Shell Polymers Global Marketing Manager Chris Conrad talks about what we can learn from Apple
At Shell Polymers, we’re upending the industry by putting the customer experience at the forefront of everything we do, and we’re taking inspiration from companies that excel at it. That’s what CXperts is all about, and as the Global Marketing Manager, I’m excited to kick this content series off with a look at how Apple approaches the customer experience.
It’s a basic business truth that you need customers, but holding onto them and generating shared value takes effort and dedication. That starts with putting the customer’s needs front and center in everything you do.
Few do that better than Apple, where an unrelenting focus on customer satisfaction is applied to all facets of the company—from customer service and UX to product design, development and support.
Once the customer has the product in hand, Apple goes out of their way to assure customer satisfaction by employing product experts to enhance the Apple experience for customers, both online and in-store. They don’t call it a genius bar for nothing!
Apple also has a history of looking to customer feedback to aid in improving and innovating products. All of this drives high customer satisfaction, which leads to brand loyalty, repeat sales and brand advocacy among customers.
The Shell Polymers Approach
As we prepare to enter the polyethylene market, Shell Polymers is rewriting the playbook, and we’re taking inspiration from companies like Apple by centering everything we do on the customer and their needs.
To that end, we started a feedback loop before we even broke ground on our plant in Pennsylvania. Those of us with a deep history in the industry know that many converters aren’t satisfied with the service they were getting from PE suppliers.
Good marketers know that you can’t create a great customer experience without knowing what potential customers want in that experience. That means research, lots of it, in this case, hours of conversations and surveys with converters of all sizes. We wanted to know their pain points, unmet needs and how we could change the paradigm to address these. This feedback loop will continue as we prepare for startup.
Our primary goal for our customers is to make it easy to do business with us. One of the top concerns expressed by converters was a lack of personalized attention, so one of our first moves was to throw out the one-size-fits-all approach to customer service. Instead, every Shell Polymers customer has an account team made up of veterans of the plastics industry and modern thinkers, who monitor accounts and head off problems before they occur.
And like Apple geniuses, our passionate polymer professionals build personal relationships with each customer they engage with, even letting them determine up front how we communicate with them.
Converters also told us they wanted to be able to use self-service tools for repetitive tasks, so we will offer that too. But we’re going further, offering the latest technologies to help them manage their business, from the easy-to-use supplier onboarding portal to monitoring business insights such as past order history, agreed volume levels, on-time delivery performance and more, to support their business planning.
In addition to using technology to make things easier for customers, we have taken advantage of being new to the polymers industry by doing some things completely differently than our competitors.
Apple has always been a disruptor in the tech industry. After all, no one really asked for an iPhone, but it soon became indispensable. And no one asked for a Northeastern polyethylene plant, but we did our homework and knew there was an opportunity to solve a lot of challenges converters were facing.
As the first Northeastern plant, our Monaca, PA, site is within 700 miles of the majority of North American polyethylene buyers—which means we are easily accessible to converters in the region. Our location and approach to customer success will enable a more reliable supply chain for our customers.
Understanding customers’ needs and doing everything they can to meet and exceed them is how Apple made it to the top of their industry. And that’s exactly how Shell Polymers plans to do the same.
Note: Shell Polymers does not endorse, sponsor, or evaluate the services provided by any third-party companies mentioned in this advertisement. Shell Polymers does not have a business relationship with such third-party companies and any mention of third-party companies is done on an opinion-only basis.