For chemical manufacturer, customer service plays a core role in forming customer “face”, understanding, shaping, meeting or even surpassing buyer’s expectations. However, its contribution is often not fully valued, and it is a resource that has not yet been developed. But Accenture’s global chemical buyer value study shows that in some key areas, improvements can help chemical companies better utilize this function and improve customer focus.
Customer service in the industry usually involves a wide range of customer interactions and contacts. It includes accepting orders, helping to establish business terms and delivery dates, managing shipping and order changes, and providing customers with information about product quality, specifications and standards. Customer service department is also the first contact point of dissatisfaction with customers, making it a “troubleshooter” to deal with complaints and solve problems. In short, customer service involves a large number of frequent interactions, and plays an important role in shaping the overall experience of customers.
This study examined the importance of customers to various factors and compared with the factors that chemical manufacturers think are important to customers. The results show that when the factors related to customer service function are involved, there are several key differences between the seller and the buyer. These differences appear in two groups of buyers of research translators (converting chemicals for manufacturing and end-use markets) and manufacturers (producing finished products for the industrial sector and consumers).
For example, the study found that the vendor’s view was quite consistent with that of the manufacturer. The biggest difference is that the buyer group is more interested in having an order than the seller thinks. At the same time, vendors have slightly overestimated manufacturers’ interest in flexible delivery options and compliance support.
The seller and the converter are not in the same pace. Like manufacturers, the biggest gap for this buyer group is their relatively high interest in a single point of order. But sellers also significantly underestimate the importance of converters for easy access to product information, flexible delivery options, regulatory support and seamless transactions. On the other hand, converter pays much more attention to all-weather complaints than chemical manufacturers think.
Considering the important role of customer service in customer interaction and customer experience, the overestimation and undervaluation of attributes seen in the study is a clear call for action to improve this functional area.