Nigel, with 30 years of CPG industry experience under his belt, is now Chairman of the CPG Experience Council and ready to recruit those in the trade just as eager to make an impact.
He recently joined Adam Dorrell, CustomerGauge Co-Founder and CEO, on The Account Experience Podcast. Together they share how to kickstart great CX in CPG and break down the acronym that must be at the core of every program: CLiCS.
What Is CLiCS?
The CPG Experience Council's vision is to share and develop best practices and data to foster competitive customer experiences that help brand owners, customers and consumers win.
To get started, Nigel and Adam created a North Star philosophy that embodies all of the factors that go into creating a world-class CPG experience program.
That's where CLiCS comes in.
CLiCS stands for:
- Catalyst. This is your starting point: gathering your story with an outlined plan, prioritizing the customer throughout the organization, and investing in CX early on. "Everything starts with your first step."
- Leadership. You have to add the customer to your values. It begins with creating customer advocates within the business, training and capability processes, and setting strong targets.
- Interconnect. All constituent parts have to connect every single time. This includes customer journey mapping, operational planning, leveraging data and capture tools, and honing in on a single view of the customer.
- Curiosity. "Asking 'why' before the customer does." How do successful businesses get inside the minds of customers and predict what they'll do before they even know it? By instilling multifunctional teams, measuring voice of the customer (VoC) metrics, and surveying frequently (CustomerGauge best practice is 4X a year.)
- Surpass. Continue to surpass customer expectations. Do that by closing the loop (fast, 24-48hrs), quickly addressing issues, and having upper management engage — you can't just limit feedback to one level of the organization.
With Nigel's experience in the field, he understands how daunting it can be to start a CX program from scratch, so he expanded on the acronym below.
Everything Starts With a Catalyst
"Every catalyst a customer experience program needs is a story to tell that can be shared with other people," says Nigel.
While working in CPG, the beer sector specifically, Nigel shared a story about how he was at one of his end consumer's stores and an employee was building a display of a competitor's brand.
Nigel asked why they were building a competitor's brand over his, and the answer was quite innocent: "They don't have glue on their boxes of beer; yours does and it gets on my hands and uniform."
Naturally, Nigel's brand used glue to secure the beer while in transit, however, it also meant that beer wasn't being marketed once it got to the end location.
All it took was that one story (or catalyst) to make its way through the business for them to find a new solution.
A catalyst as Nigel describes on the podcast, is really someone with a passion to do something.
It could be anyone from a customer or employee to a sales leader — but no matter who it is, they can positively affect a business by telling their stories.
Pair a catalyst with a detailed plan and a customer-centric focus, and you'll be in a much better position than you were yesterday.
All Leaders Must Be Bought-In
"This was the Head of a huge logistics company we worked with and this person once every quarter would make sure they dipped into the customer feedback and selected six to seven items and call customers up," says Adam.
"They'd go 'Hi!' This is the CEO of this global logistics company — thanks for your feedback, I'd love to learn more about it."
What did this approach do? It galvanized this particular company and made every employee there sit up and go, "The boss is going to call up the customer, I better be on my A-game."
Not only does it motivate the workforce, but it reassures customers that their feedback is being heard.
This approach still to this day drives their program to new heights, all because the leader of their company makes time to pick up the phone and call their B2B customers.
"It's not what you say, it's what you do; that's what people really recognize," says Nigel.
Connecting Every Wire Makes All the Difference
Whether you're a Marketing Manager talking with the end B2B customer or a Finance invoice clerk, everyone needs to come together to make the organization customer-focused.
Teamwork makes the dream work, right? This really does apply here.
Interconnect is also the stage where Adam and Nigel recommend bringing in technology to make it work even better. However, it's important to note that you must have everything else mentioned above implemented first before bringing in a tool to leverage processes.
Get Curious About What Customers Are Thinking
In the bigger picture of the fire that is your customer experience program, it has to start with a spark.
And if that spark isn't igniting the fire within you to try to understand what your customers are thinking about your business, your program will quickly die out.
Nigel says, "In a B2B relationship, you've got some pretty bright people at every level. The most I've ever learned in the beer business was when I was out with the people who made the deliveries. They're with customers on a daily basis and could tell you whether [a customer thought] a piece of packaging or promotional kit was good or bad; they just knew so much.
My old boss used to say to me, 'Is that the last 10% of insight that nobody else has found?' because if you can find that, then you can really start to impress customers."
Take Actions That Go Beyond Expectations
Everyone is a consumer of something. We understand what it feels like to receive a standout customer experience — you likely still talk about it to this day.
We also know what terrible customer experiences feel like...you likely still talk about that one, too.
So whether you own a business or are looking to improve one, you're left with two options.
Stand out from the rest and provide your B2B customers with ongoing experiences they'll always remember (positively) or drive them elsewhere and potentially hurt the brand's reputation.
As the slide below states, always be better than yesterday at the things that matter most.
Hint* You'll soon discover what matters most after listening to customer feedback (and quickly acting on it!)
Set Industry Standards By Joining the CPG Experience Council
A world-class CPG B2B CX program is born when you have a passionate catalyst that wants to make something happen and leadership that's completely bought into it.
Additionally, it's crucial to interconnect the customer throughout the organization, build a culture that inspires teams to become curious about what customers are thinking, and a team that's always searching for more ways to surpass expectations.
Because when you have all of those pieces to the puzzle, revenue and marketshare growth just CLiCS.
👋 Are you looking to make a difference in the CPG trade?
From supply chain challenges to inflationary pressures, we don’t see this as a time of worry — we see this as an opportunity to solve issues in the most loyal but fragmented channel we trade in.
P.S. Accepted representatives of the CPG Experience Council may have experience in roles such as
- Customer Officer
- Sales Process Director
- Head of Customer Capability
- Head of Sales Enablement
- ...to name a few!