibly easy to collect customer feedback, close the loop, act on it in a really timely manner, and ensure that you can really listen to your customers and leverage that information."

Not only are processes modernizing but the surveys themselves are changing, too. Trish added,

"The whole shape of it, going from these long, multi-questions or even having a complex logic structure to being quick and getting information we can actually use.

They're now designed to ensure that you can capture what you need for that specific customer touch point or channel and be able to act on it. I think that's really the most powerful part of this and what also makes it something that you can do on a frequent basis."

Today, compared to what used to be a one-delivery system in the past, CPG businesses now operate through an omnichannel approach to reach customers through the channels they prefer to use.

CustomerGauge OmniChannel
Trish shared, "We're really starting to connect in different areas and ways with our customers in CPG [through the omnichannel approach]. And that's what we recommend to all of our customers, to ensure that you're reaching out to your customers in the environment that they're connecting with you as well.
Whether that's a B2B online customer portal or call center when they're phoning you up in terms of some kind of support requirements or when you're visiting your outlets or the modern trade centers.

It's all about reaching customers where they are and in the most timely manner.

Traditional Trade

CPG professionals working in traditional trade must build strong relationships with B2B customers.

Whether in mom-and-pop shops or smaller convenience stores, their success hinges on their rapport with retailers.

Traditional Trade Professional CG

The most successful brands in CPG we work with leverage our operational management tool to cover all bases regarding customer feedback, relying on features like:

  • Capability to gather customer feedback from the entire customer base
  • Objective and actionable real-time insights
  • Closing the loop (especially on the road) — Frontline Suite made for frontline heroes!
  • Survey distribution methods like SMS, WhatsApp, and InApp surveys

For traditional trade, what matters most is understanding customer needs and hearing from them more frequently through "always-on" feedback.

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Discover The Negative Impact of Not Going Digital on Consumer Packaged Goods

Modern Trade

Unlike traditional trade, which often involves fragmented distribution networks and smaller retail outlets, modern trade emphasizes large-scale retail formats.

In modern trade, CPG companies typically engage with established retail chains and eCommerce platforms to reach a broader consumer base. Due to their larger business model, what's important to a CPG professional building a CX program in modern trade is going to look different than one in traditional trade.

Modern Trade Professional CG

Cary detailed,

"Modern trade makes up a significant amount of revenue for most of our CPG clients and customers. It's a huge part of their business. So, we must do a few things here. We have to make sure all accounts are uploaded, including all the contacts, to ensure you're hearing from all those levels within that relationship. It's not a smaller account.
There are multiple relationships you have to manage and then prioritize by revenue. You're going to have some modern trade or some segments of a modern trade account that are so valuable to that relationship — you want to make sure you can see that."

Global Commercial Capabilities Director

When discussing the various roles within a CPG organization and its objectives, consistency and operational improvement emerge as pivotal factors.

For a Global Commercial Capabilities Director in both modern and traditional trade, it's crucial to maintain consistency across operations while striving for enhancements.

This involves gaining insights, adopting best practices, and effectively engaging with the account base at their level.

And remember: it's essential to leverage relationship Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys and utilize relevant channels to connect with each customer individually.

Global Commercial Capabilities Director

The era of relying solely on one channel or form is fading; instead, even higher-ups in these organizations want to be more connected to frontline activities and real-time insights — just look at DHL Supply Chain's CEO who picks up the phone and calls customers directly.

Sales/Operations Manager

For a Sales or Operations Manager, recieving customer feedback consistently is key.

Customer feedback helps identify areas of improvement in sales processes, product offerings, and customer service, enabling the sales manager to make informed decisions for enhancing performance.

Sales or Operations Manager CustomerGauge

In an industry as competitive as consumer packaged goods, the B2B customer experience proves to be the main differentiator among businesses.

The speed at which a company's frontline team can act on feedback and establish strong relationships with retailers, distributors, and more will be what makes that business stand out.

"Can you provide a very personalized response? Can you understand your customer? There's nothing worse than getting on the phone and not knowing all the details. And with this, this allows you to get on quickly, speak to that customer, and understand what's happening with them. You can track your response rate and speak to all levels of that organization, too." said Cary.

Plus, having a Sales Manager spearhead a strong customer experience program demonstrates to internal stakeholders and external partners a commitment to continuous improvement and customer satisfaction, ultimately strengthening relationships and driving long-term success in the CPG market.

New CX Program User

Spoiler alert 🚨 The best brands in CPG aren't just using real-time CX and acting on customer feedback.

These businesses are building a culture around customer-centricity, rallying every part of their organization to be customer-focused.

New CX Program User

From Heineken to AB InBev, CPG companies find success by empowering their teams to utilize our operational management tool for CX while embedding customer experience into their values.

Cary and Trish finished the webinar by sharing how people can *actually own their customer data and educate their business around the bigger picture through CustomerGauge Academy.

Let's Get Your Customer Experience Program Started

We know that CPG is facing one of the biggest changes in the industry yet: digital transformation.

Yes, the scale and complexity of CPG operations while navigating supply chain issues, labor shortages, and more have slowed innovation.

However, the top brands in CPG are advancing through these times with modern technology and real-time CX.

So, are you ready to join 'em?

👉 Reach out to our team to learn more about our Account Experience (AX) pilot program!

About the Author

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Sabrina Tessitore
Sabrina is Content Marketing Manager and qualified B2B AX-pert at CustomerGauge. She provides the strategies necessary for B2B companies to build ROI-generating NPS programs. In Sabrina's free time, you can find her seeking out new coffee shops or spending time with her Shih-Poo, Ruby.
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