IHS Chemical Week


Fresh Strategies for the Chemical Sector: Customer Relationship Management as the Catalyst to Becoming Customer Smart

10:14 AM MDT | May 3, 2011 | By GOETZ ERHARDT

This is a guest post by Accenture's Goetz Erhardt. You can learn more about CRM in chemicals at our FREE webcast on Tuesday, May 10. Click here to register.

Building leaner and more cost-effective businesses has become standard industry practice for chemical companies.  As companies seek additional ways to build competitive advantage, generate new sources of revenue, and increase profitability, management attention is shifting from asset-based process improvement initiatives to an intense focus on what customers truly value.

The 2010 Accenture Customer Preferences Study for Chemicals revealed a surprising disconnect between what buyers valued most and what the chemical manufacturers thought they valued. Too often current practices do not necessarily deliver more services or better services. Or practices treat all customers more or less the same. High-performing chemical companies recognize the real cost of additional services across the board and understand that not all customer segments view the “extras” as having significant value. In fact, chemical companies are often over-delivering on the service they provide to many of their customers.

Instead of taking a one-size-fits-all approach, chemical companies can treat different customers differently and in a way that is beneficial to the customer and company alike.The catalyst for developing customer-smart business practices is consistent and effective customer relationship management (CRM). Essential starting points are customer differentiation and segmentation followed by revitalized skill sets, improved processes and systems. A customer-smart approach helps marketing, sales and service teams identify and deliver the value-added products and services, and ultimately, improve company profitability.

In Accenture’s work with clients we see how well-developed and integrated customer-smart processes and systems provide a 360-degree view of the customer. Sales, marketing and service teams are able to share up-to-date information to improve customer satisfaction and retention. For chemical companies looking to differentiate themselves in the global marketplace, becoming a customer-smart organization through effective and consistent CRM represents a powerful way to build competitiveness and profitability.

I look forward to exploring the topic of becoming customer smart with you on Tuesday, May 10 and hearing your thoughts.  

You are invited to register
 for the free webinar: Strategies for the Chemicals Sector–How to become Customer Smart on Tuesday May 10, 2011:10 am EST / 3 pm UK / 4 pm CET.

Goetz Erhardt is a senior director in Accenture's Management Consulting Service Line. He can be reached at goetz.erhardt@accenture.com.

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